This past weekend at our Saturday Night Live Worship Service (http://twwc.church/snl) I preached a sermon called The Scepter of God. A scepter is a ruling rod of a king and is symbolic of absolute authority, power, and sovereignty. We know that Jesus has absolute and complete authority in heaven and earth. Over kings, rulers, and nations. There are scriptures that give us insight on His authority and what His kingdom is built upon.
Numbers 24:17 (NLT)
I see him, but not here and now. I perceive him, but far in the distant future. A star will rise from Jacob; a scepter will emerge from Israel. It will crush the heads of Moab’s people, cracking the skulls of the people of Sheth.
The prophet Balaam prophesied in Numbers 24:17 that a scepter will emerge from Israel. He was declaring that some type of authority would emerge from Israel. This is a clue for us.
In the chapter of Genesis 49, Jacob prophesy’s to his 12 sons before he leaves the earth. He prophesied to his fourth son, Judah, these words:
Genesis 49:9-10 NLT
9Judah, my son, is a young lion that has finished eating its prey.
Like a lion he crouches and lies down; like a lioness—who dares to rouse him?
10The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from his descendants, until the coming of the one to whom it belongs, the one whom all nations will honor.
I’m pretty sure that Jacob was not aware of how significant his words would be, not only for Judah, but in the plan of God. When Jacob said, “The scepter will not depart from Judah,” he was giving, in part, a prophecy concerning the children of Judah. Centuries later, Jacob’s descendent’s formed a nation (Israel) in the Promised Land and kings began to rule. It was the descendent’s of Judah that became the royal line. The royal line started with David, and continued through Solomon, Rehoboam, Abijah, and many others, all the way through Zedekiah, the last king of Judah. Jacob’s prophecy came to pass: the tribe of Judah possessed the scepter.
When you trace Jesus’ earthly origin, you will discover that both Balaam’s prophecy and Jacob’s (Israel) prophecy were referring to Him. Jesus had come from the nation of Israel and was from the tribe of Judah.
God spoke to King David through the prophet Nathan in 2 Samuel 7:12,13,16 and said that David’s throne will be established forever. Remember, David was a descendent of Judah (the scepter [authority] would not depart from Judah’s line). When God declared to David that his [David’s] throne will be established forever, he confirmed the prophetic word spoken to Judah.
Generations later, the prophet Isaiah shows up on the scene and gives the following prophecy concerning the throne of David.
6For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness, from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
Two things I want to point out in this prophecy:
- There will be no end to this government (rule, authority)
- He will sit on the throne of David
So, Isaiah confirms that David’s throne will be forever because of this person who will come. Isaiah was speaking about Jesus.
Centuries later, the angel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary and announced:
“Behold you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of his forefather David”
Gabriel’s announcement to Mary marks Jesus as the Messiah and the One who will sit on the throne of David forever. From all of the scriptures mentioned in this blog, we draw the following conclusions
- Jesus possesses the scepter of God (absolute authority). In other words, Jesus is the authority by which the Kingdom of God is built upon. No one can come to the Father except through Jesus (John 14:6). Salvation is given only through Jesus (Acts 4:12).
- Jesus is God. By virtue of the fact that He has absolute authority indicates to us that He is equal with the Father. Jesus said in John 10:30 that He and the Father are one. Which makes them equal in essence and perfections.
- Jesus reigns forever. What does He reign over? He reigns over All. Whether people believe it or not doesn’t discredit this truth. Jesus is the triumphant King that defeated the enemies of humanity – death, hell, and the grave. He is the Lord of nations and at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord.
Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4 is a popular and beloved scripture for many. But taking it at face value, we erroneously assume that it means God is going to give us whatever we want. I, too, have been guilty of using this scripture to justify my materialistic desires. My assumption was that praising God, going to church, and reading the Word were synonymous with “delighting” in God and the automatic response from Him would be new cars, homes, closets full of designers clothes, the latest gadgets, and whatever our hearts desired. Internal conflict arises when we’ve done all of our “delighting in God” duties and still don’t get the material possessions we desire. As a result, we become disappointed with God. We are disappointed because He didn’t turn out to be the wish-granting fairy God-father we imagined He would be. We didn’t get our way and now we have an attitude with God. The issue is not with God or His faithfulness, but it is with our own gross misunderstanding of this scripture.
Our Western, Americanized perspective associates the word “delight” with pleasure and gratification. However, the word “delight” is the Hebrew word anag and it means “to be soft, delicate, or pliable”. So the picture for us is to become soft and pliable before Him, treating God with delicacy and respect as we would something that is of great value. This idea coincides with the surrounding verses that encourage us to trust in the Lord(vs 3) and commit our ways to the Lord(vs5) both of which require humility.
