Sermon: Leadership Pt. 2

Written by Timothy

Leadership, Part 2
sermon transcript
year 2000

It was difficult knowing where to begin because there are so many different aspects to look at. Basically we will see that we get the leaders we want. So often when people look for a church, they look for leadership that will suit their needs and desires. The only people that we don’t look for are truly godly leaders.

2 Corinthians 12:11- I have made a fool of myself, but you drove me to it.

The Corinthians were looking for a totally different kind of leader than Paul. Imagine us living during that time period when Paul would come in and say, “I’m a true minister of Jesus Christ.” We would look at his life, the way he taught, and the things he taught and come to the conclusion that he wasn’t very impressive. It really wasn’t the message we wanted. So we are attracted to “super apostles” as Paul said.

2 Corinthians 12:11- I ought to have been commended by you, for I am not in the least inferior to the “super-apostles,” even though I am nothing.

Many times the reason a church fails is simply because the type of leadership that people look for will produce automatic failure. Those who walk and live the cross are not attractive. They are not the kind of people you will run to. Paul said they should have held him up as a man of God, but the people didn’t want to be attracted to him. It wasn’t the kind of leadership they were looking for. We will come back to this later.

Eventually we have to get to a point where we will say, “All the excuses will stop. All our whitewash reasonings for not having a righteous church or being righteous have to stop somewhere. We have to quit complaining.” I can remember 20 years ago being in a church where everybody complained about how bad the leadership was. They were correct in what they said. It came a point when God began to do something so I said, “OK, let’s start another church.” Then everybody stopped the complaining and said it really wasn’t that bad. People like to complain about how bad the church is so they can justify why they don’t change. But the minute we say everything is bad, and there is hypocrisy. Nobody says, “Then let’s put a stop to it right now. Let’s begin to pray and grab hold of a leadership that will demand holiness of us and know how to preach the gospel. Let’s stop our hypocrisy and get on with what we need to do.” Nobody wants to do that, they just want to continue complaining, because then they feel like they are doing something without really doing anything. Our slowness to change must stop. We have to prepare our hearts now for God to come down, crucify us, and deal with us in every way. All the opinions about the way the church should be arranged or things done must be crucified also.

1 Samuel 8:1-3- When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as judges for Israel. The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah, and they served at Beersheba. But his sons did not walk in his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.

It sounds like a bad church situation. On the surface we would probably blame Samuel and say, “Why did you appoint your sons?” Yet God worked something here.

1 Samuel 8:4- So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah.

The situation was terrible, and they came together to find a solution to the problem. They have a situation where bad leadership will take overthey can see it beginning to happenand they come to Samuel for a solution. However, the solution they have was not to really seek God, though they came in the name of the Lord. They didn’t say, “OK, these are our opinions and this is what we want to do,” they came with all the noble words and quoted scripture.

1 Samuel 8:5- They said to him, “You are old. . .”

They came with the facts. “Look, you’re getting old and worn out. You won’t be here forever. You can’t lead us. You will be dead before long and we will be stuck with this situation.”

1 Samuel 8:5- They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.”

They had a plan and want it implemented. They had their scheme to make the church holy and so they told Samuel, “Give us your blessing in this plan.” They used worldly means and worldly logic to try to remedy the situation.

1 Samuel 8:6- But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD.

They should have prayed to God themselves. We go to the Bible and come out with godly principles about how to arrange the church. We do it all in the name of the Lord. But Samuel actually inquired of the Lord in what to do in any and every situation. Had they really sought the Lord first, they would not have suggested a worldly means in which to clean up the church. Think how backwards it is. We come in with all kinds of plans and programs to have a holy church, but we know it will fail because we bring in unholy plans.

1 Samuel 8:4- So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah.

Again, they came together about a terrible situation. They came to ask him to deal with it, but they have a worldly solution. The question we need to ask ourselves is, “Do we really want God to be Lord of our lives?” They have had some grand teaching under Samuel. He has set the perfect example for them. But the end result was they were just worldly. We can sit under the best leadership, have the best teaching, and still not be transformed. The question is, “Do we really want God to transform our lives and make us different?” Then the excuses have to stop. The justifications have to go away. The whitewash has to cease. If we really want godly leadership like we say we do, then we have to die first. Because we will seek out kings that look like what we want them to be and preachers that will come in the image we want. We will seek out super apostles that will impress us. If we don’t want to change, we won’t seek out the leadership that knows how to take us to the cross to die.

