“Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, ‘Why could we not drive it out?’ And He said to them, ‘Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you’” ~ Matthew 17:19-20.
Last post we discovered that the “littleness” of faith Jesus warned of was not a lack of enough faith, as Jesus says that it only takes faith the size of a mustard seed to move mountains. The “littleness” Jesus speaks of in this analogy is faith that is immature, being unable to sprout forth and grow. It does not matter how much faith we have if that faith is immature: incapable of growth producing the fruit of the Seed. Faith, inadequately mature for growth, is useless, even though we possess enough of it to pile it up to mountainous heights. However, the smallest amount of faith, made ready to grow, is powerful, to the removing of mountains. That is the teaching of Christ I see.
No doubt, we each have many seeds of faith within us, each in various stages of maturation, some already grown into large, mature trees. Trees sprout forth in fruitful glory when, having experienced God enough in some areas of life, we no longer question His ability and willingness. Instead, we readily and easily trust Him in areas kin to our experience. In those areas, we bear much fruit to the glory of God, for we know from whom our help comes.
Facing new needs requiring faith, finding just that tiny seed available for the new situation standing before us, our past-experience of God helps prepare the new seeds of faith, making them ready to germinate at the unction of God’s Spirit. Just a little time with God’s Presence, receiving instruction regarding the path ahead of us, assuring our hearts of His faithfulness, and roots spring forth to produce a harvest. In the process, mountainous issues fall away into nothingness as we grow to know how great God is.
The problem the disciples had hindering their faith was that Jesus, the one who instructed them in the heart of God and His purpose, was unavailable for consultation. The Presence of God they knew was nowhere to be found in that moment of need.
Last post, covering this understanding that the seed Jesus sights as having “littleness” is immature, we ended with the thought that we must realize the mountain God has set His sights on removing. Knowing the mountain set by God for removal with hope set on Him who powers it is vital to victory.
Beloved, we will never, this side of eternity, have sufficient understanding of God and His ways so as to never have need to plant new seeds of faith. There is always new growth and fruitfulness to possess in our knowledge and understanding of God. The thing I am learning is that the mountain we think we see in front of us is most often potting soil, set in our path by God as the soil required for our faith-seed to grow.
We see the difficulty standing in the middle of our road; the hardship that we cannot get past. That thing standing in front of us, causing such frustration and doubt as it refuses to move, becomes enormous in our eyes as we fight the challenge we deem an obstacle. Wanting not to have the difficulty that challenge presents us, we decide it must be a mountain to cast off. Failing to recognize the soil made ready for seeds of faith’s growth, discontented in the place God plants us, we find ourselves fighting against God, thinking we are working with Him to move the mountain in our eye’s sight.
The truth I find is that the bigger mountain God is always after is those things in us that hinder our knowledge of Him and His ways, destroying our trust to believe Him and take Him at His Word. Let us look at our disciples again to glean from that example and see that, though they failed to heal the boy, a mountain did come down.
Before their mission trip, Jesus gave the disciples an assignment (Mark 6:7-14). They listened to the Creator of all things, The Living Word sent from the Father. He prepped the seeds of faith they would plant for fruit bearing as they faced each challenge set before them. That seed fertilized by God through Jesus’ words, commanded what they were going on mission to do, giving them authority to do it. The mountain was not the challenges lying ahead of them, but the things within that would stop up the growth of their faith to believe the command of Christ who gave them their authority. Believing Jesus, they overcame the challenges as they went forth in victory to fulfill Jesus’ Word to them. Their seed, impregnated by His instruction, grew to a fruit-bearing tree as they came to each challenge to their faith. They learned that they too could follow the instruction of God in the power of His supply and accomplish the great things of God’s choosing by trusting Jesus.
Now back home, the disciples faced a similar situation as that successfully met on their mission journey. Unable to perform the work they easily faced before, what happened to their faith? Why were they unable to heal this one brought before them now? I believe God was working on a new seed of faith they needed to germinate in preparing for the ministry ahead of them, but they had their eye on the wrong mountain. They saw the potting soil set before them in this one needing healing, and failed to see the mountain found in the lack of their knowledge of God that made for their littleness of faith. The healing of the boy was God’s will. Healing Him was within God power to accomplish. The demonized boy was soil prepared by God for a growth encounter that would remove a mountain of doubt standing in the way of the effective ministry He had for these disciples to possess.
Jesus, the one they communicated with to know the Father’s heart, was off doing something else. He was not there, readily available to instruct and prep the soil of their hearts by speaking to them the truth of God’s authority given to prepare their seed of faith to see the boy healed. They apparently did not realize fully that they could speak with and know the Father’s will for themselves, receiving His instruction and authority with power. Prayerlessly skipping the communication phase of their journey, doing what they had done before without clear direction for the “now” situation, they tackled the challenge with immature faith that could not sprout. Chopping at what they saw as a mountain to defeat, they failed to plant the seed of faith there and watch for what God would do. They tried to heal the boy with no root of authority and power established for that particular work. Good as the work they wanted to do was, they were working off depleted resources, using seeds of faith that Jesus called “littleness”.
In this account of the disciples little faith, I see that the disciples needed to grow to know that when Jesus was gone, the Father was with them to help them. They lacked faith to understand that the Father hears and responds to them personally. All they needed was to call to Him and seek His face with earnest expectation and hope of receiving His response. That is the mountain I believe God was after, their lack of reliance on Him as Father, and understanding to know that He was with them even when Jesus was gone. The next verses in the Mark account of this faith encounter, shows Jesus, beginning to prepare them for His soon departure. Jesus being about to leave the earth, we can see that it was vital they grow to know and seek the Father for themselves.
What mountainous challenge are you facing, Beloved? Are your sights truly set on the one to be cast away, or is that challenge in your sight truly God’s field of fertile soil made ready for your seeds of faith to germinate as you discover and overcome the true mountain God is after? If a situation stands, immovable, perhaps it is time to ask God to reveal the true mountain He is working cast away as He uses the experience to mature seeds of faith in you. Seek the Father with faith that knows He is faithful to respond in due season. He will show you what you need to know on the journey to cast out every mountainous obstacle to your mature and effective faith.
“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. …” ~ Psalm 23, NASB.
When life gets hard and my body wants to hide under a rock, denying all that is coming at me, The Lord comes to me as a Shepherd, reminding me of His sure presence and instructing my heart anew that I can follow Him, step by step and breath by breath, through each day. Jehovah-Raah, The Lord my Shepherd, calls me to follow Him so I do not fall away in the storm and lose my way in life, trying to do for myself what only He can do. The Amplified version of Psalm 23 further increases hope for the help of my God in difficult days.
“THE LORD is my Shepherd to feed, guide, and shield me, I shall not lack”
When the waters get rough, the first thing I too easily strive for is to try to fix things. I run around like the proverbial headless chicken, wearing myself to a frazzle, trying to do what is only God’s to handle. Too often I do this without first seeking Him and His ways.
The best thing for me to remember in any situation is my need to follow my Shepherd, trusting His provision for all the need I see before me. This trust calls me quickly to seek Him and His righteousness first before taking any action. Often He uses the Shepherd’s Crook of His Spirit, urging me forward or pulling back to right paths. Through His Word and the Spirit’s lead, He lets us know when there is something to do. Following God’s Spirit, I learn the benefit found as I walk where He walks, feast on His supply, and find my rest under His Fatherly wings. Doing so…
“He makes me lie down in fresh, tender, green pastures”
In “fix-it” mode, I too easily miss the good God has for me in life. “Fresh, tender, green pastures” speak two things to me:
† This is a place where I can find food and God’s resource meant to nourish, grow, and change me to be all He intended when He planned me.
† This is a place of opportunity where, with reliance upon God, He can use me in right ways that accomplish His purpose.
I don’t have to be the “fixer”. I can trust God to take care of all I entrust to Him.
God often takes us through seasons that are too hard for us to face without Him. He uses these things to make us “lie down”, a position of complete surrender to His will, trusting Him, placing all reliance upon Him. When we lie down in His pastures, we find ourselves in a place that requires our full trust in His protection, provision, and direction.
In the pastures of our Good Shepherd, Jehovah-Raah, we learn to know God. God is in the business of creating for Himself a people after His own heart, readied for His Kingdom. Life’s storms are part of that work of God, revealing areas of needed change, growing our faith, changing our hearts and our nature to the image of God. Here God, feeds, guides, and shields us so that we have no lack of any true need in life. He is our only true need, and He gives Himself to us as we walk in the pastures in which He places us, trusting Him to be the Good Shepherd over all we find there. The things He allows us to experience on the paths of His pastures causes us to lie down in surrendered trust of Him, believing with faith in His supply for our ability to discover and accomplish His purpose for life.
“The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” ~ John 1:5.
In this passage, Apostle John gives Jesus the descriptive name of “The Light”. One responsibility Jesus had in His time on earth as a man was to correct misconceptions people had regarding God and the truth of His will and way. Reading this passage in The Message Bible the other day, Eugene H. Peterson’s interpretation grabbed me with renewed fervor and comprehension.
“What came into existence was Life, and the Life was Light to live by. The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn’t put it out. …The Life-Light was the real thing: Every person entering Life he brings into Light. ‘…my task has been to get Israel ready to recognize Him (The Life-Light) as the God-Revealer’” (says John the Baptist) ~ John 1:4-5, 9, 31, MSG.
Here, John the Apostle describes Jesus as the Life-Light, the one who makes true life in God known. He quotes John the Baptist as proclaiming Jesus as the God-Revealer. This is the work of The Light. Jesus made God known and brought His reality into view for all to see.
Beloved, Jesus calls on us as His ambassadors, to do the same. In John 8:12, Jesus proclaims, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” In Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus passes the responsibility on to us who follow Him out of the darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9): “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
We, the called of God, are to be The Light, shining out to dispel the darkness of this world by being His representatives, equipped as God-Revealers in the likeness and fervor of Christ. Later in the reading of this John Passage in The Message bible, John the Baptist pointed out Jesus to some of his followers. Two of them followed Jesus. Getting His attention, Jesus invited them to see where he was living.
“They came, saw where he was living, and ended up staying with him for the day” ~ John 1:39, MSG.
As people seeking to live in Holy Habitation with God, it is vital that we develop a relationship with Jesus, The Light, who reveals the truth of God to us in our daily situations. Only then can we be Light that rightly represents Him. When we stay with Him throughout our day, in close union with Him, He shines through to reveal Himself in us.
Jesus calls us to be His Light in the world. Light must have a power source. Plug into Him every day and stay plugged in so His Light may continue to shine. Do not hide the Light or fear its brightness dispelling the dark and exposing things hidden in blackened corners. Shine bright in this day and glorify the Father in the name of the Son.
“… So it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed. … Moses built an altar and named it The Lord is My Banner. …” ~ Exodus 17:8-16.
Over every nation I know of flies a flag representing that country. That flag flies over capitals and government buildings. Displayed during special events or during governmental addresses, it inspires national unity. It goes with that nation into battle: whether in war or in sporting competitions. Everyone, from governing officials to the people of the land, desiring to show their allegiance, displays the flag of their nation. Often the displaying of it speaks hope of all the good that nation desires coming to completion.
The same is true for the Kingdom of God and in Exodus 17 we see that the Lord is that banner. Here in this account where Moses reveals a new name to memorialize God and the victory He brought to Israel, Moses uses the words “Jehovah-Nissi”: the Lord our Banner. When we lift God High for all to see His sovereignty in our lives, we align ourselves with His Kingdom and purpose and see His hand move, leading us to experience His victory. In Holy Habitation with God, we acknowledge His right to reign over us and we align ourselves with His desires, goals, and purposes, to accomplish His plans that build for Him a Nation of glory. Under the Banner of God’s Kingdom, we find inspiration to represent His interests as ambassadors of Christ. Inspired when looking upon our Banner, we find strength to trust His supply.
We lift Him up as our banner when we bring every thought to obedience in Christ, take every step at His command, breathe the breath of His presence and glory into our daily lives and encounters, acknowledging our need of Him first and foremost with assurance of His supply for every need and good deed. Through Jehovah-Nissi, The Lord who says to us, “I AM your Banner”, we walk continually in Holy Habitation with God, bringing a glory to His name that He uses to inspire others to come in under our Banner with us.
“Then Moses said, ‘I pray You, show me Your glory!’ And He said, ‘I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you…’” ~ Exodus 33:18-20, NASB.
