The Divine Hour, the Divine Purpose, the Divine Vessel
Dear Z3 News followers,
I bring you greetings in the name of the Most High and His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
The United States is in the season, and also rapidly approaching the moment, when it will be presented with the opportunity to elect its next president. Wherever you find yourself on the election issue, you have to be prepared to face the consequences of your discernment and, therefore, your resulting alignment. And this is a word that will not only stress the importance of discerning and aligning rightly but also present clear biblical evidence to underscore that your decisions and actions will have their implications.
Let me also clearly state what this word is not.
It is not a prediction about whether or not there will be an election. It is not an assertion of who will win the election. It is not a decree about who must win the election. It is not a divine injunction about whether one should or shouldn’t vote and if one does vote which presidential candidate should receive his/her affirmation.
If this word is none of that, then what is it?
A nanogram of the tremendous weight of evidence from biblical history for you to thoughtfully ponder before you decide on a course of action, because whatever your decision and your consequent action (individually and corporately), accordingly will be the subsequent ramification.
I had long decided before this season even dawned that I would not involve myself in any election-related debate or discussion. Yet on October 5, this year, when I was working hard to meet a stiff editing deadline, on a project totally unrelated to this subject, I perceived that the Holy Spirit was showing me certain things in the Word. And I discerned that what I was seeing was significant in light of the upcoming US election.
Not very enthused or interested in receiving what I was being shown, I jostled with the whole thing through most of the day, until toward evening, I felt like I inadvertently began to have a tête-à-tête with the Lord. I did not hear an audible voice, but it was as if for every question I had, the Holy Spirit reminded me of the Word.
For your benefit, here is the conversation:
I thought Michael Perritte received a word from You (https://z3news.com/w/election-total-distraction/) saying that the upcoming 2020 US presidential election is a distraction. In that case, why does it matter whether people vote or not vote? Would we be not disobedient to Your counsel if we concerned ourselves with this election then?
I also told Martha that her obsession with her household chores was a distraction (Luke 10:41). Do you think that meant she ought to have ignored her household responsibilities? Does that mean you should ignore your responsibilities?
Er . . . I guess not.
James says that the Jesuits control both parties, and I believe he is right. In that case, isn’t the whole thing a sham? Aren’t the elections rigged, the outcome already determined, and the winner already decided?
If the Jesuits control both parties, then I Am the One who is sovereign over all the kingdoms on earth (Dan. 4:17). If the election outcome is already determined, then I Am the One who has also determined the end of all things (Isa. 44:7). Does that make your life and everybody else’s lives a sham? Just because I know the end from the beginning (Isa. 46:10), does that mean you or anybody else for that matter have no roles/responsibilities in this world? Just because I have foreknowledge of people’s choices and actions (Exod. 3:19), does that mean they are not accountable for them? Or do I suddenly become responsible to do their part for them?
Errr . . . no.
But why me? I am not even a US citizen. Why not give this counsel directly to some pastor/preacher/disciple in the United States itself? Who am I, and why should the Americans listen to me? Do I have any stake in their presidential election or in their choice of president?
Jonah was not a Ninevite either. Yet I sent him to Nineveh with My message, didn’t I (Jon. 1:1–2)?
Uh . . . yes.
So any more questions?
Um . . . You do know what’s going to happen and how it’s all going to work out, no?
Any doubts? I knew what the Ninevites would do even before I sent Jonah to preach to them.
I guess I always kind of knew that.
Now are you ready to relay them the message I’ve given you?
Good! Then do it.
Here is what I believe the Holy Spirit is showing me. Please weigh up these words with the Word of God and the Holy Spirit.
How critical is it to be able to discern the hour on God’s clock? Are there consequences to missing out on His purposes for the hour? Does it matter if we correctly discern God’s vessel of choice for the hour, if indeed He has one? Can we get away with aligning with the wrong person?
Let’s examine some scriptures.
In Genesis 41, God’s clock indicated that in seven earth years there was going to be a severe famine lasting another seven years. God’s purpose in that hour was clearly to preserve the world through the famine. And His vessel of choice to do so was a convicted prisoner—a man convicted on false charges, yes, but a convict nonetheless. And what was the man convicted of? The attempted rape of his former master’s wife (Gen. 39:13–20).
