The word siege is not taken into account by the majority of Christians today. This is primarily because it is not found in the New Testament and secondly, they do not expect to be overcome by any besiegement as the word might suggest. Hence, the effects of being under siege have also become irrelevant to them. Though they have become irrelevant to them, they can be understood if desired, since some people or few parts of the world still experience them. The condition of being under siege is that a nation or people are cut off from every supply until they surrender. It is extremely painful to be in siege, as it has been for many in the days of Old Testament. Their days of siege were very different. They did not merely last a few weeks or months, but years. The Scripture itself personifies the effect of siege upon a nation. The single reason for a nation or people to be under siege or for a nation to go against another to lay a siege is wickedness. In the case of God’s people, Israel, the reason they were besieged by their enemy is purely because of their wickedness. This wickedness of theirs was not only against their own, but even more against God when they did not consider protecting and revering His glory. Therefore, when the patience of the Lord turned into anger, He proclaimed punishment saying, “Now behold, I will put ropes on you so that you cannot turn from one side to the other until you have completed the days of your siege” (Ezek. 4:8).
If you have known the Lord like the faithful, you must have known the measure and worth of His patience toward you. Usually the patience of the Lord does not run out, until He has no other choice, but to produce judgment. The explaining of the patience of the Lord in this manner should not be considered lightly. It is in fact very difficult to ascertain or measure the extent of His patience, since His considerations toward men cannot be quantified. The appearance of His judgments is the only sign that signifies the end of His patience. The only way in which one can envisage the patience of God is to look back and grasp from the history of Israel and of the nations. Yet, one thing is certain that though His patience cannot be measured by man, there will come a time when He puts an end to it. God exercises judgments every day and in each case it is His patience that has brought forth the judgment and hence, they are true and righteous. So, when God laid siege around Israel where they were made immovable i.e. cordoned, it was only because He had to put an end to His patience; any extension of His patience toward them would only tarnish the image of justice and righteousness.
How unbearable would such a siege have been! If the siege is by the wickedness of the enemy, then there is a way of escape, because of the God who is just. On the contrary, if a siege has been laid by the will of God in His righteousness against those who have profaned His name and glory, what can suffice for their rescue? The consequences of Israel’s wickedness were so grave that it had come to the point where parents ate their children to survive. Could such gravity of punishment even exist? If the gravity of sin is measurable wherein the patience of God too was made weary, yes, it did exist; and, the nations were employed by God to justify His patience. In doing so God saved a remnant for Himself who revered and protected His glory. What made the remnant be the same after the siege? A prophet of God says, “Do not slay them, or my people will forget; Scatter them by Your power, and bring them down, O Lord, our shield” (Ps. 59:11). When the siege was completed the enemy was driven away and the remnant received freedom. The only reason the remnant still continued in righteousness is because of the wisdom in the petition of the king of Israel. In some ways it is astonishing to hear that he would make such a plea to God. No one likes to be surrounded by foes even scarcely and neither would he. Yet, he sought for their scattered presence in order that his people are reminded to fear God at all times. Such was his zeal for God and His glory. Though the enemy still existed, as long as the children of Israel feared God, he was unable to touch them.
Many these days have not understand the consequences of walking against God. Just because there is no besieging of a nation by another as in those days, it does not mean that the patience of God has no other way to produce judgments. What Israel was as a nation to God in those days is the church to Him these days. If it means that only a remnant of them is to be saved, He will do so even while His desire that all must be saved still remains. Though the remnant means the remainder, their number is ascertained only by the Lord. The point is God will not let any who did not revere His glory go unpunished. He will cut off His supply of grace to them. If the church relentlessly walks against Him, He will hand them over to the enemy i.e. Satan and his world. They may not all be cut off, but they will have to live with the results of His judgment. This will create a provision for them to return to God and be saved. For this reason also God did not completely bind Satan. The sin of Judah in the days of King Zedekiah was nothing short of great evil. They provoked God by the work of their hands. Their leaders, prophets, priests and the people of the city have turned their back to God. Though God taught them again and again, they did not listen to receive His instruction. They brought into their land and into the house of God the detestable things and defiled them. The things that God had not commanded them and the things that did not enter His mind, they performed. This led God to punish Judah. While many perished others through punishment received His compassion. “Yet hear the word of the LORD, O Zedekiah king of Judah! Thus says the LORD concerning you, ‘You will not die by the sword” (Jer. 34:4). Though He lost everything, God made a provision for Him.
It is a blessing to be alive, though one has lost everything. To some this will be the last resort to return to God. Some who have quickly realized the consequences of His indignation immediately present their lives for God. When one’s abominations have exceeded the patience of God, it is no longer in his hands to resolve the outcome. On the contrary, if you are able to examine yourself and reconsider your beliefs and works for God, you will escape His indignation. For the measure of His patience toward you did not go in vain. “If the family of Egypt does not go up or enter, then no rain will fall on them; it will be the plague with which the LORD smites the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths” (Zech. 14:18). Am I now asking Christians to celebrate the Feast of Booths? Not at all and neither did the prophet. Nonetheless, it does mean that I am pleading all gentile Christians to celebrate Christ. It is in this Christ that God has kept us after having brought us out of sin and slavery. Christ reminds us of God’s grace. He is the booth for all who are saved by God! But, to neglect God’s kindness and turn our backs to Him will lead to severe consequences. Whichever family, person or group does not go up or enter into Christ leaving behind immorality of all forms and culpable doctrines, no blessings will fall on them. They will not be saved!
There is only one way to enter into Christ i.e. by keeping His commandments. Remember, to the one who wishes to do anything for his sake, it is not burdensome; and so is keeping the commandments for your sake. If you have understood Jesus, you will want to revere Him and this will help you keep His commandments. For the lack of understanding Jesus the Jews often questioned Him. Though they knew the right thing to do, they still questioned Him of it. One such instance occurred when He was at the temple preaching the gospel and they said “Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” (Luke 20:22). How many times have you known the right thing to do and yet weren’t able to do it? It is because you have not understood Jesus completely. When you understand Him exactly as He is, His Spirit works with your spirit to accomplish the right thing for God and even for His church. If the right thing to do is to believe Him, then why question? If the right thing to do is to discard the works that stand between Christ and you or the church, then why still question? Why become slaves of culpable doctrines? What will you gain, but loss?
No one can reveal the word by himself, unless God gives him or her that which is needed. The reason the churches of Christ and of God are unable to understand the word is their lack of Paul’s insight concerning it. “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him” (Eph. 1:17). The two things necessary to know the word are clearly mentioned here. The wisdom and revelation that comes from God through the knowledge a person has regarding Christ will make him or her understand the word. Therefore, a person’s knowledge regarding Christ is pivotal to receive the necessary things from the Father of glory. This in turn helps that person to revere the Father that belongs to glory. But, if each one is acting contrary to the belief that enables to keep the commandments, how are they revering the Father of glory? In fact, they are tarnishing Him before the nations. For this reason, they are bound by Satan or are in bondage. This is the nature of God’s children i.e. they will hear the voice of His Son. His voice is true and there is none like it. “All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them” (John 10:8). Take care! For there are many thieves and robbers in the church that speak contrary to the voice of Christ and they who are not His sheep have gone with them. These are the ones who do not believe what Christ wants you to believe. They perform the things that Christ had not commanded and the things that did not enter His mind. They will be punished. However, you are Christ’s sheep if you do not believe in anything that is contrary to what has come out of His mouth.