I was listening to a sermon recently. Well, just a snippet. In his message, the pastor talked about how he had always preached about the conversation between Eve and the serpent in the garden as if Adam wasn’t there and he often asked the question, Where was Adam?
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her and he did eat (Genesis 3:6, KJV).
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it (NIV).
The pastor went on to say that based upon the above scripture, Adam wasn’t absent, but he was silent. After listening to the message, I thought about myself as well as the body of Christ. Is this the present-day church? Have we become silent? Have we become weary and stopped saying what God said?
And the woman said to the serpent, we may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden, but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die (Genesis 3:2-3). Both Adam and Eve heard God say the same thing. Adam knew that what the serpent said was not what God said, but he said nothing.
I know that some things will take place on the earth because it is written and the scriptures must be fulfilled, but what about those things that we have allowed to happen on the earth because we stopped speaking or stopped praying. Instead of waiting until something tragic happens and posting ‘Our thoughts and prayers are with you’ on social media, how about we bind, cancel, rebuke and pray against evil plots and plans before they happen? Our community, our nation, our leadership and our children – our future – need us to speak up. They need us to pray.
I know what it’s like to stop speaking the word or praying for things I was believing God for. The reason why I stopped was because it seemed like nothing was going to happen. Maybe it’s God’s will. But years later, I realized that the reason why those things didn’t come to pass was because I stopped speaking. You have not, because you ask not (James 4:2). I gave up – not because I was tired, but because I was lazy. Things weren’t happening fast enough and I got discouraged while waiting, but let me show you why it’s important to keep speaking and to keep praying.
Bless the Lord, you his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word (Psalm 103:20).
After Herod had killed James, he had arrested Peter, but the church never stopped praying to God concerning Peter (Acts 12:5). The night that Herod was planning to bring Peter to trial, Peter was sleeping, but the saints were praying. While he was sleeping, an angel of the Lord appeared, struck Peter on his side and told him to get up. When he got up, his chains fell off his hands. The angel then told him to clothe himself, put on his sandals and follow him. They passed the first and second guard. When they approached the iron gate that led to the city, the gate opened on its own. After walking down one street, the angel left Peter.
And when Peter had come to himself, he said, Now I know that the Lord has sent his angel and has delivered me out of the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews (Acts 12:11). Many had gathered together to pray on his behalf and while they were praying, the answer to their prayers (Peter) knocked on the door (Acts 10:12-13).
Something does happen when we pray.
Another example is when Belteshazzar (Daniel) fasted and prayed for understanding. It didn’t seem like anything was happening, but he didn’t stop praying. Finally, God sent an angel to Daniel to let him know that from the first day he spoke, his words were heard and that he had come for his words. God had already answered his prayer, but there was a fight going on for 21 days (Daniel 10:12-13). While the angel was fighting to get the answer to Daniel, there was another fighting to block or to keep the answer from getting to Daniel.
Some of us thought that God didn’t hear us, but He did hear you. The enemy knows he can’t stop God so he’s trying to stop you – from believing God and obeying God. He wants you to give up, but this is not the time to faint. This is the time to pray. Men ought always to pray, and not to faint (Luke 18:1).
If you have stopped speaking God’s word, start speaking again. It’s not that you are waiting on the angels to do something, but they are waiting on you to say something. We aren’t always obedient, but His angels are always obedient and they are ready to do what God said. They know His voice and they are waiting to hear the voice of His word. It’s time to give God’s word a voice.
It’s time to speak.
The apostles prayed for boldness (Acts 4:29-30), but the Lord didn’t give them boldness just to speak His word boldly, but to live His word boldly. Prior to this prayer, Jesus’ disciples scattered after he was arrested. And they all forsook Him and fled (Mark 14:50). Peter denied ever knowing Jesus – three times (Matthew 26; Mark 14; Luke 22; John 18).
Some believers call it persecution when someone talks about them or doesn’t like them, but there were men of God that were threatened, tortured, stoned, sawn in half, beaten and imprisoned because they did miracles in the name of Jesus and taught in His name. Let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name (Acts 4:17). Despite the warnings and threats, the apostles kept speaking of what they had seen and heard (Acts 4:20). And even after being beaten or sent to prison, they would rejoice and continue to preach the Lord Jesus Christ.
…and when they had called the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ (Acts 5:40-42).
The enemy wants us to be afraid because when a person walks in fear, it’s hard for them to walk in power, love and a sound mind – and it is these three things that defeat him (2 Timothy 1:7). Fear has torment with worry, troubles and cares. Fear will even cause you to become silent.
One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: ‘Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent’ (Acts 18:9, NIV).
