Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Prophetic Sacrifice

Prophetic Sacrifice
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters in view of God’s mercy
To offer your bodies as a living sacrifice.
           
There is a running theme throughout the bible of sacrifice.   The most obvious types of sacrifices are found in the old testament with regards to the Hebrews when they take possession of the land of Canaan.  These sacrifices and offerings of various types involving animals and grain are detailed in the book of Leviticus and set forth the protocol of worship of the Lord.  The sacrifices are also, indicative of when one has a call of prophetic significance there is a sacrifice of a kind which differentiates it from that of the world.   The Israelites spent many years in Egypt and would have been familiar with the religious system of the Egyptians, but once they were delivered from their bondage the Lord makes a distinction between his requirements for sacrifices and that of the Egyptians.  To be a peculiar people and a priesthood nation, the Israelites would have to go against what was arguably the greatest spiritual wisdom of their day and would have to endeavor to be distinctive from the other nations who surrounded them so that their sacrifice was to leave the ways and mindset of the popular opinions of their day.   The apostle Paul expresses it thus in his letter to the Romans “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.  (Romans 12:2) . 
This world has a pattern and it is one that is in direct opposition to that of the kingdom of heaven.  In American society, there is always this agenda, that trend or this fad which is plastered in the media everyday and more often than not it contradicts the wisdom of God which is foolishness to the world.  But a prophetic people will not let itself be sucked into the ever changing opinions and wisdom of this world.  It is a sacrifice that they swim against the tide and not with it.  This mission of sacrifice can be seen with several key biblical figures such as Abraham, Joseph, Moses and Jesus.    Abraham as the progenitor of the faith lived among pagans and likely practiced the religion of his habitation being that he was from Ur of Chaldeans.  When the Lord called Abram, he told him, “Get out of your country, From your kindred and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you…” (Genesis 12:1)  Here we can see that God is telling Abram to leave everything he has ever known and has been familiar with to go to an unfamiliar place.  I think Abram must have surely wrestled with this call for it is not easy to forsake a known way for that which is unknown.  It is indeed a sacrifice and Abram having a prophetically significant destiny stepped into the challenge of it.  
When considering Joseph, his sacrifice is not readily discernible but it manifest itself in that Joseph as a slave in Egypt spent many years in prison because his master’s wife falsely accused him of trying to sleep with her.  As it so happened, Joseph refused the wife’s request to sleep with her because it would have been a sin against God.  (Exodus 39:9) Joseph sacrificed the convenience of flesh for the integrity of God and I tend to believe that the reason God gave Joseph the dream is because he had a spirit of integrity and faithfulness to Him.  There are not many men who would resist the request for sexual relations with a woman even if it is adultery and it is perhaps why Joseph’s brother’s were not chosen for his prophetically significant task.  Moses grew up as Pharaoh’s   grandson.  He was surrounded by the wisdom and luxury of Egypt but his sacrifice was that he could not deliver the Hebrews from slavery from a position of power but one of lowliness. 
When the Lord called Moses he had been keeping the flock of his father-in-law in  Midian so that basically he was a shepherd.  Moses had probably given up on the notion of being used by God to help the Hebrew people given that he was no where near Egypt let alone in the palace of Pharaoh.  He probably thought like any of us would that his best position was in the house of Pharaoh and that God would use his position as a means to deliver the Israelites. Once he ruined his position by killing an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew and fled after being found out, he may have thought his chance was gone.  The Lord let forty years elapse before he would appear to Moses not in the grand palace of Egypt but in a desert as a flame in a bush.  The elapsing of forty years also allowed the men who sought Moses life to die so that he could return to Egypt and could be the primary reason for Moses forty year exile.  In any event we see that like Joseph Moses had to go down before he could rise back up.  It is very often the case with prophetic callings that one will be in prisons, wildernesses and obscurity before the Lord uses that person.
The life of Jesus is the epitome of sacrifice.   In a previous post The Ultimate Call, I discussed his prophetic significance and it must be noted again that Jesus wilderness experience was being tempted by the devil for forty days.  To say the least he passed with flying colors but one can see how he had to eschew what the world thinks is a primary stamp of validation and that is having outward prestige with accompanying money and power.   If Jesus had accepted the world’s criterion for what a success is he would have lost the power that allowed him to best the spiritual forces of darkness.  In the kingdom of the spirit where things really mattered he was an apex spiritual predator--The Godzilla of his spiritual domain, the lion of his spiritual jungle.  At the end of the day Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice by laying down his life for the world, but it wasn’t a vain sacrifice for as it is stated in Hebrews 12:2 “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith who for the joy set before him  endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Jesus indeed performed the ultimate in going down, but he also experienced the ultimate in being raised up as the Son of God exemplar.



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