Desires are a God-given attribute that we all have. Desires, in and of themselves, are not evil. The issue is when we allow those desires to take the place of God in our hearts. As we allow our hearts to be soft and pliable before Him, He begins to mold our hearts and our desires so that we ultimately want what He wants. Have you ever been told to “trust your gut”? At some point or another, we have all received this piece of advice from a well-meaning person in our lives. The truth is, we can only trust our gut (desires and instincts) when they are submitted to God. It is through the act of submission that we will see what we desire come to pass.
To be clear, there is nothing wrong with desiring material things. I don’t believe God has a problem with us having material things. God doesn’t want us to be consumed with obsession for material things. What he does want is for us to be consumed with Him our never-ending source of joy.
Recently, Kanye West held his Sunday Service at Chicago’s Northerly Island and he didn’t do so without receiving flack from many church goers. Many are well acquainted with Kanye’s blasphemous past as he has on several occasions made a mockery of Christianity. One of his albums is entitled “Yeezus”, which is a play on the rappers nickname ‘Yeezy’ and the name of Jesus Christ. He was pictured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine with a crown of thorns and the caption read “The Passion of Kanye West”. There have been blatant satanic and Illuminati imagery and influence in his music. Not to mention, his history of irrational behavior that has been attributed by many to untreated mental health issues. So, the skepticism is somewhat warranted given his past.
As I scrolled through social media, I saw many Christians questioning Kanye’s motives. What’s the end game? Why is he doing this? Is he a Christian now? Is he starting a church? Who’s his pastor?
Kanye’s motives are not clear and to my knowledge he has not explained the reason for Sunday Services. But I would like to provide what I believe would be an appropriate response for a professing Christian to have.
The Bible does encourage us to be sober and vigilant because the adversary roams like a lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). It also warns us about false doctrine and a great falling away in the last days. (1 Tim 4:1) While we are on alert for false doctrine and imposters, we must not be closed minded to what God could potentially be doing. We have to strike the right balance between being guarded, yet open to God’s unique methods. I believe that time is the great revealer and we sometimes judge a thing prematurely. The Bible is full of examples of God coming from the proverbial “left field” and utilizing the most unlikely of individuals for Kingdom purposes. Saul was killing Christians, however, God met him on that Damascus road and his life was never the same. He went on to write most of the New Testament and we glean from his life to this day. Can you imagine the people that Saul persecuted having legitimate concerns on whether his conversion was authentic or not? We have the privilege of turning the pages of our Bibles and seeing the stories play out. However, the story of Kanye and Sunday Services is still playing out.
15It’s true that some are preaching out of jealousy and rivalry. But others preach about Christ with pure motives. 16They preach because they love me, for they know I have been appointed to defend the Good News. 17Those others do not have pure motives as they preach about Christ. They preach with selfish ambition, not sincerely, intending to make my chains more painful to me. 18But that doesn’t matter. Whether their motives are false or genuine, the message about Christ is being preached either way, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice.
I’ve heard multiple clips of Sunday Service and have Christian friends who have attended. I will admit, that the music has been FIRE! As a music producer, I really appreciate the artistic expression and the technical execution that I’ve witnessed. One thing I know for sure is that Christ is being proclaimed in song. In Philippians 1:15-18, Paul essentially says regardless of the motives of these false preachers, Christ is being preached. I believe the seed of the Gospel is planted with those who are attending these Sunday Services; and God, in His providential care, will utilize others to water the seeds sown.
So, what is an appropriate response for a professing Christian to have regarding Kanye’s Sunday Service? Simply…. Pray and don’t have an opinion at this point in time. One of the hardest things for people to do is remain neutral on a particular topic and wait for time to reveal whether this is of God or not. You never want to fight what God may be doing, so chill and pray. We believe in the power of prayer, so here are a few items to pray:
- That the eyes of peoples understanding will be opened to the truth (Ephesians 1:18)
- That God will remove stony, hardened hearts toward Him and will give the people attending Sunday Services a heart that is softened and open for Him (Ezekial 36:26)
- That God will send those to water the seeds of the Gospel that are sown during Sunday Services (1 Corinthians 3:6-7)
- That God will send shepherds after His heart to teach and nurture these people (Jeremiah 3:15)
- Lastly, that God will bring healing and wholeness to Kanye West (Psalms 23:3)
One of ways I try to govern my life is by assignment. Meaning, there are some things that I am supposed to be doing that will coincide with the overall vision for my life. I believe that there is a higher plan for my life and I am to complete the assignments that arise in order to fulfill my destiny. If life is like a puzzle, then assignments are like the puzzle pieces that work together to form this beautiful picture. Each piece (assignment) is valuable no matter how big or small. (more…)
Malcolm Gladwell is one of my favorite authors. He’s an investigative journalist who has written best-selling books such as Blink, Tipping Point, What the Dog Saw, and a few others. Recently, I discovered something in his book “Outliers” that peaked my attention. The year that you were born can influence your opportunities. Check this out….