1 Samuel 8:7- And the LORD told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.”

We make worldly plans that say, “Having a church that meets in a building is good,” or “A house church is better.” We bring our worldly plans before the Lord and ask him to bless them. We have a worldly situation in the church, so we go out and tack on our opinion because we know our opinion is better than this worldliness. We want God to create a church that is holy but use our plans to do it. We want a king like everybody else. We want our church set up in the same mode. All kinds of people say the church needs to change and be different, but they take the same self that was in the church and go out and start another church, so now there are a bunch of churches full of self.

1 Samuel 8:6- But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD.

We need to ask God, “Do we really want to change? Do we really want to be a different people? Do we want him to crucify us?” Those are some very serious things to ask the Lord. Do we really want God to be king of our life instead of man? I know everybody protests and says they just want to follow God and not a man. Then why isn’t it happening? Why do they fall prey to so many men? Because they don’t really mean what they say. In order to follow God, I have to be crucified. I have to be put to death and people don’t want to die. So they naturally gravitate to men who will feed their flesh and make them feel righteous at the same time.

1 Samuel 8:8- As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you.

Many people say, “But we don’t follow gods from other countries. We are not idolaters.” Yet if we don’t hate our own lives and allow God to crucify us, we serve the god of this world. The only thing that Satan hates is the cross. The only message we have here is the cross. It is the power to change us. It is what will make us different. So when men set out to do their religious thing, they do it in the name of the Lord, even though it is idolatry. In Exodus 32:5 they built a golden calf, but look at what they labeled their activity:

Exodus 32:5- When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, “Tomorrow there will be a festival to the LORD.”

They did it all in the name of Jehovah, Jesus Christ. They did it in the name of God, but it was golden calf worship. You can get people to celebrate for this. We don’t have time to go into this in great detail right now, but they sacrificed, gave up their gold, and put forth the necessary energy. If we feed people’s flesh, the church will grow. Nobody wants the kinds of leaders who preach a message that has the cross in it or members who want to give up their lives. They want super apostles.

1 Samuel 8:9- Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do.

So people get involved in churches. They are abused by the leadership or somebody else in the body because self reigns supreme no matter how holy you try to make it look or how shiny the golden calf is, it always comes out in terms of self.

1 Samuel 8:10- Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking him for a king.

He laid out in detail what this man will do.

1 Samuel 8:11- He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots.”

He will use them for his own benefit and glory. When his chariot marches out he will put your sons and daughters in front of his own chariot for his own purpose to prepare the way for his own agenda. How many churches are really “cause” churches. They have a cause they worship and they use everybody to achieve that cause. We know that to be true because you don’t walk away from most churches saying, “They preach the cross.” Oh, they might do all kinds of other things, but the central message in everything that they live and all they do is not the cross. Indeed when you go into these “cause” churches the chariots are running and you have to go look for the message of the cross. They have to explain to you that the cross is in everything they do. They have to justify it, hold up the golden calf, and announce, “Tomorrow there will be a festival to the Lord.” There should be a message of the cross where not only the leadership but the congregation is transformed by that cross, and you don’t have to announce it or proclaim it. It will be so different and so radical that it will declare itself. It will be the very fragrance of Christ. But not so with people who serve themselves. They will take your sons and daughters and use them for their own benefit and glory to build up the membership in the church and do whatever they want to do. It’s all done in the name of the Lord. They can even say that God appointed them a king. They can honestly say they had a prophecy, dream, or vision and felt the presence of the Lord anoint this person pastor or king over this nation. Would they be lying if they said that? Not at all. Would they be lying if they said God gave them Saul by his hand and direction? They would be telling the truth. But God gave the people the kind of leadership they wanted. Now the whole purpose of this is love. He wanted them to wake up to who really should be king of their life. He wanted them to see what aspect of self they were holding on to and how they refused the person God wanted to be king of their lives. So next time somebody tells you, “We feel our pastor has an anointing,” but there is no cross, you can agree with them. Say, “I agree he has an anointing. He was appointed by God. What did you do wrong?”

1 Samuel 8:12- Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots.

He will direct your life and tell you where to go and what to do. You see under the Lord, God directs all those things. It comes out in a natural way. It doesn’t come with plans and programs. But not so with a king. He has to organize everything. If every one of you were carrying the cross like you needed to, God would be able to direct and say, “This work should be done over here. You need to do this other work over there.” Then I wouldn’t have to go around assigning people work to do. Nothing would have to be arranged because God arranges the body as he sees fit. That doesn’t mean there isn’t some counsel or direction, but it’s different from a king who has to control the whole situation because nothing would get done otherwise.

