The Psalmist said about the blessedness of dwelling in the presence of the Lord:

“For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God Than dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, Blessed is the man who trusts in You!”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭84:10-12‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

There is an unfathomable blessing that awaits those who are walking uprightly in God’s presence. The wickedness of the wicked is before them. But the righteous will always shun all of it, for the grace and glory that is in God’s presence. 
And just as an eagle from the mountain top gapes at the activities of the other birds and animals in the wilderness; a righteous man gapes at the activities of the wicked in the world around him. The righteous observes every activity of the wicked. The Lord God opens his spiritual eyes to be seeing into whatever the wicked are doing even in their secret places.

The righteous will never partake in the activities of the wicked, just as an eagle will never stoop so low as to be living like chickens. David once described what he observed in the activities of the wicked in this way:

“Therefore, pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence. From their callous hearts comes iniquity; their evil imaginations have no limits. They scoff and speak with malice; with arrogance they threaten oppression. Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭73:6-9‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The righteous man observes all of these, but he chooses not to get himself distracted from the purpose of the Lord, because of these activities of the wicked. He knows what the end of the wicked will be like. So, he turns his eyes away from observing their works. 

There is no need for him to be wasting his precious time, to be giving his attention to the distractions and deception from the purpose of God by the wicked. To the righteous man it’s also a waste of his resources and strength, which he can be using to aggressively expand the Kingdom of God on the earth.

The wicked are surprised that the righteous does not want to partake in their evil deeds. He therefore decided to come against the righteous with all kinds of deceptions, so as to eventually get his attention. 

But all his overtures are rebuffed by the righteous. So, the wicked gets angry at the righteous, because he is being rebuffed. The wicked has no reverential fear of God at heart at all. 

However, the righteous knows that God is near at all times to him. He is aware that God is observing the activities of the wicked, and his own reaction to them. He knows that God’s judgement is coming upon the wicked, and that is why he waits upon the Lord.

The righteous acknowledges the scripture when it says:

“So, you see, the Lord knows how to rescue godly people from their trials, even while keeping the wicked under punishment until the day of final judgment.”
‭‭2 Peter‬ ‭2:9‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The righteous man is waiting for the day of judgement to come upon the wicked. But in the time being while living in the midst of all the wickedness around him, the righteous man decides to put his faith in God, for protection and deliverance from the evil works that are tormenting his soul. 

He knows that the Lord God will avenge the wickedness of his world, so he puts his faith in God for deliverance from the evil around him. God is the Righteous Judge of all the earth. Even the kings and leaders of all the earth are subject to Him (Proverbs 21:1). 

God will never allow wickedness to triumph over righteousness on the earth. So, the righteous man waits on the Lord for His judgement on the wicked:

“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
I Peter‬ ‭3:12‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Even though evil abounds all around the righteous man, but he however knows that he is being tested before the Lord, for his reaction to the works of evil that are going on around him. His faith in the midst of them all must come out as pure as gold before the Lord. 

He is not prepared to compromise his faith for a moment of pleasure, in the world of evil and sin around him. He knows that God has His eyes on him. He must not fail or disappoint His God. He must prove himself faithful to Him.

The scriptures say about the testing of his heart:

“That the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers,”
‭‭I Peter‬ ‭1:7, 18‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

This is why the righteous man waits for the right words from the Lord God, to be speaking into those situations around him; so as to bring the purposes of the Lord God to be established in them. 

The blood of the Lamb sanctifies his mouth, and everything that he says comes from the presence of the Lord, who satisfies his mouth with the good things of life to be declaring (Psalms 103:5).

When we are listening to the Lord God our prompt reaction of faith is expected by Him. We yield to His voice by obeying Him and affirming whatever He says to us. Our affirmation of what we hear from Him is a signal to the hosts of the heavens, that we are in agreement with them; for His will to be done on the earth as it is in the heavens (Matthew 6:10). 

This is the attitude of a legitimate child of God. But the rebellious on the other hand, can’t ever be inclined to say anything that affirms God’s Covenant promises. The evil that’s in him won’t allow him to do that. A rebellious heart has a carefree attitude towards the will of heaven. He is hardened in his heart towards the word of God. 

He does not understand why Christians have to believe in the Holy Scriptures, especially since the Scriptures contradicts the social orders and traditions of the world around him. He is also hardened at heart towards whatever the Bible says about the rebellion of his heart.

But whether he likes it or not, his hardened heart cannot escape the judgement of his Creator. The rebellious will eventually be judged for his rebellion against God.

Why harden your heart towards God?

An unbelieving heart is hardened towards God

Many are hardening their hearts by not obeying the voice of the Lord to them. The wicked are hardened at heart towards what the Bible teaches about their evil ways of life. 

They see it as being contrary to their own personal desires and agendas. So, if God tells them to forgo their own personal desires and ambitions for that of heaven, they will ignore the voice of the Holy Spirit. 

The rebellious is ruled by the desires of his flesh, so he yields to his feelings instead of yielding to the word of God. God is beckoning to him to repent of his evil ways; but the heart that is already sold out to doing evil is more inclined to keep on sinning against God. 

It’s not that the wicked doesn’t know about the will of God. He loves evil and not righteousness. As the scriptures says in another place:

“Because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.”
Romans‬ ‭1:19‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

The wicked does know about God’s will for his life, but he has deliberately chosen to harden his heart against Him. The flesh in men will always resist whatever is spiritually not aligned with its desires in them. But those who are obedient to the beckoning of the Lord towards them, will always be quick to respond by faith. 

