Indeed, it was for my own welfare
that I had such great bitterness;
but Your love has delivered me
from the Pit of destruction,
for You have thrown all my sins behind Your back.
How many of us are familiar with the emotions that accompany this image? Have you ever felt so far down in the "Pit of destruction" that all you can glimpse is just a small piece of a blue sky? The Scripture that I have chosen today is speaking so strongly to what I have been witnessing over the last few weeks.
As you know, if you are a regular reader, the Lord has brought new revelation to my husband and myself about our authority in Christ to receive spiritual healing. So many Christians are secure in their salvation, but in misery in their bondage and oppression. They love the Lord, but deep down in the recesses of their soul (their mind, emotions, and will), they do not trust Him to forgive them of their sins. And, boy, does that present an easy target for the Enemy to disrupt our relationship with Jesus, and cause confusion and chaos in our lives.
In Chapters 36 and 37 of Isaiah, we read of the challenge directed to God and His people by King Sennacherib of Assyria. Remember, that in the Bible, Assyria represent's sin and man's intellectual reasoning for why he sins. The result of this reasoning is that we end up justifying our sins instead of believing that God can truly rid us of them, if we will just turn towards Him in repentance and ask for His forgiveness.
Historically, King Sennacherib has come against all the fortified cities of Judah and conquered them. As he approaches Jerusalem, he mocks those who believe that the Lord can save them from his (Sennacherib) assault. In Isaiah 36:4-5, the wicked king sends his emissary to speak to the Jewish king, Hezekiah: "Say to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: On what do you rest this trust of yours? Do you think that mere words are strategy and power for war? In whom do you now trust, that you have rebelled against me?"
This is exactly what the Enemy does to the faithful today! He taunts us with whispers of doubt about our ability to truly trust the Lord. He ridicules us for thinking that mere "words" can save us from the destruction he is trying to take us towards. And so he sends spirits of bitterness, and anger, and self-rejection, and self-loathing for all the things we know we have done to offend our Lord. And then he sends perhaps the strongest spirit to interrupt our salvation process ... unforgiveness; the unforgiveness we have towards others who have hurt us, and the unforgiveness we think we deserve. And the Enemy tells us that our human reasoning is right; that person deserves our anger or bitterness, and does not deserve to be forgiven. Furthermore, we don't deserve to be forgiven because we harbor these sinful emotions.
I believe that is why King Hezekiah fell ill in Chapter 38. Although God heard the prayers of Hezekiah and destroyed Assyria's attempts to defeat Jerusalem, Hezekiah could not let go of his guilt, shame, and bitterness over how the House of Israel had blasphemed and disobeyed the Lord. He knew they had sinned against the Lord, but he allowed the Enemy to insert seeds of doubt about the Lord's trustworthiness, and his own unworthiness. Upon the defeat of Sennacherib, Hezekiah had expected nothing but an uninterrupted peace to himself and his government, but he was suddenly seized with a sickness in his spirit; a knowledge of his pride, shame, and guilt. This resulted in spiritual bitterness, and it resulted in such despair that it seemed to be the bitterness of death itself. This was his condition when God sent him deliverance and balm for his soul.
This is what I have seen this week. Wonderfully, faithful Christians have been brought to the depths of desperation because of the taunts and lies of the devil. Just as Hezekiah says in verse 17, "It was for my own welfare that I suffered this bitterness [of soul]." Because he was so sick in his soul, and at such a desperate place, he was ready to allow Jesus to minister to Him. And that is what I witnessed this week... several women who were so sick and tired of being sick in their souls with shame, guilt, and unforgiveness, that they were ready to allow Jesus to deliver them from their own personal Pit.
They were ready to hand over all the garbage that resulted from the lies of the Enemy to Jesus, and let Him and the Holy Spirit remove the shame, and guilt, and bitterness from them, "as far as the east is from the west". And then they were able to give Him the most destructive of all their sins... unforgiveness; the sin that keeps us in perpetual bondage, because we cannot be forgiven, if we don't forgive. Once that millstone was removed, they could truly be set free from their spiritual oppression. They were able to imagine, in their spirit, what Jesus did with those sins. For one, it was throwing them into the Pit; for another, it was casting them into a Holy Fire. But for both, it was similar to Hezekiah saying, "You have thrown all my sins behind Your back."
It can be the same for all Christians today, if we would only allow Christ to heal our "sickness" as God healed Hezekiah's. This King of Israel suffered the same spiritual battle that we face today. The Enemy taunts us with our failures, and it is not until we are willing to lay those burdens at the feet of Jesus, and allow Him to plant the Cross and the empty tomb between us and our adversary, that we will be healed and set free. Who wants to live their life with only a glimpse of that beautiful blue sky? Let Jesus and the Holy Spirit deliver you out of that deep Pit where the Enemy has you bound, and come into the full and bountiful life a captive set free!
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