Use the Peninsular of Grace

Andrew Giles at Bradford, Maine

July 10, 2009

 

As I was talking with a couple of people today, they used the phrase “the peninsular of grace”. That phrase is borrowed from Brother John Jeffreys who has such a wonderful way with words. When he spoke this, it excited me and it brought some understanding to me of where we are at this time. I want to take some time to add a few little things to that, that the Lord showed me as I meditated on it. The whole idea of a peninsular of grace is very, very scriptural. This peninsular of grace, which I do believe we are on, is not the first time God has done it and it’s quite an exciting study.

Firstly I’ll explain what the peninsular of grace is, just in case you are wondering what this is all about. When the Apostle Peter was dealing with the last day scoffers and dealing with that whole subject of the promise of the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ, in 2 Peter chapter 3, he tells everybody who is saying, “Where’s the promise of His coming?”—Peter said to them, “Look back in history and you’ll see that this isn’t the first heaven and first earth that we are in; this is the second heaven and second earth that we’re in.” There was one before and that came to an end. So, there is evidence already that God brings heavens and earths to an end because He’s done it once before! We’re in the second one; the first one ended in the days of Noah when the earth was destroyed by flood. That’s one thing to remember as we consider the time that we are in. This is not going to be a new experience, although the method of destruction is different; nevertheless, God has done this before!

Then Peter says a second thing and we who have read the passage are so used to it that we sometimes don’t get the impact of it. He goes into Psalm 90 and pulls a verse (vs.4) that, on the face of it, you would have thought would be one of the last verses a man would come up with when talking about the promise of Jesus’ return.

2 Peter 3:8 ‘But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.’

That is a very surprising verse for him to say and he underlines it by saying, “Be mindful of this! This is the one thing that you really ought to know about the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ!” We ought to say, “Wow! Fancy him picking on that verse!” It’s quite surprising.

What Peter is inspired by the Holy Spirit to do is to draw our attention, I believe, to the pattern that’s set before us in the week of creation, which you will mostly be familiar with, how in six days God created the heavens and the earth and on the seventh day He rested. If we take each one of those days not as a 24-hour period or any other period of time but a thousand years, we find that brings us right up to 1996.

You say, why 1996? Well, there was a man some years ago called Bishop James Usher who I believe was an Irishman, actually (not that I’m Irish, but I live there). He worked out from the scriptures, working back just from the Bible and the chronology that’s set forth there. He determined that Adam’s life began in the year 4004 B.C. A couple of years ago I was at Haines and I was talking with Brother Del Burge, who loves digging deep into these things, and he said, “I’ve done the exercise and it works! It does come back to 4004 B.C.!” Of course, we are basing our understanding on the Bible and what the Holy Spirit teaches us from it. So there was a second witness. I have never done the exercise myself; I am willing to rest on what these two fine scholars have done. I agree with 4004 B.C. being the beginning of Adam’s life.

So, six millennial days from that takes us on to 1996. Also in the scriptures, we often find reference to the phrase, ‘after two days and on the third day’. In the book of Hosea, it says,

Hosea 6:2 ‘After two days will he revive us: in the third day, he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.’

And then Jesus said:

Luke 13:32 ‘And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day, and to morrow, and the third day, I shall be perfected.’

We get the idea that there’s something very special about a two-day period and that two-day period, I believe, starts at the beginning of Jesus’ life. That would mean that if it were to match the pattern, Jesus’ life would have to have started not in the year 0, but in the year 4 B.C.

Even back in the years when I was in the Baptist church, I remember somebody coming along and saying, “Jesus wasn’t born on Christmas Day on the year 0—for two reasons: 1) they didn’t have a year 0, and 2) because that’s the wrong year anyway. They said then that Jesus was born during the years 3 to 5 B.C.

In quite another context, I have done a fairly in-depth study on the seven feasts of Israel and I refer now particularly the Feast of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. I formed the conclusion, which is the conclusion that many people would not accept—the Thomson Chain Reference Bible, for example, doesn’t accept; Brother Danny Robertson, doesn’t accept; and Sister Martha Mills in Canton, Ohio had a different view, but I tried to go with a “clean sheet”. I came to the conclusion that Jesus was crucified in the Passion Week right in the middle of the week, as the Bible said He would be cut off in the midst of the week. I believe He was actually crucified on Wednesday.