1 Samuel 8:12- Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots.

It all came back to serving the king. It’s golden calf worship in the name of Jesus. In other words, God said they would work for somebody else’s glory and labor for somebody else’s benefit. They rejected God as king so they will serve a man that God has anointed and chosen. This happened because they refused to die to self enough to love God.

1 Samuel 8:13- He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers.

There will not be a single person or situation that is left untouched by this king. Every aspect of everyone’s life will be influenced and impacted in every way. The impact that will take place in everyone’s life is what a man puts in his or her life. God didn’t cause the impact in their life. So we get the kind of leadership that we want. We want to feed ourselves so we choose leadership that will teach us how to do that in the name of the Lord. Since he is serving self he will use the people to get stuff back for himself. It’s very logical.

1 Samuel 8:14- He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants.

He will arrange everything the way he wants and then take the best of everything he can get for his own benefit and purpose.

1 Samuel 8:16- Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use.

God laid this out very clearly everything that would take place, but they didn’t object. This is an amazing thing. We would rather have a super apostle than someone like Paul. We would rather have the loud, noisy, programmed entertaining preacher than Paul.

1 Samuel 8:17- He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves.

You would think we would all object if we heard these words. Yet these words are written there and the Spirit no doubt has spoken to many people about these things, but they don’t object. Men are willing to give their allegiance to other men if it doesn’t cost them. For they love themselves above everything else. The ironic thing is they can talk of denying self yet they looked at Paul and said, “He’s not really an apostle.” It’s an amazing thing that the man who really is a controlling cult leader will be ignored. However, the man who is crucified to self, and comes with truth and righteousness, demanding that everybody deny themselves will be accused of being the cult leader.

1 Samuel 8:18- When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the LORD will not answer you in that day.

This is how serious it is when we approach the church building saying, “We want godly leadership.” If we choose a man to be our king and don’t allow God’s spirit to crucify us and make him king of our hearts, then one day we will cry out for relief from the mess we have made, but God will not answer.

1 Samuel 8:19- But the people refused to listen to Samuel.

It is amazing that all this was laid out very clearly and the people refused to give any heed at all to what he said. I guarantee if you warn people, “Does your church preach the crucified life? Does it know what it is to hate its own life? What is the message?” if you lay it out clearly, they will still refuse to listen to what you have to say. You can assure them it will end in disaster. They will wind up spending the best of what they have for a cause that is not of Jesus Christ, and they will not listen because they want self fed. We get the leadership that we choose.

1 Samuel 8:19- But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us.”

For all the whining and complaining about leadership, men basically really want someone over them. They want the responsibility taken from them. When that leadership gets so blown out of proportion, they whine, complain, and look for somebody else and then the whole process starts all over again. A king doesn’t march in and just take over at once. It is a slow progression of influencing everyone’s life and everybody gets sick of it after a while because his ego and self become so strong. Then everybody complains and gets rid of that king and looks for another one they can manipulate. The whole cycle starts all over again. Nobody stops to consider that self must be crucified to end this cycle.

1 Samuel 8:20- Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.

They want to be just like every other church. “Give us leadership that will fight our battles. Give me leadership that will justify my sin and provide me with excuses necessary to hold on to self. Give me leadership that goes to the cross and does the work for me. Give me leadership that will allow me to sit and be comfortable hearing tough messages but never demand that I actually live it. Don’t give me leadership like Paul who said, ‘Shall I come to you with a whip or in love, it’s up to you.’” We get the kind of leadership we want. “Give us a king who will go before us. We don’t want to live a life of faith. Tell us what we should do and what direction we should go. Let the leadership step out and do all the work. Give us a king who will assure us of everything we plan to do. We want to be like all the other churches with a cause, but we don’t want to live the crucified life.” This puts the responsibility squarely on our shoulders.

1 Samuel 8:21- When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the LORD.

Notice the crucified life in Samuel. Every issue that came before him he took before the Lord but not so with the people. They wanted religious words and fine sermons, but did not take them before the Lord. We love our excuses, reasons, justifications, prayers, and works anything but really changing.

1 Samuel 8:22- The LORD answered, “Listen to them and give them a king.” Then Samuel said to the men of Israel, “Everyone go back to his town.”

Look how quietly all this took place. They came in and demanded a king. Samuel said, “Everybody, go on home.” So they went home thinking they had achieved everything they wanted. They were comfortable in their own living rooms. They rested fine and secure. They knew Samuel’s two sons would not be in charge. They received what they wanted and had a false sense of security, “We can handle this. We can arrange things the way we want them to be. God in his mercy will still be with us.” So they went home and God began the process of giving them a king. He quietly brought the discipline he promised. All this happened because they would not honestly seek the Lord. They said they would seek the Lord. They said they would give all to God, but they didn’t mean it.

