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An Unusual Burden
God has often called prophets to perform unusual things,
to depict the sinfulness of the people to whom they are to witness.
Here is what God had me endure
for the sake of one person who needed to heed His words.
By Malcolm B Heap, Midnight Ministries
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You read in the Bible that God required Isaiah to perform a rather unpleasant assignment. He was to walk naked for three years (Is 20:3). It was to graphically depict that Egypt and Ethiopia would be conquered by Assyria and was a prior warning that Israel would be next, if they didn’t seek and obey God to cover their spiritual nakedness!
Ezekiel was to lie on his left side for 390 days to bear the sins of Israel for that number of years (Ezek 4:4,5). Then he was to lie on his right side, in a prominent place where all could see him, this time for 40 days, to portray the number of years of Judah’s sins (Ezek 4:6). God said to him:
I have laid on you the years of their iniquity... (Ezek 4:5). ...I have laid on you each day for a year (Ezek 4:6).
A strange requirement, you might think! And rather unfair, wasn’t it? Why should Ezekiel, who had done no wrong to warrant him being the ‘scapegoat’, be told to physically perform a ritual which was humiliating, tiresome, and restrictive?
The mind of God is sometimes hard to fathom.
Certainly, one reason can be put forward – that the unusual requirement drew the attention of people – people whom God wanted to learn a vital lesson to do with sin. Sin is not to be taken lightly. There is a price to be paid, and its penalty has to be borne.
Nor is it always the guilty who pay it. Innocent lives are also involved. Do you think it right that little children and other innocents should bear the consequences of your sins of neglect and carelessness? No. But it happens.
Jesus died in like manner: the innocent for the guilty.
You may understand why Jesus died – whether or not you care about that as you should – but do you grasp why innocents are made scapegoats for your iniquities?
Made To Suffer
In January 2007, I had done some strenuous work, cutting a hedge. Usually it would have been a routine task, but I had to reach out at full stretch and, each time I did, I felt a twinge on muscles or tendons in my shoulder. I had damaged it by overwork some years before, and it had not healed because I was never able to rest it sufficiently long enough.
The next day, I completed Newsletter 38 and Dream Diary 38, which I had been compiling over a number of weeks. That afternoon they were finished and I took them to the copiers. I drove there with a minimum of discomfort in my shoulder and returned home, the important job done. (Spiritually meaningful work is protected by God, so that His plan is accomplished.) That evening, the pain in my shoulder began to dramatically increase, until it was very painful! I couldn’t understand why. I had done nothing that day to warrant it. I had not strained my shoulder that day, and the stress I had endured the day before was not sufficient to warrant such agony, either.
I was puzzled. Only later did we comprehend what was going on. Demons were ‘sitting’ on my injury inflicting more pain. Why God allowed them to do this will become clear as I explain.
For a number of years, we have helped a man to find his spiritual footing – at least, we have tried to. He was a hard person to help because he was a complex personality. He was sensitive and easily took offence; he had pride that hindered him receiving personal correction, or even suggestions and advice; and he was lazy, lacking initiative, stubborn, and immensely self-centred.
Over the course of time, God gave me various dreams for the man’s benefit. I wrote them down and sent them to him by letter. (That’s a most effective way of transmitting such information, because the recipient can ponder the input, and meditate on it time and again, to glean what God is conveying.)
One dream conveyed his spiritual life in an awful mess. God depicted him with a pile of sins – dreadful sins, horrible sins, sins that included hatred and murder! He was letting these iniquities pile up in his life and he wasn’t counteracting them. He was tolerating them. God was expressing His disgust.
If God gave a prophet a dream about me that was telling me about personal traits I needed to deal with, either I would accept the message and determine to change, or if I didn’t see its relevance I would remonstrate with the recipient and ask further questions to try and arrive at the truth of the situation.
However, our friend seemed to put it on the shelf – perhaps out of embarrassment or pride. He didn’t discuss anything. He kept quiet, and it later became clear that he was not responding to the input, because he continued in his waywardness.
Then God spoke again.
If you don’t listen to God first time, He may well speak again, but He’s holding you to account, and if you treat that equally lightly, don’t be surprised if He turns up the heat and intensifies the pressure!
We passed on to our friend the other dreams, but his response was equally ungrateful and negative. He avoided acknowledgement as much as he could.
Things came to a head on that fateful night when I began to crumple up in pain. It was Thursday night. I couldn’t sleep much that night. It was a fretful ‘rest’. The pain was such that I couldn’t lie down. I could only ‘cat-nap’, sitting up.
The next day the pain continued unabated and even intensified! This thing had to be caused by demons! I just knew it! But, despite my commanding them to leave, I had no respite. I had to put up with it, knowing that God knew what I was going through, and just leave it in His hands to deal with in His way.
