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Overcoming Our Assyrians

Overcoming Our Assyrians

| On 16, Dec 2014

KEY TEXT
Isaiah 30:29-33 (RSV)

V29- You shall have a song as in the night when a holy feast is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one sets out to the sound of the flute to go the mountain of the LORD, to the Rock of Israel.

V30- And the LORD will cause his majestic voice to be heard and the descending blow of his arm to be seen, in furious anger and a flame of devouring fire, with a cloud burst and tempest and hailstones.

V31- The Assyrians will be terror stricken at the voice of the LORD, when he smites with his rod.

V32- And every stroke of the staff of punishment which the LORD lays upon them will be to the sound of timbrels and lyres; battling with brandished arm he will fight with them.

V33- For a burning place has long been prepared; yea, for the king it is made ready, its pyre made deep and wide, with fire and wood in abundance; the breath of the LORD, like a stream of brimstone, kindles it.

Psychology, the science of the mind or of mental state and processes has become an important and popular subject in this modern century.

Today, we can have easy access to psychological analysis of our mental process and thereby get to understand the structure of our beliefs and behavior.

Our key text introduces us to this enemy of Israel called the Assyrians. The Assyrians besieged and bullied the children of Israel in their THINKING, during the reign of Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 32). They tried to mess up the mental process and the mental state of mind of the people of God so that they would react wrongly before God and their king.

This morning my sermon is about our mind. I would like to title my sermon as ‘OVERCOMING OUR ASSYRIANS.”

(1) WHO ARE THE ASSYRIANS?

Their original name in the Bible is Asshur.

1. Asshur as a person, is the second son of Shem (Genesis 10:22). He occupied the region called Assyria or Assur. Asshur went to Assyria and built Nineveh (Genesis 10:11).

2. People of Asshur in the Bible is often described as the INVADING ARMY (Numbers 24:22) and even WORLD POWER.

3. They are used by God to punish the Northern Kingdom of Israel for their idolatry. It is the Assyrians who brought them into captivity and slavery.

4. The Assyrians in the Bible are always being portrayed as the ENEMY of Israel.

(2) WHAT DO THE ASSYRIANS REPRESENT?

1. ANYTHING OR ANYONE WHO BESIEGES, INVADES AND OPPRESSES OUR MIND
2 Chronicles 32:1- After these things and these acts of faithfulness Sennacherib king of Assyria came and invaded Judah and encamped against the fortified cities, thinking to win them for himself.

The Bible tells us in 2 Chronicles 31:21 about the successful ministry King Hezekiah undertook for the house of God and after all these fruitful and successful exploits of Hezekiah, the Assyrian King Sennecherib came and invaded Judah and encamped against the fortified cities, thinking to win Judah for himself.

Application: The mental onslaught of the devil is always after a great time we have had with the Lord, whether it is a victorious revival camp; a heart transforming encounter with the Lord, a sweet quiet time with the Lord or even an amazing activation of prophetic gifting.

Like Sennecherib, our enemy always harbors great thinking of his own ability to win us and take what is ours for himself.

Sennecherib oppressed the children of Israel through mind play. Because he thought of himself as an intelligent thinker, he thought he could defeat the children of Israel by confusing them in their thinking.

First of all he sowed seeds of lies and doubts into the minds of children of Israel about King Hezekiah.

2 Chronicles 32:9-11 – After this Sennecherib king of Assyria, who was besieging Lachish with all his forces, sent his servants to Jerusalem to Hezekiah king of Judah and to all the people of Judah that were in Jerusalem, saying, “Thus says Sennecherib king of Assyria, ‘On what are you relying, that you stand siege in Jerusalem? Is not Hezekiah misleading you, that he may give you over to die by famine and by thirst, when he tells you, “The Lord our God will deliver us from the hand of the King of Assyria”?

Application: Has someone poisoned your mind lately about your pastors and your leaders? Has someone spoken something negatively about your leaders that cause you to doubt the integrity and credibility of your leaders?

