Trusting God in Times of Trouble
Understand that God IS God and claim His promises of protection.
Fred R. Coulter—March 21, 2020
Greetings, everyone! Welcome to Sabbath services! Everyone wants to know:
· What’s happening in the world?
· What’s happening in America?
· Why are these things taking place?
Here we are in ‘shelter in place’ and stay home for 15 days!
· Why are all these things coming upon us?
The least place that people would look would be in the Bible!
One of the most important things that people ignore, scoff at and reject is where the descendants of the 12 tribes of Israel are. We know where the Jews are in the area of the Middle East and then scattered around the world.
But contrary to the claim of Judaism, they are not all the 12 tribes. What happened to the ten tribes who were carried off into captivity by the Assyrians.
You need our book: America and Britain in Prophecy: Two Nations That Changed the World by Philip Neal.
I want to read to you that Jacob—the father of the 12 tribes of Israel—gave to Ephraim and Manasseh, whose father was Joseph. Remember that Joseph was the one who was sold by his brothers into servitude into Egypt.
Then being righteous he didn’t want to commit adultery with his master’s wife. So, she screamed and yelled that he tried to attack me. They arrested him and threw him in prison and there he was all alone.
Joseph had a dream, and there was the baker and attendant of the Pharaoh already in prison. Joseph was intelligent, organized, and he ended up being semi-in-charge of the whole prison. When the baker and the attendant had a dream, Joseph told them exactly what the dream was and what would happen. One would die and one would live. The attendant was the one who lived.
Then the Pharaoh had a dream of the fat cows for seven years, and the lean cows for seven years, and no one could tell the dream. The attendant said, ‘I remember that man in prison, Joseph, and he can tell you the dream.
So, Joseph was brought to Pharaoh and he told him the dream and that the dream was from God, and there are going to be seven years of extra plenty and seven years of famine; and it happened!
But first, the Pharaoh made Joseph second in command of all Egypt. Then later Jacob and the other sons came down into Egypt, and Pharaoh gave them the land of Goshen.
Just before Jacob was to die he blessed the two sons of Joseph: Ephraim and Manasseh. Let’s see what the blessing was and when this was to occur; quite an amazing thing, indeed!
We’re not going to read the blessing for every one of the 12 tribes; we want to focus on America and Britain. We will see what Jacob, the father, says. This is a blessing from God through Jacob to his descendants down through all time. This tells us, particularly, a very important thing.
Genesis 49:1: “And Jacob called to his sons and said, ‘Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you what shall happen to you in the last days.’”
How long are the last days? God doesn’t tell us! But if we look back at history, after we read the blessing to Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh, we can pretty well discern that something happened in the early 1600s with the colonization of North America, and the time leading up to that in Britain.
Let’s read what Jacob said to Joseph, who is the father of Ephraim and Manasseh. So, this applies to both Britain and America, and much more so today with America than with Britain, because Britain has already succumbed to many of their own sins and problems as we will see a little later.
Verse 22: “Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a well, whose branches run over the wall…. [many people, lots of everything] …The archers have fiercely attacked him and have shot at him, and hated him” (vs 22-23). A perfect description of the world concerning America!
Verse 24: “But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob…”
Why is it that we say that America is the most blessed nation in the world? Because of right here! This blessing came to us from sea to shinning sea! Britain had its empire! But because of its sins down through time, they lost it.
Now America is going through some terrible times at this point. Right now we’re right on the verge:
· What is going to happen?
· How will the people react?
Let’s see the blessing; then we will look at some of the punishments that would come because of sin!
“…—from there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel—” (v 24).
· Why is it that the king and queen of England are coronated on a special chair with the stone underneath it?
The truth is that is probably the Stone of Jacob, going back thousands of years! They are coronated as king or queen ‘over your people Israel.’ Did you know that?
