“And David inquired of the LORD, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will you give them into my hand?” And the LORD said to David, “Go up, for I will certainly give the Philistines into your hand.”
(2 Sam 5:19)
2 Samuel 5:17-25 is the Story of David and his second set of victories, illustrating how we are to stay current with God, gaining conquests in our own hearts. Our inheritance in God, our place of growing under His authority, is going to be to the measure in which we gain our own spiritual victories, both internally and also externally.
God has graciously provided us opportunities to grow into that authority that He is going to unveil in and through each of us, individually and corporately on this Day. The key to victory is to never go up to do battle in your own strength, but to remain in the Stronghold – Him Who IS your victory!
“And it shall come to pass at that time
That I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and punish the men who are settled* in complacency, who say in their heart,
‘The Lord will not do good, Nor will He do evil.”
In this time of silence preceding the conclusion of all that God began in Christ, there is a searching and a measuring of men’s hearts where eternal destinies are being determined. It is a subtle hour and a most critical time as the lamps of some begin to grow dim as the Bridegroom tarries. The Hebrew word used here for settled*(see below) means to become thick, slow and curdled. It speaks of people who start out well but who, as time passes, become set in their ways and are no longer flexible. They are no longer able to flow in the purposes of their God. Their waiting has turned into stagnation; the brightness of their hope has become dim. The vision has turned from a quest and a pursuit into a doctrinal concept that no longer energizes their hearts and minds. This is a slow and certain death; it is the enemy of us all! Slowly the obscurity falls like a veil over the heart and the whispers of the enemy speak with great cunning and craftiness, “what difference does it make, nothing seems to make a difference, I will just “settle” here and live comfortably…” In other words, “The Lord will not do good, nor evil” I will just pass the time here as other men. If calamity comes I will “then” be ok..
It is in this time throughout the history of God’s dealings with men that there is a marking and a sealing; a determining and a measuring of the hearts of His people. In the silence there are great things at work as God prepares for the unveiling of all that He has purposed. May we consider a couple of examples….
“And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city,
through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said in mine hearing,
Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare,
neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids,
and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon
whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary…”
EZEKIEL 9:4 – 6
“And I saw another angel ascending from the east,
having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice
to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,
Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees,
till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads”
REVELATION 7:2 – 3
It is a Day for seeking out those who “cry and sigh” over the state of His House; to dig deep and hide ourselves within the secret place of the Most High. It is a Day to speak, encourage and admonish the people of God to fight off the slumber of this hour, to pray and build up our lives on “our most Holy Faith”. It is a Day to seek out that fellowship that will challenge and provoke us unto the ardent pursuit of Christ Jesus our Lord. It is a Day to know in the reality of our hearts the setting aside of all that this world can offer to purchase that Pearl of great price. This is a costly thing, more than just a casual walk, more than just a religious concept; it is the Battle for Life…HIS LIFE.
“TO HIM THAT OVERCOMES…”
Can we not hear the Word to us, “TODAY”? May the Lord press upon our hearts that we are brothers and sisters of one great family, and BECAUSE of that we speak, we cry out and we plead with one another that we may assemble ourselves together in fear of the Lord and in the awareness of the hour in which we live!
*Note: קָפָא qāpāʼ: A verb meaning to curdle, to congeal; to become settled, stagnant. It refers to something standing still or slowing down its movement, becoming thick (Ex. 15:8). It is used figuratively of a person in great suffering being curdled, tossed about like hardening cream (Job 10:10). It depicts a dead or stagnant spirit in a person (Zeph. 1:12). It means, used with reference to the heavenly bodies, to shrink, to lose brightness (Zech. 14:6). (S. Zodhiates)
“My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.”
Song of songs 2:16
The call of God to His own is always one to new places of intimacy in relationship. Not only does He call but He speaks words of endearment to those who follow after Him. His own know Him as “Beloved” and He calls us “my fair one” There is no plurality here; He is not speaking to a congregation or a crowd. He is calling out to one who is the object of His great love.
