We Need Tribulation

I was asked what has been going on in North Carolina and it is basically the same thing that God is doing everywhere – He is dealing with His people. I don’t know if I can cover it all; it involves too much. But I will say this; we are in a very exacting time. It is a time when the Lord is requiring much of us and we need to be more open to Him than ever before.

John 1:11 says that He came unto His own and His own received Him not. In another place, the Lord stood on the Mount of Olives and lamented over the people there in Jerusalem because they were not aware of the visitation of the Lord (Matthew 23:37-39; Luke 19:41-44). We have been in a time of visitation for a long time, but there are times when it is stepped up and unless you are very, very alert you can miss the new level of visitation that is upon you. We do not want to miss the days of visitation of the Lord.

There are some tremendous hindrances. One, there just isn’t enough hunger for God, just not enough hunger. You know whether you are hungry for God or not. You don’t need me to tell you because you know. Each person determines how hungry he will be. If you are not hungry enough, then God will turn loose some circumstances and tribulations to help you to get hungry. You would be surprised how much the tribulations of the Lord are working today.

Many Christians feel that tribulation is a period. Some say three and a half years; some say seven years. They have their charts to explain the history of God’s dealing with man. One day the Lord is going to rapture His people out and tribulation will start. But there is a real problem with that because the Scriptures plainly say in Acts 14:22: We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. You cannot enter into the Kingdom of God without going through tribulation. Let me rephrase that: You cannot enter into the Kingdom of God without going through much tribulation. But do you know what happens? A little tribulation comes and people back away. They can talk about their revelations of how the Lord is going to sanctify His people, how the work of the cross will accomplish His will, but when it begins to happen they draw back from it.

It’s like the young rich ruler who said, “Good Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus answered, “You know the commandments, don’t you?” The man said he had kept them all from his youth up. The Lord said, “Well, there is one thing you lack. Give up all that means more to you than life” (Matthew 19:16-23). So the lack of hunger is a problem. It makes no difference where you are in your walk with God. You may have become very spiritual, but if there isn’t a hunger for more you are in trouble. Death has already started to creep in.

The other problem is the fact that most Christians just do not believe. They talk about believing, but talking about believing is one thing and really believing is another thing. They just don’t believe. What does that mean? There is too much unbelief, way too much unbelief in Christians today. You can let others slide by a little; they are not Christians, but we are supposed to believe. Jesus said, “To him that believes, all things are possible” (Mark 9:23). He did not say that if you believe, you have all things. He just said all things are possible. It is up to you to make that possibility a reality. Unbelief is a problem! If we are completely honest, I think we would have to say that more often what we called faith is hoping and wishing instead of really believing. We should have grown enough spiritually by now to understand we cannot generate the faith that results in real believing. You cannot make yourself believe. It has to be the Lord in you that does it. He is our faith, our believing, our righteousness, our holiness, our everything.

The little woman with the issue of blood comes to my mind. Jesus said, “Thy faith has made you whole” (Matthew 9:22). You might say, “Well, she had the faith!” She didn’t have it until the Lord said so. He said, “Thy faith has made thee whole.” When did it happen? When she was having faith, believing? No, it happened when Jesus said, “Thy faith has made thee whole. Not a faith that you already had, but the very fact that I speak a word to you and I say, ‘Thy faith has made you whole.’” That is when it happens. It is by the Word of God! The faith we need is His faith, not a faith that we generate.

It is time for us to learn how to believe the Word and we will learn how in the same way we will get the hunger we need – through much tribulation. Now, you cannot take this tribulation, make it a time period, and set it somewhere down on the timeline in the future. If you do, everybody who dies before then misses it. Also, everyone does not move into the tribulation at the same time. That is because Christians are at various stages of growth.