Secondly, he proceeded to plant thoughts that would cause the children of Israel to cast contempt on the Lord God.
V17-And he wrote letters to cast contempt on the LORD the God of Israel and to speak against him, saying, “Like the gods of the nations of the lands have not delivered their people from my hands, so the God of Hezekiah will not deliver his people from my hand.

Application: How many times too have we doubted God of His ability to help us and to fulfill all the promises he gave us. It is actually the Assyrian spirit casting contempt in our mind against God. Some of us have even gone further by casting contempt upon ourselves. We hate ourselves so much to the point as if the love of God is lesser than our self worth.

The goal of the Assyrians is “to frighten and terrify them, in order that they might take the city” (verse 18).

Application: So does the enemy of our soul – he loves to frighten and terrify us in our mind and our thinking in order that he might take our inheritance and our blessing. He loves to sow doubts, fears, and lies into our minds.

So we can see here that there are wrong thoughts coming and invading our minds. These wrong thoughts would encamp against our fortified mind. They are stubborn and they won’t leave our mind easily. They camp outside us, whispering and suggesting wrong things about our life, about our future, about God, about our families and our children, about our church and even about ourselves. We have to watch out lest these wrong thoughts infiltrate our mental process and we will then begin to experience demonic oppression in our thinking pattern, leading to depression and wrong behavior.

2. REASONING
Isaiah 10:6,7,13 (KJV)- Woe unto Asshur, the rod of Mine anger, he thinketh not right, neither doth his heart meditate right, he hath said, By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom, because I am intelligent.

Asshur denotes REASONING, of whom Isaiah said he did not think right; neither did his heart meditate right and he did things by his own wisdom because he was intelligent.

So the Assyrians represent wrong reasoning that stems from the wrong meditation of our heart and inflated idea about our own intelligence and wisdom.

Application: Are you controlled by this Assyrian spirit of reasoning? You love to use your own reason to understand prophecy, speaking in tongues and the things of God. You think you are very wise and hate to take counsel from others. You based your reasoning from your secular attainments and credentials. You love to use logic more than faith in God. The meditation of your heart is not on the Word of God but from your vanity and your own wisdom. The way you reason and think in your mind is so different from what God thinks and what the Bible says. For instance, you reason that good works will earn you a place in the Bible. You reason that a good God will not send Typhoon Yolanda and therefore since there is so much devastation wrought by Typhoon Yolanda, you think therefore God is bad and He is not worth your trust. These are all wrong, fallen and degenerate way of reasoning.

You cannot use your human reasoning to understand the ways of God. You have to use divine reasoning and faith to understand the workings of God in our lives.

3. MEMORY KNOWLEDGE
Ezekiel 16:26, 28, 29 – O Jerusalem, thou hast also committed whoredom with the sons of Egypt, thou hast committed whoredom also with the sons of Asshur, and thou hast multiplied thy whoredom even into the land of Canaan unto Chaldea

Egypt denotes MEMORY-KNOWLEDGES.

Asshur denotes REASONING – Reasoning from memory-knowledge concerning spiritual matters.

Here we see that when we use our memory knowledge to reason the things of God, we commit spiritual whoredom or harlotry or prostitution. We become defiled.

Human memory is defined as the faculty by which our minds encode, learn, store, recall information.

Memory is not just retention or storage of information. It is also the use of past experiences to affect or influence our current behavior.

All memories are stored in our subconscious minds. And it powerfully influences our behaviors and actions. It literally shapes who we have become. Essentially our subconscious mind (which constitutes 90% of our mind) has been developed over years of ‘programming’ through experience, exposure and education.

Today, there are many of us who are using our past memories and our past experiences to form our reasoning and our belief system. This interferes with God’s way of reasoning.

E.g. You have been rejected and given away as a child and therefore this memory of rejection stays with you. When you grow up, this memory knowledge begins to shape and cement your belief system and reasoning – DO NOT EASILY TRUST OR LOVE PEOPLE. This becomes your mental oppression.

