Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. (Isaiah 1-2)
Considered among the best of the land in Egypt, Goshen is an irrigated plain best suited for raising cattle. Travelers passing through Goshen would enjoy ‘vineyards, and balsam plantations, and orchards, and tilled fields, and gardens.”[i] Employed as Pharaoh’s right-hand man,[ii] Joseph was requested to move his father, Israel, and family there to its richness during the remaining five years of famine.[iii]
Approximately 400 years later, when the Israelites found themselves in bondage to the Egyptians, they still had access to the best. And when God’s wrath was poured onto the Egyptians because of the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart, this land was the Israelites’ safeguard from destructive plagues. [iv]
A land rich in resources and opportunities; A `land that many people inhabited to flee European persecution. A nation founded and built on Biblical principles that have caused her to prosper for generations. But now she finds herself becoming a nation divided.
The United States is a nation that once made a vow to serve the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But, we have drifted into serving the idols of self and wealth and have in many cases grown apostate. A once self-professed Christian nation, the USA has wandered from a Christian moral code to embrace the ideologies of a “multi-faith” society.
More than two-thirds of our population professes to be Christian. So, how can laws such as abortion and same-sex marriage receive majority votes? Simply put, mindset shifts. According to recent polls, more than 70% of Americans still hold fast to Christian ideology. [v], [vi] Far less, however, embrace the moral values dictated by the Bible. Do you want proof? 70% of abortions are performed on professed Christians.[vii] Even more startling; 54% of Christians subscribe to the LGBT[viii] agenda (a 10% increase since 2007).
HOW DID WE GET HERE?
These staggering statistics result from the Body of Christ in America, who have become at ease and fallen asleep in Zion.[ix] We who once loved God with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength are now being driven by what we see. We’ve allowed our spirits to doze so that our flesh can be satisfied. We’ve unwittingly invited the small foxes of worldly distractions to slowly and methodically destroy the place in our hearts where we have been engrafted into the True Vine.[x]
Over the past three decades, the focus in the church seems to have switched from preparing for life in heaven to preparing for wealth on earth. When I first got saved, songs like “Going Up Yonder”[xi] and “Walk Around Heaven All Day”[xii], etc., expressed the sole purpose of life in the minds of the saints.
In the process of time, however, we’ve shifted from being God chasers to money chasers. Now the song of the church sounds more like “Name It, Claim It, Blab It, Grab It” and “It’s All About Me.”
I’m sure God would much rather we be naming and claiming Him, blabbing about Him, and grabbing ahold to the hem of His garment. All this focus on “things” has lulled many of our spirits into a state of slumber. It seems that on so many levels, we’ve turned our backs on Him to pursue IT in His name!
And we sleep…
WHERE HAS IT LED US?
The proof that we have laid down our guard in the spirit realm is all the havoc we see wreaked in and on our land. Just a glimpse of the news reveals the writing on the wall that says, “The USA is entering into a period of darkness.” We are facing national economic and geopolitical instability, terrorism attempts on our own soil, erratic weather patterns caused by climate shifts, racial, sexual, and religious tensions reaching an all-time high, to name a few.
And in light of all this, we are facing one of the most detrimental presidential elections of all time. The focus of campaigns is no longer about issues. It’s about character assassination. The track record and characters of both candidates are shady at best. And their agendas don’t appear to be purely for the good of the country.
Yet we sleep…
One would think this onslaught of issues would bring the saints to our knees. But instead it seems we’ve sunk deeper into sleep, having allowed ourselves to become hypnotized by the doctrines of this world.
Now the church seems to have been issued a gag order. We are losing our first amendment rights to freedom of speech and expression. Instead, the church as an institution is threatened with being stripped of its tax-exempt status for declaring the unadulterated truth of the word of God. [xiii] As individuals, we are also at risk of persecution for standing up for our beliefs.[xiv]
Our sleep is growing deeper…deeper
Our country is now facing a season of crisis! The USA has become a nation divided racially, politically, economically, and religiously. It is now on the brink of chaos and calamity.
SO WHAT SHOULD WE, THE HEARTBEAT OF AMERICA, DO? ENTER GOSHEN!
I used to dream of entering into my proverbial “Canaan” or Promised Land. Goshen is the place I considered as my place of destiny. I embraced this desire until I concluded that our ultimate Promised Land is the place Jesus prepared for us in heaven.[xv] I’ve since determined to settle entering into my “Prophetic Goshen” in the meantime. But how does the Church of America leave the spiritual famine that brought us to our current state, and enter our Prophetic Goshen?
- WAKE UP
We have allowed ourselves to enjoy the deception that slumber brings; the delusion that things defined by the Bible as wrong are right.[xvi] We have enjoyed the message of physical wealth and prosperity without embracing the “as your soul prospers” criteria for Godly health, wealth, and prosperity.[xvii] Now is the time to wake up and shake ourselves from these delusions.