Now we need to go to Deuteronomy where the Lord speaks through Moses. The Pharisees, you remember, held tightly to Moses as the man of God, and they liberally placed the responsibility of keeping the commandments of the Old Testament upon the people. But Jesus told the Pharisees, “You say you believe Moses, but Moses wrote of Me, and you won’t come to Me that you might have life. If you believed Moses, you believe Me. If you do not believe Me, you do not believe Moses either” (John 5:39-47).

Deuteronomy 18:15 The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of your brethren, like unto me; unto Him you shall hearken.

Who is this Prophet? I think Jesus fulfills this prophecy completely but not only Christ. The many-membered Christ fulfills it, too. It will also be a many-membered Prophet from the midst of the brethren. Anything in here that speaks of Christ must also be true for the many-membered Christ.

Unto Him you shall hearken. There were not many who hearkened unto Jesus; a few, but not many. So this Scripture still needs a fulfillment. There is going to be a Prophet, a Prophet company, and they are going to hearken unto the Lord. Can you imagine the kind of Prophet that will be? The children of Israel didn’t hearken unto Moses very much either. They griped and complained the whole time they were in the wilderness. “We’re going to elect somebody to take us back to Egypt. We had better food down there. You brought us out here to die” (Numbers 14:2-4).

Deuteronomy 18:16 According to all that you desire of the Lord your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not.

The Israelites had a big problem, and Christians have it today. They do not want to die. It is that old self-preservation instinct within the nature of man that wants to preserve self. It will do anything to keep from dying, but that old self-life has to go. That is all there is to it and God knows that it is difficult. He knows it is very hard. Paul said, “You have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against blood” (Hebrews 12:4). God knows it is difficult and He has a way of helping us. It is called tribulation. Have you found yourself in some very, very difficult circumstances? Did you also find yourself griping and grumbling, “I don’t know why this thing is happening to me?” It is happening to you for a purpose. As you walk through your tribulation, you start changing inside. The teaching that has come out of Fundamentalism that Christians are raptured out and do not experience tribulation is false doctrine. It is a lie!

Deuteronomy 18:17-18 And the Lord said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken.
18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto you, and will put My words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.

If you look out over Christianity today, where is God going to find a group of Christians like that? Would you like to be among that company that shall speak all that He commands you? It takes a lot of tribulation because you do not know what it’s going to take. You say, “I want to speak a living Word. I want to speak a Word that is really anointed.” You do, do you? There are not many Christians who can do that. It will take some dying out to self. The Lord has to reign within you, not self, if you are going to speak a word that is anointed and carrying His presence. I do not know of anyone other than Jesus Himself that has no trouble with the work of the cross and denying self. God has to give you a little help, change the circumstances around so you can die.

Deuteronomy 18:19 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto My words which he shall speak in My name, I will require it of him.

Do you remember Jesus saying, “You will not see Me until you say, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord”? (Matthew 23:39). Whosoever will not hearken unto My words which he shall speak in My name, I will require it of him. One of those members of the Christ-company may have a different colored skin than you, have a lisp or broken English. And may not be good to look at, but if it is the Lord speaking through him you had better listen.

Deuteronomy 18:20 But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.

I have heard a lot of prophets that claim to be speaking in His name and it wasn’t the Lord speaking. What happens in a case like that? Well, the death process begins to work but not the kind of death that brings life. There are two kinds of deaths. There is a death as you are fading away out of the presence of the Lord, and then there is that death to your self-life that helps you come into His presence. But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak.... I tell you, it is a very common thing for Christians to feel super-spiritual and want to give you the Word of the Lord when they don’t have it. Have you experienced that?

Deuteronomy 18:21-22 And if you say in your heart, How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?
22 When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing follows not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken, but the prophet has spoken it presumptuously: you shalt not be afraid of him.

If the thing doesn’t come to pass, it is not the Word of the Lord. Now, that is not quite as simple as it sounds and I will explain that. There are prophecies that have come from true prophets in this Bible which have not yet come to pass. So what is God talking about? If it is a true word from God, it is going to come to pass in you. It is going to bring change to your life. It ministers something of His presence to you. “But I was looking for it to come to pass in the natural realm.” First, it has to come to pass in you.