Happy New Year, beloved. I pray your Christmas was indeed blessed and that you are ready to press forward with God for another year of partnership with Him in the work of Life. As we begin our journey anew to develop a life in Holy Habitation with God, let us begin today with the glory of God seen in His proclaiming His name before us.
Beloved, to understand the importance of this aspect of God’s glory revealed to us, we must understand how vital the name of God is to us and how His name over, in, and through us empowers our lives. Before peeking at the proclamation of God’s names as seen in scripture, let us understand the purpose and power found there.
To begin, realize, beloved, that Jesus never taught us to pray to Him, but to the Father in Jesus’ name. “Our Father who art in heaven…” is the model Jesus gave us to follow in praying to God. And He instructs in John that we are to ask in His name: “Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you. Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full” (John 16:23-24; See also Matthew 6:9; John 14:10-14, 26; 15:16).
Here is the thing about our prayer life and holy habitation with God in Christ Jesus, beloved: all that we do, all that we pray, all that we say, and every thought we think is to be in Jesus name, as rightly and truly represents Him and His interests. There is power in the name of Jesus as we realize our call to be His ambassador’s, representing His interests and kingdom purpose in our lives, thoughts, prayers, and ministries. God grants power to those sent forth in the name of the King to do kingdom business. This is what we are, ambassadors with the authority of the King behind us.
Jesus is our example who tells us that He came and lived in the name of the Father, representing Him in the world: “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works” (John 14:10).
He calls us to this same unity of life and purpose:
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him. … If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me” ~ (John 16:18-21, 23-24).
Jesus came to teach us of the Father. He did so by being a representation of God’s nature, purpose, work, and interests, in the power of oneness with the Father. He, as our example, calls us to do the same in representing Him and His interests, thus proclaiming His name in the world. Living, breathing, speaking, and moving in the name of Jesus is the power of God toward us, doing His work in the earth through us.
“…But He said, ‘You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!’ …” ~ Exodus 33:18-23, NASB.
Moses came as close as any mere human can come to seeing the face of God, yet his view was dim. God did not let him see His full essence with clarity for the protection of his human life.
In scripture, we see that the glory of the angel is enough to make a man faint. How much greater glory the full essence of God: it is beyond our ability to look upon it without our falling over dead from the effects the greatness of His essence has on weak human flesh.
Consider a time when some excitement flooded your body with the hormones that rush forth, overcoming your ability to function as it drained your face of life’s force. That understanding is but a shadow of the effect the full impact of God’s glory, purity, and righteous illumination has on human frailty. So, God tells Moses, “You cannot see my full expression. The effect on you would kill your flesh.”
Now think about that, beloved. We love life and don’t want to die. God loves us and has a purpose for us to fulfill in this life. He knows that the weakness of our flesh cannot see Him in all His glory and live. Therefore, He holds His glory back to protect our life and keep us safe until the fulfillment of His purpose for our living is completed.
On the flip side, the vision of the glory of God kills our flesh. Physically, we want to live and fulfill God’s purpose, but we can only do that from a thriving Spirit-life. Spiritually, we want our flesh-man dead, so our Spirit-man may thrive. Recognizing the glory of God, longing for more and more realization of His glory with us and in us, is the weapon of God against our flesh rising up from the ashes to disturb our journey as partners in the glory of God.
“Where there is no vision [no revelation of God and His word], the people are unrestrained; But happy and blessed is he who keeps the law [of God]” ~ Proverbs 29:18, AMP.
Revelation of God, understanding of who He is, His essence, reality, will, way, and glory, is the key to restraining fleshly impulse. Though we cannot see His fullness without the destruction of our physical being, we must grow to realize the glory God does reveal to us. Only then can we overcome our fleshly desires in order to walk in the ways of God, in the power He supplies through His Spirit at work in us who are an expression of His essence to the world.
“Then Moses said, ‘I pray You, show me Your glory!’ And He said, ‘I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.’ …’” ~ Exodus 33:18-20, NASB.
God’s goodness toward us, His giving to us a personal and intimate knowledge of Him, and His grace that meets our need: all are aspects of God’s glory-revelation. Last on this list of visual representations of God’s glory is His compassion toward us.
“…and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion. …”
Compassion ~ Deep awareness of the suffering of another accompanied by the wish to relieve it. God does not like to see our suffering, and so, He is compassionate toward us.
Trouble is part of living in this world that is most often in stark contrast to God and His ways. As long as we live this earthly existence, trouble will touch our lives; and more so as the day of Christ draws near.
Evil increasing and people’s hearts growing cold toward any aspect of God’s reality is what ushers in the coming Christ. As people wax cold toward God, closing their hearts to Him, Christ will come to remove those who are His from this mess, and apocalypse will have its way. Until then, trouble will increase, touching us more frequently and with greater devastation as this world decays and the day of Christ’s return for us draws near. That said, how is God’s compassion revealed?
“It is of the Lord’s mercies (lovingkindnesses) that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness” ~ Lamentations 3:22-23, KJV (NASB).
The Lord’s compassions toward us keep us from being consumed by the trouble found in this world. Instead, He uses such to strengthen our faith to trust Him more; leading us to greater depths of repentance and surrender to more of Him, strengthening our resolve as He grows our likeness to Him. God’s compassion produces heart-peace in us when life’s storms hit, that peace that passes understanding, amazing the heart of the recipient. Father’s compassions equip us with wisdom to weather every wave and stand firm in the harshest winds.
We are in this life with a purpose set by God: to partner with Him in making His glory known. Therefore, God does not always remove trouble from us, but His compassion helps us to stand so that we fulfill His purpose in allowing the trouble to touch us. Light shines brightest when contrasting the dark.
No matter how bad the waves of trouble may rise above us, we can trust God’s faithful compassions to protect us from the destruction difficulties seek to bring to us. This world of trouble will not consume us as long as we rest securely in His grace that works His good for us out of every wave on the tossing sea of this life.
Whatever storm you are in, beloved, watch for God’s provision: not putting Him in a box of what you think He is doing and should do, but trusting His will, His way. His lovingkindness is with you to provide for your every need out of His compassionate mercies that fail not. He amazes the heart and mind of those who sincerely wait upon and watch for Him in earnest expectation and hope of the glory He will reveal.
“The Lord said to Moses, ‘I will also do this thing of which you have spoken; for you have found favor in My sight and I have known you by name’” ~ Exodus 33:17, NASB.
Walking in God’s favor empowers our lives and makes us fruitful as His people. It is a sign of intimacy with God, being a people after God’s own heart. Along with that is the increased intimacy of friendship with God as ones knowing each other well, privileged to call each other by name.
Known by name:
I know many people when I see them, but those I know best, I know by name; and those I am most intimate with, I know by their chosen or preferred name. This passage leads me to the understanding that it is the same with God.
Some have a shallow acquaintance with Him, while others draw near on a first name basis. People who possess a depth of knowledge as His chosen people that goes beyond mere acquaintance come into a friendship with God that is real and alive.
When God speaks to my heart, 99 times out of a hundred He begins by getting my attention as He calls out, “Darlene”. That sign of intimacy goes the other direction as the child of God learns the names of God, calling on Him with intimate knowledge of who He is (something we will look at closely in days to come).
Deeper intimacy still is found in a relationship that has God naming us according to His desire for us (Revelation 2:17). We see this in instances of people’s relationship with God in Scripture:
Abram (exalted father ~ Genesis 11:27, NASB footnote) becomes Abraham (father of many ~ Genesis 17:5, NASB footnote). Abram’s name change takes him from being the start of a nation to the promise of being the father of more than can be numbered.
Jacob (heel catcher, trickster, supplanter) becomes Israel (he fights or persists with God in prevailing prayer). Jacob no longer relied on himself and trickery to get what was his. He learned to rely on God and receive from His hand.
Simon (he has heard) becomes Peter (rock – one who stands on what he knows and speaks what he believes).
And in my time, Darlene (Beloved) becomes Abigail (Rejoicing – One whose heart rejoices in God. One in whom the heart of God rejoices.) God gave me this name long ago during a time of drawing near to Him and it became my mantra, my life goal, to live so-as-to bring Him rejoicing as I rejoice in Him. For someone who has suffered much rejection and the fear of rejection, this name inspires hope and helps me to know that God does not reject me, but has chosen me, and He finds joy in my presence with Him.
Knowing God inspires faithfulness that wins favor. Him knowing us produces an intimacy that is deep and abiding, as face to face as we can possess in this life, based on a love that never fails.
“…the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend…” ~ Exodus 33:7-11.
Moses relationship with God began as a curiosity. God reached out to Moses’ physical senses through a burning bush, unsinged, drawing him in for a look. There God offered Moses the opportunity of a lifetime: the experience of being God’s instrument in the earth to bring freedom to millions. Thus, scripture depicts Moses as a picture of Christ. (Exodus 3; 1 Corinthians 10:2)
At first, Moses was afraid when God spoke through that bush, so God drew him in closer: “take off your sandals.” Reverent obedience seen in removing the shoes draws us intimately close to God as Lord, where the touch of His holiness enlivens our spiritual senses. That instruction for entering the holy presence of God gave Moses the comfort of feeling welcome and wanted, adjusting his fear to that of reverence. His drawing in close to visit in earnest with God about His plans for Moses and Moses qualms that hindered started him on a road to a relationship with God that grew strong.
Day by day from there, drawing him ever closer, God formed a bond with Moses that led to a trusted friendship.
Relationship with God is vital to our seeking after Him in ways that bring His reality to life for us. The people of Israel had an ungodly fear of God that led them to push Him away when He sought to draw them in, so their relationship with God was standoffish (Exodus 20:18-21). That fear brought harm to their ability to come into personal relationship with Father. Fear, disbelief, busyness, anger, lack of trust: there are so many bad emotional states that rob us of relationship with God.
We must shake that off and come into His holy presence.
Moses pushed past his issues to enter into relationship with God. Exodus 33:11 tells us that Joshua, wanting that relationship for himself, stayed in the tent of meeting with God, seeking Him on his own – he was unafraid to draw near and hear, and as such, was chosen successor to Moses. We, too, must lay every encumbrance aside and draw near.
“… Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. …” ~ James 4:7-10.
“You in Your lovingkindness and goodness have led the people whom You have redeemed; in Your strength You have guided them with care to Your holy habitation” ~ Exodus 15:13, AMP.
I have, for years, had in my heart to do a series of devotional thoughts that lead the reader to their seat at the feet of Jesus, our Lord, and of the Father God. It amazes me the number of Christians who do not realize personally the nearness of God. I am not talking about a “feel good shiver”. I am talking about assurance of heart that has no doubt of His nearness.
People who fail to know God’s nearness too easily fail to recognize His voice: His way of communicating to them in personal and applicable, heart knowledge. That inability to recognize God speaking His instruction for life in our personal situations leads to our stumbling about in darkness, struggling to find our way to the other side of chaos.
I cannot fathom life without this knowledge of God, so real, near, and dear to me; and yet many go through life never achieving this deep and fulfilling relationship with the Father of all eternity. How very difficult our life is when recognition of His sure presence with us eludes us.
Recently Father reminded me of this call and desire to write devotionals intended to help the seeker of God to find this place of His sure presence, impressing upon me that now is my time for this project to flow forth from His heart, through mine, to you. As I began the journey, God led me back to this recently read Exodus 15 verse in which two key words grabbed me, drawing me to seek even greater, more consistent realization of God, His presence with me, and His desire for me.
The desire for God’s presence with us is a desire that will constantly see fulfillment and will not come to full satiety until we enter the eternal with Him. This desire for God is there to keep us seeking, wanting more of Him until we see Him face to face. Holy Habitation: Those words altered the title of this devotional focus and intensified its purpose.
In this devotional series, we will see how God’s glory is recognized in His lovingkindness and goodness expressed toward us. Out of that lovingkindness and goodness, Exodus 15:13 tells us that God supplies the power for us to come into this ‘holy habitation’ relationship with Him. Every detail of our lives is His instrument, carefully used to lead us to this place of understanding His reality with us, and His desire for our lives.
Holy ~ the word is pregnant with meaning: set apart to God; sacred; personal; unified oneness with the Eternal; commitment to His Likeness; obedience to His headship, as a hand moves with the impulses of the brain, as feet go where those impulses point. Holy…
Habitation ~ the state or process of living in a particular place: in this instance, being continually in this state of holiness. The act of inhabiting or the state of being inhabited. Note the unity of this a Holy Habitation: “me” in God and Him in “me”. Habitation is the work, process, experience and reality of possessing the Promised Land of God’s holy presence with us, now and forever made one together with Him.
