When I came home to Lahad Datu after an itinerant ministry in November 2002, I contracted typhoid. It turned out to be more than just a physical illness and plunged me into spiritual warfare. After that experience, I developed a greater spiritual capacity to hear from the Lord. There was greater clarity and accuracy. No wonder the psalmist David exclaimed, "You enlarged me when I was in distress."
After my recovery, I knew I wasn't to travel. I had to stay back in this lowly and dusty town to continue to pray for directions for my own ministry and for the nation. The Lord directed me to write a series of books, one of which connected me to Art Katz, the 77-year-old Jewish prophet who was here with us. To have this aged Jewish prophet impact our nation and come (of all places) to Lahad Datu was a sign to the nation. What sign? I echo what Ps. Jean Lim said, "How awesome. Malaysia is so small yet God has send us this Jewish prophet.” Yes, God did so because there is hope for or land. (Read GOD’S STRATEGIES BOOK 5 )
The recent events of sudden floods, howling winds and uprooted trees in Shah Alarm and Subang Jaya are neither accidents nor the wrath of nature. God was speaking to our nation. We have been warned that Malaysia will not be spared from tsunamis and earthquakes. Are we hearing? Who can escape when God is shaking the foundations of the earth?
I am in Lahad Datu (East Malaysia), a place that is far removed from the epicenter of earthquakes. Yet in 6 months, we have had 4 earthquakes less than a thousand kilometers from us. The last one was so bad, many in town felt the tremors. As I consistently pray for Malaysia to be spared of God's judgment, I keep hearing this inner voice, " Why should God spare Malaysia? Is Malaysia worth it? Are there people here in this nation who will add value to the land?"
In the days of Israel's impending judgment, God asked this same question. Are there people who will add value to the land ? The land that has been so devalued, defiled and desecrated by sin that it has affected even nature's order (Jeremiah 2:7, Isaiah 24:5,20)? In Israel's dark days, God was desperately looking for people whose prayers and living would form a barricade against His judgment so that the land could be spared, but unfortunately He found none. He was looking for devoted watchmen whose lives would be the antithesis of all that was going on in the world, but He found none. There were many (including prophets and priests) that devalued the land, but none that would add value to it. Finally and sadly, God's judgment came, unabated and unhindered, upon the nation.
None? How could it be that there were no people to add value to the land? Just like it is today, Israel had plenty of religious leaders and 'prophetic voices,' but none of these were praying men or men whose living was the antithesis of how the world was living. Instead of adding value to the land, these spiritually blind and covetous leaders were leading others into devaluing the land by their greed, their sensual yearnings, blasphemous assumptions and vain prophecies. In fact, the religious leaders were the perpetrators.
Israel's prophets were men's (and 'money') prophets, not God's prophets. Many of them, like today, had given themselves over to both the mercenary and the merchandising (trading and selling) spirit. They were moved by soul power, a powerful gift of clairvoyance and dark wisdom. Most of them finally confessed, under God's ultimate judgment and ultimate light, that they did not have any prophetic gifts and were 'schooled in lusts in the days of their boyhood' (NEB in Zechariah 13:5). As a result they had no fresh word from the throne room and all they could prophesy was 'peace and prosperity,' something copied from the mouths of other flesh prophets. They could not see the impending judgment around the corner.
God challenged those prophets. If they were truly prophets then let them intercede for the land so that the remaining vessels in the land would not go into captivity (Jeremiah 27:18) Unfortunately the vessels did go into Babylonian captivity - a sad testimony and indictment that these men were not God's prophets and that they had no interceding or prevailing power before God.
Why did God issue such a challenge to the 'prophets' of Israel? Because the quintessence of a prophet is intercession. True prophets take intercession seriously because they can see what God sees, hear what God hears and feel what God feels. God gives His prophets this ability to see, hear and feel like He does so that they will be able to pray and 'make up the hedge' and 'stand in the gap' for the land. A prophet's job is to bring God to men and bring men to God - he is not to be entangled in the affairs of this world. This is why true prophets, like Samuel, Moses and David, have the ability to avert God's judgment, check ungodly invasions of the land and keep hostile forces away so that "the vessels of the Lord be not taken away into captivity."
Money prophets cannot pray. 'Flesh' prophets cannot hear from within the veil. God had declared that He will not let these flesh prophets get close to Him – a terrible indictment against them.
To be able to prophesy, write books and make a lot of money, have our calendars full of preaching dates, or ‘jet-set’ around the world to tell grandiose stories and have an audience ‘eating out of our hands,’ etc. but unable to get close to God and prevail in His presence is indeed a terrible form of judgment. ( Ezekiel 44:13)
This is why so many prophets have to live on 'borrowed visions' and 'copied prophecies'. It is sad that Israel, at the time of her greatest need, had no true or praying prophet who could add value to their land and to prevail against those dark invading forces.
