“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!
“Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door”
To live with an awareness of His watchfulness is the secret to walking in the way of the Lord. Carelessness is simply the revelation of a heart that is out of touch with His Living Presence. Unforgiveness, grumbling, harbouring of resentments, and isolation from His people, are symptoms of a life who has lost touch with Him who is the Life.
Ignorance of His Presence will not excuse us of the truth “the judge is standing at the door”. The assumption that we are secure in Christ because we “believe” right while holding unresolved issues with our brothers and sisters, is the horror of hypocrisy.
“…bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive”
The conduct of one’s life reveals the heart and the spirit in which one walks.The pride of man seeks division and dissension for self-promotion, but one who knows that “the Judge is standing at the door” will conduct himself accordingly.
“And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord”
1 Kings 15:11
Life is short; the opportunities afforded us of growing in His nature and grace are presented to us every day. May the consciousness of His Presence enable us to walk humbly in the knowledge that “the Judge is standing at the door”.
“And… Paul said, “Brothers, I have lived my life before God in all good conscience up to this day“
“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to usin His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world” (Heb 1:1-2)
In times past God spoke through men, but now in these last days, He is speaking by His Son, in and through YOU! The five-fold ministry is to bring YOU into your unique ministry, to develop and add YOUR voice to THE VOICE of many waters that YOU should become HIS VOICE to others.
God has already apportioned to each of us a mighty deposit of His Spirit, but we don’t enter into it by prayer, but by obedience. God has already given you the land, but now says, “My land is not to be talked about, My land is to be walked about!”
Mercy must be coupled with truth to equal righteousness. Truth must be in harmony with mercy to be consistent with the character of God. Mercy tempers self-righteousness and truth delivers us from apathy and carelessness. It is in the blending of these two Divine realities of God that righteousness culminates.
“…keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation”
Moses’ response to such a pure and Holy revelation was this:
“And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped”
Pure worship is the result of seeing God in the wonder of His Glory and Holiness. His Glory is His character; His character is the basis of His Judgment. The deceived corrupt His Likeness by “perverting the grace of our God into moral anarchy and lack of self-restraint”. Others corrupt His truth into a callous caricature of a malicious despot. Truth magnifies mercy and brings the work of Christ into holy living, worthy of His sacrifice. Mercy breaks the proud heart of the natural man. In brokenness, we find obedience unto Him by which we are made free and alive in Him.
“But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple”
There is no contradiction between the Mercy of the Lord and the Fear of the Lord. Only the pure in heart can understand the fusion of these two great and solemn attributes.
A Gospel which declares a mercy void of truth produces apathy, the womb of unholy living and damnable heresies.
“For certain men entered surreptitiously who were of old predicted with reference to this judgment, men destitute of reverential awe towards God, perverting the grace of our God into moral anarchy and lack of self-restraint, and denying the only absolute Master, even our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Jude goes on to declare:
“Now I desire to remind you, though you already know this**, that the Lord, having saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who didn’t believe”
How we need to be reminded of the verity of God. It is to this end we encourage and admonish one another to “live godly in Christ Jesus”. Let the unmerited ministrations of His mercy break our stubborn hearts and bring us into obedience that the world may see the truth of Him in us.
“Having, therefore, these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God”
2 Corinthians 7:1
Those who believe in the “promises of God” pursue purity of heart and are ever in the process of seeking holiness in the fear of the Lord.
“The diverse aspects of the divine nature, to separate which is the tendency of the unregenerate mind of man and of all paganism, are united in perfect harmony in the Lord Yahweh… But the perfect revelation of the harmony was reserved for the fulness of time when “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” was made known to us in the flesh as both our Saviour and our Judge”
* Hebrew – To meet together (face to face), to concur, join
** The early Church knew of these powerful truths and the resounding expression of them brought forth a people who were the light of Christ unto the world. Compare the glory of the early church with the ethos of the present.
Prayer is the means to discovering the “Go” of God’s Will. It is in our time with Him that He communicates and empowers. In the enormity of Jesus facing Calvary’s wretched death, He who knew no sin about to become the sin-bearer of the world, He drew near unto His Father for strength and grace to walk out the Will of the Father. So it must be for us. Through the intimacy of prayer, we hear Him speak and have the privilege of participating in His Will in the earth.
“…making known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself”
– Ephesians 1:9
The KJV of this verse speaks of something past tense: “having made known to us the mystery of His will”. There is something amiss in this past-tense translation which is not at all expressed in the original Greek. The Will of God is a daily thing. It is a mystery which unfolds as we commune with Him and allow His Lordship to speak into our hearts His purposes for the now of life. The true Christian Life is an adventure which can only be experienced through the medium of Obedience. Paul, writing to the Church at Ephesus, used the Greek participle concerning God “making known unto us the mystery of HIS will”. How blessed we are to discover fresh opportunities of Faith to walk in His purposes!
