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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Healing of the Nations- The Beginning of Healing in Exile- Repentance, the Anointed, and the Remnant-Part C

In discussing the nature and pattern of healing of a nation or the 'healing of nations' [both are a separate concern], we have already discussed that first, the 'dissensioned' state of a nation which has removed itself from the right ways of God must be recognized as lacking wholeness, being 'diseased' or corrupted and in a state of disequilibrium. Many examples of this appear in scripture, such as the Babylonian empire around the time of Belshazzar, in which the kingdom is wrested away from Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar, or in the period in Israel just prior to the Exile, when Israel was in such a condition, that every prophet of the time is given similar prophecies regarding the destruction of the nation loved by God because of a sin state. Once the disease is recognized, though, or the dissensioned state of a nation, either of God's or the world, The second stage in healing in Scripture is a
1.call to Repentance,
2.the appearance of the anointed,
3.a Return, and
4.the re-establishment of at least a Remnant.

Repentance and God's Anointed

Jonah, the recalcitrant Prophet, eventually rises up in Nineveh, calls for repentance, the first rung in the ladder of the Healing of a Nation, and Nineveh, the vile city is spared the prophesied destruction for 120 or so years. Two things are characteristic of the prophecy that leads to that healing:

I. The Prophet is compelled to the Prophecy and Call to Repentance
II. While the Nation Repents and is healed for the next generation,
the original prophecy of destruction of Nineveh for its many crimes
still takes place at a later time.

So REPENTANCE, the first rung of a Nation's healing, can change the immediate fate of a nation leading it into a whole state in equilibrium, but the PROPHETIC PRONOUNCEMENT is still true. When Nineveh turns away from its repentance, the judgment returns. (See Nahum).

Repentance turns a nation which has fallen into distress back to the path of healing. In the Holy Scripture, to my knowledge there is not a time when God heals either Israel or any of the 'Heathen' nations without a heart repentance of that nation.

The Repentance of Israel

There are a number of instances of national Repentance in Israel, which lead to healing of Israel. The healing almost always involves a total restoration, abundantly above all that is asked or expected. Several examples of the national repentance of Israel are found in the Wars of Israel, in which the nation in repentance and supplication goes on to win a war after an initial failing. One such example is in Joshua's Battle with the Southern Canaanites in Israel's route into Canaan. In the first battle, God commands the taking of the mountain where the Anakim dwell, where the Southern Canaanites dwell, and Joshua and Caleb spy out the mountain, reporting back to Israel that they can take it though it be fearsome. Israel, though, despite the command of God, turns back, afraid to go to battle. [Numbers 14] They then turn to repent, but out of step with the Lord's command, they fail to do things the Lord's way and fail:

And they rose up early in the morning, and gat them up into the top of the mountain, saying, Lo, we [be here], and will go up unto the place which the LORD hath promised: for we have sinned.
Num 14:41-44 And Moses said, Wherefore now do ye transgress the commandment of the LORD? but it shall not prosper.
Go not up, for the LORD [is] not among you; that ye be not smitten before your enemies. For the Amalekites and the Canaanites [are] there before you, and ye shall fall by the sword: because ye are turned away from the LORD, therefore the LORD will not be with you.But they presumed to go up unto the hill top: nevertheless the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and Moses, departed not out of the camp.Then the Amalekites came down, and the Canaanites which dwelt in that hill, and smote them, and discomfited them, [even] unto Hormah.

In the case of the defeat even with repentance, it was not a repentance fully, for they turn again to the battle, only without waiting for the Lord. They are soundly defeated.

In the Life of a Nation, the first and foremost step in healing a 'dissensioned' nation is for the problem to be identified, and acknowledged as sin and separation from the ways of God, along with a seeking of God with the heart and mind and soul not only of individuals, but of a whole nation.

There are times when on behalf of Israel, a few repentant prophets and people prayed in proxy for their people who had forgotten and despaired of turning back to their God. One such prophet, was Daniel, one of the most great trial-ed prophets in the Holy Scriptures. Daniel had been taken as a child from a royal family and in the midst of war and destruction and the sacking of Jerusalem was taken captive by the brutish armies of Nebuchanezzar. One really needs to meditate a bit on what that meant: royal children are spoiled at least a little: they have servants, a lush lifestyle and comfort and are tenderly treated. These were the children taken by a brutal army and ripped from parents,comfort, love and innocence: some were made into eunuchs, in a cruelty so unspeakable, that none could fathom any child having to face it.

Relocated, 'deported' to a foreign land under these circumstances, and placed in the palace of a horrendous King, only a few resolve not to lose their faith or identity: Daniel, given the Babylonian name Belteshazzar [not Belshazzar], and Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego, of the fiery furnace fame. Even within the courts though, forced to read and study the abomination of dark arts and magic of the Chaldeans, Daniel notes as he grows in excellence, the timing due in the Jewish scriptures of the Return, and sees the need of the Healing and Repentance of the Nation of Israel, precipitous to the Great Return.

As with others at times of Israel's distress, Daniel, knowing his nation to be in a dissensioned state captive in Babylon, does not rush to think that all Israel will bow the knee and ask God to save and deliver them from Babylon. Most of Israel has grown old in exile in this time: the ones who were very young children are now old men, and many of a lesser character have forgotten the great need of repentance: they do not remember much about Israel, it became in Babylon as it became in the holocaust or Shoah: "Ha Eretz Y'israel", the semi-mythical Utopia of the Jews which in exile appears as the only hope, distant, unattainable and far away.

Daniel however is not willing to leave it as a distant and unattainable hope: through his studies of Jeremiah's prophecies and through prayer, constant prayer, he falls on his knees hoping to repent not only his own sins, but the Sins of a people, the nation of Israel.

Chapter 9 of Daniel details that prayer of national repentance and serves as a prototype of heart repentance for a nation in dissension or a nation in exile. The Book of Esther also contains national repentance and prayer as Mordecai and Esther place their lives on the line before a pagan King, Artaxerxes, and all Israel falls in fasting and prayer to save their lives. In Daniel, however, it is a 'proxy' prayer, as one 'warrior' intercedes with God for a whole nation which has lost its way, and does not even remember the true ways of Israel before her bridegroom.
Dan 9:3 ¶ And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:

Dan 9:3 ¶ And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:
Dan 9:4 And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;

The issues and characteristics of national repentance will be examined in the next section before moving on to other issues of the Healing of a nation.

2. 84.