Look up the word “Kingdom” on this site, and you will find many devotionals and articles on my journey to realizing that we are here and now a part of the Kingdom of God, with all of its resource and responsibility ours to possess and walk out each day. We are people of destiny, having eternal purpose in every experience of every breath. No trouble in this life is without this eternal purpose, providing us opportunity to fulfill our destiny.
Number one in that purpose is to KNOW God as surely as you know the person most important to your reality. He is with us and for us. He longs to know us and for us to know Him. He reaches out to us, desiring we possess such great oneness with Him that we become the extension of His reality in the world.
When we enter the eternal Kingdom at the exhale of the final breath of this life, He wants us to recognize Him when we take our first breath on the other side of glory. He wants us to be one who has long known His voice and become accustomed to His features. The Eternal should not be strange, foreign, or different to us when we enter that Kingdom ~ though we will see completely who and what He is and have our desire for Him fully satiated only then, there should be familiarity that causes us to recognize Him as our most intimate, well known Lover, Companion, Life Partner.
Our entry into that eternal Kingdom should be the greatest homecoming ever experienced, fully entering into the familiar place of His eternal presence, having lived it every day in the Holy Habitation of God’s sure presence here and now. Are you ready? Watch for each excerpt of Holy Habitation: Living Continually Seated at God’s Feet.
PS: This introductory post will most likely be the longest post of the series of devotional length excerpts. Enjoy and be BLESSed, refreshed in His reality with you.
“For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries” ~ 1 Corinthians 14:2.
I believe the gift of tongues is still active in the body of Christ today. It was not until recently that I have sought the Lord for deeper understanding of this gifting. The teaching I have heard has downplayed this gift. It also has told me that this “tongue” is the language of the “angels” and that Satan cannot understand it. That never came across to me as true because Satan, fallen as he is, is an angel. He knows the language of the angels. That being true, to seek that gift and long for it rather than for greater experience of God puts one in danger of a false tongue. That raises up fear in me that hinders my desire for the gift.
I have heard stories of people who received a false tongue and the work of the demonic that came with that to hinder their effectiveness as God’s instruments. One such story reports from a missionary of a time on furlough when he stopped in for worship while traveling to his destination. The church he visited was a tongues speaking church. They had people come up to the interpreter with their tongue and the interpreter would expound on the message of the speaker. After one particular message, the missionary stood up. Apologizing for interrupting when he was but a guest, unknown by the body, he explained that he was a missionary to an Asian area of the world. Then he told them that the last person speaking was speaking in the language of the people group he worked with. He said, “In that language, this man just cursed God and Jesus.” Tongues can be falsified and work in the heavenly realm and on the earth to do harm if we are not careful to seek God rather than a language.
Nevertheless, I have experienced the gift of tongues and the interpretation of it enough to desire the closeness with God and I have prayed many times that, if I can have more of Him with it, I want it. Yesterday that desire increased as I contemplated the scripture above and God instructed my heart with understanding that corrected the teaching I have received. He brought to my heart the memory of the language of twins (triplets, etc.). On the earth it is observed many times that twins from the same egg often share a language that is known by no other than themselves. Parents and other siblings may pick up on the language as they observe the twins. The twins may teach the language to another, but it is their own voice, and no others. Suddenly I understand that the true “tongue” of God to His people is not the language of the angels, but the language of the Triune.
Now I see how no one else would know it, not even the devil. Wow! Now I see how awesome this gift is and my desire is increased by the understanding that this gift can only be had by those whose desire is for Him and greater understanding of the Triune Glory.
Now I see why tongues edify the person speaking it. It is a sign of the nearness of God, personal communion with Him in His personal language. Not even the angels have that. It is God’s gift to us who house the Spirit of God, given to those with whom the Spirit wills to share it. I experience the groaning of the Spirit often, even as I type this. How blessed it would be to me to know the language, not only to speak it, but to interpret it so my mind is edified and I can share it with others. Now I pray with increased understanding and faith in God, who can protect from the false, if it be Your will, O God, here am I.
“Therefore, my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues. But all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner” ~ 1 Corinthians 14:39-40.
I am saddened today as a result of losing a friend because of my problem. Here is my problem: I believe fully and completely every word within these covers…
The Bible of Christianity is not a “politically correct” book in our day. Essentially, it says this…
“There is Only ONE”:
- One TRUE God
- One Savior, the Son of God, Jesus
- One Spirit who unites believer to Father, Son, and each other for all eternity
- One truth
- One Righteousness
- One pathway to heaven
- One gate to the…
- One kingdom of God
- One Door to the Father of all eternity
- ONE and only ONE
I believe these things, not because my momma told me to; not because of the circles of people I run with; not even only because it is what I choose to believe. I believe this word…
…because I have experienced Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in a way that compels my belief and strengthens my faith through the experience. It is what gives me courage to speak up and risk rejection, persecution, and alienation.
This word instructs me to understand that the greatest love is to deny fear of losing a friend so-as-to share these things I believe true with those who I do not know have ever heard; and to encourage the faith of those who struggle to believe. From my standpoint, the greatest act of hate is to remain silent about this faith I possess in this truth I believe because, from my understanding of these pages, there is only ONE.
If the Atheist is correct and the truth is, “There is no God, no heaven, and no hell,” we don’t have to worry about it. One day we will die, turn to dust, and be none the wiser that we were following the wrong truth. If the Pantheist is correct and there are many Gods and many ways to heaven, we don’t have to fret. We are each on a path and will meet up in eternity. However, if this word is the ONE…
…dare I be silent when given opportunity to say, “I believe…because…”?
It is my understanding that every devil behind every false belief has one goal: to keep as many as possible away from the ONE way, truth, and life.
As one who truly and fully believes the God of Holy Bible is ONE and only ONE, showing us the way, the truth, and the life, I cannot stand silent about what I know. I try never to push my beliefs on others, though my excitement and commitment may come across that way. Pushing would do no good, for God says we each must choose. However, I do have to share my beliefs as opportunity comes, for to do less is to participate in someone being separated from ONE for all eternity. If there is no interest in what I share, they made their choice and I move on to love them anyway, being the best friend I can be in the situation. If my sharing my faith insults another, I hate the insult, but I love the person too much to fail to share what I can.
One of Elvis Presley’s brothers spoke at a conference I attended. There he shared complaining to Elvis about his girlfriend continually telling him about Jesus and trying to get him to go to church with her; to which Elvis’ reportedly replied, “Brother, if someone loves you enough to tell you about Jesus, they REALLY love you!”
If my sharing plants a seed of truth that God later uses to help even one person find the path, I win a brother or sister. For me, as one believing the things I believe to be true, remaining silent is the true “hate crime”. In light of this, though I hate losing friends, I make no apologies for the faith I believe and proclaim because I truly love each one I am privileged to meet.
Beloved, God positions us at His side with eternal purpose, empowering us for success on the journey of life. The supply of our position, empowered first by growth in surrendered living that is dependent on Him and His supply for life, is abundant and full.
As we grow in our ability to surrender to and trust Him, He moves us to His right side where our apprenticeship as His servant-child begins. There we grow in our stability as His followers, coming up higher to understand our role as part of His royal priesthood and our responsibility in His royal court as stewards gifted with authority for His Kingdom purpose. Growing strong as His representatives, equipped as His ambassadors, we grow in our victorious journey as His lights, being in the world while living as people of His Kingdom, charged with power to fulfill His purpose in our day. As people who understand our responsibility in our left and right side stance with Him, we are…
Empowered and Endued with Authority to Accomplish His will in His way
“Who caused His glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses, Who divided the waters before them to make for Himself an everlasting name” ~ Isaiah 63:12.
Moses was the visible instrument in the hand of God, through whom His power flowed to produce miracles in the world. As we stand to God’s right side, in the position of responsibility with authority to act, God feeds us with full power to do all He calls us to accomplish in His name. With His resources flowing to our left hand side, the side of dependence and trust, He empowers and supplies all we need for stretching out our right hand of action and obedience, equipping us to fulfill His purpose for our lives. With Him empowering our right hand through our left hand dependence on Him, all things are possible for us who know and trust that nothing shall be impossible with God.
In understanding this power, I love the picture seen in the animated movie, “Lion King” where King Mufasa, standing behind his baby, Simba, adds his roar to his sons. Simba, facing an enemy assault, takes a posture of authority and power, letting out a roar to send the enemy off in fear. The king, knowing Simba was too small and weak to have any real influence against the assault, takes a stance behind him, roaring out in unison with the son. The kings roar added to Simba’s gifted the son with the authority and power necessary for the son’s actions to be effective.
That is an awesome picture of our stance with God in Christ. Anything we accomplish of God’s kingdom purpose where we stand is His power flowing through us to make us effective. That power is ours to possess as we learn to thrive at God’s side. I see this dependent supply and empowered action pictured in the following passage:
“Then the priest shall take the one male lamb and bring it for a guilt offering, with the log of oil, and present them as a wave offering before the Lord. Next he shall slaughter the male lamb in the place where they slaughter the sin offering and the burnt offering, at the place of the sanctuary—for the guilt offering, like the sin offering, belongs to the priest; it is most holy. The priest shall then take some of the blood of the guilt offering, and the priest shall put it on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed, and on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot. The priest shall also take some of the log of oil, and pour it into his left palm; the priest shall then dip his right-hand finger into the oil that is in his left palm, and with his finger sprinkle some of the oil seven times before the Lord. …The priest shall also pour some of the oil into his left palm; and with his right-hand finger the priest shall sprinkle some of the oil that is in his left palm seven times before the Lord” ~ Leviticus 14:12-16, 26-27.
Blood pictures cleansing and oil pictures renewed relationship with God that anoints with authority and power for life made new in Him. Note the bowl of blood and the hand full of oil is in the priest’s left hand, showing supply from God. The work of ministry He pours through the priest’s right hand of obedience.
The priest then applies the blood of cleansing to the right ear, hand and foot of the person anointed for service to God. Right ear, hand, and foot shows left-sided dependence on God to make one clean and ready for right-sided service to Him. The anointing of the oil he sprinkles on the person as a whole, empowering them for service that depends on God’s supply.
Right ear hearing: That service flows to ears made ready and empowered to depend on God to make Himself heard. Given the ear of a disciple, to hear as a disciple, we then take that word to others made ready to hear God’s word sent through us.
Right hand working: The right hand cleansing pictures a person made ready to reach out with power to fulfill the will of God in ways that minister to those we reach to with His gracious supply. God then uses us to empower others to come to His side in likeness to our example, made ready to serve Him.
Right foot moving: With God’s supply that cleanses our feet, He makes us holy, setting us on a righteous path. We become His witness wherever He sets our feet to walk.
We no longer kill the fatted lamb; Jesus is that lamb for us, and He is the priest, reaching out His hand to touch us with His blood of cleansing and empower us with His anointing oil of gladness, making us one with Him in purpose and service. God, through Jesus, supplies our left hand and empowers our right.
“When the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers, they held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing, and cried, ‘A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!’” ~ Judges 7:20.
Note that in these last two passages for this post, as we thrive at His side, our lives meld into His. We become one with Him, our left hand as His own, filled with His supply, and our right hand moving with His, effective in ministry. The left hand of God is the place of His protection and provision; our left hands hold His supply. The right hand of God is the place of His authority, power, victory, and wisdom; our right side flows forth the revelation of His right hand power in us.
When God sets us on His left, grabbing us by our right hand, all is His to do as He leads us safely through this life. When God sets us on His right hand side, He shows us what we have authority to accomplish while empowering us to do so. There, He grants us wisdom to know and do our part as His representative in the world. There we have His authority as if we are His signet ring on His right hand (Jeremiah 22:24). There, we become His instrument for victory, His pouring forth to and through us with the power He gives us to win the day in His Name and to His glory.
In life lived for God, we truly are seated on both sides at all times, dependent on Him and moving in unison with the authority He pours through us at all times. At the right side of God, with the trust of His left side supply, we become His swords in the earth, rightly dividing the word of truth and influencing the world for good. Fully dependent on God, as good stewards trusting His supply, we live out our days as His instrument, accomplishing Kingdom purpose where we live.
But wait! We have an ambidextrous God…
“Now what I mean is that as long as the inheritor (heir) is a child and under age, he does not differ from a slave, although he is the master of all the estate; but he is under guardians and administrators or trustees until the date fixed by his father. …But we, brethren, are children [not by physical descent, as was Ishmael, but] like Isaac, born in virtue of promise” ~ Galatians 4:1-2, 28, AMP.
