“Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts.”
This week, I was working my way through a checklist as I prepared to welcome family and friends home for the holidays.
As I went to sleep one night, I marveled at how quickly my list seemed to have been completed; there were only one or two items left for me to take care of. I was delighted to find myself two full days ahead of my own schedule!
Then, early this morning, I was overtaken by the Fear of the Lord as I sat quietly with Him. As God's unmistakable Presence enveloped me I heard the Him say “The Master of the House is coming to visit His Vineyard.”
A SUDDEN VISIT
While I continued to listen, Holy Spirit reminded me of the parable of the landowner in Matthew 21.
Jesus uses the language of a vineyard to describe the sudden return of a landowner to his vineyard after wicked tenants (historically representing Jewish leaders) repeatedly kill his servants (the prophets) and finally his Son (Christ).
In the wake of ungodly stewardship, God’s holy vineyard and its inheritance were given to the Gentiles, to a people who would “give Him the fruits in their seasons.” (Matthew 21:41.)
Believers in Christ now produce godly fruit through a lifestyle of repentance, love, humility, and honoring the purposes of the One who created the vineyard to begin with.
GOD'S "CHECKLIST" IS NEARLY COMPLETED
As I meditated on this parable, I was taken into a vision. I saw that just as I had done earlier this week, the Father and his Son Jesus were looking at a large “checklist” that was laying open between the two of them.
In the vision I knew that this heavenly “checklist” had to do with the Lord visiting His people. This visit was not His final, end-time return, but a significant visitation of His Presence and glory.
I realized that the "sudden visit" of the glory of the Lord was coming much more quickly than anyone anticipated. I had the distinct sense that there would be many who were not ready. The timing of His visit, I saw, was also meant to be a surprise.
Those who were ready for the Lord would see this visitation as a blessing. Those who were not, like the wicked vinedressers in Christ’s parable, would find themselves coming up short - and would suffer the consequences.
To emphasize the importance of this vision, the Lord gave me two confirming signs.
In the middle of one day, I was about to leave my house to do errands. I was dressed and ready, walking through the front hallway to get my keys.
Just as I reached out my hand to take hold of the doorknob, there was a sharp knock on the other side of the door.
To my surprise, someone I consider a “father” in the faith stood on my doorstep, bearing a gift. He had not told me he was coming, nor did He stay for more than a few moments, but he left a blessing for my family. There could be no clearer sign of the “Father’s visitation!”
On the following day, I was expecting a delivery of groceries at a certain time, but a situation arose that kept me away from the house when they arrived.
When I returned, I found that the food had been left on my doorstep, along with an extra unexpected gift that was a blessing to our family.
In each of these visits, both the timing and the substance were good surprises.
I heard the Father say that the time is short; His “checklist” is nearly completed and He is indeed coming to visit His people again! Blessings will overtake those who are ready and prepared for Him. Those who have honored His ways and cared for what He has entrusted to them will be pleasantly surprised.
Yet those who have neglected their faith, oppressed God’s people, or taken advantage of His absence for their own selfish gain will not consider God’s “surprise visit” a welcome one.
Like the wicked vinedressers, they will find their inheritance taken from them and given to those who have been faithful.
“…they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”
THE KEEPER OF THE VINEYARD
Isaiah prophesied of a day when God’s enemies would be punished and His vineyard (Israel in ancient times and the Church/Ekklesia today) would be made beautiful again:
In that day the Lord with his hard and great and strong sword will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent, and he will slay the dragon that is in the sea.
In that day, “A pleasant vineyard, sing of it! I, the Lord, am its keeper; every moment I water it. Lest anyone punish it, I keep it night and day; I have no wrath.
Through Christ’s life and resurrection we see a partial fulfillment of this prophecy.
We know that the Lord will destroy that dragon, Leviathan and all Satanic evil when He returns.
Yet during this “in-between” time where we dwell spiritually in Christ but are still subject to conditions on sinful earth, God’s beautiful vineyard - His holy remnant - struggles against demonic wickedness and Pharisaical overseers.
Both inside and outside the church, things are not as they seem. And truth, once exposed, is not often pretty. As Paul wrote in Romans 1:18, “the wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people who suppress the truth by their wickedness.”
Sincere believers in Christ, however, share in the blessing of the Lord as our Keeper. His wrath has forever been removed and He sees us as righteous through the atoning blood of His Son. We have nothing to fear. He watches over us as His own "vineyard" night and day, and “waters us every moment.”