By evening, the agony was excruciating, and not knowing what else to do, I asked Tonya to pray over me in tongues. (It’s good to involve other people – for their benefit.) As she did so, I began to weep. The Spirit of God moved me at that time to weep, and weep and weep. I have never wept like a child as I did that day! I wondered why. In the Spirit I was given the reason – I was weeping for the sins of the people and expressing the grief of God towards those who have walked away from Him, and who have disregarded His words, and treated lightly the love of His covenant that He has made with us through Jesus’ agonising death.
After about five minutes, the agony eased and I was able to sleep a bit better that night. But I was to have to go through much more!
The third day dawned. It was the Sabbath. That morning I felt God say that in our regular fellowship meeting (which I would not be able to attend) people should seek God as to why I was suffering. That day, in prayer, there were a number of tongues messages with interpretations during the meeting. They had relevance for the offender.
1One was that "God will make a way where there seems to be no way." People who are disobedient are low in faith. They don’t trust God as they should. The prophetic word encouraged reform.
Do you know one of the things that really grieves God? UNBELIEF! It churns Him up! Jesus foresaw the problem when He asked rhetorically:
When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:8.)
Unbelief is one of the worst sins!
Other ‘words’ that day, 13th January, were:
All these words, given by the Spirit, were exhorting for change – as if enough exhortation had not occurred previously!!
That evening, I was given another revelation – that the suffering I was enduring was on account of an Achan in our midst. (See Joshua 7.) The man was meant to be seeking God for redirection in his life and moving overseas as part of that redirection. But he was slow to act; very slow!
The next morning God spoke again. Little by little, He was revealing the spiritual picture. He said: "As long as it takes [the man, X] to GO is how long it will take before your shoulder is healed."
I doubt if X knew how I was suffering, and you can’t feel someone else’s suffering the way they can, so I didn’t try to convey it. What I did try to convey was the urgency with which he needed to regard his move. I told him God’s words. I hoped he would respond as urgently as I needed help!
If he had any love and consideration for me, he would speed up his departure; bring it forward. If he could get himself moving the next day, the promise of God would have caused me to be healed that very day! God is faithful. If only people were, likewise!
God spoke those fatal words on 13th January, but X made no move to exert himself on my behalf. He didn’t plan to go until mid-February! He left me to lie, crippled. For a week I could not lift my right arm. To try and move it half an inch was agony. I couldn’t take a bath all that week. For a whole week I couldn’t take my shirt or pullover off. I couldn’t lie down in bed. I caught what sleep I could sitting up. I have had broken ribs in the past, but this was worse than that! The pain seemed even more intense. God healed me of those broken ribs within a few days. But this ordeal was unrelenting for seven interminable days.
Finally, after a week, I was able to lie down in bed, although I could not turn over, and any movement created frightful stabbing pains. God, in His mercy, had allowed me some respite, and He gave me a gradual healing that reduced the pain and increased my mobility day after day over the next few weeks.
But our friend, X, made no attempt to speed up his departure – to do what God required of him with a sense of pressing urgency. No, that didn’t fit his style. It wasn’t in his scheme to alter his schedule.
Everything in his life revolves around him, and because he is so intractably self-centred, fear and unbelief keep him in bondage to demons where faith and moral responsiveness should prevail. Stubbornness and pride rule because he lets them. Evil spirits hold sway in his life, crippling him spiritually.
God allowed me to bear the physical counterpart of his spiritual penury. Perhaps when he reads this he will begin to see the depth of God’s displeasure at his life which is meant to be a reflection of the Sun of righteousness, who brings healing in His wings (Mal 4:2) – to those who submit and obey.
God let me suffer to drum the lesson home – if X is receptive enough to grasp it – but God suffers even more. When His children treat His words with contempt and neglect, He suffers immeasurably! But you can’t feel His pain, unless He gives you a revelation in the Spirit. That’s why I wept that day.
Jesus wept intensely one time (Jn 11:35). And it wasn’t for Lazarus. It was in grief at the pathetic unbelief of those whom He yearned to stand with Him in faith.
People don’t realise how much lack of faith grieves God! It is a denial of the most basic trust He wants you to have in Him. That’s why one prophetic word that day was for our friend to trust God – and realise that God would make a way where there seemed to be no way. If he had any compassion and love for me, he would have brought forward his date of departure, and trusted God to make a way for him to get everything done on time. All the other prophetic words of exhortation that day had relevance for him, too. But, you know, people hear what God says and then immediately forget it. They don’t convert what they hear into action.
