The Contrast Between
Bethel and El-Bethel
(about a 10 second delay at the beginning)
Revelation 4:1 – The true House of God
An Informal Bible Study
Concerning the True House of God
“Study to know Him more and more,
for the more you know, the more you will love Him.”
“No verse of Scripture yields its meaning to lazy people.”
“The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing”
“Love God, and he will dwell with you. Obey God, and he will reveal to you the truth of his deepest teachings.”
– Frederick W. Robertson
“On the third day,
they threw the ship’s tackle overboard
with their own hands”
There comes in everyone’s life moments where all hope appears lost. The valiant efforts to extricate ourselves from the situation have failed. The storms batter and assail our soul relentlessly. The dark grey clouds and angry wind hide God’s Face from us and we seem to be at the total mercy of the storm. The context to the above verse is:
“When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days
and the great storm continued to batter us,
we abandoned all hope of being saved.”
It is here where we see the most seasoned of sailors cast all the tools of their own making overboard in resignation to the sea. When no other hope is left they are simply left clinging to the fragile ship itself. The relentless storm brought ALL who were on the ship to despair. The “we abandoned all hope of being saved” included saint and sinner. The storm came to all. We see in the world around us hurricanes, earthquakes, terrorists, fires, and a multitude of other disasters; God’s people are not spared these circumstances.
It is here that God appears. In these dire moments the word of God comes with assurance of hope and a way of escape.
“And now I exhort you to be of good cheer”
Why could Paul say this?
“For there stood by me this night the angel of God,
whose I am, and whom I serve…”
God’s coming was to the man who had made God his God. God’s coming was to him who had long before committed the very keeping of his life to God. God’s own are never left to the fate of circumstances and it is in these moments that His Own are revealed. It is in our now that the transactions of our life in God are made. It is before the storm that we are to become His. In the desire and diligent pursuit of God in our daily walk the covenant of grace is realized.
“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience,
I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation,
which shall come upon all the world,
to try them that dwell upon the earth”
The Storm is coming to all
saint and sinner alike.
1. He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.
9 Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;
10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
The keeping grace of God is unto those “who dwell in the secret place of the Most High”. God does not spare His Own from the storm; He keeps them IN it. Paul was kept through the storm for God had purposed that he testify before Caesar.
“For there stood by me this night the angel of God,
whose I am, and whom I serve,
Saying, Fear not, Paul;
thou must be brought before Cæsar…”
Later on Paul would be martyred in Rome. The same God who kept Paul in the storm also gave him grace to finish his course with the joy and certainty of all that awaited him.
The secret of Life is to discover grace in our present circumstances to bring us to the place where we can say in truth “I am His” and “whom I serve”. This is the confession of Paul prior to the great storm:
“But none of these things move me,
neither count I my life dear unto myself,
so that I might finish my course with joy,
and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus…”
Two women come to Solomon each seeking to portray themselves as the true mother of a child presented in Solomon’s court (1 Kings 3:16-28). Each claimed with great emotion that they were in fact the mother of this child. A perplexing situation indeed and one which presented a great test for the king! Those who would rule and walk in authority in God’s house must be schooled in the wisdom and council of God Himself. The spirit of discernment must work and rule within the heart of His own.
“Bring me a sword”!
1 Kings 3:24
Hallelujah! How can we not love the living word of God! It is a divider of that which is flesh and that which is of God’s Spirit. It is living, active and it is the discerner of the thoughts and intents of the hearts of men.
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do”
His living word is the sword of the Lord which pierces and divides asunder the very hidden workings of deceitful expressions and false pretenses, of seducing spirits and the presumptive expressions of false ministers in the community of faith.
These are but a few examples presented to us in the scriptures where the true and the false both seek to present themselves as true expressions. How we must grow into the place of abiding in Him for discernment and wisdom!
The purpose of all true ministry is to bring God’s people to the place of knowing and discerning the things before them. Without discernment God’s people have a very limited ability to pray, speak or react to the situations of life.
“And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.”
Discernment is not only a gift of the Holy Spirit it is also a faculty which must be developed within the heart of every believer. The “strong meat” of the word of God is withheld from those in which the faculty of discernment is not developed.
“For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.“
“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man”
1 Corinthians 2:14-15
“”Record the vision and inscribe it on tablets,
That the one who reads it may run”
The purpose of the Word of God is to communicate His thoughts and His purpose. They are not to convey a doctrine as it were but to define a “mark”; Paul the Apostle abandoned his life to this (Philippians 3:14). His Word is to portray vision and exhort quest. The Lord spoke to Habakkuk to make plain the vision of God to the intent that men and women would be empowered, encouraged and set aflame to pursue its fulfillment. While many have knowledge few understand they are to “run the race” set before them. “Run” is a New Testament word; it describes the posture we are to have in life. Paul exhorted the Church at Corinth to run. To what end? That ye may attain!
“So run, that ye may obtain”
1 Corinthians 9:24
In other words, there is no obtaining without the running and pursuit of Him. In the minds of many of God’s people “running” is not even a concept. The ministers of the Word of God have failed to set before His people a goal to be reached. The general message is often one of encouragement to support the church, witness when you can and try and be a good person. The true ministration of the Word of God should be one of exhortation and encouragement to “know Him” and to be “found in Him”. The pursuit of Him is that we might attain His likeness.
Make the Vision Plain
to the intent
That they who have eyes to see
ears to hear may Run…
with endurance the race set before them
Where there is no true and living vision the people of God will compromise with the goals and temptations of the world. They lose the motivation to run and the empowerment of the Spirit to live a life of passion and single-hearted devotion unto Him.
“Where there is no vision,
the people cast off restraint…”
We must rise up out of the drowsiness and lethargy of this hour. Let us seek Him alone who can spark the fire and wonder of a fresh vision of God and His purposes. May we be the very flame of God to one another that we might run this race with a new fervor and determination to obtain the prize which is Christ Jesus!
“One act of obedience is better than one hundred sermons”
“We never grow closer to God when we just live life. It takes deliberate pursuit and attentiveness”
– Francis Chan
“…but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”
“By inner persuasions He draws us to a few definite tasks, our tasks, God’s burdened heart particularizing his burdens in us. And He gives us the royal blindness of faith, and the seeing eye of the sensitized soul, and the grace of unflinching obedience”
Thomas R. Kelly
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God,
they are the sons of God”