Jeremiah 5:18-19- “Yet even in those days,” declares the LORD, “I will not destroy you completely. And when the people ask, ‘Why has the LORD our God done all this to us?’ you will tell them, ‘As you have forsaken me and served foreign gods in your own land, so now you will serve foreigners in a land not your own.’”

This is golden calf worship in the middle of Israel, so he sent them into captivity. He just gave them what they deserved and wanted. In other words, if you will serve foreign gods, fine, then go do it in a foreign land. If you want worldly leadership, then I’ll give you worldly leadership. You get exactly the quality of leadership that your heart desires.

Jeremiah 5:20- Announce this to the house of Jacob and proclaim it in Judah:

Both houses will hear this message. Jacob, the one you have to wrestle with, and Judah who is more submissive. Both houses of God must hear this message.

Jeremiah 5:21-24- “Hear this, you foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see, who have ears but do not hear: Should you not fear me?” declares the LORD. “Should you not tremble in my presence? I made the sand a boundary for the sea, an everlasting barrier it cannot cross. The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail; they may roar, but they cannot cross it. But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts; they have turned aside and gone away. They do not say to themselves, ‘Let us fear the LORD our God, who gives autumn and spring rains in season, who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest.’”

There really is no fear of God therefore each man does what he wants. There is no fear of God, so each man continues in the same sin that he had 10 years ago.


Acts 9:31- Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord.

Men who grow in the fear of the Lord understand that they cannot continue in the same sin. Somewhere along the line every single excuse has to stop. We have to stop and say, “No more. It will cease. The whining will come to an end somewhere. I have to change. I have to allow God to do the work. All this talk, all this Bible study is getting me nowhere if I am not really being changed.”

Jeremiah 5:25- Your wrongdoings have kept these away; your sins have deprived you of good.

Because they didn’t fear the Lord they allowed everything else to go on. We have got to start living in the fear of the Lord with one another. We have to pray for one another with a sense of fear that we cannot continue to walk in the same self that we walked in before. You cannot tolerate the same people you tolerated before. You cannot allow these things in your life if you want to love God. This is a holy, lovely kind of fear. It’s not a controlling kind of fear. It says that I know my God is God and I need to change. I don’t have until tomorrow.

Jeremiah 5:26- Among my people are wicked men who lie in wait like men who snare birds and like those who set traps to catch men.

You tolerate those you should not tolerate. They are among the congregation. It is time for those things to stop. If we say we want godly leadership, if we want to be holy people, then we have to drive out that which is not holy. Reject those who are not clean. Hear from the Holy Spirit who the people are who claim to be Christians, and whom you should not even eat lunch with. People don’t want this today, because to really live this scripture, they would have to change. You can’t continue to be a hypocrite and not each lunch with a Christian who refuses to repent. We refuse to repent of the hypocrisy in our own life. So we naturally get the kind of congregation and leadership we want. But the minute we begin to stand up and say, “No more! I will live a holy, self-disciplined life. I will follow the Holy Spirit. I will worship God. He will be king of my life,” then we know the power that can transform us and the excuses begin to disappear.

Jeremiah 5:26- Among my people are wicked men who lie in wait like men who snare birds and like those who set traps to catch men.

They just laid around seeking who they can get a hold of to take for their own advantage. Nobody says a word about it, because to judge that man is to judge oneself. To tell that man he must repent is to say I must repent. To go to him and say, “You are not in the Holy Spirit, you are not carrying the cross, and you are not denying self,” is to come back to my own life and ask, “Am I doing the same thing?” If we don’t want to be cleansed and follow him who is king, we will never go to another man except in self-righteousness.

Jeremiah 5:27- Like cages full of birds, their houses are full of deceit; they have become rich and powerful

One lie after another one excuse after another. More whitewash and more song and dance. It’s deceit. You can’t see it coming. These men are experts at lying. The fruit of it is the justification of sin and self. We love deceit and our own excuses. I’ve heard all kinds of reasons why men don’t live holy lives. You spend a good portion of your time just exposing the lies and deceit living in these men. It’s the same in our own life. We practice deceit, lies, and excuses and so we naturally excuse other men and leadership. We get the leadership we deserve. It says, “they have become rich and powerful.” Indeed they are the most exalted in the land.

Jeremiah 5:28- and have grown fat and sleek. Their evil deeds have no limit; they do not plead the case of the fatherless to win it, they do not defend the rights of the poor.