The more we obey the impulse of the Spirit the more we discover confidence; a growing boldness, a dynamic which arises out of our own experience with God. It is here the depth of our prayer life is revealed and established. Prayer without the communication of the Will of God to us should be disconcerting, for prayer is simply the participation of our heart with His. Obedience and prayer are harmonious. I know from my own personal experience the wrestling and struggles to obey that which He has given me to DO in my time alone with Him. Knowing and discovering His Will is a mystery which is only solved when I personally step into it. I can have a word or an impression of God to go, but until that step is taken His Will lingers, unfulfilled.
“Go ye therefore…”
“Go” is the impulse of God; “Go” is God’s heart to His Own. It is the word of God for us to explore, venture and invest ourselves in His purposes to make His salvation known to this world. What does that “Go” look like to you? Where does that “Go” personally take you? That is the exciting thing about the glory of prayer!The Go of God is bound up in us first coming in prayer, the secret place of communion (co-union) with Him.
“Come now therefore, and I will send thee…”
Unless we come to Him with a heart alive and burning with a desire to do His Will there will never be a “sending”. His Will is waiting for you to take His deliverance, His word of life and His love to heal the broken and lost of humanity. His House is filled with many who need His touch in their lives. Do we not hear the “Go” of God within our own hearts to be involved in making Him known?
It is the “lukewarm” who say, “I am rich, and I am made rich, and I have need of nothing”. They are content and feel no need to venture into the world around them nor expend themselves in making Him known. Those who need nothing will see nothing concerning the will of God. The soil which at one time received the seed of life with gladness has now become infested with the cares and comforts of this life and the life is choked with the thorns and thistles of their own sowing.
It is needful that we draw away from lukewarm living, carelessness and deception. Let us discover afresh the secret chambers of prayer and communion with Him. It is in this holy place that we feel the Fire of His Being igniting the altar of our hearts.
“Come now therefore, and I will send thee…”
God has a very simple and powerful remedy for us all: Prayer. The kind where we meet with Him and spend time alone in the holy atmosphere of His majesty. Not prayers asking Him for things, but prayers of communion where we learn to simply wait, child-like, without any other need but HIM. It is as we thus wait upon Him that we will find a renewing of our strength and a rising up to the honour of doing His Will. Prayer to the true child of God is not optional; it is the essential element of a fruitful life in Christ!
Eternal destinies are bound within our faithfulness to the talents He has graciously given us. The slothful, disobedient and the careless reap the disregard they show to the deposits of His gifts to us.
“And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine…”
To which Jesus declares:
“And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth”
“It is not the incorrect that the Lord despises but the proud; it is not the hot or the cold that the Lord spews out of his mouth but the lukewarm. When we are standing still out of fear of being wrong, we will certainly be regarded by him as ‘wicked and slothful’ not cautiously prudent.”
– Eric Foley
Eldership begins in the home. It begins in earnest with the birth of children and the opportunity they present for us to learn the wisdom of our Heavenly Father. The challenge for us is to instill in them a desire to discover the great mystery of Christ for themselves. We cannot unravel the mystery for them but we can minister to them their need to find God for themselves.
If we are unable to present the glories and the wonders of God to our own children, how will we ever be equipped to present Him to the household of faith? Pat answers will not produce the intrigue of the adventure of walking with God. Often Jesus would answer a question with a question. It was hunger and quest He sought to instill rather than mere answers. Hunger of heart will take one further in God than information with no spirit of awe or wonder.
Home is the canvas upon which we can learn to paint. An artist works in shades, splashes and hues, each one reflecting a thought, a wisp of truth. Over time an image appears and each brush of color is hidden within the wonder of the whole. Eldership is but a reflection of the wisdom of our Heavenly Father; the work of His grace and longsuffering to present such a one to the Body of Christ.
“For by it (faith) the elders obtained a good report”
“There are no artists more divine than those who know how to fashion a child’s soul within themselves. Such artists know how to draw forth the greatest divine radiance into their souls”
– St. John Chrysostom
Obviously having children is not a prerequisite for being an elder in God's House. For those who do, let God's wisdom in His dealings with you be an example of how you are to deal with your children.
“Devotion signifies a life given, or devoted to God. He therefore is the devout (godly) man, who lives no longer to his own will, or the way and spirit of the world, but to the sole will of God, who considers God in everything, who makes all the parts of his common life, parts of piety (godliness), by doing everything in the name of God, and under such rules as are conformable to His Glory” John Murray
Devotion to Christ is revealed in the life lived not only in the words spoken. If the life is lived well the words spoken will carry the weight of the life of Christ within them.
