Micah 4:6-7 (NKJ)
6 “In that day,” says the LORD, “I will assemble the lame, I will gather the outcast and those whom I have afflicted;
7 I will make the lame a remnant, and the outcast a strong nation; so the LORD will reign over them in Mount Zion from now on, even forever.
Are you afflicted, lame, or an outcast? God is telling us He is in control of those He has afflicted. Doesn’t it sound wrong to say “He has afflicted?” We must rely on the fact that He is the potter and we are the clay and the Potter knows what He is doing. Our afflictions are but for the moment, if you place the span of our human lives in the perspective of eternity.
Some have been afflicted from birth, others only recently, but in every case these verses are true.
Matthew 10:29-31 (NKJ)
29 “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.
30 “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
31 “Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
Why else would Jesus have given us these words except to have us understand that God loves us, is watching over us and is totally aware of every tiny event in our lives? The fact that some are fleet of foot and others lame in this lifetime seems very unfair. But to write those words is to challenge the prerogatives of God and God alone. God knows the beginning from the end and makes the following promise.
Romans 8:28-35 (NKJ)
28 …we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.
34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
This last verse is the most telling. In spite of the temptations and trials of life, there is nothing you experience here on earth that can separate you from the love of God. God knows your heart, He knows your needs and He knows who it is that will serve Him and glorify Him in this life. Our very tiny life span, mathematically smaller than we can visualize, is but a moment and our lives but a vapor. Listen to how King David and James, the son of Joseph and Mary express this truth.
Psalm 39:4-5 (NKJ)
4 “LORD, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am.
5 Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, and my age is as nothing before You; certainly every man at his best state is but vapor.
James 4:13-15 (NKJ)
13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”;
14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.
15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”
Notice this last verse. How often have you heard people attach “Lord willing” to a statement. It is not an idle comment. What we vow to do, if the vow is made in our own strength, we must do. How often have we said, “Lord if you will only bless me in this certain way, I will serve you with all my heart.” Such prayers are often about our health. We know better than to “bargain” with the Lord over trivial, transitory needs but our health is another matter. Vows made to the Lord represent a serious obligation. Listen.
Deuteronomy 23:21-23 (NKJ)
21 “When you make a vow to the LORD your God, you shall not delay to pay it; for the LORD your God will surely require it of you, and it would be sin to you.
22 “But if you abstain from vowing, it shall not be sin to you.
23 “That which has gone from your lips you shall keep and perform, for you voluntarily vowed to the LORD your God what you have promised with your mouth.
Ecclesiastes 5:4-5 (NKJ)
4 When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; for He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed–
5 Better not to vow than to vow and not pay.
James states this fact in another way, focusing both on our need to endure our temporary circumstance with patience and on our requirement not to make promises which we intend to fulfill in and of our own strength. Listen.
James 5:10-12 (NKJ)
10 My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience.
11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord– that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.
12 But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your “Yes,” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No,” lest you fall into judgment.
It is what we do with whatever assets that God has given us during this life that determines our eternal relationship with Him. One could argue that it seems unfair that some are “blessed” more than others. Not all “blessings” are of eternal value. Some of the blessings of life weigh us down. They encumber us and the cares and worries of “this” world, become our entire agenda. We are so busy “managing our assets” that we lose sight of why God has chosen to bless us. Our blessings, our assets, become, in a sense, our liabilities. Listen to the words of Jesus.
Luke 12:48 (NKJ)
48 …For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.
We who have been blessed with physical and mental health, who have prospered and who have been blessed beyond our perceived “entitlement,” are equipped to run the race and to run it well. To the extent that we forget the source of our strength and the source of our blessings, we ignore God and claim the victory for ourselves. If that is the case, then you can understand the meaning of the following verse.
Mark 10:24-25 (NKJ)
24 …”Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God!
25 “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
None of this is to say, “I guess it is a good thing to be afflicted, lame or outcast, since very little, in comparison, is expected of me.” That is hardly the case. History is full of examples of so called “handicapped” persons functioning at extremely high levels of effectiveness, hopefully, to the glory of God.
But let’s move this discussion to what I believe is the point of the matter. The Lord said, “I will make the lame a remnant, and the outcast a strong nation; so the LORD will reign over them in Mount Zion from now on, even forever.”
To whom is He referring? I will speculate that He is referring to the “unaccountable,” those persons so disabled that they have been unable to serve God in the capacity that He and they would have preferred, and now their opportunity is going to be gloriously different in the Kingdom Age than it was during their life here. Listen.
Isaiah 35:1-10 (NKJ)
1 The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose;
2 It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, even with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the excellence of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the LORD, the excellency of our God.
3 Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees.
4 Say to those who are fearful-hearted, “Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God; he will come and save you.”
5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
6 Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert.
7 The parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water; in the habitation of jackals, where each lay, there shall be grass with reeds and rushes.
8 A highway shall be there, and a road, and it shall be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean shall not pass over it, but it shall be for others. Whoever walks the road, although a fool, shall not go astray.
9 No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast go up on it; it shall not be found there. But the redeemed shall walk there,
10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
Matthew 20:16 (NKJ)
16 “So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.”