They talk about care and concern for the fatherless and hurting. They use it for their own benefit and puff up their work, but not to win the case. That’s why so many people are left helpless because they don’t go after people to win the situation. They are lazy and sleek in all that they do. There is no indignation or anger about what happens. They say things like, “It’s not good to talk about somebody else. I will be gossiping.” Why? Because we don’t want someone else talking about things that we need to change. Now, gossip is still a sin, but when I stand up and say, “I have things that need to change,” then I am free to do so with somebody else because I invite him into the light. If he doesn’t want to come into the light to change then he will be condemned and judged for that. I am not exalting myself above any man. I invite him to the same place where I amthe cross.

Jeremiah 5:29- “Should I not punish them for this?” declares the LORD. “Should I not avenge myself on such a nation as this?”

This is all because they don’t plead a case to win it. They practice deceit and lies. It’s as if almost every Bible study is a practice in deceit as we try to find scriptures to justify what we do. The deceit just gets better and cleverer.

Jeremiah 5:30- A horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land:

Do we really consider it horrible and shocking? People are taken in by leadership all the time, but I don’t know how shocked they are by it. I don’t know how much they consider it a horrible thing as much as they are indignant because they were taken advantage of. These are two completely different things. Very seldom do you find a holy indignation that says, “Enough of this nonsensethis unrighteousness. Men need to change. Something needs to happen.” It’s usually, “I was wounded. I was taken advantage of.” Everything comes back to self. All of this comes back to how I was affected, not how the fatherless were affected, or how the poor were taken advantage of. It wasn’t that kind of indignation. They were indignant because they were wounded and offended.

Jeremiah 5:30-31- A horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land: The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?

Don’t think they are really indignant about this situation. They love lying prophets. They love the person who builds a golden calf and says, “Thus says the Lord.” The people love to have those kinds of ministers. They wouldn’t be attracted to Paul. They demand the super apostles. They want a person who allows them to be comfortable in their sin year after year, after year. “The prophets prophesy lies, and the priests rule by their own authority.” No one really listens to the Lord. Do you know how you can tell? No one hates their own life. I know I sound like a broken record, but a man who doesn’t hate his own life listens to his own voice. It is that simple. A man who doesn’t know how to hate his own life lives a lie. “My people love it this way.”

Let me explain again that there is no excuse. You cannot blame leadership for your lack of righteousness. Can you not seek God? Do you not read the same Bible that they read? Do you not cry out to the same Lord that they say they cry out to? There really is no excuse except our own slow hearts and the men that you want to teach you. Do you really think you will come before the Lord, cry out to be changed, and have the righteousness you say you want and God will say, “No” because you have some bad leadership? What kind of environment did the child Samuel grow up in? There is no excuse except our own hearts. Until we face that fact, we will never get anywhere.

Isaiah 30:1- “Woe to the obstinate children,” declares the LORD, “to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin;”

We align ourselves with people we should not align ourselves with. We call people “Brother” that we should never have called brother. We go from sin to sin, but not righteousness to righteousness.

Isaiah 30:2- who go down to Egypt without consulting me; who look for help to Pharaoh’s protection, to Egypt’s shade for refuge.

Give us a little comfort and rest, a little shade from the heat not all this cross and denying self stuff that comes by the Holy Spirit. Give us a little shade of Egypt, a little rest, comfort, and relaxation. How easily we become worldly because we love the shade. Is not the constant call on the church to be safe and comfortable? We want a message about the cost without paying the cost. We want tough sounding words as long as it doesn’t demand that we actually have to live it. If we say we want to follow God and not men, then why don’t we follow him? Some churches say small churches are dangerous; others say large churches are dangerous. It’s a constant battle to find a place where we can be comfortable in the shade of Egypt.

Isaiah 30:3-5- But Pharaoh’s protection will be to your shame, Egypt’s shade will bring you disgrace. Though they have officials in Zoan and their envoys have arrived in Hanes, everyone will be put to shame because of a people useless to them, who bring neither help nor advantage, but only shame and disgrace.

We spend our time, energy, and devotion on people who will not benefit us in any way, shape, or form. “Who bring neither help nor advantage, but only shame and disgrace.” Will we really separate ourselves from these useless people? Will we look for people who feed our flesh and make things comfortable for us?

Isaiah 30:6-7- An oracle concerning the animals of the Negev: Through a land of hardship and distress, of lions and lionesses, of adders and darting snakes, the envoys carry their riches on donkeys’ backs, their treasures on the humps of camels, to that unprofitable nation, to Egypt, whose help is utterly useless. Therefore I call her Rahab the Do-Nothing.