“Spirit filled souls are ablaze for God. They love with a love that glows. They serve with a faith that kindles. They serve with a devotion that consumes. They hate sin with fierceness that burns. They rejoice with a joy that radiates. Love is perfected in the fire of God”
– Samuel Chadwick
“Say NOT ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest”
The context of this scripture illustrates God’s call to the “present” truth of His life within us. Jesus, being weary and hungry, had sent the disciples into the city of Sychar for food and sat at the well waiting them to return. As He was waiting a woman came to the well to draw water. Within a few short sentences He had exposed the secrets of her heart, revealed Himself and shared the desire of His heavenly Father for true worshipers. The disciples returned with food and He responds, “I have meat you know not of”! The profound truth is, in the present doing of His will, we are fed, strengthened and empowered in the “today” of His Life. The hidden manna is reserved for those who see and participate with Him in the opportunities afforded us Today.
Let us take his admonishment, “say not” to heart. “Say not” sometime later God is going to bring in a harvest; “say not” sometime in the future God is going to use me; “say not” God will someday move through my life. It is the deception of our own procrastination which is unable to respond to present day opportunities! God’s answer to the impotency of such faith? “Lift up your eyes” for the fields are already white unto the harvest! Those who see in the Spirit know of the works, the opportunities and movings of God as present truth. Too many of God’s people walk in the impotency of an apathetic faith, not seeing the opportunities of NOW. Delegating everything to sometime in the future results in fruitless and barren living. It is in the NOW that we develop a greater faith for tomorrow’s works of faith.
Jesus confronted the faith of Martha regarding Lazarus her brother; a faith stuck in the past:
“Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died”
Her response to Jesus’ declaration “Thy brother shall rise again” also revealed a procrastination of faith to some future day: “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day”. A true statement but one that missed the message that Christ wanted her to hear.
“I AM the resurrection, and the life…”
Too many of us live as if our faith is in a God whose name is “I will be” rather than His glorious name of “I AM”; the present God, the present truth and the present answer to the needs of fallen humanity around us. Of course, there are always more glorious things to come in God; such is the truth of His eternal plans. Yet, if I walk in His Spirit, I will see the glorious truth that there are fields, present tense, “white unto harvest”. The blindness of a “someday faith” deprives us of present truth thus robbing God of His present glory. It results in stagnation and spiritual death; ever waiting for some future thing while ignoring the bread and wonder of the present. The “hidden manna” falls every day to those whose eyes are open to see His fields of opportunity.
It is as we walk in faith today that we are prepared for the opportunities of tomorrow’s faith.
“Sanctify yourselves (today): for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you”
The sanctifying work of today is the precursor to the beholding of His works tomorrow. Sanctifying ourselves today means we are set apart for His works, His will and the doing of the “present truth”. David, before he met Goliath, had a spiritual history with his God. The faith which emboldened him to confront Goliath had been developed in the past victories of faith; overcoming the lion and the bear.
“Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them…”
1 Samuel 17:36
Those who walk in the “I AM” of today will be prepared of Him for the greater conflicts which await us. Present Truth is God’s provision for tomorrow.
“Today if ye will hear His Voice, harden not your hearts”
To those who whose walk in the present truth of our God the fields are “already” white unto harvest; there are (now) lives to be rescued, hearts to be encouraged, and lives to be transformed by the present wonder of our God.
“SAY NOT YE, there are yet four months, and THEN cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, LIFT UP YOUR EYES, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest”
“Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue”
What was the Holy Spirit’s judgment on this?
“For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God”
When men and women lack the fortitude and courage to walk and seek God’s favour on their own, they will invariably seek their identity in “fitting in” with others. Many see the inconsistencies and compromise, yet remain complicit, ignoring the cry of their inner hearts. They succumb to conformity, to the protocols and doctrines of men at the expense of God’s glory. They become traitors to Christ; professing faith while choosing the acceptance of man over the call of God.
The penalty for such betrayal is beyond estimation, not only in this life but for eternity. Families are often destroyed by remaining in the throes of compromise for the sake of a horribly misplaced loyalty; parents (because of a loyalty to man) expose their children to lifeless concepts of God which often results in a life of wandering and futility.
The worth of a thing is determined by the price someone will pay for it. Those who esteem the praises of men more worthy than God’s pay a bitter price in the end. What people esteem becomes the compass by which they direct their life and they who value the approval of men must by necessity wander out of the Way of God.
“The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead”
May the grace of God work in us an uncompromising walk of faith. It is better to walk alone with God than to abide in the congregation of the dead.