The response of the obedient to the word of God, can be compared here to the response of an eagle to the voice of its prey, as it picks up its sound from the mountain top. 

An eagle launches out after its prey from the mountain top. It takes hold of the prey without hesitation with either its claws or the beak. It goes after the prey with strength and agility in the air, while exhibiting its superiority in the air. This is how an eagle stretches out its wings to affirm its supremacy over the targeted prey, while hovering around it to find its weakest point to attack. 

The rebellious can recognize the will of God but won’t move an inch to obey it. His hardened and rebellious heart is totally stout against God:

“That is why the Holy Spirit says, “Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled, when they tested me in the wilderness. There your ancestors tested and tried my patience, even though they saw my miracles for forty years. So, I was angry with them, and I said, ‘Their hearts always turn away from me. They refuse to do what I tell them.’ So, in my anger I took an oath: ‘They will never enter my place of rest.’”
Hebrews‬ ‭3:7-11‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The rebellious will never enter into God’s rest with the righteous. That’s why an obedient child of God is always decisive in doing whatever God’s word says. There is no room for cherry picking what he has to believe in God’s word. 

If the Bible says something, then it’s God’s voice to the obedient at heart. He has to obey it without questioning God about it. This is the attitude of the obedient child of God. 

The rebellious on the other hand will question the holy scriptures. The rebellious likes to place God on the same footing with himself. 

When the children of Israel were testing the Lord in the wilderness, they were actually testing His word to them as given through Moses. They had witnessed the miracles that were performed through the actions of obedience to His word, but they still hardened their hearts to His voice. They had heard His audible voice from the mountain, but they still refused to obey Him (Exodus 20:18-22). 

This was why many of them perished in the wilderness without inheriting the promises of God. 

Any heart of unwillingness to obey the voice of the Lord, or of the Holy Spirit is a sinful heart of unbelief (John 16:8-9). 

An unbelieving heart will always turn away from the Lord.

The Lord will test your heart before blessing you 

The blessing of the Lord flows through your heart

A wilderness encounter is the place where the Lord tests our ability to obey His voice. He will test your heart’s ability to remain faithful to Him, before allowing you to inherit some of His promises. 

Therefore, if you hear His voice and you respond to it by faith, God will call you His own. But if you harden your heart in rebellion, don’t ever expect to escape His judgement:

“But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath,”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭2:5-8‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

There are Christians who are turning away from the Lord, because of the deceitfulness of the sins in the world around them. But those who are responding to His voice by faith are the ones who are inheriting His blessing.

There may be adversity and affliction across our pathway as Christians, but they are never meant to prevent us from hearing or listening for the Lord’s voice. Adversity may come to you as a Christian, but it’s not an excuse for not obeying what God’s word says. You can’t be circumventing God’s word in outright disobedience, just because of the adversity that is presently in your life. 

As the Prophet Isaiah said:

“And though the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your teachers will not be moved into a corner anymore, but your eyes shall see your teachers. Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” Whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭30:20-21‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Adversity may come along your pathway during your wilderness encounter. But the voice of the Lord is always there with you, to teach you and instruct you in the midst of it. He will lead you out of it into the prosperity that He has prepared for you. 

Your troubles in life may very well be the steppingstone into your blessing. So why are you trying to escape the adversity of life, instead of going through it by putting your faith in God? Rejoice in it, for the joy of the Lord will give you the strength to go through it. His voice is always there to guide you through it. You will come out of it stronger in faith than ever before.

There is absolutely nothing that’s supposed to be strange to us as the people of God on the earth. We have God Almighty always on our side. 

And just as an eagle goes to the mountain top to renew its physical strength, we as the children of God needs to be renewing our spiritual strength also on a daily basis. As an eagle knows the joy of soaring in the air, so the righteous man knows the joy of waiting on the Lord.

That’s why an encounter with the Lord is meant for this purpose. It will bring greater joy into your life than ever before. You will come out of it, better prepared and stronger to do more for God’s Kingdom.

David was able to say in the midst of the adversity and affliction of his life.

“I trust in the Lord for protection. So why do you say to me, “Fly like a bird to the mountains for safety!”
Psalms 11:1 NLT

David was not ready to flee from adversity and affliction. He knew that the Lord was always with him. He doesn’t need to flee from it, as the bird of the air often flees from danger. The presence of the Lord is with the righteous man. This is enough protection for him. 

The judgement of the Lord God will surely come on the wicked. It’s a false illusion of the heart for the wicked to think that he can escape God’s judgement. 

The judgement of the righteous will also come, when he appears before Him. God will judge both the righteous and the wicked. There is no escape from His judgement for anyone on the earth:

“Arise, O God, judge the earth; For You shall inherit all nations.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭82:8‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Yes, the Righteous Judge of the earth will come with His judgement upon the nations. He will judge the wicked of every nation of the earth, and His judgement is always right. 

For the wicked will reap the harvest of their wickedness. The Righteous One will shake the nations to their very core. Where is your prideful boast, you wicked of the nations?

The Righteous One comes upon you unaware. He has remembered the cries of His righteous ones in the nations. He will avenge on behalf of His righteous ones. He will defend and protect His holy name which you have defiled.

The Most High God will avenge for Himself. So where will you hide when His wrath comes upon you; oh, wicked of the nations?

Your strength and your false confidence will be wasted away. And Jesus Christ will inherit all the nations for Himself. He will reign in righteousness over them with the power of His tongue. 

Therefore, flee evil and start living righteously before God, so that when you appear before Him at the end of the age, He will be able to say to you: “Thank you good and faithful servant. Welcome into the joy of the Lord”.


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