“Partial obedience is not obedience at all; to single out easy things that do not oppose our lusts, which are not against our reputation, therein some will do more than they need; but our obedience must be universal to all God’s commandments, and that because He commands it. Empty relationships are nothing; if we profess ourselves God’s servants and do not honor Him by our obedience, we take but an empty title”
– Richard Sibbes
” And in the day time He was teaching in the temple; and at night He went out, and abode in the mount that is called the mount of Olives”
Jesus set such a simple pattern before us: teaching by day and communion with His Father at night. In other words, an active life balanced by time spent with Him in refreshment and inspiration. We are called to this balance just as the workers on the wall in Jerusalem in the days of Nehemiah. They built with a trowel in one hand and a sword in the other (Nehemiah 4:18).
“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost…”
First, we are to be built up in our faith that
we may encourage and exhort
“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works”
“Fight the good fight of faith…”
1 Timothy 6:12
The need to be active and diligent in our sharing of His life with others necessitates His touch of renewal in the evening. I like the work used here: “at night He went out and abode in the mount”. The daily press of the crowds, the vehemence of religious rulers, and the constant treachery of those trying to trick Him into a response whereby they could accuse Him, is beyond comprehension. Time alone with His Father was crucial and is set forth as an example for us. He, the Only Begotten Son, has come to show us the way to live in this troubled and unraveling world. May we draw near to Him that we may be equipped to stand in the darkness of this day in which we find ourselves.
“For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”
“Abide in Me says Jesus. Cling to Me. Stick fast to Me. Live the life of close and intimate communion with Me. Get nearer to Me. Roll every burden on Me. Cast your whole weight on Me. Never let go your hold on Me for a moment. Be, as it were, rooted and planted in Me. Do this and I will never fail you. I will ever abide in you”
– J. C. Ryle
“And the priests and the Levites purified themselves, and purified the people, and the gates, and the wall”
The effect of true Prophetic ministry is an impartation of a fresh vision of God to the ministers of the Lord. There is an infusion of purpose, God’s purpose, that produces a purifying work first and foremost in the ministers of God themselves. This has a ripple effect on the people of God and subsequently their light into the world. In the days of Nehemiah, a new vision gripped the hearts of the priests. The result was a repenting unto the purifying of the ministers of God which resulted in the people turning from their worldly ways.
In times like these, when the church has reached new lows of worldliness and compromise, sin is no longer the horror it actually is, and the love of God for one another is less than the love within the world around us, God raises up those who will speak to the darkness. Those who will confront the machinery and carnal ways of men in His house. Like Ezekiel they “show the house to the house” to the end that His leaders will be ashamed of their ways and turn again unto the Lord with repentance and godly sorrow.
“Thou son of man, shew the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities…”
The prophetic purpose has ever been to show the heavenly house (God’s design and purpose) to the earthly house (His Church in the earth). One simply needs to read the Seven Letters to the Church in the Book of Revelation to understand how vital the need is of the prophetic. How far we have fallen. The Fire of God has been replaced by an amicable love of the world; fireless meetings and sedate sermons seeking to calm any stirrings of the Spirit of God in His own. Such ministers seek to keep the sheep in the fold relaxed, contented and faithful to the dictates of their church. The Fire of God is not welcome in these congregations as we have now become respectful and comfortable.
The need has never been greater or the situation more dire in the church than it is right now in North America. We show more fervor over the state of the carnal politics of the world than we do over the absence of the fire of God in the hearts of His people. We cannot tarry in the tepid atmosphere of a religion that has grown cold; as with the people so with the ministers of the Lord.
“… as with the people, so with the priest”
May there be a hearing of the voice of the prophets once again that the ministers of the Lord might turn again to the purifying of their own hearts. Then they will no longer preach what the people want to hear but will preach again the fire and truth of God. May we repent and turn unto the Lord with broken and contrite hearts that men may know again what “the holy” is.
It is a day for the priests of the Lord to purify their hearts, forsake their positions in earthly corporations, and begin to walk in the purity of those who preach the truth regardless of the consequences. It is time to forsake a religion that lacks the heartbeat and fire of God.; one which has a “form of godliness but denies its power”.
Powerlessness is the result of godlessness.
Let the ministers of the Lord hear! May there be a hearing of the Call of God unto a purifying of the intentions, the desire of positions where they no longer claim the people of God their own! How I have heard in my own hearing the brazen declaration “my sheep”, “my people” and “my flock”! Blasphemy and a usurpation of that which is God’s Alone! God’s fire is coming it will either be unto the purification of men’s hearts or it will be the fires of His Judgment!