Let that sink in for a bit . . .
If Pharaoh had failed to discern that this convicted prisoner was God’s vessel of choice to reveal the hour that was at hand and also His vessel of choice to shepherd him, his household, the whole of Egypt, and even the then-known world through an incredibly long and severe famine, what might have happened?
Yet there are people about us today who if present during that time would have reasoned thus:
Pharaoh’s lost his mind. Just because he had some dreams, he has appointed ruler over the whole of Egypt a convict that one of his own officials had imprisoned! And do you know what this guy was in prison for? The attempted rape of that official’s wife! I mean, come on! Since when do we make policy decisions based on a couple of dreams? And who in their right mind elevates a convicted prisoner to the highest office in the land? I don’t know about you, but if the famine of this woman-molesting so-called dreamer-interpreter foreigner comes to pass, I’d rather perish in the famine than submit to the authority of such a man and live off his provisions!
Some people’s response to God’s vessel of choice for the hour is no better than “I’d rather die than align with him!”
That is such an overarching generalization! You are simply being presumptuous.
Really? Isn’t there a particular dreamer-interpreter we all have heard of recently? And just how are some of us treating him?
Is God somehow obligated to only select His vessel of choice for the hour by democratic nomination, or by popular vote? And if His choice doesn’t match up to our self-righteous standards, can we reject him? Is it a light matter if we choose to do so?
Here is something else to consider. Pharaoh’s dreams had a little detail.
The seven thin, sickly, and ugly cows ate up the seven well-fed and healthy cows that had come up first. And the seven thin and withered heads of grain swallowed up the seven full and good heads of grain (Gen. 41:17–24).
At the end of the first dream, only the seven thin, sickly, and ugly cows were left standing. At the end of the second dream, only the seven thin and withered heads of grain were left standing.
What if Joseph had discerned that in spite of a seven-year period of abundance, the subsequent seven years of famine would be so severe that there was no hope for survival and that, therefore, there was no point in storing up grain to prepare for the famine?
And what if on the basis of this flawed judgment, Joseph had chosen not to prepare for the famine at all?
What if his counsel to Pharaoh had been thus?
God is telling Pharaoh that after a seven-year period of abundance, there will be a severe seven-year famine, through which the whole world is going to perish, and therefore, over the next seven years, you and everybody else should put their affairs in order, because by the end of the seven years of famine, we’ll all be dead.
That would have been a ridiculous conclusion!
You have judged correctly.
In hindsight, we know that it would have been the wrong call to make. But at that time, from that little detail, could it not have seemed to our finite, carnal minds that no one was going to survive?
God’s clear will and purpose for the hour then was to preserve the world through the famine. But here is the takeaway:
You can through your own ignorance, flawed discernment, and subsequent action/inaction subvert God’s desired will and purpose.
I can understand that I am accountable for my actions. Are you saying I am even accountable for my inaction?
But . . . doesn’t God’s will always get done in this world?
The weight of Scripture argues against that train of thought. You just need to study it in greater depth.
Stay with me as we investigate more of the Scripture to see what happened to people who failed to rightly discern and align with God’s purpose and vessel of choice in a critical hour and if, in the end, it mattered whether they did so ignorantly or purposely.
Let’s look at a very well-liked character in the Bible: Jonathan—son of Saul, the first monarch of the united Israelite kingdom. We first hear of him in 1 Samuel 13. This Israelite prince is not just a privileged young man; he is also a brave warrior. A few chapters later, we read of the strong bond of friendship and brotherly love that develops between David and Jonathan. Even when Jonathan knew that David, and not he, was going to inherit the throne, he remained loyal to David and protected David from his father, Saul. His character is exemplary and certainly worthy of emulation.