In religious circles the call is broad; it is a generic call and the references are impersonal. Those who are His know this intense and personal relationship. There is a singular flow of His life and love unto those who are following Him. The focus of the individual’s heart is all about Him. In the seeing of Him the world becomes dim and distant and its temptations start to lose their power and attraction. It is out of this wonder of Him drawing near that we feel the power of His love rising in our hearts to respond to the call of a deeper knowing of Him. This call is characterized by words of incomprehensible beauty: “my fair one”. Who can resist such undeserved love? Who is able to fathom such redemptive love? How can we ever measure or understand its cause or the depths from which its flows?
Lost within the broad landscape of religion, and a world gone mad with the voices and the rantings of men who think they have the answers, there is the “still small voice”. It draws the heart with whispers of grace and affection; “come away my fair one… come to Me”.
Within this growing relationship the need to fortify our place in Him with the teachings and doctrines of men disappears for His love itself becomes our surety and solace. His love constrains us to willingly arise from where we are to follow on to deeper places of affection and wonder. We touch the holy atmosphere of His cords of love that embrace us setting our own hearts ablaze with their fervency. The words flowing between the “beloved” and the “my fair one” are the language of this holy union:
“I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine”
Song of songs 6:3
“…IF you will receive My words, and treasure up My commandments with you, so that you attend to wisdom, you shall extend your heart to understanding”
“…IF you cry for discernment, lifting up your voice for understanding”
“…IF you seek her as silver, and search for her as hidden treasures”
“…THEN you shall understand the fear of Jehovah and find knowledge of God”
In understanding the fear of the Lord we are given access to the knowing of Him. We live in a day in which understanding is relegated to teachings and concepts but the true knowing of God must be on an experiential basis not a doctrinal one. There is a Way that we can grow into the understanding of the fear of the Lord; it is a way fraught with conditional promises. Religion does not like the word “if” for it denotes responsibility and accountability; the pathway to discipleship is full of this word. “If” in the scriptures confirms the exercising of our own will and choice. It is the determining factor of a person’s walk with God and God’s walk with them. The beauty of God is that all of His “ifs” to us culminate in His “then” to us, for He desires relationship and investment on both of our parts. God has invested His Son and we are asked to simply comply with His “ifs”. Every promise given by God is conditional. It requires faith and faith is revealed by doing. “If” implies more than an intellectual acknowledgement; it is in itself a conditional statement requiring our response.
This is the phrase given to us. A quick glance at these two words brings us not only to a conditional response, but more importantly a personal one. Many wait for someone else to do a thing or pray that somehow the “then” will come to pass. The promises wait for those who fulfill the “if” which must precede the blessing of the promise.
God will never circumvent the fulfilling of the promise without the corresponding “if’s” being met in our lives on a personal basis. No amount of prayer will short circuit God’s desire for our obedience.
Religion is expecting God’s approval without walking in God’s way.
God Never Tells Man To Do Something That Man Cannot Do
* Noah built the ark ---------------------God flooded the earth* Moses stretched forth his hands---------God parted the waters* Joshua marched around the walls---------God tore them down* Elijah smote the water------------------God parted the waters* Elisha threw the stick in the river-----God made the iron swim* Naaman dipped 7 times-------------------God healed his leprosy* We lay hands on the sick----------------God will heal
“IF and THEN” are the realities of His Way to the fulfillment of His Life in us.
“…for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded…”
2 Timothy 1:12
Our relationship with God is not based upon the quality of our faith rather our faith is the result of our relationship with Him. Faith is the evidence in the life of one who is abiding in Him. It is the effect in a life caused by our learning of Him. This persuasion to stand in the midst of great trial, the ability to endure the seeming contradictions of this life, and to remain steadfast in the Word of God, is grounded in our knowing of Him. Faith is not a blind religious belief in a teaching or concept; faith is a “substance” which is rooted in the very character of God Himself. It is the fruit of a heart which has, in a corresponding measure, come to know HIM. Faith lays hold of that which it “sees” God doing and joins itself to Him. For this reason faith can never be without works; God is always working, always moving and always invading the lives of His Own.
Peter sees Jesus walking on the water and feels the draw and the impulse to walk with the Son. A living faith is one in which the heart (because of Love) ever seeks to identify with the object of that Love. Faith is simply the expression of Peter stepping out of the boat; it does not need nor seek the opinions of others in the boat for it sees Christ. The ability to rise up and step into the stormy sea is trust. Trust is the means by which faith is exercised. It is the terra firma upon which a man walks. Men who do not know God cannot trust Him. They may hold a religious creed that says right things, they may mentally ascribe to His Word, but it is in the actual doing that true faith is revealed.