Wicked And Lazy Servant
In the parable of the talents in Matthew 25, the one who was weak, fearful and lazy did not receive the heavenly reward, because he did not overcome. When Jesus returned He called the man LAZY and WICKED! (Matt 25:26.) When you know God’s words but don’t do them, you fit that bill, too.
I don’t think Christians who are in that category realise God’s hatred of their state! He wants to love them, but they resist His love, because they don’t DO what He requires. As a result, He can’t bless them.
Christianity is all about DOING (Matt 25:35,36). It’s not just about reading God’s words in the Bible. It’s about putting them into practice. Too many believers think they are doing when actually they are deceiving themselves. The words have gone into their heads, but not into their hearts. With knowledge in their heads only, they live a lie, deceived that they are acting in love towards God and fellow man, when they are only loving themselves.
Do you know that God looks at indolence with such disgust that it is equal to your reaction to a cannibal dismembering a human body and eating it! Cowardice, unbelief and laziness (the ‘abominable’) are in a category that will cause you to be rejected on the Final Day, if you don’t change (Rev 21:8).
God pictured X like this in a dream to Helena:
31st January 2007. H. Rotten teeth.
I saw a face struggling with demons. The face was ugly and the teeth were rotten. [This depicts his unhealthy spiritual state.]
Rotten teeth could depict the poor spiritual nutrition of X. He may have read and learned much, but internalisation of spiritual things only takes place when you DO them in life.
We want to see him come through and overcome. So, though I include the dream here, and some others, it’s not to put him down any more than I would want to put the apostle Peter down who denied Jesus, or king David who committed adultery and covered up his crime with murder.
In an earlier dream, God portrayed him so:
18th January 2007. H. Toddler in baby bath.
I saw a toddler sleeping in a baby bath. He was bathing in fluid with vegetable bits. A cabbage leaf was on top of him. A hand was feeding him gently but he didn’t like to be disturbed, and quickly went back into a sleepy pose.
Comment: This dream came after I was meditating and praying about X’s situation. I felt he had become hostile towards us. I felt very sad about this because we have tried to help him spiritually for many years. And there is plenty of spiritual food available to him. But he prefers to only accept bits of what God has revealed.
Stubbornness and pride cause the indolent to hide from acknowledging and acting upon their spiritual responsibilities. They neither acknowledge them to themselves, nor to us, nor to God.
In what follows, God indicated X’s punishment:
9th October 2006. M. 1) God is really grieved.
Someone had had all MM literature but obviously didn’t appreciate what he held. He sent me two copies of an A5 booklet which was not ‘ours’. The cover had a white background with many small blue pictures [depicting the comparatively small or insubstantial truths it contained]. His action revealed that he thought as much, if not more, of this booklet than he did of what MM’s publications contained.
Then I was exhorting this person. It was so lengthy that what I said would have filled pages, had it been written! The only part I remember was asking him why it is that MM publications have significant numerics in the numbers of words used. "Don’t you think that’s significant?! Don’t you think that God is showing His inspiration...?!" The guy either didn’t care, or was too blind. I tried, and tried, and tried, to help him to see the importance of what he was holding in his hands, but it was all to no avail. At the end I simply wept.
Meaning: "Jesus wept" (Jn 11:35) is the shortest verse in the Bible, but the most poignant. He wept because of the lack of belief and spiritual perception in those whom He had called to believe and perceive. Today, ‘believers’ are not perceiving either, and it grieves God’s heart. I wept in the dream because I was expressing what God felt.
2) The black car and white van.
I was driving into a carpark. There were a few cars near the entrance (because it was the nearest place to park to where you wanted to go). The entrance was a bit tight so I had to be careful. A white van was parked there with its back door open, which made things difficult for me, but I managed to get round it. The next time I came in, the van was not there. In its place was a black car, and it restricted the entrance even more than the van did. It made things even more difficult for me. The person who parked it had no consideration for others. He parked it there because it was convenient for him. That’s all.
There were many empty spaces in the carpark – which was very extensive!
At the end, the fitting treatment or punishment for the owner of the black car was for him to park it as far away from the entrance as possible, in the farthermost parking space, even though there were many empty spaces nearer.
Meaning: Black and white have obvious spiritual connotations. The two vehicles represent the ministries and lives of two people. God is sorely grieved by self-centredness. As punishment, and to help his reform, God is sending X away from us, overseas.
If you do not use opportunities, you lose them. You forfeit even what you thought you had. Don’t be a pain and a burden to others, most especially to God! Malcolm B Heap
Bible quotations are from the New King James Version (NKJV) unless otherwise stated
Why Repent? (WR)
What Every Christian Should Consider (Chr)
The Missing Dimension In Christian Living (Mis)
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