Reading Galatians 4 this morning spurs further thought regarding our apprenticeship as people positioned as children of God, Heirs of Promise.
In my journey to understand this position in Christ, I began with the understanding that I am no longer slave to sin, but slave to Christ. Under the guardianship of God’s Spirit, having teachers entrusted as trustees of my growth, I learned to no longer allow myself to be slave to lusts of the flesh or to demands of others, but to do all as slave of Christ and slave to righteousness (1 Corinthians 7:22; Ephesians 6:5-6; Romans 6:16-19).
Once I understood my need to surrender myself to God in all things as a slave to a Master, God began teaching me the difference between a slave and a bondslave (Exodus 21:1-6; Luke 1:38; 1 Peter 2:16). The difference between the two is subtle. A slave is a slave that wins the heart of the Master, receiving His favor by choosing obedience out of realization of one’s need to please the Master so as to receive the benefits gifted for a service well done. A bondslave is one who falls madly in love with the Master. Trusting that he is better off as a slave of God than without Him, and having as one’s greatest desire that of pleasing and tending well to the business of the Master despite any difficulty that may mean for the bondslave of Christ, they surrender themselves to His ownership for life. Love and trust trumps trouble, and surrenders to the Master for all eternity.
Once I understood slavery to Christ for life because of loving trust, God led me to understand that I am a child by His choice, child of promise through Christ.
“The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him” ~ Romans 8:16-17.
“We, brethren, are children [not by physical descent, as was Ishmael, but] like Isaac, born in virtue of promise” (Galatians 4:28). We are children of God and heirs with Christ forever. Learning that, now, finally, from age 58-60, God is bringing fuller comprehension of the responsibility and authority I have as child of God and heir with Christ. We are children in the Royal Court of God and His Kingdom, having full authority in Christ and responsibility under God to represent the interests of His Kingdom in our here and now life and throughout eternity. As we discover our heritage as children, we understand that we are no longer slaves, but owners of the Kingdom with Christ. Our responsibility moves from that of ones commanded, to ones who possess and protect the Kingdom of our heart. We are in the world, not of it, for we are child-heirs, part of the Royal Court of God’s Kingdom, fulfilling Kingdom purpose for Kingdom prosperity to the glory of Father God and King-Ishi. Thus, we are…
Positioned as Children
In this Galatians 4 passage, we learn that our training in Christ leads us to understanding of God as Father and our ability to draw near to Him as a beloved child climbs into the lap of her daddy.
“Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God” (vs. 6-7).
The goal of God in our apprenticeship under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit is to equip us to make this transition from “slave of God in Christ” to “Heir apparent”. Having full assurance of our security in Christ, we realize our position in the Royal Court, fully possessing our authority to carry out our responsibilities as His representatives where He has us stationed in the world.
“But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again?” ~ vs. 9.
God is God, all knowing and all-powerful. He knows who we are, but this scripture instructs that as we serve Him well, that service catches God’s attention, growing the closeness of our relationship with Him as we draw nearer still to Him, and making us one He knows with a favor that makes us stand out as His representatives in life. I am sure you know a Christian whose relationship with God inspires you to know Him better. Those who know God well, trusting Him fully, not being easily swayed by false doctrine or the desire to please others, and that He draws near to because of that close, personal relationship stand out as His children of Light (Ephesians 5:7-10).
“…you received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus Himself” ~ vs. 14b.
The one who is heir with Christ realizes that many will only come to know Him for themselves as they see Him in us and experience His presence through us. We are conduits of all that represents God, His will, way, purpose, and Kingdom. When we come into this position of letting Christ live through us, we are near to the heart of God, well known by Him and recognized by others as “having been with Jesus” (Galatians 2:20; Acts 4:13).
“So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth? They eagerly seek you, not commendably, but they wish to shut you out so that you will seek them. But it is good always to be eagerly sought in a commendable manner, and not only when I am present with you. My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you—but I could wish to be present with you now and to change my tone, for I am perplexed about you” ~ vs 16-20.
Children of Light, Heirs of God in Christ, grow in stability, following God’s truth, having full faith in Him. Here we see that those who were speaking religious legalism to the children were luring them away from the truth of God. Paul reminds them that it is good, being sought after commendably. To me that means we are to be that example of Christlikeness that draws others to seek us as teachers, examples worth following, as they seek Christ for themselves.
However, these followers of Christ found themselves sought out by those wishing to draw them into religious legalism that denies faith’s assurance in Christ. Instead of trusting Christ fully for saving-grace and the path to son-ship, growing strong in their relationship with God, pleasing Him, they fell back into the old covenant of law, trying to add Jesus plus works of the flesh as necessary for true salvation, seeking to please those religious leaders. That leads to constant struggle as we try to balance the pleasure of other people with pleasing God. Assurance of our position in Christ is difficult to realize when wavering between relational-faith that produces the fruit of the Spirit and good works that make one a pleasure to man’s ideology.
Paul reminds them that those true children, filled with the Spirit and following the dictates of God in the Spirit’s power do not need legalistic ritual added to their salvation. We are free in Christ to be God’s children, but if we choose to believe salvation through law, we must keep all the law without fail (Galatians 3:1-14). We cannot claim trust in Christ and the earning of our way into God’s kingdom. Instead, our trust in God through Christ, as empowered by the Spirit, produces in us the good works of God’s desire for us. Works of a righteousness of our own making do not save us. Our salvation is in Christ who is our righteousness, and through that, we are empowered to live righteous lives for the glory of God as pleasing Him. This is the heart of the one who understands their position as a Child of God and Heirs with Christ.
“Tell me, you who want to be under law, do you not listen to the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the bondwoman and one by the free woman. But the son by the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and the son by the free woman through the promise. … you brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise” ~ vs. 21-31.
“As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love” ~ Ephesians 4:14-16.
The hour is near for Christ’s return. Time grows short for us to shine the Light of God so all who will enter into this Kingdom life with us may come. It is time for us to grow up in full understanding of who we are in Christ, heirs with Him, given charge to represent Kingdom interests wherever God stations us in life. God positions us as children with Kingdom purpose where He places us. Some of those places are hardened soil, challenging to our holy feet, but we must grow strong in knowledge of Him so we may live in ways that make us known as His lights, children of God’s favor.
“And as her soul was departing, for she died, she called his name Ben-oni [son of my sorrow]; but his father called him Benjamin [son of the right hand]” ~ Genesis 35:18, AMP.
I believe that God calls those who truly desire to surrender to Him as child and partner in Christ “The son / daughter of My right hand.” There is great significance to our placement at the right hand of God. We are heirs of God, fellow heirs with Christ, called and equipped to serve along His side in fulfilling Kingdom purpose. Our position as heirs, people of the Royal Court of God, begins with that left sided surrender, receiving from His hand of supply, trusting His care, protection and provision. In that place of trust in God, we find Him preparing us and moving us to the position of apprenticeship at His right side. Once we truly understand His trustworthiness, He places us at His right as His instrument for use in our days. We are each in training for our role in His Kingdom …
Positioned for Instruction / Understanding / Discernment
“Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me” ~ Psalm 139:10.
When God’s right hand lays hold on us, His hand places us to His right. The right hand, as we will see throughout the remainder of this series, is the place of action. While placement at His left side is the position of dependence, protection, and personal supply – the relational position of His ministry to each individual of us, the right hand of God places us in positions of usefulness and authority – the place where His supply pours out through us to affect those around us. There we are in training for the purpose of ministry and the fulfillment of His plans for us in our lifetime. His right hand flows all that we need to accomplish His will in His way with power and authority to be His instrument in our day.
“As is Your name, O God, So is Your praise to the ends of the earth; Your right hand is full of righteousness” ~ Psalm 48:10.
It is at the right hand of God that we learn righteousness. In this position, God begins the process of transformation, changing us from the inside out, beginning with our way of thinking. Scripture instructs us to understand that transformation begins in our minds, equipping us to take every thought captive in obedience to Christ (Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 10:1-6). Our thoughts effect our heart attitudes and desires, and from the heart flows the produce of our lives (Proverbs 4:23). At the right side of God we learn to recognize the difference between the wisdom that is false, coming from the flesh, the world, and demons, and that that is from God. Learning the true, right, godly, pure, excellent, worthy of praise thoughts that lead to good, righteous, and peaceful outcomes, changing the fruit of our lives, is the goal of our right hand position with God (Philippians 4:6-9; James 3:13-18).
“And in Your majesty ride on victoriously, For the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness; Let Your right hand teach You awesome things” ~ Psalm 45:4.
The right side of God is the fruit bearing side that effects life where we are living as in the world, but not of it. Experience is the greatest instrument in the hand of God for our training. As we experience Him at work in and through us, we grow strong of faith. As we learn to receive the instruction that comes to us at the right hand of God, we learn His ways that equip us to accomplish His eternal purposes where we are in life. As we live in agreement with His way of thinking and being, we see victory, truth, meekness, and righteousness in our day. The “awesome things” of God become our joy and song of praise to Him and that that brings His favor to us. Through that experience, His right hand flowing to us to affect the work of our right hand, we grow strong in Christ.
Apprenticeship through Christ makes us partners with God, set to learn His ways so we produce the good works He planned for us from the beginning of time (Ephesians 2:10). This surrender of “Yet not my will but Thy will” is the beginning of our journey to walk in the authority of Christ for His Kingdom purpose in us.
Left Sided Stance: The Position of the Dependent
“That Your beloved may be delivered, Save with Your right hand, and answer us! …For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you’” ~ Psalm 60:5; Isaiah 41:13. See also Psalm 20:6.
The Knight in shining armor, charged with the care of the Princess Bride, fills the screen as a battle rages around them. Watching, we see the Good Knight position the Princess to his left.
There is purpose in this position. Her stance to his left places her in the place where he can shield her against the enemies blows. It also keeps her out of the way of his own efforts to defend her as he wields his sword, held in his right hand. This beloved, is part of the picture we see as we consider God placing us at His left hand side. Any passage that speaks of God grabbing our right hand places us to His left hand side, a picture of dependence on Him for His care, protection, leading, direction, and provision.
“For by their own sword they did not possess the land, And their own arm did not save them, But Your right hand and Your arm and the light of Your presence, For You favored them” ~ Psalm 44:3.
Scripture teaches that we can do nothing apart from Him; that all we have truly comes from His hand. Left sided stance is realization of our dependence on God as a child depends on her Father; as a charge depends on her Protector. In all things we do in life, though charged with a task, given authority and responsibility to carry it out, all we do has a left sided aspect to it. We are always dependent on God for His provision and care.
“I have set the Lord continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken” ~ Psalm 16:8.
When God is at our right hand, that puts us on His left. Dependence on God keeps us from feeling shaken by things in life that threaten our security. For example, scripture teaches that God is our defender (Proverbs 22:23; Isaiah 51:22; Matthew 10:19). Second Corinthians 6:7 tells us that God placed the weapons of righteousness that are for our defense in our left hand, the picture of our dependence upon Him who is our shield of defense.
“The steps of a man are established by the Lord, And He delights in his way. When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, Because the Lord is the One who holds his hand. I have been young and now I am old, Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken Or his descendants begging bread” ~ Psalm 37:23-25.
“Nevertheless I am continually with YOU; YOU have taken hold of my right hand” ~ Psalm 73:23.
Left handed positioning remembers that God is always with us and never leaves us. Though our choices, that of others around us, or God’s placement for ministry may lead us to places we would prefer not to go, God is with us even there.
Left handed positioning in scripture is always a picture of our dependence on God for His protection and provision; wisdom, direction, and leading. This understanding is the heart of David when he prayed in Psalm 20:
“May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob set you securely on high! May He send you help from the sanctuary And support you from Zion! May He remember all your meal offerings And find your burnt offering acceptable! Selah.
“May He grant you your heart’s desire And fulfill all your counsel! We will sing for joy over your victory, And in the name of our God we will set up our banners. May the Lord fulfill all your petitions.
“Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven With the saving strength of His right hand. Some boast in chariots and some in horses, But we will boast in the name of the Lord, our God. They have bowed down and fallen, But we have risen and stood upright. Save, O Lord; May the King answer us in the day we call” ~ Vs. 1-9.
We stand upright and strong at His left hand with hearts fully surrendered to and trusting in God.
Read John 17
“As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. … Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”” ~ vs. 18-25.