A true word comes to pass in you. If you ever hear a real man of God speak a word that is carrying the nature of the Lord, you can feel it inside if you are open to the Lord. That doesn’t mean everybody is going to but to those who are open that word will begin to work in you. Psalm 105 speaks about Joseph. From the time Joseph was taken by his brothers and thrown in the pit until he went through Potiphar’s house and the dungeon and then second in command over all Egypt was 13 years. But the Scripture in Psalms say, “Until the word came to pass, it tried him.” It tried him! All during those 13 years the Word was working in him, working in him and that is how he could interpret the dreams for the baker and the cup bearer. Joseph interpreted those dreams and the time came when he also interpreted the dream of Pharaoh. The Word was trying him, working in him, creating the man that could handle the job when he was placed second in command under Pharaoh to minister bread to the people. So there had to be a lot of changes. Joseph had that many-colored coat. “I had a dream. God showed me eleven sheaves are going to bow down before me.” His brothers hated him for that. “What do you mean? We are going to bow down before you?” Then he had another dream and this time even his mother and father were going to bow down. They did not like Joseph. His dreams were true but he was cocky and arrogant. It took a lot of work. It took 13 years. Well, thirteen is the number of rebellion. It took 13 yeas to get all that rebellion out of him but, oh, what he became. I believe Joseph is in this company we are talking about. In fact, that is what I get out of Hebrews 11 but let’s go to Isaiah 55 first.

Isaiah 55:10-11 For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and returns not thither, but waters the earth, and makes it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
11 So shall My Word be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

That rain comes down and it accomplishes what it is supposed to accomplish. When God speaks a Word it accomplishes what He wants it to accomplish. In the Word that the Lord speaks is everything that is needed to fulfill it. It’s all right there – His life, His presence, the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Everything is right in that Word. Here is what many Christians do: “God spoke this to me and I believe He is going to do it one of these days. One of these days God is going to do that. I’m going to hang on to it and one of these days it is going to come to pass.” Well, if it is a Word from the Lord it comes to pass in you and it begins working in you immediately. Now let’s go to Hebrews.

Hebrews 11:1-2 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.

You can put “Word” there instead of faith. His Word is the substance of things hoped for. I have the word “is” circled. It is a verb of action and it is a present tense verb. Active and present – real faith is active and it works in the present. Do you see that? For by it the elders obtained a good report. By the faith that is. Now look at verse 6. We see this type of thing again.

Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him…

What kind of faith? The faith that is – faith that is active and present. Your believing has to be now. God says, “When I speak a Word, it is not going to come back empty. It is going to accomplish what I sent it for.” You have to say, “I believe that and I believe that it is. I don’t see it in the natural, but it is being worked in me right now.”

Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that comes to God must believe that He is ...

There it is again. Put a little circle around that “is.” You must believe that He is, that the activity of God is working in you. “Oh, but I feel depressed. The circumstances just have me down.” Now come on, all God is doing is trying to get you to rise up above those circumstances. How does He do that? Noah’s ark represents the Church. The Church has to ascend. How did God get that ark, which represents the Church, to ascend? A flood of waters – waters that wiped out all the wicked but lifted up that ark. God will send those judgments on you to wipe out your wickedness and lift you up into Him.

You have to know that God loves you and He is actively working in your life right now. And what He is doing in your life has already begun. You have to believe that because if you don’t believe it, that nullifies it. God responds to your believing, and the best kind of believing is when there is nothing in the natural to support it. Anybody can believe God when everything is going well, when everything is great. After you have crossed Red Sea it is easy to believe God! But you have to believe Him when everything looks bleak. That is real faith.