“And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, THAT they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. THEN shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years”
“The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day”
“God keeps all our tears in a bottle; so precious is the water that is distilled from penitent eyes; and because he will be sure not to fail, he notes how many drops there be in his register. It was a precious ointment wherewith the woman in the Pharisee’s house anointed the feet of Christ; but her tears, wherewith she washed them, were more worth than her spikenard”
– Abraham Wright
“They came round about me daily like water; they compassed me about together”
The unseen world is filled with confrontations between Light and Darkness. Temptations and persecutions assail the righteous as flooding waters; a battle that is waged daily. Many of these battles are far from sight but are fought in the thoughts and imaginations of our inner life. It is here where victories are won and we are afforded greater vistas of the Grace of God.
“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ”
2 Corinthians 10:5
Often our victory in casting down these thoughts will come as we lift Him up. The Holy Spirit has one mandate in this world and that is to bring all things into the obedience of Christ. It is in our thoughts that life is defined, victory known and our confidence in Christ arises. Authority in the inner life will culminate in victory in our daily life.
“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue…”
2 Peter 1:5
The persistence of the temptations of the world and the weakness of the human heart require a diligent and continual drawing of grace from Him. In our victories we find ourselves “hid with Christ in God”. He is to become our dwelling place with the intent that He will be at home in the sanctuary of our hearts.
Purity is the path to seeing Him, Faith is the hand which holds Him, Humility is the grace which draws Him.
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death”
“Commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still… Selah”
Stillness is a posture of the heart that comes as we commune with Him; as we allow His peace to infiltrate our being. His voice is one of stillness and His word will distill as the dew upon those who wait for Him. The quietness is a prerequisite for His whispers. In the hush there is a sense of His majesty and glory beyond our human understanding and we are filled with holy awe.
In these days of great trouble, the fear, anger and strife that reigns in the hearts of men would seek to draw us into the turmoil. God desires that we come into the pavilion of His peace. It is a resting place, a hiding place and a shelter from the storms of life. He bids us to come and abide under the shadow of His wings. The sheer intensity of our relationship with Him will be the security and peace of our times. Peace cannot be wrought by man; it is the temper of a heart at rest in God.
“Come unto me… and I will give you rest Take my yoke upon you and learn of ME…”
We have much to learn to bring us to the same demeanor of spirit in which He bore our sins in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. Here and now He draws us to Himself in the holy bonds of discipleship that we may find humility and grace to walk as He walked. Let us find ourselves drawing near unto Him that we may be “hid with Christ in God”.
“He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still”
“When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained…”
“When I consider thy heavens, etc. Could we transport ourselves above the moon, could we reach the highest star above our heads, we should instantly discover new skies, new stars, new suns, new systems, and perhaps more magnificently adorned. But even there, the vast dominions of our great Creator would not terminate; we should then find, to our astonishment, that we had only arrived at the borders of the works of God. It is but little that we can know of his works, but that little should teach us to be humble, and to admire the divine power and goodness. How great must that Being be who produced these immense globes out of nothing, who regulates their courses, and whose mighty hand directs and supports them all! What is the clod of earth which we inhabit, with all the magnificent scenes it presents to us, in comparison of those innumerable worlds? Were this earth annihilated, its absence would no more be observed than that of a grain of sand from the sea shore. What then are provinces and kingdoms when compared with those worlds? They are but atoms dancing in the air, which are discovered to us by the sunbeams. What then am I, when reckoned among the infinite number of God’s creatures? I am lost in mine own nothingness! But little as I appear in this respect, I find myself great in others. There is great beauty in this starry firmament which God has chosen for his throne! How admirable are those celestial bodies! I am dazzled with their splendour, and enchanted with their beauty! But notwithstanding this, however beautiful, and however richly adorned, yet this sky is void of intelligence. It is a stranger to its own beauty, while I, who am mere clay, moulded by a divine hand, am endowed with sense and reason. I can contemplate the beauty of these shining worlds; nay, more, I am already, to a certain degree, acquainted with their sublime Author; and by faith I see some small rays of his divine glory. O may I be more and more acquainted with his works, and make the study of them my employ, till by a glorious change I rise to dwell with him above the starry regions.
– Christopher Christian Sturm’s “Reflections”, 1750- 1786
“Work of God’s fingers. That is most elaborate and accurate: a metaphor from embroiderers, or from them that make tapestry”
– John Trapp .