Sent In Jesus Name
Concluding this look at John 17, desiring to be His people, His response to this prayer of Jesus for us, we acknowledge His work in us. God sends us into the world in Jesus Name to be a people sanctified by and set apart to live a life of truth, being in agreement with God, His will, and His way. God sends us into the world in Jesus name to be His image bearers, making His love known to all: For God so loved the world. Finally, today, God sends us into the world in response to Christ’s desire that we be…
Set in His Presence to Make Him Known
Jesus prayed that we may be with Him where He is and that we may see His glory. Yes, that is a prayer for us to join Him in the Kingdom He prepares for our eternity, and for us to see Him as He is, in fullness of glory. However, I also think of these words of Jesus regarding His work with the Father in the world:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner” ~ John 5:19.
Jesus knew the presence of God in His midst as He walked through life in the world, but not of it. He recognized the glory of God as He realized the work of God in His path. Jesus joined the Father in what He did in the world where He served Him to accomplish His purpose. Jesus is our example for life. I believe that as we surrender to the leadership of the Spirit, we too can know the presence of God in our midst and see the glory of His hand moving so that we can cooperate with Him to accomplish the purpose He has for our being in this age of the history of this world.
Beloved, God sends us into the world to contrast the character and nature of God against that seen in the world. He sets us apart to be a people of truth, led by and living in agreement with all God says is true, right, good, and worthy of praise. He sends us out as recipients and conduits of His love, making the love of God known in the world. God sends us into the world, but He does not send us out alone. We have the Spirit of God who gives us eyes to see His glory, ears to hear His instruction, and a heart made ready and willing to accomplish His purpose.
Father, You send us into the world to represent You and make You known, therefore we are not to be of this world philosophy, acting in the ways deemed true by its wisdom and priorities. We who live for You, knowing Your presence and following Your lead, are Your response to this prayer of Jesus. Make us to know You that we may walk in Your ways and make You known, being a people after Your own heart, united as one in the power of Your Spirit at work in and through us. In Jesus, amen.
“I saw the Lord always in my presence; for He is at my right hand, so that I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue exulted; moreover my flesh also will live in hope; because You will not abandon my soul to Hades, nor allow Your Holy One to undergo decay. You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of gladness with Your presence” ~ Acts 2:25-28.
Read John 17
“As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. …The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me…” ~ vs. 18-25.
Sent In Jesus Name
In the previous post (Part 6a) for this series, we noted that Jesus sends us into the world just as God did, sending us to believe, speak, and live truth as God intended truth to be. Choosing our own sanctification in truth in likeness to Jesus brings unity to all who believe and practice His truth in kind. Today we see that this gift of glory from God ~ our ability to be one as He is one, perfected in unity ~ is ours from God so that the world may know that God sent Jesus. In making Jesus known as the Christ who saves, God tasks us with making the truth of God’s love found in that sacrifice evident to all who hear. Just as God sent Jesus into the world, so Jesus sends us to make it known to the world that God loves them just as He loves Jesus and us. We are…
Sent in Love to Love
Jesus sends us into the world because God the Father and Jesus the Son so love the world that they gift us to our age in history as His image bearers, living love out into the world. As people of God, fully called and equipped to live sanctified lives in kind so the world may see and know the love God has for all, it is vital that we “be” love as He is love. Love is our nature in Christ, the outpouring of His Spirit at work in us.
Filled with the Spirit, the attributes of love that I have written about many times, will be evident in us: love, being unconditional and incorruptible, fulfills the law in our attitudes and actions toward one another. In the practice of love, the love we have for others covers a multitude of sins, not waxing and waning with insult. Though hearts may hurt when trust is stressed by sin, thus hindering our ability to put ourselves in harm’s way by trusting again, care for the best possible life for those we love remains, and that best is always God, His will, and His way.
Those in our sphere of influence can know that though we hate sinful actions, we love them, as we learn to love unconditionally and incorruptibly. In so doing, we find fear of losing our love cast away as those we love struggle to grow in knowledge of truth and love. As those around us see this love from God’s heart flowing to them through us, they are equipped to know and trust God’s love for them.
As we grow in knowing and receiving this love of the Father found in the Christ, we unite as one with all who have gone on before us and all with us on this journey now. United in this power of God’s grace, called to a committed life in unity with God through love, we set the example as people who know how to love in Jesus Name.
Jesus prayed for us that we would succeed in the power of God as we sanctify ourselves through faithfulness to trust and follow Christ’s example out of love for those in the world who need to know that God loves them. We are God’s gift to the world, charged with making His love evident in likeness to Him. His desire is that we join Him in eternity, having fulfilled this work of God in the earth, being love as He is love so that the world may know that God so loved the world.
Father God, Your word makes it clear that You are love. You love not because we do all things well, but because that is Your nature. Your word also makes it clear that we are to love as You love. You desire our perfection in unity with the Father, Son, Holy Spirit and one another, therefore, we must receive the seed of Your nature that bears forth the fruit of love in likeness to You (1 John 4:7-11). Love is the glue that binds us together as one when we fail to fully know and walk in truth. Father, pour forth Your love through us that we may be one as You are one, successfully making Your love known in the world. In Jesus, amen.
Read John 17
“I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You; for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me. I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours; and all things that are Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine; and I have been glorified in them.” ~ vs. 6-10.
From the Name of God, to the Words He sent and the people He provided opportunity to share with, and I would add to the worlds goods provided for use in the ministry given Him, Jesus recognized that all was God’s and was given Him by God for His use in manifesting the name, will, way and glory of God. All belonged to God. It was given to Christ for Him to possess, manifest through His own life and ministry, and use as a gift to those in His sphere of influence.
Jesus’ realization of ownership began with self: “for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me.” He believed that He Himself belonged to God for His purpose, sent into the world to accomplish God’s will in God’s way.
Jesus is our example for life. We manifest Him in the same way He shared God with us, as people of God’s own possession, sent for a purpose. That begins with ownership. Jesus received the Name of God as His own. Salvation comes from God through Christ. Father is Immanuel, the Christ, Savior, Lord, Master. He gave rights to Jesus for Him to possess and manifest these characteristics in the world, thus being God with us, fulfilling His purpose as Christ, the Savior made Lord and Master as King of kings under God’s authority.
Jesus, in turn, puts His name on us as followers of Christ, and we are responsible to manifest His character, word, will, way, and stewardship in this age God birthed us to. We are under His authority, given authority with responsibility as stewards of all He gives for our use in living and being His representatives where we are living and breathing.
All that we have belongs to God. Our reputation, our words, our funds, every opportunity for good, our time, this day, our now moments, and every breath we breathe is His. We do well to realize all we have first belongs to God. Then we must realize that all He gives us is ours to possess and use in manifesting Him name and His glory in the earth. When we say we are “Christian”, people look to us to discover what that means. Represent God with every breath.
Beloved, when we frown at tithing, it is because we fail to believe and own the truth that “all things that are Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine,” given us for the purpose of this ministry of manifestation. When the need of others becomes inconvenience instead of opportunity, we forget whose Name and glory we possess. When anger, depression and other emotional issues take hold, leading us to say things that do more harm than good, we forget the Word gifted us for use in producing His glory and work in the world. When we waste our days and resources on menial things, we forget whose purpose we are to fulfill and the fruit we are to bear. He gives all to us for us to own in His name and use to His glory.
“So then, as occasion and opportunity open up to us, let us do good [morally] to all people [not only being useful or profitable to them, but also doing what is for their spiritual good and advantage]. Be mindful to be a blessing, especially to those of the household of faith [those who belong to God’s family with you, the believers]” ~ Galatians 6:10, AMP.
Read John 17
“Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life” ~ vs. 1-2.
Humbled and in awe of God, I bow.
Beloved, do you realize that if we are one with God in Christ, an answer from God to Jesus’ prayer here in John 17, we should have this prayer resonating within us? As I read this prayer this morning for the 100th plus time, it no longer belongs to Christ alone. This prayer became my prayer, rejoicing my heart at the thought of God answering this prayer in my life.
Beginning today with these 2 verses, let’s look at how we can continue this prayer in Jesus name.
First, by way of reminder, Jesus instructed us to petition the Father in the name of the Son. “In Jesus name” is more than words we tack to the end of our want list. “In Jesus name” means that all we ask of God should represent Christ’s interests and heart desires. We are to grow past being children, crying out for everything that catches the attention of our childish – fleshly desire on the toy shelves or through worldly commercials. We are to understand God’s will and way and align our desires with His; most importantly, being as one with Him, God’s fulfillment of the John 17 prayer of Jesus’ heart cry.
If we are walking as God’s response to Jesus, beloved, we can join the heart of Jesus to pray this prayer as our own. Thus begins: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your daughter in Christ, that this daughter may glorify You, even as You gave me authority in Christ over all flesh, that to all whom You have given me in my sphere of influence, I may give eternal life by the testimony of Christ at work through me in the power of Your Spirit.”
In Jesus, we begin. And what a great beginning it is: to pray to glorify God to all He places within our sphere of influence, being an example of His glorious image, helping others to saving grace in Christ. May God so move in us, beloved.
Other produce of the “These things” spoken by Christ:
“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have perfect peace and confidence. …” ~ John 16:33, AMP.
In this series, we looked at the “these things” referenced by Christ, teachings given to us so that we may have perfect peace and confidence. In looking at the teachings of Christ in this message found in John 14-16, we found these ingredients to a life of perfect peace and confidence:
- True and abiding belief in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit: knowing who this Triune God is and the truth of His existence and work brings assurance that this world’s challenges to Life in Christ cannot destroy.
- Kingdom reality: knowing that we are here with a purpose as God’s representatives in the earth, being in the world but not of it, working to be His light that draws many to His Kingdom, fills us with purpose that is undaunted by life’s struggle.
- Fruitful living: As Kingdom representatives, we are to produce fruit in keeping with a true and abiding relationship with God and His Kingdom purpose that bears the image and glory of God in the earth, thus fulfilling our purpose and strengthening our resolve.
- Love: as Kingdom people of God, we are image bearers, His producing within us the character and nature that shows us to be His children. As such we are not only to know His love for us, but knowing that He loves because He is love and He cannot deny Himself, we are to love in kind, having love as an attribute from the core of our existence. Love is who we are. Therefore, love done well to His glory produces fruit that strengthens peace and confidence.
- Called Friend: As people of Kingdom purpose who bear the image of God, our relationship with Him grows ever stronger as we become more than slaves forced to obey. As friends of God in Christ, we choose relationship with Him, obeying out of faith in Him despite the challenges living in the world brings our way. That abiding relationship with God brings us from slave status, to Friend of God in Christ, a bondslave by choice of love’s friendship and desire to be in His service and under His protective care by choice.
All these things, alive and growing in us, bring us to hearts of perfect peace and confidence in God through Christ, empowered by the Spirit-bond we possess and live out into the world. In studying this out, I found other things that “these things” taught by God-Christ produce. Before we close out this series, let us look at the produce found in “these things”.
“These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling. They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God. These things they will do because they have not known the Father or Me” ~ John 16:1-3.
Jesus knows what it is to be outcast because of faith, belief, and its practice. Living in the world brings challenge that can lead to conflict. Being Kingdom people in a world of opposition against God and godly principles is difficult. Jesus instructs us that true understanding of the things spoken by God and becoming as He is so we are at our best as His representatives protects us from stumbling in a world of obstacles.
“You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. …It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life” ~ John 15:3; John 6:63.
Remembering these things spoken by Christ helps us to trust His cleansing power and to live the life He gives us in the power of the Spirit. When caught off guard in the world and found stumbling over some obstacle, our peace and confidence remains strong as we remember the things we know of God, the things that make us who we are as His Kingdom people. We are already clean because we trust Him and all He says of Himself and of us. All we need when stumbling comes is to let Him wash our injured and muddied feet by trusting His word to us.
“But these things I have spoken to you, so that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them. …These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; an hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but will tell you plainly of the Father” ~ John 16:4, 25.
Jesus purposed two things in all the things He taught us: to warn us of the things of this world and the flesh that lead to eventual destruction; and to tell us plainly of the Father so we have what we need to overcome evil and be His image bearers.
“These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” ~ John 14:25-26.
I lean heavily on this one in these days of my life, when memory of things spoken to me through God’s word is challenged by my weak ability to recall. Jesus speaks wisdom and instruction in abiding moments with Him and the Holy Spirit brings all to my remembrance when life’s stressors and health issues challenge my mind’s ability to retain His instruction. I trust God to help me recall His instruction, and He faithfully does so through this work of His Spirit in me. We will cover this one in greater detail in our last post for this series. For now, I want to end this post with the following final, awesome promise produced in us through “these things” taught by Christ.