But at a crucial juncture, Jonathan erred, and fatally so. It is honorable for a son to go into battle alongside his father and fight his enemies, shoulder to shoulder with him. But this was God’s hour to bring an end to Saul’s reign and begin establishing David’s reign over all Israel. It was not Saul, but David who was God’s vessel of choice for the hour. And Jonathan’s ignorant decision in that hour to not stay with David—even though he knew that David was destined to become king over all Israel—but to align with his father in battle against the Philistines proved deadly (1 Sam. 31:1–2).
Was this what David and Jonathan had envisioned together for the future? We read in 1 Samuel 23:16–18 (HCSB; emphasis, mine),
Then Saul’s son Jonathan came to David in Horesh and encouraged him in his faith in God, saying, “Don’t be afraid, for my father Saul will never lay a hand on you. You yourself will be king over Israel, and I’ll be your second-in-command. Even my father Saul knows it is true.” Then the two of them made a covenant in the Lord’s presence. Afterward, David remained in Horesh, while Jonathan went home.
Did you get that?
“You yourself will be king over Israel, and I’ll be your second-in-command.”
Jonathan not only expected to see David become king but also expected to be his right-hand man throughout his reign. He was not expecting to die in battle against the heathen Philistines.
Was it only Jonathan who paid the price for his faulty judgment? No. His young son also paid a price.
Saul’s son Jonathan had a son whose feet were crippled. He was five years old when the report about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. The one who had nursed him picked him up and fled, but as she was hurrying to flee, he fell and became lame. His name was Mephibosheth. (2 Sam. 4:4, HCSB; emphasis, mine)
If Jonathan had aligned with David and stayed with him at that critical juncture, would Mephibosheth’s nurse have had to flee? And if she wouldn’t have had any reason to flee, could things have turned out differently for Mephibosheth?
Wow! I certainly never pondered that!
Maybe it’s time we started pondering those little details, huh?
You see, Jonathan did not perish in battle because he was evil. He was an admirable man, but he failed to discern the hour that was, and his flawed discernment in the matter caused him to make a decision that wrought for him and his son a very different future from what he had envisioned.
You could be a man of commendable character, even faultless, but if you are ignorant of the hour on God’s clock and fail to discern His purposes for the hour and His vessel of choice for the hour, your resulting decisions and actions might end up costing you way more than you could have ever imagined or bargained for, and you may not get a second chance to set it right.
Moving on, in 2 Samuel 15, we read of Absalom’s rise to power. And going back to 2 Samuel 12 (vv. 11–12), we understand that Absalom’s rise to power is actually a part of God’s judgment upon David for his horrendous sin in the matter of Uriah the Hittite. And among those aligned with Absalom in this hour was Ahithophel the Gilonite (2 Sam. 15:12, 31). Of what consequence is this detail?
Umm . . .
Do you know who Ahithophel the Gilonite was?
Err . . .
We read in 2 Samuel 16:23 (HCSB),
Now the advice Ahithophel gave in those days was like someone asking about a word from God—such was the regard that both David and Absalom had for Ahithophel’s advice.
He was a highly regarded royal counselor. But that was not all that Ahithophel was. He was also something else, a very significant something else.
David had a group of 30 chief warriors, and among these 30 was Eliam son of Ahithophel the Gilonite (2 Sam. 23:34). And why does it matter that Ahithophel the Gilonite had a son by the name of Eliam? Let’s read 2 Samuel 11:3 (HCSB; emphasis, mine).
So David sent someone to inquire about her, and he reported, “This is Bathsheba, daughter of Eliam and wife of Uriah the Hittite.”
Ahithophel the Gilonite was also Bathsheba’s grandfather.
No. A big UH-OH.
In light of what had just transpired in Bathsheba’s life, what would have been Ahithophel’s state of mind?
Forgive me, but I am going to put this to you in the starkest, coarsest terms I possibly can.
If I were to seduce your married granddaughter; commit adultery with her; get her pregnant; try to cover up the pregnancy by manipulating circumstances to show that I had nothing to do with it; and failing to do so, get her husband killed in battle and cover up his murder as a casualty of war; and then take her as my own wife, what would you desire to do to me?
When you realize that not only have I made your married granddaughter an adulteress, worthy of death under the law of Moses, but also a widow and then the mother of a dead son, are you sure you wouldn’t want to see me destroyed off the face of the earth?
