Avoiding Captivity

– by Brett Johnson

“. . . but they have no regard for the deeds of the Lord, no respect for the work of his hands.” – Isaiah 5:12

Some years ago, I went into a business near Cape Town and the manager asked for prayer. I asked him, “Do you know the history of what God has done in this business before you joined it?”. He had little chance of knowing, since there was no official record. What is it that causes people to “perish” or go into “captivity”? The answer that is usually given is “lack of vision/knowledge.” – this is only part of the story. We have to ask, “What is it that they did not have knowledge about?”. To understand this better, we have to read the beginning of the Isaiah. It talks about a people who are socially and economically sophisticated: they have mansions, expand their businesses, know their wines, and are music connoisseurs. But they don’t really know God, are unjust, and unrighteous. 

Always remember what God has done
“Therefore my people will go into exile”. Emphasising what comes after the “therefore”—lack of vision or understanding—rather than what comes before the “therefore” misses the point. The big issue is this: having “no regard for the deeds of the Lord” — forgetting the incredible things God has done, and having “no respect for the work of his hands.” What does this mean to us? If we forget what God has done in our businesses, if we lose sight of the way He works; if we do not endeavour to do business and live God’s way after having received insights, then we run the risk of slipping backwards, of going into spiritual exile. After we have seen God move in our hearts, and witnessed miracles in our lives and the lives of others, we need to diligently remember what God has done.

The word of our testimony
Let me say it again: we need to remember – gather regularly, tell stories, build faith, and spur each another on to greater things. When I sit long enough in a good coffee shop, my clothes carry the aroma home. Let’s recount the victories so that when we go back to our individual factories or offices or stores, we carry with us the smell of victory, the air of the Kingdom, the aroma of the King. The word of our testimony will preserve hard won spiritual capital, overcome the enemy, and establish spiritual markers on the contour of our cities. Not knowing is worse than knowing and forgetting, for in the latter we are more accountable. “Woe to you . . . for if the miracles that were performed in your city were performed in Sodom and Gomorrah, they would have repented.” 

Miracles bring cities to repentance
We are stewards not just of our assets, but of the God-in-my-business story with which He has entrusted us. Failing to remember and failing to implement what we know of God’s ways will cut off the flow of fresh revelation. This is a sure way to stagnation, corporate captivity, and spiritual exile. So, let’s remember to remember: “the deeds of the Lord . . . the works of his hands.”

JOY! Magazine (July 2018)

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