“These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. …Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full” ~ John 15:11; 16:24.
Following “these things” taught us by Christ produces true and abiding joy in us. We too easily fall to looking for joy in our situations and circumstances, only to find disappointment. We expect joy to come through those we love, too often being let down in our expectations, thus being robbed of a false joy that is fleeting. However, when we get our joy from faithfulness to trust, believe in, rely on with confidence and practice “these things” taught by Christ, our joy remains with us because of Him fulfilling the promise found in “these things” that produce joy, peace and confidence.
Life circumstances and flawed people cannot rob of joy that abides in us through our thriving relationship with God as Kingdom people who are set to represent Him to those we love and accomplish His purpose in our circumstances. When our joy comes from our relationship with Him and our understanding of and commitment to Him as His ambassadors in this life, we will ask according to His heart desire and He will faithfully meet our desires with “Yes” and “Amen”, thus bringing us to fullness of joy found in unity with Him.
God speaks with purpose in mind, and that purpose produces good things in and through us as we remember His teachings and become as He is, representative of Him and His Kingdom in our here and now lives. Remember these things of God, beloved, and go forth to prosper as Royal Ambassadors of His Kingdom purpose.
“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]” ~ John 16:33, AMP.
Yesterday we saw that the first “thing” Jesus spoke of that empowers His gift of perfect peace and confidence to work in our lives is our trust in the reality, personality, and work of God the Father and Jesus the Christ. Our Triune God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is faithful because He cannot deny Himself by failing to be who He is. We can have peace in knowing God and trusting His faithfulness.
The second thing I see follows and is attached to the first. That key to peace is our Kingdom or Eternal Perspective.
“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also” ~ John 14:1-3.
This is not our home, People of the Living God. If we are His, He has a Kingdom in which we will dwell with Him in Eternity, and to which we already belong. The circumstances in which we find ourselves are training ground. Some of you will say, “Again with the continuum!”, but it is a truth worth repeating. We cannot truly know with appreciation love, hope, faith, truth, etc., until we have experienced hate, despair, doubt, lie, etc. The only way to do that is to dwell in places that contrast God, who is love, the source of hope, our object of faith, because He is truth and truthful, etc. Therefore, we are in the world for a purpose: to learn that we are not of the world. Only as we enter into and have this hope of the eternal purpose can we face today’s trouble with hope’s peace.
In addition, Beloved, as I have told you before, now I tell you again: this eternity is not just something we look forward to entering when our life on earth is finished. Otherwise, why leave us to life’s difficulties? If there is no eternal purpose for leaving us in this life, why give opportunity for us to walk the continuum of peace vs. turmoil? God would just take us home where Perfect Peace resides. If we could fully know His Peace without understanding of its opposition, God would remove us from this place as soon as the “I do” was done.
The eternity we look forward to truly begins for each of us the instant we say, “I do” to Jesus, the Bridegroom. In that breath, we become the Bride, members of the Royal Court of God’s Kingdom: day one of our journey to eternal destiny. As we go through life here, learning to discern the godly end of the continuums of life, we discover who we are in Christ. Taking on our role as Ambassador of the eternal Kingdom of God, being in the world but not of it, we live His Kingdom reality into the earth by living at the godly end of the continuums of life, being of His Kingdom while not in it.
I hear of people, thrown in prison for their faith, who have peace in that season of hardship because they realize God has Kingdom business for them to do while there. Trusting God, they weather that storm in the Eye of His presence. The eternal perspective of being of God’s Kingdom, part of His Royal Court, while being His ambassador in the place He sets them, helps them face their time in prison with a perspective that brings peace found in purpose.
We may not all wind up in prison, but we all face the ungodly end of life’s continuums every day. Trouble comes to tempt us to despair, hate, unforgiveness, self-preservation, etc. Tucking self into one’s understanding of God and His Kingdom purpose, we find peace to persevere with faith and hope. That perseverance leads us to the godly responses that produce Kingdom fruit into the earth. Our fruitful lives then bear a testimony in the world that highlights the Kingdom of God. Others, seeing the product of His eternal purpose in us, receive the testimony of our lives in Christ and join us on the journey. This is the Kingdom perspective that produces peace from God that is unhindered by life’s trouble.
Beloved, if you are in a hard place in life, realize that God allowed it for a Kingdom purpose. God never takes us to places where His grace cannot keep us, because He always takes us where His purpose has need of us as His Royal Ambassador. We are always either on training ground, and / or in fields, white for harvest. He is either working to grow us on some continuum meant to help us understand the godly, and / or He desires to use us to help others on their journey. Wherever you find yourself today: wherever tomorrow leads you, take hope and enter into His peace. We can be in any hardship and produce fruit in keeping with righteousness when we have that perfect peace empowered by Kingdom purpose.
Reading John 10 this morning, waiting on my husband to finish reading his newspaper so we could visit before his leaving for work, verse 25 stands out to me for today’s focus:
“Jesus answered them, ‘I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me.’”
“Jesus answered them, ‘I have told you so, yet you do not believe Me [you do not trust Me and rely on Me]. The very works that I do by the power of My Father and in My Father’s name bear witness concerning Me [they are My credentials and evidence in support of Me]’” ~ AMP.
I am reminded of two things this morning. First, I do not have to concern myself with what others believe or do not believe about me. The fruit of my works will bear witness of me, just as they did for Jesus. They are my credentials and evidence in support of me too, so trust in the Lord and do good.
Second, do the works that I do by the power of God and in the Father’s name, as an obedient servant of God. Then my fruit will bear a good testimony of my life in Christ, and I will have no fear of humankind.
“Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him and He will do it. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your judgment as the noonday. Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him…” ~ Psalm 37:3-7.
I have had little time for writing of late, and I am pushing it being on the computer this much today, but I do not want to miss this day of anniversary.
It is four years ago today that I posted the first Pondering to this site. Darlene’s Ponderings is much older than that, having used several web servers through the years, and I am BLESSed by God to have input into so many lives through these posts. I am grateful for the things God teaches me, the comforts He gives me, and the gift of ability to put thought to words posted for viewing by those who read them. My continued prayer is to be of some help to you as you grow in your knowledge of God. And I so appreciated your posts and comments that help my growth and maturity.
“Thus says the Lord, ‘Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,’ declares the Lord.” ~ Jeremiah 9:23-24.
This is my cry for you: that your boast is that you KNOW the Lord. It is the greatest pursuit we can possess in life. Everything our God allows us to experience has this as its ultimate purpose, that of teaching us more that we need to know with understanding about our God.
Desire for ever increasing knowledge of God is the heart of Moses who, known as the friend of God, sought to see God’s glory so he could have experiential knowledge of Him. God faithfully responded, telling him how to recognize it when he saw it, and giving him a glimpse of His reality with him. (Exodus 33 *vs 18-23)
Knowing God intimately as Father and expressing Him in His life was the experience of Jesus who lived to serve God and to make Him known. All He did was done only as He saw the Father doing it, and He counted the doing of God’s will as His most vital sustenance (John 4:31-34; 5:19).
This knowledge was also Paul’s boast as He “penned” Philippians 3:8-11 ~ my life verse, given in the Amplified as follows:
“Yes, furthermore, I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege (the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth, and supreme advantage) of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him [of perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him more fully and clearly]. …[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him….”
It is our greatest pursuit and absolute most vital need: to know God in all His glory. He calls us to be His image bearers to the world. How can we hope to fulfill that call if we fail this one vital need: to feast ourselves in Him that we may know Him so that we may be like Him, bearing the image of His essence into our daily lives meant for His glory in making Him know to a world in need of their one true God.
That knowledge begins as we recognize the Christ who came to show us the Father and to make a way for us to know Him personally for ourselves. He is the way, the truth, and the life through Whom we come into the presence of the Father. God gives us His Word to guide us to His Light where we can discover His frame and grow in our knowledge of Him. And relationship with God through Jesus provides us His Spirit: the Teacher sent that we may know these things.
Jeremiah 15:16, NLT, says, “When I discovered Your words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear Your Name, O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies.”
Please pray for me as I pray for You that we will devour His words so we may have His heart and grow in our knowledge of Him. Only as He transforms our minds to take every thought captive to the sure knowledge and understanding of His ways and thoughts that are higher than ours can we be His lights: revelators of His essence as His image bearers to the world around us.
Happy anniversary and thank you to you here with me, some of whom have followed my writings longer than the four years of Ponderings home here on WordPress. Poor dears! You have struggled through my growth spurts with me, seen me flounder in my pursuit of Him, and stood with me through it all, rejoicing as He brought me to Victory. Thank you for your support.
And thank You, Lord. I am forever grateful for Your growing my understanding and walking around mountains with me, sometimes too many times to count, but always proving faithful to never leave nor forsake me as I seek to follow and serve and KNOW You as Lord, Master, Father, King, Beloved, God of all, and forever faithful Friend and Champion. You are Lord!
Wilderness times in life are difficult. The first step in traversing it is to realize where we are and draw near to God Who can lead us out to the cool of His garden place. I pray you discovered any wilderness places in your life, beloved, and that this first step is behind you. The days ahead, journeying with God to the end of the Wilderness Road, is full of glory that God will reveal as He leads you forward. Though it is a hard road to travel, the end result is worth the trouble. I am excited for you.
Be warned, the path ahead will most likely be rough, and you need to make sure to keep eyes on God, hand in His. You will know the instant you lose connection with Him, as confusion, fear, and weakness overtake your life. When it happens, stop where you are and wait. You will find Him faithful to reconnect with you as you wait patiently for Him, watch for His hand, and listen for His whisper, “This is the way; walk ye in it.” Sometimes what seems to us a delay is actually God providing a “Selah” moment: an Oasis where we rest a bit and calmly think on the things He is showing us while He refreshes us and prepares us to go forward. Though it may take time, be faithful to stay close to the side of your Good Shepherd and you will soon find yourself…
Walking in the garden in the cool of the day.
SOS1: “Awake, O north wind, And come, wind of the south; Make my garden breathe out fragrance, Let its spices be wafted abroad. May my beloved come into his garden and eat its choice fruits” (SOS 4:16).
When time on earth began, God set a garden within it where His chosen ones thrived. In the cool of the day, He came into the garden for a leisurely walk with His beloveds. We can still have that walk with Him today. In Song of Solomon, several things stand out that instruct us concerning time in the garden.
Here in chapter 4 we see that the wind of God’s Spirit comes into the garden and breathes out the fragrance of His presence and the scent of fruit bearing. He flows through the lives of those who know how to commune with Him in His garden, like the fragrance of the finest spices, ministering to us at the area of our need. From His garden, of which we are to Him, as He is to us, He enjoys its produce and bears it forth to nourish those around us.
Beloved, the fruit born out of our lives because we know how to abide in the Secret Place of God and walk with Him in the cool of the garden pours in two directions. First God pours to us as nourishment and through us to feed those around us. Then we flow out of that fruit bearing to produce a fragrance that blesses the Lord, causing His heart to rejoice over us.
Coming out of a wilderness experience is not the only garden God provides for us. God is an Oasis along the wilderness path. With Him at our side, we have frequent garden experiences, pauses on our wilderness journey where He feeds us and refreshes us so we may press onward and upward. Even out of our wilderness areas, His produce comes out of us to touch those around us and bring Him glory and gladness.
SOS2: “Who is this coming up from the wilderness leaning on her beloved? Beneath the apple tree I awakened you; there your mother was in labor with you, there she was in labor and gave you birth. …” ~ SOS 8:5-7. Selah ~ Pause and calmly think on that.
The wilderness is a place where we discover complete reliance on our Beloved. We leave the wilderness leaning on God who is our companion, bringing us safely to the garden. Beneath the tree of life, He awakens us. Hardship and struggle, like a mother, have birthed new life in us, giving us a ministry to use on His behalf. God never wastes the wilderness, but works in us to make us ready for the next phase of life as part of His Royal Priesthood.
SOS3: “…Put me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, Jealousy is as severe as Sheol; its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the Lord. Many waters cannot quench love, nor will rivers overflow it; if a man were to give all the riches of his house for love, it would be utterly despised” ~ SOS 8:5-7.