With all the dancing and revival that’s going on in the land, really nothing is happening. To hear all the boasting, bragging, and preaching that, this nation should have been a Christian nation 50 years ago. With all the numbers that are being won for Jesus Christ, this nation should have driven out every sinner that lives in it a long time ago. It’s really Rahab the Do-Nothing. Oh, they are busy going to Egypt and the world to get their treasure. They busily travel over dangerous land if it will please and benefit self. If it will benefit the church in some way we will travel across deserts to get what we want. But let a call go out to deny self, to grow in the righteousness and fear of the Lord, and that’s considered deadly, because it doesn’t benefit self at all.

Isaiah 30:8-9- Go now, write it on a tablet for them, inscribe it on a scroll, that for the days to come it may be an everlasting witness. These are rebellious people, deceitful children, children unwilling to listen to the Lord’s instruction.

Just ask yourself in the last ten years, how much you have grown in the Lord. Not in head knowledge but in righteousness, self-discipline, and fellowship with him. For all the activity, works, and praying, how much more righteousness has he worked? Are we unwilling to listen? We must be willing to listen. There’s so much talk and debate. “What do you think about this scripture or sermon tape?” We just need to listen to the Lord.

Isaiah 30:10- They say to the seers, “See no more visions!” and to the prophets, “Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions.”

Tell us things that will make us feel comfortable. Every time I come to hear a lesson with you, it just makes me feel uncomfortable. I don’t like being there and hearing unpleasant things.

Isaiah 30:11- Leave this way, get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!

Don’t bring us a God who is holy and says we must fear him, grow in that fear, and find it to be a joy. Stop confronting us with the demands of God. Let’s talk, debate, and pass our ideas around. Let us become Pharisee against Sadducee. Let’s have all kinds of discussions, but never change.

Isaiah 30:12-13- Therefore, this is what the Holy One of Israel says: “Because you have rejected this message, relied on oppression and depended on deceit, this sin will become for you like a high wall, cracked and bulging, that collapses suddenly, in an instant.”

Every single defense we have toward the sin in our life just goes into the walls we build. Maybe God tries to convict us in scripture, but we have an excuse or run to a different scripture and we add it to our wall. When someone in the body comes to us with something that needs to change and we keep having excuses, justifications, or anger, it will come to the point that they just won’t come to us anymore. We just add one more thing to our wall. Every time somebody is defensive, I will tend to hedge the next time I go to him or her. If I go to them again and they are defensive, eventually I’ll back totally away. Eventually that person begins to think they are living a holy life because nobody ever comes to them. They are so defensive, angry, and hard that God cannot come to them to purify them in any way, shape, or form.

Isaiah 30:13- this sin will become for you like a high wall, cracked and bulging, that collapses suddenly, in an instant.

Do you understand it says sin? When you try to bring a sin to a person who is defensive they heap on excuses, whitewash, scriptures, and anger. The sin builds and builds until there’s a tremendous wall. You hope and pray that by God’s grace they will let it collapse and come to their senses. If that’s our normal walk with each other it’s no wonder the smallest of things become the largest problems in the body of Christ.

Isaiah 30:14- It will break in pieces like pottery, shattered so mercilessly that among its pieces not a fragment will be found for taking coals from a hearth or scooping water out of a cistern.

All your excuses, Bible study, and all the things you do will be of absolutely no value to you. They just help to build this foolish wall. Sometimes people will come to me and say, “Tim, you don’t ever confess sin.” I say, “No, I don’t make a mountain out of a molehill.” If you come to me and point it out, I don’t turn it into this gigantic wall. Should I not run to him who can forgive me? Should I not run to him who can give me the grace to overcome? It shouldn’t become this gigantic thing that we all have to pray over as a body. That’s not how righteousness is achieved.

Isaiah 30:15- This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.”

We want our super apostles, not the message of the cross. What is the message of the cross? A little bit of repentance by his grace and his hand and then we rest in his mercy to work it. You would think everybody would go for this. Who doesn’t want a message of repentance and rest? But we don’t want to give up self. We don’t want to give up our desires and our opinions. He said, “You would have none of it.” We don’t want the simple message of the cross. We want to do what verse 16 says:

Isaiah 30:16- You said, “No, we will flee on horses.” Therefore you will flee! You said, “We will ride off on swift horses.” Therefore your pursuers will be swift!

