When Jesus first declared His mission and purpose in His hometown of Nazareth, the people in the synagogue “marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth.” (Luke 4:22) But then when He began to deal with their sin, they turned on Him in anger. Pride and arrogance always results in anger. Pride also puts stipulations on who a person is willing to learn from. And such was the case in Nazareth. “Is this not Joseph’s son?” they asked. And so they grabbed hold of Jesus, pushed Him out of the city to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, determined to throw Him off to His death. (Luke 4:28-29) But that bit of information is followed by an amazing verse. “Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way.” (Luke 4:30)
How was He able to do that? Some have suggested that He knew a secret path and just disappeared down that path. I’ve been to Nazareth and climbed a little in the hills that village was and is built on. Unlike today, Nazareth was, in Jesus’ day, a village of only 500. You can’t go anywhere in that area without walking either up or down. There is no way that all the children growing up there for generations didn’t know every inch of the area. Besides, the scripture clearly says that Jesus left them by walking out in their midst. He didn’t just disappear. How was He able to do that? How can anyone walk through a crowd that is not only angry at you but intent on killing you? Was there Somebody else who cleared a path for Him? Who or what was He hanging onto?
We are living in troubling times; times that are increasingly turbulent. Of course, we know we will have to hang onto the Lord to make it through the days ahead. But what, exactly, does that look like? How, specifically, do we do that? And what will be the results? Please read the below-listed scriptures and the two short examples given at the end of this lesson to be not only instructed but encouraged as well.
- Job 17:9 – The righteous will hold to his way, and he who has clean hands will be stronger and stronger. So what about our “way” is it that we need to hold onto?
- Proverbs 4:13 – Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go; keep her, for she is your life.
- Job 27:6 – Job said he was holding fast to his righteousness.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:21 – Tells us to hold fast what is good.
- 2 Thessalonians 2:15 –Stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.
- 2 Timothy 1:13 – Hold fast the pattern of sound words.
- Hebrews 3:6 – Hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.
- Hebrews 3:14 – For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end.
- Hebrews 4:14 – Hold fast our confession.
- Hebrews 6:18 – Lay hold of the hope set before us.
- Hebrews 10:23 – Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.
- Revelation 2:25 –Hold fast what you have till I come.
- Revelation 3:3 – Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent.
- Revelation 3:11 – Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have that no one may take your crown.
In addition to these specific commands as to what we’re to hold onto, 22 times in scripture someone is told to hold their peace. What that means in the various stories is to either keep quiet or to wait until someone works a situation out. That someone is either God working sovereignly or God using someone to do His bidding. When something is repeated 22 times, we need to take heed. So it is obviously very important to God that we wait, keep our mouths shut and wait. If you were to read the 22 stories where someone is told to hold their peace, you’d see that it was all about not worrying or being anxious or not taking matters into their own hands. Doesn’t that sound like not operating in the flesh?
Seven times in scripture we find the phrase, “Hold not thy peace.” These verses give us further instruction.
- Psalm 39:12 – Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were. (KJV)
- Psalm 83:1 –Do not keep silent, O God! Do not hold Your peace, and do not be still, O God! For behold, Your enemies make a tumult; and those who hate You have lifted up their head.
- Psalm 109:1-2 – Hold not thy peace, O God of my praise; for the mouths of the wicked are opened against me. . . (KJV)
- Isaiah 62:1 – For Zion’s sake I will not hold My peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a lamp that burns.
- Isaiah 62:6 – I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent, and give Him no rest till He establishes and till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
- Jeremiah 62:1 – Jeremiah is in sorrow for the doomed nation that is disobedient to the Lord – O my soul, my soul! I am pained in my very heart! My heart makes a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because you have heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war.