I don’t know what your bad memory knowledge is but if it has infiltrated into your reasoning and causes you to have distorted reasoning about spiritual matters and about God, then in the eyes of God it is whoredome. We are letting our past issue interfere with the pure word of God and we need to be set free from the bad memory knowledge.

(3) HOW TO OVERCOME OUR ASSYRIANS
Isaiah 30:29- You shall have a song as in the night when a holy feast is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one sets out to the sound of the flute to go the mountain of the LORD, to the Rock of Israel.

1. SONGS OF DARKNESS
God gives songs in the night, that is when our minds are overcast by dark clouds of oppressive thoughts, wrong reasoning and painful and bad memories. God in His providence and promise is sufficient, not only to support us with a strong frame of mind but also to fill us with joy and consolation, to enable us in everything to give thanks, and even to rejoice in our depression.

In our dark mental moments, when we can’t think of any bright things about God, about ourselves or about our situation, God’s presence is a melody in the heart. He gives songs in the night.

If we are to find a song in the night, we must expect that God will give even in the midnight of our darkest thoughts, the songs that have the power to transform the present gloom of night in our thoughts into a hope of a bright morning.

E.g. William Cowper, the Depressed Hymn writer
William Cowper, who wrote the hymn – God moves in a mysterious way; His wonders to perform; he plants His footsteps in the sea and rides upon the storm; was born in England on November 26, 1731. His life was full of personal anguish. At 5, his mother died and Cowper, a timid and sensitive child, was treated with great cruelty by an older boy. Other school experiences were also painful. At 18, William began to study law, and fell in love with his cousin Theodora Cowper, but her father did not approve of the match. Neither of them ever married. After completing law studies he made little exertion in the field. Later he was offered a government position for which he would have to be examined. William was so terrified of having to answer questions that he worked himself into a fit of madness. At one point he became so despondent that he attempted suicide. After time in a private asylum, he recovered his reason. Cowper moved to the country town of Olney, where John Newton, the ex-slaver, was pastor. Soon they were close friends. In 1771, Newton became concerned with Cowper’s increasing melancholy. Hoping to lift his spirits by keeping him busy, Newton suggested that he and Cowper co-author a book of hymns. Newton himself wrote hymns to illustrate his Sunday sermons. “Amazing Grace” is one of the 280 hymns he wrote for the Olney Hymns. Cowper wrote 68 of the hymns including “Oh for a closer walk with God,” “God moves in a mysterious ways,” and “There is a fountain filled with blood.”

2. GLADNESS OF HEART
Isaiah 30:29- You shall have a song as in the night when a holy feast is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one sets out to the sound of the flute to go the mountain of the LORD, to the Rock of Israel.

Learn to cultivate gladness of heart by PRAISING God.

The gladness of heart is SET OUT TO THE SOUND OF THE FLUTE.

That means in order to cultivate a heart of gladness we must attune our hearts to the sound of music like the flute. Praising God with music does NEGATE THE POISON IN OUR MIND. The gladness of heart will displace the depression in our mind.

E.g. I thank God for activating 80 of our SCG advanced students with prophetic gifting. I have been hearing very good news from the leaders. One girl was so ministered by Sis Michelle Sampani’s prophetic words to her last week that she has become very hungry to search for God in the Bible. She even accepted Christ as her personal Savior. But the next thing I want God to activate in you is WARFARE PRAISE. We all need to learn how to SING PROPHETICALLY in order to destroy the enemy’s stronghold in our mind. Some of you have been bombarded by homosexual thoughts; some by immoral and dirty thought; some by self-deprecating thoughts; some by suicidal thoughts; some by depressing thought and some by fearful thoughts. All these are the spirit of the Assyrians and in order to bring them down, you need to learn to sing in your darkest mental moments and you need to learn to engage in warfare praise to God.

EFFECTS OF OUR SONGS AND PRAISE

V29- You shall have a song as in the night when a holy feast is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one sets out to the sound of the flute to go the mountain of the LORD, to the Rock of Israel.