Remember this is to Joseph—Ephraim and Manasseh—right here:
Verse 25: “By the God of your father, Who shall help you. And may the Almighty bless you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb. The blessings of your father are greater than the blessings of my ancestors, to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills. They shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him, the ruler, the leader who was separated from his brothers” (vs 25-26).
That’s quite a blessing! Think about that in relationship to how England rose in power, and how America rose in power. Remember that these are for the last days. Think about which is the greatest nation in the world today, America! That’s because of God! That’s because we are mainly the tribe of Manasseh, with parts of all the tribes of the different tribes of Israel in America!
Deuteronomy 33:13: “And of Joseph he said, ‘Blessed of the LORD be his land, with the precious things of the heavens, for the dew, and for the deep that couches beneath, and for the precious things of the fruits of the sun, and with the precious things of the yield of the months. And with the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the everlasting hills” (vs 13-15).
Sound a little like treasure, gold, silver, diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and all of that sort of thing? That’s what it means!
Verse 16: “And for the precious things of the earth and fullness of it, and for the good will of Him Who dwelt in the bush. Let the blessing come on the head of Joseph, and on the top of the head of him who was separated from his brothers. His glory is like the firstborn of his bull, and his horns are like the horns of the wild ox. With them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth….” (vs 16-17).
· Did that not happen with the British Empire?
· Has that not happened afterward with America?
· Yes, indeed!
“…And they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh” (v 17).
What did we do when we came into the land? We had to have the separation with the Revolutionary War! Britain went on to conquer the empire and become the greatest power in the world leading up to WWI. America became a great power after the turn of the century going into the 1900s. Think about all the problems with all the victories, with all the ups and downs that we have gone through.
Let’s just number them by the wars:
1. Revolutionary War
2. War of 1812
3. Civil War
4. Spanish/American War
7. Korean War
8. Vietnam War
9. 1st Iraq War
10. then we had the 2001—9/11—with the twin towers being knocked down and the Pentagon being attacked
11. Afghanistan War
12. The Iraq War
13. and the other wars subsequent to that
Look at us today, when we started the Bible was the main instrument of learning. You can read the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution of the United States, and the amendments and you will see that it’s based upon the principles of the Word of God! We were a very religious people!
Yes, we’ve always had our troubles and difficulties, but because people—Americans—would turn to God in times of trouble, who did we have in the worst time of trouble in this nation, the Civil War? Abraham Lincoln! He quoted more of the Bible and prayed more about this nation than any other President coming up to the current one that we have now—Donald J. Trump! And the President that we have now is relying on God more than any other President from the time of Lincoln until now.
But look at all the troubles that we are going through. Why do we have all these troubles? We will see how God looks at Israel, and when He looks at Israel He’s thinking mostly of Ephraim and Manasseh!
What has happened? You look at what has happened in England today! They have given up on God! Much more so than America. We have the agents and the people in America trying to get us to give up on God. But:
· Let’s see what happens when people do that
· let’s see what happen when people turn their back on God
This goes clear back to the Garden of Eden, and that’s why we have the troubles that we have. If you list all the troubles of all mankind down through all history up to this time, you’d have to ask: Why did they do it when God made it possible for them to have His blessing?
Isa. 5—God compares Israel to a vineyard. When you read the New Testament, you find that Jesus talks about the vineyard.
Isaiah 5:1: “Now, I will sing to my Beloved a song of my Beloved concerning His vineyard. My Beloved has a vineyard in a very fruitful hill.”
· we don’t live in the desert like the Arabs
· we don’t live in the jungles like other people
We live in a very fruitful land!
Verse 2: “And He dug it up, and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines, and built a tower in its midst, and hewed out a wine vat in it; and He looked for it to produce grapes. But it produced worthless fruits.”
Stop and think: Most people in America have a Bible. If anyone has a Bible, they have it because God caused it to be there, because He wants you to have a Bible so that you can connect with God if you will read it. It doesn’t matter how it got there. In the world today there are more Bibles than any other book in the whole world when you count all the digital Bibles that are on smart phones, computers and printed Bibles.