I don’t want to go into a lot of detail on this, but Passover was on the 14 th day of the first month, which is either called Abib or Nisan, depending on which language is being used in the Bible at that moment. The Feast of the Unleavened Bread started on the 15 th and ran for seven days. What confuses people as they look at this subject is that they do not realize that the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread was a Holy Convocation. Passover was not a Holy Convocation, but the Feast of Unleavened Bread started with a Holy Convocation, which would also be called in the scriptures, “a Sabbath”. So as you read in the story of the death of Jesus, the Bible keeps talking about the Sabbath and you have to understand whether it’s talking about a Sabbath, which would be the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread or whether it’s talking about a Saturday; and both come up in the story in the New Testament.

I also took an unyielding view that Jesus was in the tomb for three days and three nights. A lot of those who like to say that Jesus died on a Friday have to say that He was in the tomb part of Friday, all of Saturday, and part of Sunday and that’s how they get three days and three nights. To me, I don’t think that is satisfactory; I think it needs to be a 72-hour, full three days and three nights. Others differ on that; you can take it as you like.

So in my understanding of the scriptures, and I really spent a lot of time on this, I have Jesus in the garden on Tuesday evening of that final week and He was arrested. He was being dealt with before the tribunal—the Sanhedrin—overnight. On Wednesday morning, He’s taken in front of Pilate and Pilate’s wife said, “I had a dream last night”, which dream would have been on Tuesday night. Jesus is taken out and at 9:00 on Wednesday morning, He is crucified. Darkness came at midday and at 3:00 in the afternoon, He cries out with a loud voice, “It is finished!” and they have to hurry to get Him in the tomb because it is the Day of Preparation and the next day is the Sabbath, which is the Holy Convocation of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. He is put into the tomb by 6:00 on Wednesday evening.

Because the whole of the Passover was in a 24-hour period, you could observe the Passover at any time within that 24-hours. Jesus observed the Passover on Tuesday evening (the beginning of the 24-hour period) with His disciples, but the Jews who had been involved in the overnight sitting—the hearing of Jesus’ case—they observed their Passover at the end of the 24-hour period, just in time to finish it before the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Jesus is in the tomb then from the evening of Wednesday, all through to the evening of Thursday, to the evening of Friday, to the evening of Saturday—three days and three nights in the tomb; the last day of which was the Sabbath and so they couldn’t do anything about bringing spices to the tomb on that day, but very early—and the scriptures are very strong on this— very early, while it was still dark, on the first day of the week, which is clearly Sunday, which would have been the 18 th , they go down to the tomb and they find the tomb is empty and Jesus is risen from the dead. I believe He would have risen anytime after 6:00 on Saturday evening. They found Him sometime on Sunday morning.

The only year close to that time when the days and dates of the week correspond like this is A.D. 30—because of course, just like us, January 1 st could be on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday so with them the 14 th of Abib could be been any day of the week, but if it was Tuesday 6 p.m. to Wednesday 6 p.m., Jesus had to have died in A.D. 30.

I did all this study apart from the “peninsular of grace” thoughts, but if you say then that this is right (and that’s all for you to consider and I haven’t given you all the evidence), Jesus would have died at Passover in A.D. 30. His ministry, as you know, started when He was 30 years of age; the Bible says that Jesus’ ministry started when He was 30. You can work it through that His ministry was 3 ½ years long. The scripture doesn’t actually say that, but from all the things that happened it’s clear that it was 3 ½ years long.

Jesus died at Passover, which is sometime near April in A.D. 30. You work back from there 33 ½ years, which would have been the age when He died; take out the year 0 and you will find that He was born at or around the Feast of Tabernacles in B.C. 4.

To me, it worked perfectly; the timetable is perfect and fits in perfectly with what I have studied out as being Passover Week and He had to die in A.D. 30. This is a long way around of saying that the evidence points to the fact that Jesus was born in B.C. 4. I’ve come at it from different angles and I think the clock works. God’s calendar is perfectly on time.

So we then go another two thousand years—two days—from B.C. 4 and we reach 1996. As you know, Brother Buddy Cobb was talking about 1996 back then, just before it happened. He was saying from 1996 onwards, everything is in place, as far as God’s calendar is concerned, for the return or the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ.

