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“His watchmen are blind; they are all without knowledge; they are all silent dogs; they cannot bark, dreaming, lying down, loving to slumber….they are shepherds who have no understanding; they have all turned to their own way, each to his own gain, one and all.” (Isaiah 56: 10-11)
Yesterday I wrote of the gross disparity between those who call themselves Christians and those who desire to live out the gospel as Jesus Christ exemplified and demanded of his disciples. In my quiet time this morning the Lord had this scripture for me which as the Holy Spirit would have it aligned nicely with this issue of Christians vs Christians-in-Name-Only.
Isaiah, speaking of the coming Messiah, alludes to the state of the Jewish priests (his watchmen) declaring that they were spiritually blind, without knowledge (that is in the things of God) calling them “shepherds who have no understanding.” Contemplating this admonition of the religious leaders, the Lord began to show me why. In Chapter 8 the Lord showed the prophet Ezekiel and me for that matter how the religious leaders strayed so far off track. Peaking behind the walls of the temple, God revealed the priests engaging in idol worship of all kinds. Ezekiel writes, “when I had digged in the wall, behold a door. And he said unto me, Go in, and behold the wicked abominations that they do here. So I went in and saw; and behold every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, pourtrayed upon the wall round about. And there stood before them seventy men of the ancients of the house of Israel, and in the midst of them stood Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan, with every man his censer in his hand; and a thick cloud of incense went up. Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery? for they say, the Lord seeth us not; the Lord hath forsaken the earth. (Ez 8: 8-12)
It is interesting to note that the priests here who knew God was omniscient and omnipresent would think (Ez 8:12) that the Lord could not see them. Most of us are like them thinking that we can hide from God. Moreover modern Christianity continues to be filled with idol worship and lead by shepherds who have no understanding. Considering the great television pastors who have fallen Jim Baker, Jimmy Swagert, Ted Haggard and more recently Eddie Long and Jack Schaap, it is not a surprise that Twenty-first Century Christians continue to be lead astray by the same Spirit that plagued our ancestors.
God has given Christians (the 32%) however, an answer to the confusion caused by these fallen pastors – Jesus! Yes, when Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) He was clarifying what it means to be a Christian. Jesus plainly said that to be my follower is to put your faith in me ALONE. Walking with Christ is not a church, a bible study or a pastor. While these things may enhance your knowledge and provide an opportunity to fellowship with like-minded people, God through His Son is telling Christians that our first priority is to know Jesus on a personal level and for him to know you as well.
If I went to the White House and knocked on the front door and said I was there to see the President, I would be quietly escorted off the property unless the President said, oh yes come on in John. I cannot claim to know the President enough for me to walk into his home and have a conversation at his kitchen table unless he knows me and trusts me to get that close. Likewise with Jesus, many may claim to know who Jesus was and what He did, but the most important part of the relationship is “does he know you?”
Satan knew who Jesus was and what he did. In fact, Satan probably knew him better than most theologians. However, Satan did not desire to put Him first nor did Jesus trust Satan. If we are going to call ourselves "Christ-followers" we must have an intimate relationship with Jesus so that He knows us and our desire to walk in his footsteps no matter where they lead. The relationship starts with a conversation (prayer), it begins with telling Jesus that you want to walk more closely with Him, trust Him completely and eliminate everything in your life that displeases Him. Tell Jesus that you want to know Him and that you want Him to know you!