But how many people read the Bible to understand how they are to live? One of the very first things that Jesus said—which is true through the whole Bible—is ‘man shall not live by bread alone—food alone--but by every Word of God!’
What have we done? Down through time we’ve gotten rid of God! Every time we get rid of God—out of government, schools, private lives, institutions, language and how we live our lives--we bring sorrow and evil!
It says here in Isaiah, woe upon us! That means extreme suffering! “…But it produced worthless fruits.”
Verse 3: “And now, O people of Jerusalem, and men of Judah…” Jerusalem is a type of all 12 tribes of Israel!
Since this was prophesied right there in the city of Jerusalem, and that’s where the Jews were at the time, God says:
“…I ask you to judge between Me and My vineyard. What more could have been done to My vineyard… [with everything] …that I have not done in it? Who knows? I looked for it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes. And now I will tell you what I will do to My vineyard…” (vs 3-5).
I want you to understand that the laws and commandments of God are automatic! IF you leave God, you leave out God, you reject God, you have trouble! And look at what we have today!
Every once in a while we have an occasion to bring us back to God. But that’s only for a short time! Then right back to our own sinful ways!
“…I will take away its hedge, and it shall be consumed…” (v 5). Look at what is happening! Look at how it’s happening!
“…and break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down; And I will lay it waste; it shall not be pruned nor dug; but briers and thorns shall come up. And I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it” (vs 5-6)--or send too much rain, snow and cold!
Verse 7: “For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel… [that’s us] …and the men of Judah His pleasant plant; and He looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed; for righteousness, but behold, a cry of distress!”
Doesn’t that describe us today exactly? Look at the crime, the drugs, all the things that are going on! There’s another prophecy that is actively taking place: the stranger within your midst shall get up very high above you (Deut. 28:43[transcriber’s correction])! Is that happening? Yes, it is!
Notice that Isaiah lays out a step-by-step of the wrong things that we have done that has led to our problems. These are the WOES!
Verse 8: “Woe to those who join house to house, that lay field to field, until there is no place left, and you are made to dwell alone in the midst of the land!”
Think about it; look at our cities. Let’s take the city of New York where they have more Coronavirus than anywhere. Look at it! They’re not only side-by-side, they’re on top of each other: stacked! jammed! Look at all the problems that come because of that, and the crime.
Verse 11: “Woe to those who rise up early in the morning to go after strong drink…”--add to that drugs!
It’s an eye-opener: Watch NatGeo—National Geographic channel—when they have their secret operations that they go along and do documentaries of the drug dealers, and how they’re dedicated to evil, dedicated to wasting people’s lives. How did that get started? Because they rejected God!
“…who continue late into the night while wine inflames them! And the lyre, and the harp, the drum, and pipe, and wine, are at their feasts…” (vs 11-12). You might say rock concerts! Look at all of that.
But here’s why the woes come! I don’t know what your life is like, but you need to think about it:
“…but they do not regard the work of the LORD….” (v 12):
· everything He has created
· the Word of God
· what God commanded
Take one simple commandment; the only one of ten that says remember; that’s the one everybody forgets: Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it Holy!
Whenever people turn their back on God, Satan comes and fills the void. So, what is a typical Saturday from Friday night to Saturday night like?
All kinds of festivities, drugs, games, operas, concerts, athletics of all kinds and sales during the daytime. All of those are breaking the Sabbath!
God says that IF will turn your foot away from the Sabbath, from doing your own business and work, THEN God will lift these things from us! But how many are willing to do that? All of those who are Sunday-keepers every week violate the fourth commandment! They think that they’re doing well, but that’s not what God said.
Look at this way: What if someone gave you $100,000 and said, ‘I want you deposit it in this bank’? But you and your friends took it out and spent it on yourself.