It’s time for us to confess our sins of falling into the slumber of prosperity as the enemy crept in. He began to sow tares within not only the borders of our country but the walls of the church while we hit the snooze button of life.
- ARISE AND SHINE
Now is the time to arise from our obscure silence and take heed to the truth that says, “Cry aloud; do not hold back; lift up your voice like a trumpet; declare to my people their transgression, to the house of Jacob their sins.”
It’s time to arise and shine the light of God’s spirit[xviii] within us. In doing so, the knowledge of God’s glory can penetrate the darkness of perversion, deception, witchcraft, religious terrorism, and moral terrorism as the waters cover the sea![xix]
It’s time out for doing that which is right in your own eyes, like the Israelites during the days of the judges. It’s time to start obeying and “…hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep all his commandments which I command thee this day, to do that which is right in the eyes of the LORD thy God.”
At our local assembly,[xx] we’ve been studying from the book entitled “Good Faith, Being a Christian When Society Thinks You’re Irrelevant and Extreme”.[xxi] It reveals quite poignantly the general perception in America is that most Christians are extreme verbally and behaviorally. Based on this ideology, let’s explore some irrelevant and extreme behavior.
Noah was considered both extreme AND irrelevant! But, since he didn’t compromise his faith, even though the earth was swallowed up in the wrath of God, he was lifted up to safety.[xxii]
Moses indeed appeared extreme to Pharaoh when he cried, “let my people go.” But when the plagues hit, he and the Israelites were safely tucked away under the shadow of the Almighty in Goshen. No plague came nigh their dwelling. When gross darkness fell, there was light in Goshen.[xxiii]
Here in this nation, it appears that gross darkness has fallen, and plagues are hitting us left, right and center. But in the prophetic Goshen of God’s kingdom, there is light, safety, righteousness, joy, and peace IN the Holy Ghost!
We are called to be the light of the world.[xxiv] Therefore, it’s time for us to wake up, clean up, get up, and allow the light of God’s Glory through the Holy Ghost to pierce into the darkness that is hovering over this nation. It’s time for US to exact a change. We no longer need to be IN our prophetic Goshen. It is time for us to BE that Prophetic Goshen!
[i] Orr, James. “Goshen (1).” The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Grand Rapids: W.B. Eerdmans Pub., 1939. N. pag. E-Sword. Web.
[ii] Genesis Chapter 41, Verses 40-44
[iii] Genesis Chapter 45, Verses 10-18
[iv] Exodus Chapters 1-14
[v] Wormald, Benjamin. “Religious Landscape Study.” Pew Research Centers Religion Public Life Project RSS. N.p., 11 May 2015. Web. 13 Oct. 2016.
[vi] Analysis, and By Gary Langer. “Poll: Most Americans Say They’re Christian.” ABC News. ABC News Network, 18 July 1970. Web. 13 Oct. 2016.
[vii] “70% of Women Who Get Abortions Identify as Christians, Survey Finds.”Christian Post. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2016.
[viii] LGBT – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender
[ix] Amos chapter 6, verse 1 and Isaiah chapter 29, verse 10
[x] Song of Solomon chapter 2, verse 15 and John chapter 15, verse 1
[xi] Hawkins, Tramaine. Going Up Yonder. Light Records, 1979. Vinyl recording.
[xii] Baker, Cassietta. Walk Around Heaven All Day. The Caravans. Vee Jay Records, 1964. Vinyl recording.
[xiii] Howley, Patrick. “Roberts Warns Churches Could Lose Tax-Exempt Status For Opposing Gay Marriage.” The Daily Caller. N.p., June-July 2015. Web. 14 Oct. 2016. <http://dailycaller.com/2015/06/26/roberts-warns-churches-could-lose-tax-exempt-status-for-opposing-gay-marriage/>.
[xiv] Felton, Ryan. “Deputies of Kentucky Clerk Jailed over Gay Marriage Stance Will Issue Licenses.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 03 Sept. 2015. Web. 21 Oct. 2016. <https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/sep/03/kentucky-clerk-contempt-of-court-marriage-licenses>.
[xv] John chapter 14 verse 3
[xvi] Judges chapter 17 verse 6 and chapter 21 verse 25
[xvii] 3 John chapter 1 verse 2
[xviii] Matthew chapter 5 verse 16
[xix] Habakkuk chapter 2 verse 14
[xx] The Meeting Place of God located at 3051 Westwood Northern Blvd; Cincinnati, OH 45211
[xxi] Kinnaman, David, and Gabe Lyons. Good Faith: Being a Christian When Society Thinks You’re Irrelevant and Extreme. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2016. Print.
[xxii] Genesis Chapters 6 through 8
[xxiii] Exodus Chapters 5 through 14
[xxiv] Matthew chapter 5 verse 14