If all this that I have said is right and true, we have been now for 13 years in a period of time after the moment when the calendar flipped over into the seventh day—the 7,000 th year—on Bible timing from Adam. We are into the Third Millennium from the Lord Jesus Christ.

The question then arises, why hasn’t Jesus appeared? John Jeffreys said in one of his words that we are given a peninsular of grace. He used the picture, which is set out for us in short description in Hebrews 11 where it talks about Sara conceiving and that she received strength to deliver when she was past age. John said she was in a time scale, which meant that God had given her something—some strength—past the time when something would normally happen; when you would have expected something to happen. She was given strength to deliver when she was past age.

That’s a very exciting story for us because, as I have shared, we are looking to be a people who bring forth what the Bible calls the manchild—like Sara brought forth a manchild, in picture, in Isaac. We are the ones who want to be the fulfillment of that prophetic picture by bringing forth out of us the likeness and nature of the Lord Jesus Christ.

That was where John Jeffreys left it, but this teaching got me thinking, “Well, are there other occasions in the scriptures where God gave a peninsular of grace?” I found that there are. I want to mention three more of those tonight, apart from Sara.

The first one is Joshua and is found in Joshua chapter 10. The story is that the Gibeonites dressed up in their old clothes and found stale bread and came to Joshua and the people of Israel and said “We’ve come a long, long way and we want to make a league with you. We want to come into agreement with you that we’ll be your friends. If people come against us, you’ll fight for us. We are in agreement together.” They, as it were, tricked the Israelites into signing this pact.

The nations round about discovered this and said, “Gibeon is a really strong city. If they’ve given in without a fight! We’re really in trouble!” Five of the nations got together and said, “We must attack the Gibeonites! They have done the wrong thing by making a league with Israel and we need to give them a good “hiding” and convert them back to sound thinking. So, they (five nations which were occupying the Promised Land) went out to war against the Gibeonites.

The Gibeonites called for help and Joshua went to their rescue in accordance with the league that had made. There was a battle and God had said to Joshua ahead of time, “I’m going to give them to you.” The battle came together and because the Lord was fighting for the Israelites, there was a tremendous victory that day and the enemies of the Gibeonites were slain and the Lord and the Israelites smote them all through the day of battle.

You say, “Great!” But, God hadn’t finished with these five kings. At the end of the day, God sent a hailstorm and it says in the scripture that more were killed by the hail than were killed in the battle by the sword. At that point you could have said, “Well, this is great! Victory for Israel and there’s been a “double whammy”! Not just the sword, but also the hail. This says something to us—hasn’t God dealt with us this way?

I came to the Lord in a Baptist church. I’m really grateful for the foundation that was laid in my heart even though there were things that I was taught that I don’t believe now. It was a foundation that was based on an understanding of the scriptures—a limited understanding, but it was a good foundation. The word of the Lord was sufficient in that place, and through my parents as well, to bring me to a place where I gave my heart to the Lord Jesus Christ. I’m really grateful for that word. A victory was won in my life. Territory was taken in my heart because of the word—because of the sword.

But later on, I met a group of people, given a nickname of, “The Move”; perhaps you’ve heard of them (laughter). The word that came amongst this group of people was very different from the word that I heard in the Baptist church. It was very much harder than the word that I heard in the Baptist church. It said things like, “Sin will kill you; you have to stop!” “What God says, He means and you have to obey Him.”…things like that; you may have heard one or two people say those things.

There was a work done in my life of an increasing seriousness in terms of my walk. The previous easy way in which I had slipped in and out of my relationship with the Lord—it was not a big thing for me to go off for days and weeks and do my own thing and then every now and again come back, repent and put it right. But, after I started to hear the hail word—the hard word—I realized that wasn’t going to be the sort of relationship with God that would do and it wasn’t the calling that God had put on my life. A further part of the territory was taken by the hail; a further victory was won.

And you say, “Great!” But, 1996 came and went and I would have to say, and maybe some of you would have the same testimony, that if the Lord had appeared in 1996 I wouldn’t have been ready. Now I wouldn’t have necessarily known in 1996 how unready I was, but the 13 years that have gone by since that time have shown me how much more is still to be done inside my heart. I don’t know whether God would consider me ready yet, but the peninsular of grace hasn’t run out yet; it might run out today; I don’t know, but because of His grace in deferring His appearing from 1996 to at least 2009, He has given me, at least, opportunity for repentance which I can only put down as His longsuffering.