What kind of reaction would you expect? Apply that as an analogy to the Sabbath, which is a day that God says,
I will put My presence in , bless you and be with you IF you assemble to Me and learn of My Word. I will send My Spirit and bless you with knowledge and understanding, and IF you repent and are converted—and are faithful—I will give you everlasting life!
Think about that! ‘No! No! We can’t have any of that!’ So, they bring the WOE upon themselves!
“…but they do not regard the work of the LORD. Yea, they do not see the work of His hands. Therefore, My people are gone into exile because they have no knowledge…” (vs 12-13). That’s coming!
If you think that the Coronavirus is bad, just wait! If we keep going the way that we are, it’s coming sooner. If there’s some reformation and change, and some turn to God, it may be put off a while. But it’s coming!
Verse 18: “Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of vanity…”--talking about all our entertainment and music industry, and our education, colleges and government!
“…and sin with cart ropes” (v 18). Everything is sin!
Just to give you an example: Vice President Mike Pence is head of the Coronavirus task force, to coordinate everything that’s going on. He opened with prayer to God. That God would guide him to help the people to turn back the Coronavirus. The news outlets went crazy! Why would he pray? Because He knows why these things are coming! That’s why!
Verse 19: “Who say, ‘Let Him hurry and hasten His work, so that we may see it; and let the purpose of the Holy One of Israel draw near and come, so that we may know!’” But they’re taunting God!
But God says, ‘You don’t do that! If you want to know about Me, you better come to Me and repent. You better obey me and keep My Word.’
NO! They just taunt God! So, look at all the troubles that come because of it!
Verse 20: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil…”
Look at the ‘alphabet genders’ that we have today! I call it that because there re so many different genders that it takes up the whole alphabet! God says that everything should be through marriage, a man and a woman, children and family! But NO! they say, ‘we need the right,’ and whenever they say that they are saying
You let us do our own thing because that is our right, and we desire to sin and stuff it in Your face.’
Then they expect good to happen!
Listen! Coronavirus is going to turn out to be a very mild thing compared to what’s coming, unless there’s some repentance!
“…who put darkness for light and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!” (vs 20-21).
Yes, we’re smart, we’ll figure it out! We have all the modern tests and everything like this, and we will do it ourselves!
Wait until they meet the power of God! That will be a different story!
Verse 22: “Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink… [and add in all the other drugs that go with it] …who justify the wicked for a bribe, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!” (vs 22-23). Isn’t that what is happening? Yes!
We’ve got another website that was years ahead of what is going on now called: churchathome.org--Church at Home. We could foresee, according to the Word of God, down into the future that the only safe place to worship God is in your own home. But then there will come a time when even that will end, because Satan is going to come with great power and fury, and try and destroy everyone who loves God and believes Him.
But even if they kill them, God has a surprise! He’s going to resurrect them all! He’s going to send Christ to return to take over this world.
I want you to read v 24, and understand this. I want you to know what’s coming; v 24: “Therefore, as the fire devours the stubble…”--those little parts of the hay, wheat and barley; a little bit of the stock, husk and roots, and when the grain is removed, if it gets too hot, POOF! it explodes!
“…and the flame burns up the chaff; their root shall be like rottenness, and their blossoms shall go up like dust because…” (v 24).
Here’s the cause, the reason why these things come; if you would be smart enough to take a Bible and read the Ten Commandments, look at them literally and look at the behavior of people all around the world and understand that there’s a Satan the devil and he has millions of demons working with him, then you will begin to understand why we have all of these problems.
God is calling His people to come out of that, and calling other people who want to turn to God and telling them to turn to God and He will help you! But if you don’t turn to God the next wave is going to be worse! And the one after that will be worse!
“…they have cast away the Law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the Word of the Holy One of Israel” (v 24).
God always gives warning! God never does anything unless there’s a warning that comes out. Anybody who has a Bible has it written down and sitting on the shelf of their own library. If they don’t read it, that’s their problem.