John the Baptist preached repentance. Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matthew 3:2). And he didn’t care who you were, where you came from or what your title or position was. John the Baptist approached a king (Herod) and told him that what he was doing was wrong. It is not lawful (right) for you to have your brother’s wife (Mark 6:18; Leviticus 20:21). Although Herod and his wife wanted to kill John, he didn’t because he respected the anointing on his life so he placed him in prison instead.
And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet (Matthew 14:5).
Herodias had a grudge against John and wanted to kill him, but she could not because Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he continually kept him safe. When he heard John [speak], he was very perplexed, but he enjoyed listening to him (Mark 6:19-20, AMP).
This wasn’t a situation where the surviving brother married his brother’s childless widow so that they may have a child to carry the deceased brother’s name (Deuteronomy 25:5). Herodias was not a widow and she had a daughter. This relationship started out as an adulterous affair.
John had provoked Herod by naming his relationship with Herodias “adultery” (Matthew 14:4, MSG).
John denounced Herod’s marriage to her as adulterous (VOICE).
John the Baptist had now become an enemy to Herodias because he preached the truth to her. He preached something she didn’t want to hear. His message was a call to repent or change, but she didn’t want to change. Maybe John wasn’t telling them to divorce, but to repent for what they had done and to go back to the people they hurt and apologize.
God wasn’t condemning them. He wasn’t trying to humiliate or embarrass them, but people who get easily offended don’t really understand how much God loves them. God didn’t have to send a prophet to Herod and Herodias, but because He is longsuffering and doesn’t want any of us to perish, but instead come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9), he sent John.
Herodias knew her husband wasn’t going to kill John so she waited for an opportunity to kill him. And when a convenient day was come (Mark 6:21). That day was Herod’s birthday. He invited very high officials to help him celebrate. During the celebration, Herodias’ daughter danced for him. Maybe you never thought about this, but what kind of dance did she perform that “pleased” her uncle/daddy (and all those men in attendance? And out of excitement and a good feeling, he promised to give her whatever she asked.
After he made this promise to his niece/daughter, she went to her mom to ask what she should she ask for. And she said, The head of John the Baptist (Mark 6:23). Herodias was led by the spirit of Jezebel. And unfortunately, she was leading, teaching and training her daughter to live and behave just like her. According to Revelation 2:20, Jezebel seduces God’s servants to commit fornication. (Her job is to bring down those whom God has exalted and to defile that which is holy and without blemish, leaving them with a spot or wrinkle).
This is the spirit that told Herodias that it was alright to be with her brother-in-law. This is the same spirit that ‘used’ Herodias’ daughter to dance before those men and to kill a prophet. The enemy (in Herodias) knew he couldn’t touch John the Baptist, but all he needed was a body, a willing vessel – someone ignorant and easily deceived – to carry out his plan.
The enemy wasn’t just after John the Baptist because he was a messenger or a prophet, but he wanted to silence him because he was ‘the voice’. He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord (John 1:23).
This is what God has called us to be – the voice! And He doesn’t want us to be afraid of their faces (Jeremiah 1:8). I know sometimes we don’t speak up because we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings or we don’t want anyone to be mad with us, but what we don’t understand is that sometimes our silence is mistaken as agreement. When you refuse to speak against it, they will think that you must be for it. ‘Speaking the truth in love’ doesn’t mean that the truth won’t hurt your feelings or that a person is supposed to speak to you in a sweet, soft voice, but it does mean that someone loves you enough to tell you the truth.
Let me be clear because I don’t want anyone to misinterpret or misunderstand what I’m saying. This blog isn’t about being bold enough to tell people about themselves. This is about taking a bold stand for righteousness. This is about being holy because God is holy.
I remember one day making a comment at work (that wasn’t nice) and the coworker who heard it, laughed, but then she said, ‘I wasn’t expecting that to come out of your mouth’. You talk about conviction. I had to repent. We may not quote scriptures or carry a bible around at work, but people are watching me and they are watching you, too. They know there is something different about you. They are watching how you live and if Jesus could see the faith of the men who brought the paralytic to Him through the roof of a house, then people can see our faith. They may make fun of you or distance themselves from you because of what and Who you believe, but don’t take it personal. They are not distancing themselves from you, but they are distancing themselves from the Light. For every wrongdoer hates the Light, and does not come to the Light [but shrinks from it] for fear that his [sinful, worthless] activities will be exposed and condemned (John 3:20).
I think about the many times I compromised truth just so that people wouldn’t be angry with me or in hopes that they would like me, and you know what? All those things I did to ‘keep the peace’, gave me no peace. I’m not telling you that fear will not come, but speak anyway – and not just through word only because sometimes the Word you live speaks better than the Word you speak.
Let your life speak. Do not be silent.
[Reference scriptures: Matthew 14:1-12; Mark 6:14-29]