We were previously in Peter’s epistle where we read together that ‘God is longsuffering toward us; not wishing that any should perish but all should come to repentance.’ I pointed out how we’ve said, “God doesn’t want any to perish!” We’ve pointed the finger to all of creation—all the world out there - and we’ve said, “God doesn’t want anyone to perish!” Well, that may be true, but that’s not what the scripture is saying. That scripture is saying that He is longsuffering toward us ! He’s holding back; He’s staying in His grace, His love, His compassion, and His bowels of mercy to give you and me opportunity to repent! I am grateful for His longsuffering that has held back His hand from 1996 to 2009! It’s His longsuffering that has done that.

I do believe I have taken some steps on from 1996 and I hope that He’ll give enough of this peninsular for me to do whatever He considers is necessary for me to fulfill my obedience. Maybe others of you would say “Amen” to that. This has been 13 years, as far as I am concerned, of grace and all grace is undeserved, but this is especially undeserved grace because the clock has already gone over. The page is already flipped on the calendar. His delay in His appearing—if it’s not been for your benefit, it certainly has been for mine.

What Joshua did next was at the end of this hail storm. He heard the Lord say to him a word that made him turn around and speak to the sun and moon, “Stand still!” And never before has there been a day like that, the Bible says. This was a unique day because time stood still . And you know, time doesn’t do that!

Time doesn’t stand still except in this story; time stood still. What happened during the extension of the day was Joshua was able to have further time to defeat the enemy that had come into the land against the people of God. Let’s read:

Joshua 10:13-17 ‘And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies, Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the Lord fought for Israel. And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, unto the camp to Gilgal. But these five kings fled, and hid themselves in a cave at Makkedah.’

You can see the five kings as speaking of the senses and that which is sensual—earthy, sensual, and devilish is wisdom that comes from beneath; that’s a way of looking at that.

Joshua 10:17-20 ‘And it was told Joshua, saying, The five kings are found hid in a cave at Makkedah. And Joshua said, Roll great stones upon the mouth of the cave, and set men by it for to keep them: And stay ye not, but pursue after your enemies, and smite the hindmost of them; suffer them not to enter into their cities: for the Lord your God hath delivered them into your hand. And it came to pass, when Joshua and the children of Israel had made an end of slaying them with a very great slaughter, till they were consumed, that the rest which remained of them entered into fenced cities.’

They came back to the kings, as you know, and Joshua got the stones rolled away and he brought the five kings out and he got those who had been in the army of Israel—the captains—and he said, “Stand on their necks!”

Now that didn’t happen until the extension of the day. You see during the day, the enemy was smitten and there was a slaughter, but in the extension of the day, there was a ‘very great slaughter’; it says, ‘till they were consumed’ and the kings were brought out and the kings were slain in the extension of the day! Wow!

Where are we today? We’re in the extension of the day. This is the day for finishing the work and finishing the work in glorious triumph! God is going to do this for us! He is saying to us, “Look, the things that have assaulted you and held you captive all this time— this is the day to stand on their necks! This is the day for final victory! This is the time He has extended grace to us and how wonderful it is to read, “for the Lord fought for them! God delivered them into their hand!”

I know perfectly well anything that is being accomplished in my life is by God because unless God does it for me, it’s not going to get done. There’s been enough failure for me to know this. Every time, without fail, when I think in my own heart, “I’m really getting somewhere,” “I haven’t done that sin for awhile,” or any thought like that, then that’s a perfect recipe for a fall. ‘Pride comes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.’ That slightest bit of “I’m making progress” and He comes along and He shows me that I haven’t made any progress and any victory in my life is entirely His doing; not mine, but His.

But, He’s on our side! He’s extended grace to us not just simply to give us more time, but so that this time can be used for the final defeat of our enemies! And that’s what He’s about! I think it’s tremendous! Any extension of the day—the peninsular of grace—is really a profitable time. Are you finding that?

I think this is the time; this is so exciting because God is really on our case. Don’t you find the Holy Spirit really “picky” sometimes? He’s “fussy” about the details, but He’s doing a work of bringing a people to perfection! If you are going on to perfection, you can’t have anything other than a “fussy” Holy Spirit on your case. The things, which you wish He’d leave alone, He doesn’t leave them alone. He’s talking about every word and every thought and every moment.