“And they that know thy name
will put their trust in thee”
Relationship with God is the purpose of the New Testament. He called the disciples that “they might be with Him”. Their time spent with Him produced men who turned the world upside down.
“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus”
It is our relationship with Him that determines the cause and the effect of our lives in the world around us.
“Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men…”
2 Corinthians 5:11
Those who know the terror of the Lord persuade men. The cause of someone seeking to persuade men of their accountability unto God comes from “knowing”. Men who know not, do not.
“Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord…”
The cause in a person’s life to do good and bless others is effected by the knowing of God. Those who know not God live unto themselves. The reality of our relationship with Him is revealed and shouted out to the world everyday by the effect produced within our lives. This evidential expression is called “Faith”.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith…”
FAITH BEING THE FRUIT (or effect)
Of the Spirit ruling in our lives
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me”
Religion tends to deal with generalities, teachings and concepts. The Truth, that living truth, must be personal for it to be powerful. It is one thing to know that Jesus died for the sins of the entire world but it is another thing altogether to know that HE died for me PERSONALLY! The power of knowing deep down within the core of one’s heart that Jesus loves and gave himself for ME is the point at which men and women are transformed; from religious adherence to a doctrine to a life of knowing HIM on an intimate spiritual level. That personal sense of belonging to HIM can only be experienced to the depth that we know this fundamental living truth. Paul saw himself as a purchased possession. In almost every Epistle he describes himself, not as a child of God, but as a δοῦλος, a bond slave, one whose will and life belongs to another.
“For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s”
1 CORINTHIANS 6:20
Without that sense of being HIS, men build their own kingdoms, propagate their own ministries and agendas, and every man is left to his own ways and decisions. The Church of Jesus Christ has known much suffering and grief as a result of the chaos and carnality of men’s ambitions.
This security of being HIS produces a quiet peace in knowing that I am no longer left to my own resources or stratagems. I am no longer required to produce any works of my own (although faith without works is dead); I am now only responsible to do the will of HIM who loved me and gave HIMSELF for ME. It is to HIM and HIM alone that I must give an account. The simplicity of such a life makes HIS burden light as we learn to walk in the YOKE OF CHRIST. This frees us from the voices of men and the “laws” of religion. I have one LORD, one SHEPHERD, and one KING and it is HIS bidding that I must obey. The greater the sense of HIS OWNERSHIP the less is the grip I have on my own life. The living truth of HIS LORDSHIP must produce a life that “now lives” by faith. This can only be realized by being in relationship with HIM who so loved me that HE gave Himself over on MY BEHALF. The call to the radical life of a disciple is not based on a religious law; it is rather the response of a heart that has touched the wonder of such unmerited love. This is a love that captivates the heart of the true believer and because of HIS love yields itself to HIM. For love is the only basis for true obedience. It is the one thing that can hold a man to the cross of Christ. We read in Hebrews chapter eleven…
“By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward”
The love of God that loved ME while I was yet a sinner, lost in the darkness of this present world, bent on doing evil, unable and unwilling to change my ways, is the same love that holds me, teaches me and keeps me on a daily basis. How could we help but love Him?
“My beloved is mine, and I am his”
SONG OF SOLOMON 2:16
The relationship between the Christian and Jesus Christ is to be one of devotion and ownership. In HIM becoming ours we become HIS. This is no casual relationship; this is one of intensity and pursuit. It is one where we seek, desire and procure HIS affections. This is not a commonly understood theme in the teaching of today yet it is declared clearly in Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians…
“Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win* Christ”
Paul is not speaking of earning his salvation. He is describing his pursuit to win over completely the affections of Christ in his own heart. The Greek word translated here is used in other places in the scriptures where it speaks of the believing wife winning her husband over to the lord by her chaste behavior; or the recipients of the talents or the pounds having GAINED through their faithfulness to what was given. Paul was flat out in his desire to make himself the sole possession of the living Christ. In bringing his life to that place of pure delight in God he was making the Son the sole purpose and desire of his life. Sadly, today Jesus is often seen as an event in our lives, one that fulfills the religious criteria of a Christian, after which we may go out and live our lives. This has produced people who have spent very little effort in discovering the glory of a relationship with God that is a prize above all things. His beauty and wonder permeates the lives of those who have caught glimpses of His pure radiance. A casual attitude and apathetic approach to the Christian walk will leave its adherents in the vague world of teachings and concepts with no idea of the LIFE that is found in HIM.