We have this giant horse we mount and run ahead with. This is our scheme. This is the way we deal with things. This is how we let God come to us. This is how we have arranged our religious life and this is what we will flee on. This is the way we’ve always dealt with this sin. We’ve always walked in self-pity. These are all our justifications. It’s a gigantic horse that we can mount and flee on and nobody will catch us. We don’t want repentance and rest, we want our horses. We want our excuses and justifications. The horse looks mighty and powerful. It looks like we are ready for battle. We are all suited up and ready to go but it’s total sin. So when God leads somebody in the body to come to us about something in our lives, we mount the warhorse and we are ready to charge over the smallest of things. Yet we go into our prayer closets and complain and whine about leadership.

Isaiah 30:16-17- You said, “No, we will flee on horses.” Therefore you will flee! You said, “We will ride off on swift horses.” Therefore your pursuers will be swift! A thousand will flee at the threat of one

Look at all that goes on around us. How many people do you know who are afraid? They are literally terrified of God. At the sound of one little thing that they think is totally out of character of God or a little quirky even if it’s in scripture, they run for cover. Half the people that should be here tonight are not here because they are afraid. Of course the blame is always on somebody else or the leadership. They never blame themselves and the horses they’ve been running on. When they finally get to the end of their rope, maybe the horse is ready to die and they don’t know where to go.

Isaiah 30:17- A thousand will flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you will all flee away, till you are left like a flagstaff on a mountaintop, like a banner on a hill.

They are totally exposed and vulnerable, sticking out where every one can see. They are all alone. No wonder they are terrified. But they will have to come to the realization that it’s their own fault. They had no business getting into that kind of place. You can have the worst leadership in the world and still come out holy. To say anything any different is to call God a liar and a father who doesn’t care about his children. Do you mean that I can come in before the Lord and tell God I want to change and be made holy, but he will not do it because of the leadership? Does he not care? Verse 18 tells us he cares. Though we have gotten ourselves in this kind of position, though we are like a flagstaff on a hill, though we are afraid of everything and ready to run, though we are terrified of the smallest thing he says:

Isaiah 30:18- Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!

It’s just so sad that by the time we are ready to pay attention we are terrified of his compassion. We have so hardened ourselves and ran with so many things that by the time he comes with the message of the cross we are afraid of everything. What a miserable position to be in where you can’t trust anything anymore. You can’t trust any man or any message. You can’t trust yourself. You can’t even trust yourself that you seek after God. It is the weakest spot to be in. You can’t even rise up to come alive. We say with David, “all men are liars.” You fall down totally exasperated at what happens around you. But instead of whining and complaining, what we need to do is just humble ourselves before God and let him do the work.

Isaiah 30:18- Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!

He rises! I cannot rise up or get the faith. I am totally terrified. It says he will come to you he rises to show you the love. He rises to lift you up and show compassion to you. He’s coming after you. Yes, it’s impossible for you to love like that or to lay down your life again. But he rises to give you the strength. I have been there myself. Many times the cross will put you there. It’s nothing unusual. Paul said he felt the sentence of death. It’s part of the crucified life. But he rises to show us love. We just won’t wait for him. We want something else. We want our own way, our own comfort, and our own ministers. It says, “Blessed are all who wait for him.” We just won’t wait for him. We want to mount the horse again. We want to do the very same thing that got us into this situation the first timeall because we refuse to hate our own lives.

Isaiah 30:19- O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you.

Listen to him plead! He wants to rise to show compassion if they will just admit their sin. If they will just admit they are the guilty ones, it will never happen to them again. I am not saying this to puff myself up, but I was baptized in a church that was worthless. I have gone from one worthless church to another. No matter what the situation is, he will work righteousness if we wait for him.

The Lord allowed these people to get into churches and situations and be involved in people’s lives who began to live for themselves in order to teach them some things. His purpose was that he might be king of their life. He does not want them to be paranoid or to whine and complain, but to trust him and quit making other people king of their life. They have to give up self before it really comes to life.

Isaiah 30:20- Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them.

Your teachers were hidden. You search, looked, examined, and prayed, but they were hidden. Why were they hidden? The people’s sins withheld the good. Your own schemes and your own ideas of what is righteous and holy withhold the good. Your own ideas about how we should worship the Lord and all the entertaining golden calf worship withhold your teachers from you.

Isaiah 30:20-21- Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

It all comes from the Lord. It’s all the way he has chosen to do it. You will hear his voice say, “This is the way.” He rises to show compassion and give us teachers that are of him. We want a body of teachers appointed by him and not chosen by man. We want a church where everybody really has made God king of their life. He longs to do it if we won’t run on horses.