Sometimes I scribble, for example; I want to write things down in a hurry. I look at it afterwards and I feel like the Lord is saying to me, “That’s a mess.” I’ll write a note to somebody and I’ll get a scrap bit of paper—(now this is fine if you do this - if the Holy Spirit is not speaking this to you, carry on doing what you’re doing; don’t copy me)—but sometimes I’ve got to write a little note to somebody and I get a scrappy bit of paper or an envelope out of the waste paper basket or something, you know; I’ll pull it out and I’ll write a note to them and then afterwards the Holy Spirit says to me, “Did I do that or did you?” He’s so fussy about the details!

Or, I’m walking through the hallway or somewhere and somebody in our community left a coffee mug or they dropped something on the floor. I want to walk past it! I want to! I try, but I can’t because He’s telling me, “Take that coffee mug back to the kitchen; it doesn’t belong there!” And I say, “But I didn’t leave it there!” He says, “So what; I’m telling you to move it! Stop arguing!”

He’s not just perfecting our actions; He’s perfecting our obedience. He’s destroying those giants. It’s the day to get them destroyed and it really is exciting.

I’ve been having fun in the book of Judges recently. I started a Bible study and after several months, I’m still doing a Bible study with the young people, working through the book of Judges. Samson is there and I think he’s another example of the peninsular of grace. It’s different, but it’s still an example of the peninsular of grace.

You know Samson’s story over in Judges. He really messed up. He was a Nazarite in calling, but he really messed up. He would go down to the vineyards; he went with the Philistine women; he did everything wrong and finally got his hair cut, which is not what a Nazarite should do. He got it all wrong. He ended up with his eyes put out and in the Philistine prison going round and round and round with that millstone.

Can you just imagine what was going through his mind? He could look back and think, “I was called to something more than this.” The book is called “Judges”, but really you will find these judges were deliverers; some were judges as well, but they were really deliverers. Samson was called to bring salvation to the nation and he messed up because of his flesh; he did not walk in his calling.

I think every turn of that millstone it was a turn of, “It could have been different. If only I hadn’t…” I think he had to work through self-condemnation, a feeling of failure, and all that sort of stuff. In his blindness, as he just went round and round and the Philistines taunting him; I think he reach a place of true brokenness.

The neat thing is, and you may have heard this before, when you break a Nazarite vow, the book of Leviticus says you can start over. The thing that you have to do to start over is you have to get your hair cut—your head shaved. Isn’t that neat? What did Delilah do to him? She cut his hair! That’s exactly what has to happen to re-start your Nazarite vow! If you mess up with a Nazarite vow, you can re-start, but God says, “Get your hair cut!”

He is in the Philistine prison and his hair starts to grow again, but it’s a picture of a Nazarite vow being restored. In all that brokenness and penitence and awareness of his own failure, God gives him a peninsular of grace and He restores to him the opportunity to walk in the calling that he had missed all the while when the time was right. God said, “Alright, I’ll give you more time; I’ll do something more with you!”

You know how the “Prayer of Jabez” got to be such a popular prayer because of that nice little book that was written. But then it was commercialized with such things as the “Prayer of Jabez for Young People” and the “Prayer of Jabez for Women” and “Prayer of Jabez” t-shirts, and “Prayer of Jabez” baseball caps, and the “Prayer of Jabez” pens. I want to make an offer to you that nobody—nobody—has yet discovered. Think of the commercial possibilities in the “Prayer of Samson”. I want to say if you would like to take advantage of this, I won’t hold you back; I won’t claim royalties. The prayer of Samson was “Let me die!” You could have “Let Me Die!” t-shirts and “Let Me Die! for Children” and “Let me Die! for Women”. (laughter)

When Samson got to the prayer, “Let me die”, he had accomplished what the peninsular of grace was there for in his life. All that strength that he had that had made him rise up so high, feel so important, so able, and so self-confident was broken and he came to the place where he said, “Let me die!”

That day was the day they had taken him and put him in the place where the lords of the Philistines were partying. 3,000 of them were there. You know the story; he “brought the house down”. He killed more in his death than he did in his life. More was accomplished when he said, “Let me die”, than had ever been accomplished when he was alive. I forget the number I worked out, but in his life, he could not have killed more than 1,500 Philistines. In his death, he killed 3,000 of the lords of the Philistines. Just like the five kings were destroyed in the peninsular of grace, in Samson’s peninsular of grace it was the lords that were destroyed—the chief ones.

