Sermon

Gone With the Wind

Michael Beck Michael Beck

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The major “decision” for the masses in the last days will be whether to align themselves with the God who made them or with the “god of this world.”

Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. (Joel 3:15)

There will be a “shaking” in the heavens and the earth in the last day which will serve God’s purpose.

The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.
The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake… (Joel 3:16,17)

The shaking of the heavens is likened to the shaking of a fig tree by a “mighty wind” which dislodges fruit not firmly attached.

And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. (Revelation 6:13)

All thy strong holds shall be like fig trees with the firstripe figs: if they be shaken, they shall even fall into the mouth of the eater. (Nahum 3:12)

The wind is spoken of in scripture as an agent used by God to separate the wicked from the righteous.

They are as stubble before the wind, and as chaff that the storm carrieth away. (Job 21:18)

John the Baptist declared that Christ would have a “fan in his hand” to separate the wicked from the righteous.

Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. (Matthew 3:12)

Simeon knew that the appearance of Jesus would reveal the inner workings of many hearts.

And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;
(Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. (Luke 2:34,35)

In Elijah’s day, the people of God “straddled the fence” between their Lord and the god of this world.

And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word. (1 Kings 18:21)

Joshua told the children of Israel to make up their mind and “choose” who they would serve.

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. (Joshua 24:15)

Especially when our love for Him is in question, God proves whether we will walk with Him by letting us be exposed to those not walking with Him.

I also will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died:
That through them I may prove Israel, whether they will keep the way of the LORD to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not. (Judges 2:21,22)

God revealed to the prophet Hosea that the heart of His people was “divided” and needed to be discovered.

Their heart is divided; now shall they be found faulty… (Hosea 10:2)

The Apostle James warned those pretending to be faithful in the church against having an adulterous “eye.”

Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. (James 4:4)

The latent adulterer or adulteress outwardly appears loyal and content in their present relationship, while having an eye out for someone “better,” should they come along.

…Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. (Malachi 2:15)

Hosea likened the adulterers in his day to slowly heating ovens, getting ready for morning bread.

For they have made ready their heart like an oven, whiles they lie in wait: their baker sleepeth all the night; in the morning it burneth as a flaming fire. (Hosea 7:6)

He also spoke of the “waiting time” needed for leaven to work in the dough.

They are all adulterers, as an oven heated by the baker, who ceaseth from raising after he hath kneaded the dough, until it be leavened (Hosea 7:4)

Jesus warned his disciples that, even as leaven in dough eventually makes its presence known, so the “leaven” working “beneath the surface” of those appearing righteous would eventually become evident.

…Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. (Luke 12:1,2)

While he remained outwardly pious in going to the temple and “saying the right things,” even the Psalmist confessed that the leaven of envy and covetousness had been hiding within his heart.

Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins.
So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee. (Psalm 73:21,22)

grieved > Hebrew – chamets > to be leavened

“Hidden” idols of the heart prevent people from fully surrendering to the call and worship of God.

Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions. (Mark 10:21,22)

God hates hypocrisy and tries every profession of righteousness with a “shaking wind.”

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. (Isaiah 64:6)

When we have “set up idols” in our heart, and are “separated” from the true love relationship that God wants us to have with Him, He will become the “matchmaker” who arranges us to meet our lover and leave His “home.”

For every one of the house of Israel, or of the stranger that sojourneth in Israel, which separateth himself from me, and setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to a prophet to enquire of him concerning me; I the LORD will answer him by myself:
And I will set my face against that man, and will make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of my people; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel. (Ezekiel 14:4,5)

In the last day, God will raise up strong winds that will deceive those who can be deceived.

For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if [it were] possible, even the elect. (Mark 13:22) (Note: The words “it were” are not in the original Greek.)

God raises up and uses all manner of things to fulfill His word in the earth, including strong winds and “serpents.”

Praise the LORD from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps:
Fire, and hail; snow, and vapour; stormy wind fulfilling his word (Psalm 148:7,8)

dragon > Hebrew – tanniym > serpent, sea monster

God has always used subtle serpents and strong winds to test man’s love and loyalty to Him.

And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die (Genesis 3:4)

God will use seducing spirits and doctrines of devils to purify His church.

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils (1 Timothy 4:1)

The Apostle Paul taught that the teaching of heresies (which justify sin) were necessary in the church to distinguish between those who truly loved God and those who didn’t.

For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. (1 Corinthians 11:19)

Before God judges the world, He will purge His church.

For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? (1 Peter 4:17)

God will use a day when there are no restraints around us to discover if we will “cheat” on Him.

And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. (Matthew 24:11,12)

Because of a failure to tear down secret idols, many who were once attached to God will fall away from Him when the opportunity and invitation to get together with their secret love appears.

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition (2 Thessalonians 2:8-12)

God has a powerful net to spread in the last days which will take those whose hearts are more absorbed with themselves and their idols than with Him.

And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.
For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.
Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. (Luke 21:34-36)

In the last day, God will assist men to come out and declare their true allegiance by “bringing them into temptation and delivering them to evil.”
All those who have not received the “love of the truth” and who have “pleasure in unrighteousness” will fall.

And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:8-12)

When we want His “kingdom to come” and “His will to be done” in our life, and we want to be kept true to Him,
God will shield us from “winds” of temptation that are more than we can bear.
But when we love our own will, more than His, and we secretly “pine” for what the world offers, He will deliver us into the hands of our idol.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil (Matthew 6:13)

While God can send various “means” of temptation to test our faithfulness, the “source” of temptation is always in our own strong desires.

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. (James 1:12-15)

Those who truly love God and delight in His word will not be “taken away” by the “wind” which tries their hearts.

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish. (Psalm 1:1-6)

Those who are surrendered to Christ and hearing His voice, will not be drawn away from their Shepherd or shaken off the True Vine.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. (John 10:27,28)

Only those who do not “turn away” from God when He would speak to them will remain “unshaken” and “gathered” into His house forever.

See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:
Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.
And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. (Hebrews 12:25-27)


Michael Beck is a pastor in New York City and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.