V30- And the LORD will cause his majestic voice to be heard and the descending blow of his arm to be seen, in furious anger and a flame of devouring fire, with a cloud burst and tempest and hailstones.

V31- The Assyrians will be terror stricken at the voice of the LORD, when he smites with his rod.

V32- And every stroke of the staff of punishment which the LORD lays upon them will be to the sound of timbrels and lyres; battling with brandished arm he will fight with them.

V33- For a burning place has long been prepared; yea, for the king it is made ready, its pyre made deep and wide, with fire and wood in abundance; the breath of the LORD, like a stream of brimstone, kindles it.

• GO TO THE MOUNTAIN OF THE LORD
V29- You shall have a song as in the night when a holy feast is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one sets out to the sound of the flute to go the mountain of the LORD, to the Rock of Israel.

(Mountain = high place = your mind will be lifted up from gloom to glory)

• GO TO THE ROCK OF ISRAEL
V29- You shall have a song as in the nite….. as when one sets out to the sound of the flute to go the mountain of the LORD, to the Rock of Israel.

(God will be the security and the anchor of your restless and storm battered mind)

• HEAR THE MAJESTIC VOICE OF GOD
V30- And the LORD will cause his majestic voice to be heard

(You will hear the prophetic voice of God which is majestic as against the condemning voice you have been hearing in your mind. It is a voice of judgment against the enemies of your mind)

• DESCENDING BLOW OF GOD’S ARM AGAINST THE STRONGHOLDS IN YOUR MIND
V30- and the descending blow of his arm to be seen, in furious anger and a flame of devouring fire, with a cloud burst and tempest and hailstones.

(You will witness God coming down strong on your mental oppressor. Descending blow means your deliverance is on the way down from heaven to you.)

• THE ASSYRIANS WILL BE TERROR STRICKEN AT THE VOICE OF THE LORD
V31- The Assyrians will be terror stricken at the voice of the LORD, when he smites with his rod.

(Every lies, fear and wrong thinking and reasoning and bad past memories will be terror stricken at the prophetic voice of the Lord.)

• THE ASSYRIANS WILL BE CAST INTO THE PIT OF HELL
V33- For a burning place has long been prepared; yea, for the king it is made ready, its pyre made deep and wide, with fire and wood in abundance; the breath of the LORD, like a stream of brimstone, kindles it.

(All those oppressive thoughts and lies, reasoning and painful memories will be cast into hell.)

ONE CONDITION
V32- And every stroke of the staff of punishment which the LORD lays upon them [Assyrians] will be to the sound of timbrels and lyres; battling with brandished arm he will fight with them.

God will battle alongside with you with His brandished arm against the Assyrian in your mind. But every stroke of the rod/staff of punishment which he lays upon every wrong thought, every oppressive thought, every wrong reasoning and bad memory WILL BE IN PROPORTION TO THE SOUND OF YOUR PRIASE (TIMBREL AND LYRES). Thus the very importance of warfare praise which our church must activate.

CONCLUSION
We are living in a very complex world. Our mental process and state of mind are always under bombardment from the world and sin. Depression has become a common mental ailment in our world today. Psychology and psychiatry have become popular subjects in the universities and many professionals in this field are out there trying to help many who are oppressed mentally. For us as Christians, we are not spared. There are many things and many people who oppress our minds; many wrong reasoning that we have picked up from the world and from our fallen nature and many painful memory knowledge that have affected our walk with God and with men. These are the invasion and oppression of the Assyrians spirit in our minds. Learn to sing the song in the night. Learn to cultivate gladness of heart through praising God. That is a great DETOX for our poisoned mind.

Once we engage in songs and praises to the Lord, He will help us to go to his Mountain and experience Him as the Rock in our thinking. He will come down in full fury and defeat our oppressive enemies of our mind.

Do you have an Assyrian in your mind?

You can overcome all the oppressive thoughts in your minds. Sing and praise Him! That’s the simple way of God’s victory against your Assyrian!

END
PREACHED AT ETAB ON 14 DEC 2014 SECOND ENG SV

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