Here we are; do you not feel God is bringing us to a place where we are beginning to understand that the prayer, “Let me die”, isn’t such a bad prayer after all. “Lord, I don’t want glory; I don’t want position; I don’t want acknowledgement; I’m not looking for something for myself; I want You to have the glory; this is all about You; it’s not about me; it’s not bless me, Lord; it’s let me bless You, Lord; let me be nothing and You be everything.” That’s beginning to resonate in our prayer times and in our walk. “Let me die!”

As we assume that attitude in our praying and in our lives, in our daily walk before the Lord, “Lord, it doesn’t matter about me; it matters about You. I want Your glory to be seen and if it can be seen in me, Lord, then that would be an awesome privilege, but let it be seen. You increase and me decrease.”

This peninsular of grace is working that prayer into us. In a way, it certainly wasn’t in my life 13 years ago. The enemies—the lords of the Philistines—are getting both their powers and their lives terminated, in our hearts and in our lives, in these days on the peninsular.

There’s another peninsular and I don’t remember noticing this one at the time when John preached about the peninsular, but it came to me today as I was thinking about this. Another person who got on the peninsular of grace was Hezekiah.

You know Hezekiah’s story about how he was sick and was going to die. Isaiah came to him and said, “Hezekiah, prepare to die. Get everything in order; you’re going to die.” The story is actually in the Bible three times, amazingly. It’s in Kings, Chronicles, and Isaiah, which makes it significant, doesn’t it?

Let’s turn to Isaiah chapter 38. This is one of the accounts of the story of Hezekiah.

Isaiah 38:1-6 ‘In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came unto him, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live. Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed unto the Lord, And said, Remember now, O Lord, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore. Then came the word of the Lord to Isaiah, saying, Go, and say to Hezekiah, Thus saith the Lord, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will add unto thy days fifteen years. And I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria: and I will defend this city.’

And then He turns the shadow on the sundial back 10 degrees as an evidence that He was going to do this. This was clearly a peninsular of grace that was given to him; he was given 15 years more life.

When Hezekiah realizes this has happened, he prays a prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord and it’s a lovely prayer. Let’s just read in it as Hezekiah is praying:

Isaiah 38:15- ‘What shall I say? He hath both spoken unto me, and himself hath done it: (He’s talking about God there. God spoke to me and He did what He said!) I shall go softly all my years in the bitterness of my soul.’

What I think Hezekiah is saying here is, “I am now going to walk really, really carefully because I know I am in a period of extended grace of the Lord to me. I knew the bitterness of soul in the time of my sickness, but now the Lord has dealt bountifully with me and has brought me through that time of bitter sickness. Because of that experience, now I am going to be really careful how I walk before God.”

Unfortunately, the story doesn’t end very well because not everybody is going to use the peninsular of grace correctly. Hezekiah is one with a bad ending because his recovery gets known around the place and the nations round about are interested in what God had done for him and that includes the Babylonians. Hezekiah really ought to have been wise to this.

The Babylonians are not quite the same as the Assyrians, but it’s pretty close. There is a slight distinction—I think it’s a bit technical in terms of the two kingdoms. Sennacherib who had come and been destroyed in the time of Hezekiah was an Assyrian and we’re going to read about the Babylonians, but their kingdoms were right in the same region. There’s not really much difference between them. Hezekiah really ought to have been sharper than he was on this.

Isaiah 39:1-2 ‘At that time Merodachbaladan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah: for he had heard that he had been sick, and was recovered. And Hezekiah was glad of them, and shewed them the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not.’

This was not a very clever thing to do with the men from Babylon, really.

Isaiah 39:3-4 ‘Then came Isaiah the prophet unto king Hezekiah, and said unto him, What said these men? And from whence came they unto thee? And Hezekiah said, They are come from a far country unto me, even from Babylon. Then said he, What have they seen in thine house? And Hezekiah answered, All that is in mine house have they seen: there is nothing among my treasures that I have not shewed them.’

Then the word of the Lord comes in judgment. I was pondering this; his heart was turned by a gift. The chapter starts out by the fact that they brought a present. Then what Hezekiah did, was took the “calling to separation” that was on his life and took it “out there” and mixed it—opened it up—shared it with people with a different calling.

