By Stacey Campbell
One of the greatest visitations of my life occurred when I was 18 years old, praying Isaiah 40 in my university dorm room one evening. At that time, my whole room lit up with a golden glow and I had an out-of-body experience where the Lord showed me His sovereignty over all the nations (even nations in war and conflict), and over my own life. I heard His audible voice saying, “I am Lord of the nations. And I am Lord of you. . . .” My entire future was set in motion from that one experience. I experienced what I will call “a theocentric shift,” meaning that from that experience, I understood that my life was not my own; rather, I was created for a divine destiny, before-ordained by God Himself (Eph. 2:10).
I have recently been meditating on Isaiah 40 again, and the Lord has been speaking to me about a great shift coming to the Body of Christ. It will be a theocentric shift, where the world will understand the sovereignty of God over all the nations. As Isaiah 40 clearly points out, God is Lord of the nations. In fact, they are a “drop in the bucket to Him . . . less than nothing and meaningless” (Isa. 40: 15-17). John the Baptist quoted Isaiah 40 as he prepared Israel for the first coming of the Messiah. At this time, there was a shift of heart and focus proclaimed by the “voice in the wilderness.”
Calm Before the Storm
We are living in a day where both secular and Christian prophets are prophesying disasters. The secular prophets speak of things like peak oil, global warming, earthquakes on the western coast of the US, and the economic collapse of the US, and the emerging lead economy of China. I would add something that the Lord spoke to me personally. On Rosh Hashanah in 2009, the Lord spoke a word to me where He said the following phrase: “It is the calm before the storm.” He caused me to understand that 2010 would be a year of calm and that in 2011 there would be great storms in the Middle East, as spiritual calendars of Islam and Israel collided. In 2011 the storms have begun to break and there is more to come. The natural storms (in terms of earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, hurricanes, volcanic activity) or massive explosions in weather patterns have already begun and will intensify. And the storms (in terms of the spiritual calendars of Islam and Israel) have begun to erupt. And future economic collapse is on its way for the US and the world, since the economic impact of the Japan earthquake and nuclear meltdown has still barely been felt.
Isaiah 40 is a key Scripture for the time that is unfolding on the earth. When natural, economic, and national storms of conflict break out over the earth, we must understand that God is Lord of the nations. He is sovereign over every nation, and He is ultimately making the wrong things right.
A voice is calling,"Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. "Let every valley be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; and let the rough ground become a plain, and the rugged terrain a broad valley; then the glory of the LORD will be revealed,and all flesh will see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” (Isa 40:3-5)
God is Lord of the nations, and He is Lord of His Church. There will be a preparation of the earth itself before His return. Mountains will be made low and rough ground will become a plain. There will also be a great shift in the nations where He will cause those who know Him not to fear, but to say, “Here is your God.”
Get yourself up on a high mountain, O Zion, bearer of good news, lift up your voice mightily, O Jerusalem, bearer of good news; lift it up, do not fear say to the cities of Judah,"Here is your God!"
Behold, the Lord GOD will come with might, with His arm ruling for Him behold, His reward is with Him and His recompense before Him. (Isa 40: 9-10)
As God deals with the nations of the earth in an intensified way, the earth will understand that “The Lord, he is God!” (1 Kings 18:39). “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” (Psalm 24:1). He is sovereign over all that is coming – and He knows what is coming.
The Wineskin for this Hour
Therefore, the great wineskin shift for this hour of church history will be from an ego-centric model (seeker- sensitive, equipping-oriented), to a theo-centric model (the Father’s house, with ministry to the Lord Himself). This will mandate a change in the way we do church, returning us to the biblical understanding that God’s house is a “house of prayer.” It is a place where we come as priests to minister to God. It is theocentric in its orientation. I believe that unless we build God’s house as a house of prayer, the Church will not have the spiritual strength to overcome in the increased shakings we are about to endure.
The house of prayer is the house that the Father chose for Himself (“My House will be a house of prayer . . .” Isa. 56), and it is the wineskin that will bring in the nations (it’s purpose has always been “. . . for all nations”). Like the tabernacle of David, it is birthed “so that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord.” (Acts 15:16). As the God of the nations, before whom all nations are meaningless, clears the way by leveling the high places and raising the low places, earth must come in alignment with all that He has revealed about Himself and His ultimate purpose for the earth. Those who experience a “theocentric shift,” by seeking Him in regular, consistent prayer will understand that these coming storms are part of the great preparation of the earth and its people for the bodily return of Jesus.
The good news is that there will be justice for all, especially Israel, as a result of these storms.
Why do you say, O Jacob, and assert, O Israel,
"My way is hidden from the LORD, and the justice due me escapes the notice of my God"?
God is moving in global justice. It may not look like what we expected, but God will bring justice none-the-less. Our part is to seek Him, to wait on Him for strength to endure and overcome, and for revelation on how to co-labor with Him as the kingdom(s) of this world become(s) the kingdom(s) of our Lord and His Christ (Rev. 11:15, KJV, NIV).
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired His understanding is inscrutable.
He gives strength to the weary,and to him who lacks might He increases power.
Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly,
Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary (Isa 40:28-31)
I encourage you to meditate on this Scripture and call the Church to pray. New strength, new vision, and an overcoming spirit will help us then co-labor with Jesus to bring His justice, His mercy and the revelation of His dominion and preeminence in all things.