God's deep hurt and disappointment were revealed in Ezekiel 22:20 when He said that He could not find someone who was willing, by their prayers and living, to 'make up the hedge' and 'stand in the gap' for that land. In other words, He was saying He could not find someone who was willing to add value to the land so that, in spite of its defilement, He would not have to destroy it.
I have chosen to quote all scriptures from the NEW ENGLISH BIBLE because its translation is precise and updated. The words strike right into our hearts. May you feel the hurt in God's heart and discern the disappointment in His voice when He says:
"I looked for a man among them who could build up a barricade, who could stand before me in the breach to defend the land from ruin; but I found no such man. (therefore) I poured out my judgment upon them and utterly destroyed them in the fire of my wrath." (Eze.22:30-3NEB)
"If they are prophets, and if they have the word of the Lord, let them intercede with the Lord of Hosts, to grant that the vessels still left in the Lord's house, in the royal place, and in Jerusalem, may not be carried off to Babylon." (Jeremiah 27:18NEB)
God knew that sin will not only desecrate and defile a land, it will also devalue it. It will cause Him to turn away from it and it will ultimately open the door for demonic invasion. Look at what God says in these verses:
"Earth itself is desecrated by the feet of those who live in it because (i) they have broken the laws,(ii) disobeyed the statutes and (iii) violated the eternal covenant." (Isaiah 24:5NEB)
"The earth reels to and fro like a drunken man and sways like a watchmen's shelter; (because) the sins of men weigh heavy upon it." (Isaiah 24:20 NEB)
"I brought you into a fruitful land to enjoy its fruit and the goodness of it; but when you entered upon it, you defiled it (with your sins) and made the home I gave you loathsome." (Jeremiah2:7)
"Your wrong doing has upset nature's order and your sins have kept from you nature's kindly gifts." (Jeremiah 5:25 NEB)
Men's sins upsetting nature's order! Now you know why all of a sudden, nature is convulsing and spewing up tsunamis everywhere. Why? Because men, by their sins, have upset nature. Luke 21:32 reads like this in the NEW ENGLISH BIBLE:
"On earth nations will stand helpless, not knowing which way to turn from the roar and surge of the sea (tsunamis,) men will faint with terror at the thought of all that is coming upon the world."
The prophet Samuel lived to add value to his land. He gave himself totally to serious intercession and focused prayers. The value of his life and intercession could be found in these recorded verses:
"The hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel."(I Sam.7:13)
Isn't this powerful living? Samuel's uncompromising and righteous life was the 'governing power' for his nation. He was able to restrain wicked spirits from attacking Israel by his perpetual prayers and sacrifices, thus saving thousands from destruction. As long as he was alive (and praying) the Philistines (demonic forces) could not invade Israel. They might have been menacing, threatening, intimidating and they outnumbered Israel, BUT THEY COULD NOT BREAK THROUGH into the land because the prayers of Samuel held them back.
Samuel added value to a land that was made valueless by the sins of the people. What a powerful life - what a way to live! It was a life hidden from the sight of man but exposed to the principalities and powers - they knew him and feared his prayers. It was a quiet life on earth but a 'loud' life in the heavens. It was a life of obscurity but it was a life with deep spiritual worth and eternal validity.
Samuel's prayers were powerful because of the life he lived. He lived so powerfully that at the end of his service, he called on men and God to judge his moral behavior. He called on men to witness against his outward actions and God to investigate his inward motives. (I Sam.12:3-4). His life was greedless and blameless - how many of us can say this of ourselves? God took this prophet the moment he was weaned from his mother's breast so that He could 'school' Samuel Himself before he landed into the hands of men who would most probably have had him 'schooled in lusts in the days of his boyhood.'
This man's life had prevailing power because it was an antithesis to all that was around him. Prayers are not powerful because of what we say but because of the way we live. It is important that watchmen and intercessors know that it is not their words nor the time sent in prayers that is valuable. The life lived by the one who pray matters the most. The devil fled when Jesus quoted scriptures at him because the devil knew that Jesus did not just quote those scriptures, He lived them. The Pharisees and scribes merely taught them. They could not defeat the powers of darkness or expose any false values because these inflated religious leaders lived in these very things.
Does Malaysia, at this hour of universal darkness and global chaos, have people to add value to the land? Are there spiritual leaders here whose lives will be the antithesis of all that is in the world and find glory in the foolishness of the cross which is actually the wisdom of God?
"God, we need Your ultimate light and your ultimate strength in order to live the life that will be the antithesis of all that is false and carnal, of all that is in the world and the church today, so that we can add value to our land."