“My beloved is mine, and I am his”
SONG OF SOLOMON 2:16
This is a statement of mutual love; a declaration of pure holy love at the most intimate spiritual level. It is one that requires change and motion as we seek to become those vessels of holy delight to Him who is in turn our only source of joy and desire. Let the awe of such a possibility of relationship with the Most High God be the fire that burns within our hearts. For that fire (which is the very flame of HIS OWN love burning within us) will not only give us the focus to pursue Him but will, at the same time, burn away the impurities of our own agendas and desires. Men and women who have found this Pearl of Great Price throughout the ages declare in perfect agreement with the scriptures…
“My beloved is white and ruddy, Chief among ten thousand. His head is like the finest gold; His locks are wavy, And black as a raven. His eyes are like doves By the rivers of waters, Washed with milk, And fitly set. His cheeks are like a bed of spices, Banks of scented herbs. His lips are lilies, Dripping liquid myrrh. His hands are rods of gold Set with beryl. His body is carved ivory Inlaid with sapphires. His legs are pillars of marble Set on bases of fine gold. His countenance is like Lebanon, Excellent as the cedars. His mouth is most sweet, Yes, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem!”
SONG OF SOLOMON 5:10-16
*NOTE: κερδαίνω kerdainō; “He (Paul) was still forfeiting all that he had held dear. What for? He tells us, “that I may win Christ.” This latter expression does not refer to Paul’s acquisition of Christ as Savior, but to Paul’s appropriating into his life as a Christian, the perfection, the graces, the fragrance of the Person of Christ. The word “win” is the translation of the same Greek word translated “gain” in verse seven. This acquisition of the perfections of Christ, he elaborates upon in verses nine to fourteen”
Translation: “Yea, indeed, therefore, at least, even, I am still setting all things down to be a loss for the sake of that which excels all others, my knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord which I have gained through experience, for whose sake I have been caused to forfeit all things, and I am still counting them dung, in order that Christ I might gain”
WUEST’S WORD STUDIES
“How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word”
PSALM 119:9 (NASB)
Purity of heart is not only relative and progressive it is attainable! The simplicity of the above verse is powerful and within reach to every believer no matter the circumstances in which we may find ourselves. The provision for purity of heart, required by the scriptures, that enables us to see God is set before us to grow and delight in. The one requirement is simple and yet profound… obedience. By keeping His Word, reading it, cherishing it and DOING IT we receive the benefits of a heart that grows in purity and in that growing purity we see God more clearly and profoundly (Matthew 5:8). Obedience is the lamp by which we see His Face.
True obedience is by its very nature sacrificial. It is the way of the cross that leads us into the footsteps of the Son and the doorway into the growing dynamic of His life in us. In order to obey I must lay aside my will for His. I choose His Word and His Way over my own. In the doing of this I not only discover the hidden resources of His Life but I find His Word preserving my life in Him from the trappings and temptations of this world. For example:
“I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes”
By taking heed to this I am preserving my thought life and the purity of my heart. In embracing such a powerful truth I must disobey the lust and desire of the old man and keep the integrity of the new man that is being created in His Image! How simple and just are His ways. By the keeping of His Word we grow in righteousness and peace. In the keeping of His Word we are freed from the wages of sin and death! Obedience is the only way to know of this purity.
“Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren…”
1 PETER 1:22
Though the keeping of His Word is simple in its application it does require the empowering and enabling work of the Holy Spirit to see us through. Within the confines of a growing relationship with our God there is the constant need for us to walk, live and move within His Holy Spirit. The more we obey His Word the easier it is to know of this divine enablement. With each new step into the transforming Life of the Son we find our great Shepherd leading us onward in the “paths of righteousness”. How precious and glorious are His Ways!
“The proximate result of obedience to God is inward conformity to the Divine image”