From wilderness’ starting point to garden’s quickening, the ultimate purpose is our unity and commitment to the Beloved and our coming to understand His for us. Walking with God as our first most vital love, we realize our need of Him and are fully committed to Him, sealed shut to any other would-be god. Having our Beloved’s scent upon us, bearing the fruit of His love, He marks us with the seal of His image, making it clear to all that we are His.
Marked by the assurance of this love, we know that no other love will satisfy like His love, none else will fill the banks of our being to produce the flow of love that we have with Him. Any attempt of some other suitor trying to break the seal of our commitment to our beloved and lure us away we despise. We have danced with our beloved in the garden having come through the wilderness victorious, and no one can steal us away.
SOS4: “‘We have a little sister, and she has no breasts; what shall we do for our sister on the day when she is spoken for? If she is a wall, we will build on her a battlement of silver; but if she is a door, we will barricade her with planks of cedar.’ I was a wall, and my breasts were like towers; then I became in his eyes as one who finds peace” ~ SOS 8:8-10.
Breasts are instruments of nourishment. The little sister represents those still young in their faith who have yet to find the Secret Place of His presence, giving their full commitment to Him, seeking sustenance only from the garden of His provision and pleasure. As the young in the Lord find their relationship with God and keep it pure, not giving self to another god, they make of her a “dowry” or “battlement” of silver.
Transcripts that translate the Greek word to “dowry” give rise to instruction that such a person has something to give to the Beloved: something to add to their union. Battlement speaks of security and trust. One whose life is a battlement has no other God. Kept safe behind the parapet of Love’s rampart, they live fully satisfied. Such love is greatest treasure, worth protecting at all cost.
The young who are loose, like a swinging door, easily swayed by every passing whim, God encloses for their own protection. God often will hedge us in until we mature in our relationship with Him.
Once mature, we enter fully into our union with God and rise up as a tower where love is secure, treasured and made to thrive, being lit up for all to see. There God’s peace is the produce for life. Safe in the arms of our Beloved, fear and insecurity gives way to love made sure and pure. No matter what goes on around us, we always have our tower made bright with love’s unity, useful in drawing others attention, desiring to see what powers the Light within us.
SOS5: “Solomon had a vineyard at Baal-hamon; He entrusted the vineyard to caretakers. Each one was to bring a thousand shekels of silver for its fruit. My very own vineyard is at my disposal; the thousand shekels are for you, Solomon, and two hundred are for those who take care of its fruit. …” SOS 8:11-14.
As with the woman of our text, it is our choice how we use our garden and whether we keep it for Him alone. Solomon, in our analogy, represents God. God has a vineyard in the world: our lives. We are the caretakers of our area of His vineyard. He expects to receive the produce of the vineyard.
We are each responsible for our vineyard: it is our choice whether we cooperate with God and glorify Him with our lives. We do so by bearing fruit that makes us breasts of nourishment: first to God, feeding His need for our love through relationship: giving praise, worship, our attention and commitment to Him. Second, to others who, like babes in arms, are in our sphere of influence. Together we help and encourage one another to find our Secret Place with Him and to come to His garden where fruit is born to His glory.
Note that God’s due from our vineyard is five times that we are to give to others. The majority of our attention, focus, and energy must go into our relationship with Father. He is our life, abundant and full. He is our joy and delight, bringing strength to our existence. He is with us and for us 24/7. We must be with and for Him in kind. Then we will have what we need to live fully with surplus to give to others in helping them at the point of their need.
SOS6: “… O you who sit in the gardens, My companions are listening for your voice—Let me hear it! Hurry, my beloved, And be like a gazelle or a young stag On the mountains of spices” ~ SOS 8:11-14.
Beloved, Father longs for us and seeks after us, desiring us to be His beloved in a one on one, personal and intimate relationship that cannot be broken. Are you watching for Him, listening to hear His voice; calling out “Come quickly, my beloved”? If we will faithfully seek after Him, He will come to us in the fullness of His glory. With the fragrance of His essence permeating us, He readies us for life and ministry as part of His Royal Priesthood, making us productive of the fruit of His garden.
Thus far we discovered how Jesus fully accomplished His role as High Priest. He takes us from being under the second order of priesthood, which is intermediary in its relationship with God, returning us to the first order, which is that of personal intimacy and knowledge of the God-Head. That personal relationship with God, the Father, through Jesus, The Christ, in the power of His Holy Spirit brings us into a relationship that holds an appointment for us in Christ:
“You are A CHOSEN RACE, A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of GOD; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” ~ 1 Peter 2:9-10.
As people of God in Christ Jesus, we are each a part of His Royal Priesthood, called and equipped to carry on the work of Jesus in the earth as representing Him and His interests. This means that we too must be busy about the Father’s business just as He did in setting the example for us (Luke 2:49). We are ambassadors of Christ, called, equipped, empowered and endued with authority to take care of Kingdom business in the earth.
There are many things to learn of the role of the priest, but we will cover the aspects of our priesthood as exemplified in Christ here in our Hebrew’s focal passage. Looking again at the first four verses of Hebrews 5, we find our instruction for ministry as priests unto God Most High in Jesus’ name:
“For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins; he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness; and because of it he is obligated to offer sacrifices for sins, as for the people, so also for himself. And no one takes the honor to himself, but receives it when he is called by God, even as Aaron was” (vs. 1-4)
Jesus is High priest forever. He is the head. We are the body, under His authority, given charge to complete the work of service in partnership with Him. Like Jesus and as His body, we are:
Appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God.
We are here in this life for God and others: intended by God to help others to know and live for God, bringing glory to God by setting an example that honors Him as God of our lives. That is our call and equipping. We are gifted by God’s Spirit for the purpose of serving God as we meet the needs of others around us, and we are empowered to do so as represents God. Thus it is vital that we take every opportunity to study so we may know and understand both our spiritual gifts and how they function in the power of His Spirit. Also we need to understand the fruit of the Spirit, surrendering to His work within, enlivening the image of God in us. It is the gifts of God placed within us and the experiences He uses to train us that help us to come into our appointment from God.
Appointed in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins… Obligated to offer sacrifices for sins, as for the people, so also for himself:
Since Jesus paid the full price for sin, delivering us from sins death, we no longer make animal sacrifice. In Christ, it is no longer necessary. And we cannot take the place of Jesus on the cross.
There is a popular song that asks if we will take His place on the cross. My response is always “no”. Though I would love to spare Him paying for my shame, I could only cover my own guilt and sin offering by paying the price I deserve to pay. I am not pure enough to pay for the sin of all others, as He did. So though I would spare Him my shame if I could, my trying to take His place would condemn others to have to do the same for themselves. I am very grateful that God spared me that horrid end by giving His perfect Son on my behalf. And I care enough for others to know that I cannot rob them the gift purchased in Christ. Only Jesus will do for the way of saving grace. So how is it that I fulfill the role of sacrifice for others, so also for self?
We do offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins when we use the gifts and abilities God placed in us to serve Him and others so that they may know Him. We offer up gifts and sacrifices anytime we say as Jesus did, “Not my will but Thy will be done.” Laying down my life when it is inconvenient, so that I may minister to the need of another in Jesus name, makes sacrifice for their salvation: that they may know Him (Luke 9:23; John 15:12-14). Putting the interests of others before my own, especially when it will lead to increased knowledge of God and His ways, is sacrifice that can save others from sin ~ separation from God (Philippians 2:1-18).
When we forego what we want in order to minister to the need of another for Christ’s sake, and in that sacrifice we reveal Father, Son and Holy Spirit to them, we fulfill this role of our priesthood. God fills us up and spills us out so that we and those around us may know Him. We are His lights, set on a course to make Him known so that others may enter in to this provision of God through Jesus.
Appointed to deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness:
Why do bad things happen to God’s people? For one thing, we live in a world troubled by evil. For another, in cleaning up, God begins with His own house.
God never promised to spare us the touch of evil. In fact, Jesus warns us that we will have trouble in this life, and He says that the only way to avoid it is to leave this world (John 16:33; 17:11-19). Trouble, difficulty, hardship, struggle, temptation, and end of life issues are ours to go through and cope with as God empowers and equips us. Just as with Jesus, experience allows us right of passage to minister to the need of others. Doing so with God as our source of strength, supply, and hope, helps us to know Him. Knowledge of Him encourages our obedience to Him. That experience equips us to make Him known. Thus, like Jesus, we learn what true obedience is through the things we suffer, and that experience is used by Him to influence the lives of those around us (Hebrews 5:8). It is personal understanding of God’s deliverance in our experience of evil in our fleshly estate that gives us compassion with understanding for the struggle seen in those to whom we minister.
As we who are weak and flawed experience God at work in and through us as a result of our relationship to Him through Christ, the difficulties He brings us through makes us uniquely qualified to help others in similar situations. People want to know how we know that there is a God. It is through our experience of Him that we know Him, and we experience Him as He empowers and equips us to deal with situations of this life. The troubled waters of life are not without purpose. They are used by Him to give us a hope in our final outcome, training in righteousness, and opportunity for ministry.
No one takes the honor to himself, but receives it when he is called by God, even as Aaron was:
God calls us to the things we are to do in accomplishing the work He planned for us (Ephesians 2:10). Likewise, He equips His servants for all He calls us to do. When God calls, we don’t have to fret the “how” and “with what”. God supplies all we need for the things He calls us to in due season, making us able to stand as His servant (2 Corinthians 9:8; Romans 14:4). All we need is wise discernment for right priorities with His supply; and just a mustard seed of faith to trust His sure hand. Our degree of faith grows as we come to know Him intimately, empowering us to trust Him completely.
If you recall, Part 2 ending with the following thought:
“Beloved, through Christ we are of the first order of priests, the order of Melchizedek – set free to have personal relationship with Father-God!”
Our number one role as part of the Royal Priesthood under High Priest Jesus is to be priests unto God, having intimate relationship with Him, knowing Him as Father-God by experience. Our growth in that relationship equips us to help others come into their own as we share our experience with them.
In Chapter 4 of John, the Samaritan woman at the well is introduced to the true God by Jesus. Taking her priestly role found in that intimate experience of the Father through Christ, she told the people of Samaria about her experience. Her shining the light of God before them drew them out to meet this Jesus for themselves, after which they proclaim to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world” (vs. 42).
Beloved, one of the most fulfilling roles we have as priest with Jesus is found in helping others grow in their personal relationship with Father. It is exciting to watch their growth. And it can be a shock to the system when they reach that point of no longer needing our input. But that is the goal of our ministry, and it is the greatest proof of our fulfilling our Priestly role.
I thought this to be the conclusion of our study on this subject, but then I took a break that allowed me to meditate further on this topic. Thus, I will see you back here tomorrow with greater depth in Part 3-b of the Priestly Order.
“In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation, being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek” ~ Hebrews 5:7-10.
As I consider our next portion of this subject, verses 7-10 above seem to proof-text Christ’s priesthood. In order to discern what I mean and get a picture of His High Priestly role, we need to compare it with verses 1-4, which outline the qualifications for those called to the role of high priest.
“For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins; he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness; and because of it he is obligated to offer sacrifices for sins, as for the people, so also for himself. And no one takes the honor to himself, but receives it when he is called by God, even as Aaron was” ~ Hebrews 5:1-4.
Comparing these things with our first verses, here is what I find”
“For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins…” (vs. 1-4): compares with “In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. …” (vs. 7-10).
Jesus came in flesh to fulfill the priestly role of being “taken from among men” as one “appointed on behalf of men” to intercede in “things pertaining to God.” He fulfilled this role in many ways, beginning with prayers and supplications, not only for the people God sent Him to minister to on His behalf, but for Himself.
We are told in Holy Writ that He often went away by Himself for time with the Father, preparing Himself for the days and challenges ahead. And as He went to the cross, He wept before the Father with such anxiety of heart that He sweat blood with thought of the cross in His path, crying out, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” He sets the example for us when we face a CROSS-road. Jesus went through life as example to us, and He went to the cross on our behalf, fulfilling His High Priestly role. (See Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46)
Next, in verse 1-4, we read that the high priest taken from among men is so appointed because “…he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness….” Of Jesus in verse 7-10 we are told, “…Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. …”
The High Priest must be able to relate with the struggle that is common to every person. They need to be able to deal with people with the degree of grace and understanding that comes from personal experience of the struggle our flesh brings to the equation. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard people say, “You can’t understand unless you have lived it.” Experience allows us right of passage to minister to the need of others. Therefore The Christ having experience of life as a person of flesh is a vital part of the requirement for His Priesthood.