You perverse man, you are right! If you were to even harbor such thoughts toward only just one of my children, I would find you wherever you are and wipe out all memory of you from under heaven!
Ahithophel had every humanly conceivable and justifiable reason to align against David. And he did, purposely and maliciously.
No question, David was under God’s judgment. Yet it wasn’t the hour on God’s clock to appoint a successor to the throne of Israel, and neither was it God’s purpose to do away with David himself. David was still God’s vessel of choice for that hour.
But Ahithophel failed to discern that. He failed to discern the hour that was and that it wasn’t Absalom, but still David who, in spite of his gross and awful sin, was God’s vessel of choice for the hour, and the course of action Ahithophel undertook as a result of his flawed discernment ended up costing him his life.
When Ahithophel realized that his advice had not been followed, he saddled his donkey and set out for his house in his hometown. He set his affairs in order and hanged himself. So he died and was buried in his father’s tomb. (2 Sam. 17:23, HCSB; emphasis, mine)
Do you remember what we just read above?
“I’d rather die than align with him!”
Uh . . . yeah . . .
Yeah, some people have such an over-inflated sense of their “righteousness” that they would rather die than align with God’s vessel of choice for the hour whom they perceive to be somehow beneath them on the scale of righteousness. Are you one of them?
Gulp . . .
Let’s now turn to 1 Kings. From the life and history of one king of Israel, we are going to glean several lessons about discerning and aligning rightly.
In 1 Kings 1, we see that it is the hour for God to appoint a successor to David. And God’s vessel of choice is the young and inexperienced Solomon. Joab and Abiathar discerned the hour, but they failed to discern God’s man for the hour and ended up aligning with the wrong man, Adonijah.
It is noteworthy that Benaiah and Zadok were contemporaries to Joab and Abiathar. All four of them had been steadfastly loyal to David and had stuck with him through thick and thin. Benaiah and Joab served together as officers in David’s army, and Zadok and Abiathar served together as priests. Yet at a pivotal moment, two of the four aligned rightly, and two aligned wrongly.
Joab lost his life and, with that, his place in the royal army (1 Kings 2:29–34), and Abiathar lost the priesthood (1 Kings 2:26–27).
You cannot rely on the discernment of your comrades no matter how long they have faithfully served the Lord. If you follow other believers blindly, then when they discern and align wrongly, so will you.
I thought I could just follow the believing crowd.
Well, you thought wrong.
Moreover, we read in 1 Kings 2:35 (HCSB),
Then the king appointed Benaiah son of Jehoiada in Joab’s place over the army, and he appointed Zadok the priest in Abiathar’s place.
Aligning with the wrong man at the wrong time may not result in the loss of your life, but it can result in the loss of your calling and your ministry. And somebody else will be raised up to take your place, a place that would have remained yours if you had discerned and aligned rightly.
I think I can see why that might be worse than death.
You are seeing correctly.
And what about Adonijah? He had already received a royal pardon for his misadventure (1 Kings 1:51–53), and it was clear to him who was God’s man for the hour (1 Kings 2:15). Yet he tried to manipulate circumstances to subvert God’s will for the hour. And don’t we know what happened as a result (1 Kings 2:23–25)?
Attempting to manipulate/subvert God’s clear will and purpose for the hour, no matter what your reasons are, can be a shortcut to the grave.
And now here is a curveball.
While in 1 Kings 1 Solomon is indeed God’s vessel of choice for the hour, by 1 Kings 11, even though Solomon is still on the throne, things have gone horribly wrong, and God rules against Solomon and gives ten tribes of Solomon’s kingdom to His new vessel of choice, Jeroboam (1 Kings 11:30–31).
God’s vessel of choice today need not necessarily be His vessel of choice tomorrow.
I don’t understand . . . Why would God do such a thing? Are you saying He makes mistakes in His choices?
He doesn’t. But He leaves open the possibility for His vessel of choice to make mistakes, even grave mistakes. That is an inevitable outcome of His giving us the freedom to choose.