When are we going to learn to believe the Lord? “I believe that one day God is going to do this.” No, no, no. Believe that He is doing it now. “But I don’t see it.” Yes, but it is starting to work in you. It is very easy to think that you have faith. Any faith that you have is a mixture. Your adamic nature of unbelief is mixed in with it and when it is mixed you can’t expect to get much of anything. That is the problem. It is your faith. It has to be His faith! So here you are trying to believe with your faith and God says, “I’ve got to help this brother out and teach him how to believe with My faith. So let’s give him a little tribulation.”

I have been blessed out of my socks because of what the Lord has been doing with us for the last couple of years. Finances have been tough, but I am thankful because while going through this God is creating something in me. And for me to think that I am going to prance my way into the Kingdom of God without going through much tribulation, I have another think coming. You might as well face it, too. That’s not just for some people. That is everybody. Anyone who enters into the Kingdom of God is going to enter in through much tribulation. Be thankful for all things for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (I Thessalonians 5:18). “But you don’t know what is happening to me!” Be thankful! Let it bring a change to your life instead of griping and grumbling about what is going on. Be thankful because God is using it to make you what He wants you to be, to create Himself in you. It does not happen any other way.

We are talking about the Word here. “Well, God’s Word will come to pass.” It will because He said it will, but it may not come to pass in you unless you believe that Word and believe it for now and not in the future. Every one of us is so filled up with things of self and various kinds of unbelief. Satan knows how to push the button to get one of those unbelief’s working in you.

Hebrews 4:12 For the Word of God is quick ...

That word “quick” doesn’t mean that it is fast. Have you ever pulled a fingernail back into the quick? Ooo, it hurts! The word of God is quick. That is one way you know that you have heard a Word. “Man, I think I have a word from God! I’m excited!” Where is the hurt? Where is the quick? The word of God is quick – it cuts!

Hebrews 4:12 For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Now that is getting right down into where you are. Every time you had a thought, God was aware of it. Every time there was an intent of your heart, God was aware of it. Do you see what that Word is going to do? Now listen, there is a reason why people think, “One day it is going to happen. God said it and I believe it is going to happen eventually.” Well, if you take that attitude it probably won’t. But say, “It is working in me now. It hasn’t come to pass but I know it is working because it is quick and powerful.” Can you say, “Lord, come forth in my life and bring that big, sharp, two-edged sword You have and start killing the Canaanites in my life. Get rid of those Canaanites of unbelief”? It hurts! But if you say, “God, come forth in my life. I want You so much I am willing to go through the tribulation to see those Canaanites in my flesh die that I might know You”? Paul said, “The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to follow” (Romans 8:18).

I want to finish with how we should relate to the commandments of God. Most people relate to the commandments of God in a way that is destructive to their spiritual life. I have mentioned several times before in The Trumpet messages that it is important how you relate to the Word because the Lord says, “I set before you this day a blessing and a curse. Choose the blessing that you might live” (Deuteronomy 30:19). That is the Word. The Word will be a blessing to you or it will be a curse. It depends upon how you relate to it. Paul says the same thing in 2 Corinthians 3:6: Who also has made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the Spirit: for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. The letter kills! That means the natural understanding of the Scriptures works death. Not the kind of death you want, but death to your spirit. But to receive the Spirit of life that is in the Word, we have to relate to it in the right way.

Many times we receive a Word from God and that Word is negated because we don’t know how to believe it. We don’t know how to relate to it. That is what we are talking about here – learning how to relate to the Word. Believe that it is actively working in you in the present. Whenever the Lord would speak to you, something has to take place in your life so that the Word can come to pass. You have so much junk in your life, things of self that have to be removed so the word can come forth. It took Joseph thirteen years. Just think, a lot of Christians spend those thirteen years and still do not come into it because they don’t learn how to believe. We have to learn how to believe the Word, how to believe God, and we have to believe it now. Not believe that it will be. The moment you put it in the future, you just lost it.

We must through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom of God. Without tribulation we can’t make it. We need tribulation!

Copyright © 2009 by Henry DuBose