07/09/Th – The Kingdom of God has Come Upon You

Deuteronomy 28:1-44; Luke 11:14-22; Psalms 77:15-20; Proverbs 18:22

OT: “Now if you faithfully obey the Lord your God and are careful to follow all his commands I am giving you today, the Lord your God will put you far above all the nations of the earth. All these blessings will come and overtake you, because you obey the Lord your God: You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country. Your offspring will be blessed, and your land’s produce, and the offspring of your livestock, including the young of your herds and the newborn of your flocks. Your basket and kneading bowl will be blessed. You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out. The Lord will cause the enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you. They will march out against you from one direction but flee from you in seven directions. The Lord will grant you a blessing on your barns and on everything you do; he will bless you in the land the Lord your God is giving you. The Lord will establish you as his holy people, as he swore to you, if you obey the commands of the Lord your God and walk in his ways. Then all the peoples of the earth will see that you bear the Lord’s name, and they will stand in awe of you. The Lord will make you prosper abundantly with offspring, the offspring of your livestock, and your land’s produce in the land the Lord swore to your ancestors to give you. The Lord will open for you his abundant storehouse, the sky, to give your land rain in its season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow. The Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you will only move upward and never downward if you listen to the Lord your God’s commands I am giving you today and are careful to follow them. Do not turn aside to the right or the left from all the things I am commanding you today, and do not follow other gods to worship them.” (‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭28:1-14‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

Ever since mankind fell into sin, the earth has been under the curse of sin and death. The systems of this world and the people of this world are under the sway of the ruler of this world (the devil) and his kingdom of darkness. Death, decay, entropy, anarchy, confusion, chaos, anxiety, selfishness, lust, pride, narcissism (the list goes on and on) are all products of the curse. Darkness is an absence of light. Death is and absence of life. Sin is an absence of righteousness. Curse is the absence of blessing. The only way to overcome the downward, out-of-control spiral of the world is to overpower the vacuous black hole with the light, life, righteousness, and blessing of Creator God. Blessing is not just a nice sentiment you pass on to someone you like. Blessing has overwhelming, overcoming power that fills in the void of fatalism and chance and overpowers the pervasive curse that all have been subjected to. Peace is a blessing that overpowers and conquers fear and anxiety. Joy is a blessing that overpowers and conquers depression and purposelessness. Prosperity is a blessing that overpowers and conquers want and lack. Rest is a blessing that overpowers and conquers strife. How do we receive God’s powerful blessing? We must renounce and reject the ways of self-rule… the systems of the world… the influence of the kingdom of darkness, and fully submit to and embrace the word, will, and ways of God and His Kingdom. Once submitted to His ways, the God of Creation will overwhelmingly overpower the curse over us and in us with His blessing. That was God’s intent with mankind – to overcome the chaos caused by the devil. That was God’s intent for Israel, to be a nation of blessed people that would stand in stark contrast to those of the world and lead people to reject the ways of the world and be reconciled to Him. That is what God wants to do with us – form us into a holy kingdom of priests to proclaim and demonstrate His praises, ministering reconciliation to all who are willing and fill the earth with His glory. He wants to bless us to be a blessing – to overcome the curse by the blessing He gets to us and through us. All we have to do is place our faith in Him, make Him our Lord, and follow Him completely.

NT: “Every kingdom divided against itself is headed for destruction, and a house divided against itself falls. If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say I drive out demons by Beelzebul. And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons drive them out? For this reason they will be your judges. If I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. When a strong man, fully armed, guards his estate, his possessions are secure. But when one stronger than he attacks and overpowers him, he takes from him all his weapons he trusted in, and divides up his plunder.” (‭‭Luke‬ ‭11:17b-22‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

One of the times that Jesus cast a demonic spirit out of someone, several in the crowd accuse Him of using demonic power to cast the demon out; and demanded that He show them a sign that He was truly sent from God. This was Jesus’ response to their charges. First of all, Satan isn’t going to overthrow his own kingdom. The idea that Jesus would be casting out demons  by being aligned with the kingdom of darkness is ludicrous. The sign that they were demanding was the fact that He did cast out the demonic spirit. The fact that He cast out the demonic spirit with power and authority was proof that the Kingdom of God had come upon them. The devil is the strong man in this example. He isn’t about to give up territory and souls that he claims as his own. The only way for someone to be freed from the devil‘s grasp is for someone far greater and stronger to attack his stronghold and overpower him. That stronger one is Jesus the King and His Kingdom of God. Just as God’s blessing overwhelmingly overpowers the curse, the Kingdom of God overwhelmingly overpowers the kingdom of darkness. When the Kingdom of God comes upon you, it brings liberation from the grips of sin, the enemy, and the grave. When the Kingdom of God is within you, you are able to bring liberty to others who are chained to sin, the enemy, and the grave. The answer for all the world’s ails is for God’s Kingdom to come as His will is done here on earth.

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