I don’t want to be in any way wrongly judgmental here, but we have seen this happen, brethren. We have seen this in recent times happen; where people, who we felt, had this calling have taken it and have put it out there in Babylonish church areas and what has happened is, the distinctness and the separateness and the uniqueness of our calling has been dissipated by a mixture. Maybe, part of what has turned their hearts has been the gift realm. The gift realm is very, very subtle.

How easy and what fun it would have been if, as we were singing tonight “I am the Lord that healeth thee”, we could have said, “Every sickness in this room—gone!” Wouldn’t that have been so amazing if we could have done that? We could have seen Sister Martha here skipping out the door and her cane left there. Others of us with our aches and pains—we would all start behaving like we’re 15 again! Wouldn’t you just love it - and wouldn’t it do something in our hearts? It’s very, very alluring—the gift realm. There’s something about it that can take us right out.

When I was in the early days of having been baptized in the Holy Spirit, we were involved in leading a youth meeting, which met weekly in a home. The young people in that meeting were getting baptized in the Holy Spirit. We were trying to encourage them, as the leadership of that group, that they would bring things to the meeting. We would say, “When we gather together, each of you has a song, a hymn, a spiritual song, whatever it might be.” And then we would encourage them, “Now look, let’s have some prophecy; let’s have some speaking in tongues and interpretation. Come on, you’ve received the Holy Spirit, you can do it!” And we would exhort them and we would exhort them and we would exhort them more! Very little ever happened. I, for a long time, scratched my head and said, “Why? All the other charismatic groups around us seem to have all this stuff!” And we didn’t get much of it. The young people were very definitely filled with the Holy Spirit and could speak in tongues. We would sing in the Spirit, but the exercise and manifestation of the spiritual gifts were pretty rare.

As I look back, I see that was the goodness of God because we could have so easily gone down the road of excess and reveling in that stream where there are gifts and manifestations and it’s all froth and bubble. There’s no pressing into God for Him , but it’s just the gifts.

I thank Him today for keeping us out of that and keeping me for this calling. I think this is a higher calling where we seek Him and know Him for Himself and not just for what He gives us.

Hezekiah had a peninsular of grace but he lost it—he missed it because a present from Babylon pulled him out and turned his head. He shared everything that the Lord had given to him that was so special, so valuable, so precious and he put it out there in front of the Babylonians and the prophecy came from Isaiah and said that everything he had shown was going to be taken, which was fulfilled in the time of his sons.

So it’s serious as well, this peninsular of grace. Well, it’s grace! It’s such a blessing that God has held back His hand and delayed His return. Sometimes, one half of me prays, “Come, Lord Jesus!” and the other half of me prays, “Well, don’t come just yet.” What a blessing that God has given us this time to get the work finished! Don’t receive the grace of God in vain. Hezekiah had that opportunity and he missed out; he wasted the peninsular.

I think we are on the peninsular of grace. I think it’s an opportunity to bring final victory in our lives and to defeat the enemies—not by our own power, but because God is ready to fight for us and finish this work and cut it short in righteousness.

We’re going to have to be the people who are like Joshua—the one who called on the sun to stand still. It says there had never been another day when that happened; a man did that, but the Lord was on his side. Isn’t the Lord on our side in these days? The amount of divine help we’re getting in these days feels far in excess in what I’ve known at other times in my life; so much divine help. I know God is really with us to bring us to the point where He can see His face in our lives and be revealed in us in glory. That’s exciting, but we’re going to have to make this the priority in our lives.

I doubt there’s very much more time left. I can’t put numbers on it; He’s not given that sort of revelation, but I do believe we are past the date of the ending of the sixth day. We are in the seventh or the third day, depending from where you do the count; I do really believe that. Now is the time therefore, when He could appear—He could appear at any time.

The scriptures never say, “Get ready.” They say, “Be ready!” So, now, if you are not ready, you need to do something about it. He’s going to come like a thief in the night; it’s going to be a time when we don’t expect Him. But when He comes, if you’re ready and if you’ve availed of the peninsular of grace, you’ll find it will be such a great day. You’ll see Him as He is and He’ll see you and Himself in you And He will say again, “This is my son in whom I am well pleased.”

God bless you.

   
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