And what does Solomon do once he comes to know of this development? Just like Saul perceived David to be a threat to his reign and tried to kill him, Solomon perceived Jeroboam a threat and tried to kill him (1 Kings 11:40).
From being in the image of his father, David, at the beginning of his reign, Solomon had transformed to being in the image of his father’s persecutor, Saul, by the end of his reign.
Quite a transformation, don’t you think, of a chosen vessel of God?
Saul was once God’s vessel of choice. So was Solomon. To align with God in that hour, one had to align with them. But at a certain point, they were no longer the divine vessel of choice, even if in Solomon’s case, a certain grace was extended to him.
Being in alignment with God can mean being in alignment with a man, but being in alignment with a man does not always translate to being in alignment with God. And you have to know the difference.
This is not working out to be as simple and clear cut as I’d imagined . . .
You are certainly right about that.
Solomon did not just wake up one day and decide “I am going to rebel against God.” No, the seeds of disobedience and rebellion were sown in his heart over a very, very long period of time, while he was still unequivocally and undisputedly God’s vessel of choice (1 Kings 11:1–8).
A vessel may be the divine choice for the hour, but that does not mean that every decision the vessel makes and every action he/she takes is of God or has the approval of God.
How are you handling the curveball?
I am all confused right now!
We ain’t done yet.
Now let us look at Deuteronomy 17:17b.
He must not acquire very large amounts of silver and gold for himself.
This is a clear commandment from the law of Moses forbidding an Israelite monarch from accumulating great riches for himself.
Compare this passage with 1 Kings 10:14–29. Please read it. Now, from this passage, doesn’t Solomon appear to be in clear violation of the above commandment?
Yes, yes, he most certainly does.
But here is another curveball, a divine curveball.
What? What did you just say?
In addition, I [God Himself] will give you what you did not ask for: both riches and honor, so that no man in any kingdom will be your equal during your entire life. (1 Kings 3:13, HCSB; emphasis, mine)
It was God Himself who gave King Solomon his incredible wealth and riches.
Did not God give a clear command in Deuteronomy 17:17 that an Israelite monarch was not supposed to accumulate very large amounts of silver and gold? Then why is God contravening His own commandment in 1 Kings 3:13?
If it wasn’t God, but me whom you’d heard making such “contradictory” statements, wouldn’t you conclude I was having a bout of schizophrenia or worse? What does this do for your discernment?
Honestly, I don’t know anymore! But what I do know is that you have now totally messed up my discernment!
Sorry, but maybe that’s because most of the time what we conveniently throw around as “exercising discernment” is simply walking and judging after the flesh.
What do you mean?
- I believe she will make a great wife because she is a wonderful person, very attractive, and a great cook.
- I am leaving America because it is morally and spiritually bankrupt.
- I will not listen to a preacher who wears clothes with an ABC logo.
- A righteous God will not appoint a convicted felon to the highest office in the land.
- I believe he is a good man because he provides very well for his family.
- A believer of Jesus Christ does not call himself a sadhu.
- I am going to study robotics and artificial intelligence because it is a very lucrative field for a career right now.
- I go to XYZ church, because Mom recommend it, and I’ve found the people there to be very nice.
- I am relocating to Ireland because I just landed a great job there with a great pay.
- My extensive, 41-year study of the Bible in Hebrew and Greek has convinced me that we are going to be raptured, with the first light of the morning, on December 21, 2020.
I’m still puzzled. Some of these claims are absurd, but what’s wrong with the rest?
The simple fact that God is not involved in any of these claims.
So, can you discern the divine hour? Can you discern the divine purposes for the hour? Is there or isn’t there a divine choice for the hour? What does your discernment tell you? In what direction is it aligning you? Have you carefully considered the course of action to pursue? And are you sure that it is the right thing to do?
Author: Sujit Thomas
Sujit was working in Chennai in late 2015 when the Lord began to nudge him to draw closer to Him. That was the beginning of a major spiritual transformation in his life, and he has not looked back since. As someone who has experienced God’s undeserving love, grace, and mercy personally, Sujit would like people to know that the Lord has no pleasure in the death of the unrighteous, but would rather see them repent and live.