Everyone wants a blessing from God, ‘O God, don’t give me Your anger.’
Verse 25 tells us what God is going to do: “Therefore, the anger of the LORD is kindled against His people, and He has stretched out His hand against them, and has stricken them; and the hills trembled, and their dead bodies were as filth in the midst of the streets. In all this His anger is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still”--because there is no repentance!
· this tells us what’s going to happen
· this tells us why we have all of these problems
What are we going to do? Let’s ask all the people who say that they’re the people of God:
· Do you really believe God? Really?
· Do you really love God? Actually?
· How did Jesus say that we are to do that?
The Protestants all claim the love of God and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. But you want to know something? That’s just the first half step! You have to come to God and love Him, as Jesus said. As He told Israel, this is also recorded in Deut. 6, because the Israelites wanted to know:
‘O Lord, what shall we do?’ The Scribe came to Jesus and said, ‘Master, which is the greatest commandment of all?’ Here was the answer: ‘Hear O Israel--put your name there—the Lord God is one Lord, and you shall love the Lord Your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength!’
· Is that how you approach God?
For the world, they don’t even know, but for the people of God:
· Are you a one-day a week Christian?
And even if you may keep the Sabbath:
· How much different are you from the Sunday-keepers from the one-day a week Christian?
You may read some of the Bible, those things that are pleasant to you, but very few people want to read the things that tell you what God is going to do if you don’t repent and come to Him. He also says that of other churches, too.
This is where we are in all of this. This is a lot of trouble and difficulty, indeed!
Let’s see what God wants, and He lays this out for the nation of Israel, and in fact, all nations of the world now. But in particularly the nations of Israel, because they are the descendants of Jacob. Here’s what everybody wants, and notice how God expresses it in what we must do, and what kind of effort we need to put forth so that God will be with us and we will be on God’s side! Too many people want God to come on their side. But God is saying, ‘NO! You come on My side, because I’m God! I will bless you! You need Me, and I will take care of you!’ This is what He told the Israelites here:
Deuteronomy 28:1: “And it shall come to pass, if you shall hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD your God…” That’s the most simple thing of all! God says obey My voice!
· Did Adam and Eve? No!
· Did most of the people down through history obey the voice of God? No!
It’s simple: obey My voice! You want things to go good; you want them to go well, obey My voice diligently!
· not half-heartedly
· not one day a week
· but how you live
“…to observe and to do all His commandments, which I command you today… [this is a conditional clause] …the LORD your God will set you on high above all nations of the earth” (v 1).
· Did God not do that with Britain and America? Yes, indeed!
· What have we done? Look at it! Look a the inner cities wherever you go!
If you do, v 2: “And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you if you will obey the voice of the LORD your God.”
Some is always going say—being a smart aleck—‘How am I going to hear the voice of the Lord God?’ Well, He made it easy for you to hear it! He had it written down and printed!
Is this not saying that the Lord is talking here? If you read it, you’re reading what He said! If you read what He said, you’re reading what He spoke! Then it says:
Verse 3: “Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, and the fruit of your ground, and the fruit of your livestock, the increase of your cattle, and the flocks of your sheep. Blessed shall be your basket and your store. Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out. The LORD shall cause your enemies that rise up against you to be stricken before your face….” (vs 3-7)--just a small army!
God would fight the battle. Can the largest army in the world fight against God and prevail? NO WAY!
“…They shall come out against you one way, and flee before you seven ways. The LORD shall command the blessing upon you in your storehouses, and all that you set your hand to. And He shall bless you in the land, which the LORD your God gives you” (vs 7-8). How did we get here? Because God gave it!
Verse 9: “The LORD shall establish you a Holy people to Himself, as He has sworn to you, if you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God and walk in His ways. And all the people of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they shall be afraid of you” (vs 9-10).
Since we haven’t done this, the next thing happens!