I am struck by this statement concerning Christ, “…Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. …” Although He was God incarnate by the Father – Son relationship He had that is difficult for us to fully fathom, He “learned obedience” through suffering. That tells me He knew suffering. His deity as God did not protect him from hurting when He stubbed His toe, getting angry when He saw injustice, or sweating blood at the thought of His cross. His flesh was fully flesh, and He felt it. He learned through experience what it was like to be in these flesh-shells. To meet the requirement He had to learn by experience what it was like to deal with the flesh and remain true to the God-Head. Because of that experience, He has the ability to give compassion with understanding of our struggle.
Our role is somewhat reversed from His. He came as God and learned of the flesh and how to deal with the flesh while remaining in God despite the flesh. We come as fleshly beings and, once we receive the Christ and His Spirit that unites us with the Father, we learn how to know and understand this Immortal and remain in Him despite our flesh. Because Jesus chose to come and live in a flesh body, He understands our “despite the flesh” struggle, thus His Priestly role continues as He ever lives to intercede, standing in the gap before the Father on our behalf (Romans 8:33-34).
“…and because of it (his understanding of our struggle and his call to stand on our behalf) he is obligated to offer sacrifices for sins, as for the people, so also for himself. …” (vs. 1-4 – parenthesis added by author, reminder of previous thoughts added). “…And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation…” (vs. 7-10).
Jesus filled this role like no other in that He not only offered up a sacrifice, but He became the sacrifice, paying the price required for life with God on behalf of all flesh.
I never thought of it before now, but that would include covering the weakness He experienced in His own flesh. Though He lived in victory over His fleshly struggle, being perfect in all His ways, He still lived fully in human flesh. He kept the Levitical Law perfectly: That would include going with His sacrifice in hand on holy days throughout His life among us, thus He offered up sacrifice for Himself in keeping with the Law. Despite His deity, when called “good,” He replied, “No one is good but God alone” (Mark 10:18), so He apparently considered His own fleshly existence to be as frail and faulty as anyone else’s because of the weakness and struggle that flesh presents to living. So His sacrifice of His own flesh at Calvary could well fulfill the call of the high priest to offer up sacrifice “as for the people, so also for himself”.
“…And no one takes the honor to himself, but receives it when he is called by God, even as Aaron was” ~ Hebrews 5:1-4.
It just dawned on me, as I read here that Jesus was called to His priesthood just as Aaron was that God sent Aaron across the wilderness to meet up with Moses before he was placed as a priest over Israel (Exodus 4). Jesus, too, started His earthly ministry after 40 days of prayer and fasting in the wilderness. Just an interesting thought.
Our pastor instructed recently that the purpose of the 40 day fast is for one to come fully into the authority they have from God. Jesus had great power because He trusted Himself to God and trusted God to give full authority to His fleshly existence so that He could fulfill His call as Christ.
The High Priest must live in purity and work out of His full authority in God. In the second order of priesthood started by Aaron, a high priest entering the Holy of Holies, having any impurity in his life, fell dead instantly. But if he fulfilled the call of purification, he went in with full authority to do so in safety, fully empowered to fulfill his priestly role. Jesus fulfilled His High Priestly role by entering fully into His purification and authority in God, just as Aaron did.
All these things in play, God says of Jesus, “… ‘YOU ARE MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU’; just as He says also in another passage, ‘YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK’” ~ Hebrews 5:5-6.
Jesus is our High Priest. We need no other. He ever lives to intercede on our behalf, calling and empowering us to live fully for God with whole heart, and through Him we receive our purification from sin, being set free from its death and set free from constantly having to make blood sacrifice for sin.
Wow. There it is! I kept feeling that there was something more to this “order of Melchizedek” than I was seeing or being helped to see by commentaries read. Here it is!
Melchizedek was of the first order of priests. In that role we are not told of any sacrifice for sin being made or required. Then enters Aaron at the call of God: Through Aaron and the Levitical priesthood God sets up the second order of priests, in which blood sacrifice was required for the covering of sin and other issues given the people through Levitical Law. This order of the priesthood was set up by God for the purpose of providing a holy people out of which the Christ would come, the Holy Seed of God.
It was also set up for the people to have an intermediary between themselves and God. If you recall in the account of Israel’s experience in Exodus, the people feared God in an unholy way, being afraid of His presence and power, so much so that they feared relationship with Him. So they told Moses to talk to God on their behalf, refusing the personal intimacy God had for them to possess. I believe this is why God made arrangements for a priesthood to stand in the gap and intercede for the people: the second order being intermediary. (See Exodus 20:18-21; 34:29-35; 2 Corinthians 3)
In comes Christ, who fulfilled the role of High Priest perfectly, setting the example of godliness and calling all around Him to wholehearted, personal intimacy in their relationship with God as Father. Through His holy life and sacrifice, the full payment for sin is made, and we are back to the order of priesthood that no longer has need of the ritualistic cleansing of the second order. Jesus keeps us safe and covers us by His own blood sacrifice so we can enter into the very presence of God without fear: back to the first order of personal intimacy with God.
Beloved, through Christ we are of the first order of priests, the order of Melchizedek – set free to have personal relationship with Father-God! That is our topic of discussion for Part 3 of our focus on The Priestly Order.
Read Hebrews 5:1-10
“Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He who said to Him, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You’; just as He says also in another passage, ‘You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek’” ~ Hebrews 5:5-6.
This passage of Hebrews is deep and wide to me and I do not pretend to fully understand this truth. I have mulled over it for days now during a busy season on the home front with writing it hindered. Pondering the beauty of this passage I see three topics to cover concerning this Priestly Order. We begin today with seeking the Lord to understand the designation of Christ as “Priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.” He is now the High Priest through whom we go to the Father. But what is the significance of this “order of Melchizedek”?
Melchizedek is found in Genesis 14. Abraham rescued Lot and all those with him who were taken in a raid on Sodom and Gomorrah. Upon his return with the people he saved from captivity, he met with the King of Sodom and with Melchizedek, the King of Salem. Melchizedek means “king of righteousness.” Salem means “peace”. So Melchizedek, who was a priest to the God Most High, was called king of righteousness and king of peace, being a likeness of the Christ. To Him, as thank-offering to God, Abram gave the first tithe.
Hebrews 7 tells us concerning Melchizedek that he was “Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually” (vs. 3). And vs. 11-17 instructs us that, like Melchizedek, Jesus is priest, not in accord with Levitical Law, “but according to the power of an indestructible life”. In this order of priests, Jesus’ heritage is beyond comprehension, and He is designated High Priest forever, having been raised again to newness of life that is eternal with the Father.
Melchizedek was a man designated by God as priestly-king of God Most High before the Levites were even on the scene of life and Levitical Law put in place: thus he is from the first order of priest. Jesus was born to a virgin, of the house of Judah, heir to the throne of David – not Levi, thus He, being a man, is designated by God as Priestly-King of God Most High, who says to us, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!” (Matthew 17:5).
The birthright of Jesus the Christ is laid out for us in Scripture. He is King of kings through the lineage of David, birthed through God as Lord of lords, designated by the Father as Priest forever in the order of Melchizedek. Next post we look at His Priestly role.
(References: Hebrews 7; 1 Timothy 2:5; Genesis 14; Zechariah 6:12-13; Isaiah 11:5-9)
Jesus, in the Lord’s Prayer found in John 17, prayed, “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me” (vs. 16-17).
Reading that passage in my younger years, my mind and heart always went to thought of the church being made one together in Father and Son. But today, in light of my pondering, I see something more, something deeper. I see in this passage the prayer for each individual that makes up the “they” of the church. As we each, individually, come into this unity Jesus speaks of, we are perfected in that unity, and yes, together we come closer to each other for a more unified body of Christ, the Church. But it begins with our individual relationship with the Father.
What led me to these thoughts?
I am at a place in my walk with Father that amazes my heart when I experience its reality. I am coming more and more into the realization of the Eternal.
Don’t get me wrong. I still struggle in areas of weakness of flesh. But more and more I am experiencing the perfecting power of His sure Presence. And as more and more I surrender to this unity with Him, this reality of His sure presence with and in me, trusting in Him, less and less is my struggle to conform to the transforming power of His Person with me. And as more and more I surrender to His Presence working in and through me, greater and greater is the increase of this peaceful, trust, increasing my assurance of His faithfulness to complete the work He began in me. He is faithful who will also do it.
And more and more, as I realize His presence with and work in me, less and less is the distance to the eternal. My now is no longer limited by time and space. It is empowered by Him who is all in all, beyond comprehension, boundless His dimensions. More and more I trust the words He places within me to encourage another, and I speak them with greater assurance and boldness of faith, realizing He is in them. More and more I trust Him to lead my steps and orchestrate my day, and I follow more surely without question of actions resource, knowing He will bring the faithful work to produce His desired results in His perfect time. Less and less does fear of failure or fear of being rejected hinder my walk with, in, and through Him. Surrendering more and more to meld into His reality, I find more and more of the real and true “me” He created me to be, and I am set free to know eternity with Him today.
Jesus sat the example for us with professions like “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing…” (John 5:19-20). Then in John 14:10: “The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.” We, too, can know and do the Father’s will, following His initiative, and speaking His words, as His eternal presence is made real to our earthly existence.
As sons and daughters of the Father through the Christ, the same love is there for us, ready to show us all things He Himself is doing. “I and the Father are one,” Jesus said, then prayed in later text, “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one” (John 10:30; 17:22). He is talking about our here and now existence. Not just our heaven-bound, future reality. He is talking about our unity with each other as we come into our unity with Him, making us ONE as He is ONE.
More and more I see people who are whole heartedly seeking the Father, coming more and more into the reality of this unity that removes all separation from the Eternal. Our “now” is just a momentary instance within our eternal. Our “now” is not separate from the Eternal, it is partner with it. And the produce of our now existence being made one with the Eternal will be seen in the earth and in our eternity with Him as we enter His presence more and more until end of days comes.
How much easier it is to live godly in the now when the Eternal is real within us. When we realize our partnership with God through the Christ; when we understand our lives as being an extension of His own, Him at work in us to continue His work in the earth, bringing about all His good purpose and plan: with that realization the Eternal then comes to live within each individual of us and we see His hand move mountains as His power pours forth through our willing hands and feet, mouths and heart’s beat.
Sound charismatic? Sound New Age? It’s not. It is the living God and Father responding to the heart-cry of His Son as prayed for us by Him before His final translation to Glory at the right hand of the Father. If we are saved through Christ now, we are saved for all eternity, and our eternal existence is partner with our now as we surrender to His initiative. I’m not perfect in this unity yet, but I am growing in it and it in me. God, living and well within us, freeing us from the mortal so that the immortal can thrive to the glory of His name. Many, seeing this eternal reality springing forth in the lives of others, question its varsity, just as they did in Jesus’ day and ministry, because they do not understand its truth and they fear what they fail to believe.
Truth is found in the truth, beloved. Want to know the truth of what I am professing today? Dig into the Word of God, asking for His initiative to be made evident. It is truth that helps us to know truth. And it is truth that contrasts the false.
In every false religion that is functional and able to progress, there is an element of the truth that is stolen by the deceiver – that enemy of God at work to make the distortion of it palatable, leading many astray. We do not discern the false by studying the false. We discern the false by knowing the truth. Studying the false to try to learn of the false can cause one of two things:
* We can grow to believe the false and partner with it when we do not have understanding of the truth.
* We can grow to fear the false and become judgmental of people who practice truth we don’t understand because of a distorted focus on the false and failure to grow in our own understanding of the truth.
Want more of the eternal that God desires we possess? Chase after knowledge of the truth found only in Him, doing so without fear of believing Him and taking Him at His word. He contrasts the truth that is His from that twisted by the lie and used to deceive, helping us to find His truth perfected within us, drawing us more and more into the Eternal that influences and equips our righteousness and lifting us up to all He desires we be: the Eternal colliding with our now existence. That is power at work in God’s eternal beings, His sons and daughters, making us lights to lead many to freedom found only in the truth of Christ and unity with Him.
“…He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father” ~ John 14:9-12.
ONE: it is an eternal principle: Jesus in the Father who is in Him; them in me and me in them, and us in one another with Him, empowered and equipped by this Eternal for the greater works of God in our here and now existence. Great things come to ONE, Eternal with God, fulfilling His purpose in the earth.
Today is the first day of our eternity, beloved. Come into the Father with me and let us be busy about the Father’s business, having His power for salvation, before time runs out for those in need of this Eternal connection.