Isaiah 30:22- Then you will defile your idols. . .

Most people are not yet willing to defile their idols. They look at the overlaid silver and gold that is on the images and say, “There’s still something that is worthwhile. Yes, it’s golden calf worship and we know there’s some things that were bad, but at least it was golden.”

Isaiah 30:22- Then you will defile your idols overlaid with silver and your images covered with gold; you will throw them away like a menstrual cloth and say to them, “Away with you!”

No longer will we justify men that should not be justified or worship what should not be worshipped. We will not put people in positions that should never have been in those positions because now we see clearly as the Lord sees clearly. We know to do that is an unholy thing. No matter how much we overlay it with silver and gold, no matter how much people are still dazzled by the works of people in self-chosen positions, they will eventually have eyes to see that it was more than worthless. It was corrupt and vile.

Isaiah 30:23-25- He will also send you rain for the seed you sow in the ground, and the food that comes from the land will be rich and plentiful. In that day your cattle will graze in broad meadows. The oxen and donkeys that work the soil will eat fodder and mash, spread out with fork and shovel.

He will come and bless. It will no longer be the work of man. It will no longer be the zeal of the church or programs and gimmicks. It will be his hand that does the work. Finally people’s lives will be put together, not by programs and 10 steps, but by his Holy Spirit, his righteousness, and the cross that no man can produce, contain, or control.

Isaiah 30:25- In the day of great slaughter, when the towers fall, streams of water will flow on every high mountain and every lofty hill.

When the towers come tumbling down our blessings will flow. When every strong argument is pulled down and every entertaining gospel is laid low, our blessings will come. When our excuses, self-pity, whining, and everything that we have used to build up and justify our lives is leveled, then the blessings will come.

Isaiah 30:26- The moon will shine like the sun, and the sunlight will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven full days, when the LORD binds up the bruises of his people and heals the wounds he inflicted.

Is that your walk in the Lord where the night is even brighter than the day, and the day is unfathomable? It can be this kind of righteousness and holiness. It doesn’t mean we will be perfect, but we will be able to aim for perfection as 2 Corinthians says. There will be no more whining in the land.

Isaiah 30:26- The moon will shine like the sun, and the sunlight will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven full days, when the LORD binds up the bruises of his people and heals the wounds he inflicted.

He has done this in mercy and love. We need to stop the excuses. He bruises for a reason. He confronts us out of love for a reason. He lets us wander and allows us to have our sin for a reason. He is trying desperately to hold us. He wants us to allow him to crucify us.

Isaiah 30:27-29- See, the Name of the LORD comes from afar, with burning anger and dense clouds of smoke; his lips are full of wrath, and his tongue is a consuming fire. His breath is like a rushing torrent, rising up to the neck. He shakes the nations in the sieve of destruction; he places in the jaws of the peoples a bit that leads them astray. And you will sing as on the night you celebrate a holy festival; your hearts will rejoice as when people go up with flutes to the mountain of the LORD, to the Rock of Israel.

You will be so excited to see the destruction of this world. This is not just an Old Testament message.

Isaiah 30:30-32- The LORD will cause men to hear his majestic voice and will make them see his arm coming down with raging anger and consuming fire, with cloudburst, thunderstorm and hail. The voice of the LORD will shatter Assyria; with his scepter he will strike them down. Every stroke the LORD lays on them with his punishing rod will be to the music of tambourines and harps, as he fights them in battle with the blows of his arm.

We will gain the victory, and we will rejoice at that victory.

Isaiah 30:33- Topheth has long been prepared; it has been made ready for the king. Its fire pit has been made deep and wide, with an abundance of fire and wood; the breath of the LORD, like a stream of burning sulfur, sets it ablaze.

Is this not who we are to fear? If we refuse to repent and give all, are we not worthy of this punishment? Should not people sing over our destruction? He is most holy and, more than that he is most, worthy.

Let’s pray.

Father, we plead with you to bring your Holy Spirit that we may do as scripture says and set aside Jesus Christ as Lord. Come to us, Father, and take away every excuse, every lie, every whitewash, and every idol we have overlaid with gold, Father. Show us those things that we might let you be King and Lord of our life. We praise you that you rise to show us compassion. May we be able and permitted to rise to worship you. Amen.

This transcription has been edited to a reader friendly format. Every effort has been made to be true to the speaker’s original message. Any mistranslations are unintentional. The original audio tape can be ordered free of charge by contacting Sound Doctrine Ministries.


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Host of The Consider Podcast
Examining today’s wisdom, madness, and folly.