These are wonderful promises. They are to the poor of the world who are rich in faith. Those who are the rich of the world but poor in faith will experience the very opposite reward. The blessings of this life will become their curse and will serve as a testimony against them, if they fail to understand that not one thing they possess here, is truly theirs, and not one thing on this earth will survive the judgment of God. “Every” thing belongs to God.
Colossians 1:16-17 (NKJ)
16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.
17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.
James 2:5 (NKJ)
5 Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?
In the Millennium, the Kingdom Age, Jerusalem will flourish and those nations that are left on earth will come to Jerusalem to worship the Lord and to observe the Jewish Festivals. Listen.
Zechariah 8:20-23 (NKJ)
20 “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Peoples shall yet come, inhabitants of many cities;
21 The inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, “Let us continue to go and pray before the LORD, and seek the LORD of hosts. I myself will go also.”
22 Yes, many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD.’
23 “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”‘ “
I do not see clearly, who the inhabitants of the “other strong nations” will be during the millennium, but I believe at least one group will be those who have been “last” during their life, those who were oppressed, due to no fault of their own. These may well be “first” in the millennium I believe they may actually become the leaders of the other nations and that the burden of their lives will be lifted from them.
There is another side to this scenario, if it is true. No one will ever enter the Kingdom of Heaven, that eternal state of existence, unless they are wrapped in the “cloak of righteousness,” not of their own, but of the Messiah, the savior, Jesus Christ.
Micah 7:9 (NKJ)
9 I will bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against Him, until He pleads my case and executes justice for me. He will bring me forth to the light; I will see His righteousness.
Isaiah 45:23-25 (NKJ)
23 I have sworn by Myself; the word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that to Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall take an oath.
24 He shall say, ‘Surely in the LORD I have righteousness and strength. To Him men shall come, and all shall be ashamed who are incensed against Him.
25 In the LORD all the descendants of Israel shall be justified, and shall glory.'”
1 Corinthians 1:29-31 (NKJ)
29 … no flesh should glory in His presence.
30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God– and righteousness and sanctification and redemption–
31 that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”
Our glory, no matter what our physical condition or our status, is in the Lord and it is He who shall justify us and present us to the Father. We seek His righteousness.
Recall that when Satan is loosed at the end of the 1000 years, it will be to “tempt” those who have experienced a wonderful period of blessings to somehow think that the Jews and the God “of the Jews” is their enemy. Many will fall and one final battle, fought by God against the enemies of the Nation of Israel, will ensue. This is the battle immediately preceding the Great White Throne judgment, where saints and sinners are separated, forever. (And what is a saint except one wrapped in the righteousness of Christ) Those who were “last” and have become “first,” may well allow pride and “control” to distort their judgment, just as it has distorted the judgment of so many today.
Recall as well, that during the Millennium, these heads of nations and their people will be required to attend the Feast of Tabernacles, annually in Jerusalem, or in failing to attend, their land will receive no rain and their crops will fail. Listen to that verse.
Zechariah 14:17 (NKJ)
17 And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, on them there will be no rain.
Animosity and jealousy could easily develop and according to prophecy, it will develop. That is why Satan will be loosed. No one will get into heaven by “default” or by simply being “in attendance,” nor will anyone get in “out of pity.”
We will be in heaven together because of God’s Grace and our faith in a risen Redeemer who has atoned for our sins and presents us to the Father wrapped in His righteousness, not ours. It takes a personal relationship with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit to overcome evil. and its influence, whether you are handicapped or not. The flesh will plague you, even in times of great blessings, and tempt you to sin, but the flesh, which may be very weak in this world, is perishing. You will have a new, perfect body in heaven. These are wonderful verses. Listen.
Romans 8:18 (NKJ)
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Isaiah 25:8-9 (NKJ)
8 He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces; the rebuke of His people he will take away from all the earth; for the LORD has spoken.
9 And it will be said in that day: “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for Him; we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.”
Isaiah 61:1-3 (NKJ)
1 “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; he has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn,
3 To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.”
1 Corinthians 15:54-55 (NKJ)
54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?”
Revelation 7:16-17 (NKJ)
16 “They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat;
17 “for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
Revelation 21:1-7 (NKJ)
1 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.
2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.
4 “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
5 Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”
6 And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.
7 “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.
Two final, telling, references. Listen.
Zephaniah 3:19 (NKJ)
19 Behold, at that time I will deal with all who afflict you; I will save the lame, and gather those who were driven out; I will appoint them for praise and fame in every land where they were put to shame.
Hebrews 12:11-13 (NKJ)
11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
12 Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees,
13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.
It seems too easy for we who are physically and mentally healthy to say these words of consolation and wisdom to the afflicted. We really do not understand what it is like to be in the situation of one who experiences such pain. You and I have known some wonderful examples of people who were “handicapped” and whose lives have produced astounding results, hopefully to the glory of God.
Finally, listen to Words of consolation and hope sent by God:
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NKJ)
16 …we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.
17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,
18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Praise God for His Holy Word, His love and the strength that He gives freely to us.