- Acts 18:9 – When Paul went to Corinth, after the Jews rejected his message that Jesus was the Christ, God spoke to him in the night in a vision saying, “Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not they peace; for I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee; for I have much people in this city. (KJV)
CONCLUSION: We’re to hold onto our way and what we have spiritually from God. Specifically we must hold onto the instructions and traditions taught in the Word of God and through anointed teachers. We must hold onto our righteousness (which is in Christ Jesus). We must hold onto what is good, our confession and the pattern of sound words given in scripture. This means to “hold our peace” and not become anxious and worry but to rest in who God is and what He has done in our lives. On top of all this, we must not let go of our confidence, our ability to rejoice and, of course, our hope in and for the future. While holding onto all of this, we must speak out at God’s direction and “hold not our peace” when it comes to sharing the Gospel, teaching the Word, prayer for Israel, for Jerusalem and our own country.
1 Timothy 6:12 – Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. . . . . (Vs. 18-19) Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
Isaiah 56:1-2, 6-8 – Thus says the Lord: Keep justice and do righteousness, for My salvation is about to come, and My righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who lays hold on it; who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and keeps his hand from doing any evil.” . . . . Also the sons of the foreigner who join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him; and to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants – everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and holds fast My covenant – even them I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on My altar, for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” The Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, says, “Yet I will gather to him others besides those who are gathered to him.”
So how was Jesus able to walk through the midst of the angry crowd in Nazareth and through the rest of His earthly life? I think it was because He was HOLDING ONTO all of the above because everything that’s been shown, all the instruction given resulted in Him being able to claim Isaiah 41:13 – For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’ In other words, God made it possible in a supernatural way.
And we must walk through the midst of our world the same way. We must keep walking in the light that we have and HOLD ON to what God says to hold on to.
Dutch Sheets recently told a group of Texas intercessors about the Chinese bamboo tree. As he explained it, when the seed is planted, watered and nurtured, it shows no evidence of growth until the fifth year. Then "suddenly" it grows 80-90 feet tall in only six weeks! This doesn't really happen suddenly because God does His work in the seed and soil from the moment the seed is planted. The evidence just doesn't become obvious until the fifth year. That is why he who planted the seed must HOLD ON and keep watering and nurturing the seed.
That is the way it is with prayer and much of our Christian ministry. We must plant, pray, decree, water, declare, and pray some more. In due time, God will bring the increase.
Years ago, a friend went with me to visit my relatives in Nebraska. It was the beginning of winter. A life-long city girl, she was enthralled with the wide open spaces and my uncle's farm. One day I left her on the farm while I went to the nearest village to visit my grandfather and have lunch with him. After walking around the farm, she asked my uncle a question at lunch time. "Why do you plant grass in the fields during the winter?" Shocked, my uncle blurted, "Grass?! Don't you know nothin'?" Meekly, my friend admitted, "No, I've always lived in the city." Amazed, my uncle gently explained that it was not grass planted in his fields; it was winter wheat which has to be planted in the late fall. After surviving the cold, harsh, Midwest winter, spring comes and the wheat produces a marvelous food product that is literally enjoyed around the world.
Doesn't this sound like the time we are currently living through? The turmoil around us is often as cold and harsh as a Nebraska winter with its freezing temperatures, wind and snow storms that sometimes turn into dangerous blizzards. But any farmer knows that spring is coming. So what does he do when he cannot work his fields? He gets himself ready for spring. He makes sure his tractor and combine and all of his other equipment is in top-notch condition so he'll be ready at the same time the wheat is ready.
We've got to do the same thing. Yes, we hold on. But while we're doing that, we need to get ourselves, our mindsets, our activities and ministries ready for the awakening and revival that we're praying for. It's no wonder that for the last 8-9 months various ministry leaders across the nation have been telling the Remnant Church to simplify our lives. In addition, Dutch Sheets recommended that we ask ourselves two questions:
- What does God want me to do differently?
- What mindset needs to change?
Are you getting the concept that "holding on" isn't a passive activity? It's not. And it can be very difficult. But, as we can see from the listed scriptures that give us often-hard commands and from the stories about the Chinese bamboo tree and the winter wheat, holding on will bring great results and much harvest.
Hold on, folks! Spring is coming! Get ready!!!