We serve a Father who never slumbers or sleeps. He is, in ways unknown to us, nourishing and watering our spirits every moment. I feel so strongly that He wants His Body to know this as we move into 2022! There is never a time when we are outside of Father’s sight or His care! (Hebrews 13:5)
It is God’s intense desire to see His vineyard bear fruit, and He is committed to sustaining you with fresh, living water every day of your life, if you will receive it. To commune with Christ through worship and feasting on His Word is to drink in “kisses” of living water from His mouth. (John 4:10; Song of Songs 1:2.) What a wonderful blessing!
A VISIT FROM GOD STIRS UP THE GOOD AND THE BAD!
Jeremiah 12:10 reads: “Many shepherds have destroyed My vineyard; they have trampled down My portion; they have made My pleasant portion a desolate wilderness.”
When the chief priests and Pharisees in Matthew 21 heard Jesus’ parable of the vineyard, they knew immediately He referred to them - religious leaders! - as unworthy stewards. This stirred up their anger, and the only thing that held them back from killing the Lord was that the vast majority of people recognized Him as a true prophet.
In fact, everywhere Jesus went, the anointing stirred up both good and bad. Good breakthroughs for His followers, but demonic interference designed to take people's eyes off of what Holy Spirit was doing.
In the same way, the anointing and glory that comes in a fresh visitation of the Lord will stir up either repentance or rebellion. Keen discernment will be needed so as not to lose sight of how God wants to move, even in the midst of confusion or chaos.
Those who seek to protect their own religious systems or man-made empires at the expense of wholehearted devotion to God will find that God Himself opposes them, breaking down the walls in which they trust. There is nowhere to hide from an omniscient, omnipresent God.
Isaiah 28:17 describes what is happening now this way: “I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line; hail will sweep away your refuge, the lie, and water will overflow your hiding place.”
The same living water that courses as “kisses” through the veins of God’s passionate lovers will flow like torrents of terror through the veins of those who do not fear Him or repent of their sins.
We will see God’s justice begin to flow into the earth as a “tide” of glory and redemption for those who love Him but as destruction for those who don’t. We are already seeing a shocking exposure of evil that has been hidden from the eyes of all but God.
I believe we will see even more exposures of high-level wickedness that will impact many people. Unfortunately, believers will have to walk through some of the repercussions of these exposures as well. Earnest prayers to a holy God are certainly causing what is unholy to be purged from us!
It will be necessary to “trust in the Lord with ALL our hearts” while allowing Him to direct both our paths and our provision. I believe the Body of Christ is more ready than ever for justice and redemption.
I believe the “signs” God gave me this week as He unfolded today’s word speak of His desire to bless and restore to His Body the power and glory that has largely been lost in mainstream Christianity. Those who trust in the Lord can be assured of safety and provision, recompense and redemption in even the worst of times.
To close, I hear the Lord saying today:
“Get ready, get ready, not for a HOLIDAY but for a VISITATION from Me! The first visitation happened at a time and place no one expected, for the humble were found homeless, and I came to a manger, not a palace. So I will do again, surprising you with the places I show up!
The least likely people will carry the greatest blessings in this hour, while those who count themselves first and best will be reduced to nothing. I will oppose pride in all its forms so that My glory can be seen for what it is: belonging to no man; full of holiness and purity; worthy of protection and honor.
Do not look to old systems for this new outpouring of glory. Look to ME, watch only for Me, and let Me surprise you with a visit you could not imagine for its goodness! No one can take credit for that which has not been planned or foreseen. Yet I am planning and preparing for something that will delight those who love Me and horrify those who reject Me.
Wait and be watchful, for you cannot miss the voice of a Father you know!”
I pray every reader of His Inscriptions will be blessed with the knowledge of the nearness of God to you this season.
Father, please visit each home with the sweet surprise of Your Presence, and kiss Your weary and broken ones with Your love. Whether in a house of prayer or a heart of prayer, let Your amazing glory increase to fill every dry place with living water, restoring hope!
Dear friends, you are loved! I pray you’ll remain watchful, expectant, trusting, and obedient so that you are fully assured of the Lord’s desire to bless and protect you in the coming year.
Thank you for praying for me and for supporting the ministry of His Inscriptions in all its forms!
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A severe hearing loss from childhood caused Deborah Perkins to develop what she now calls her secret weapon: tuning in to God's voice. A Wellesley College graduate and an award-winning writer, Deborah is now a wife and mother of 3 boys. Deborah has devoted over 25 years to professional and lay Christian ministry in New England and beyond. Her passion is inspiring people to cultivate greater intimacy with God.