Feb 20, '11 2:34 PM
By Regner Capener
A few weeks ago, I shared with you the transition we’ve been going through with our ministry and the fact that we have suspended our regular daily operation of River Worship Center in preparation for team ministry traveling throughout the arctic.
Shortly thereafter, I talked with Dwain McKenzie (who has been a lifelong friend and co-laborer in the Gospel) who, with his wife Suzy, has moved back to Alaska and currently lives in Glenallen. Dwain said that he was going to Barrow to preach for a couple of weeks (the church there (AofG) had just lost its pastor, and he would try to get a sense of what the Spirit of the Lord was doing and saying on the arctic coast.
I just talked with him yesterday and it turns out there is good reason for the emphasis the Holy Spirit has been putting in Della and me to return to the north and minister in the villages. Every single AofG church across the north coast – Point Hope, Wainwright, Barrow, Nuiqsut and Kaktovik on Barter Island – are without pastors. Not only that, both of the Presbyterian churches in Wainwright and Barrow have lost their pastors. An old friend of ours who was the Presbyterian pastor in Barrow back in the 1960’s – John Chambers – has returned to Barrow to preach on an interim basis, but as he indicated, “this is strictly temporary until we can find someone permanent to take this church.”
What has happened is that (and I don’t want to point fingers here judgmentally) people who should be true shepherds and remain with their people until other shepherds can take over the responsibility have simply walked away from their pastorates like “hirelings” would.
Ezekiel had a strong Word from the Lord concerning this. “And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them.
“Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock; therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD;
“Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves anymore; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.
“For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.” (Ezekiel 34:5-12)
Pretty strong, isn’t it? Della and I both understand why also the Holy Spirit has made clear to us that we will take on this ministry throughout these communities at our own expense. That’s to say, the Lord will make provision for this ministry – this team ministry – without any need for us to “take up offerings” in the villages in order to travel and teach, preach and prophesy the spiritual health these folks need.
It is the Lord Jesus Christ who will direct the gathering. He is, after all, the Chief Shepherd! It is the Holy Spirit who will deliver the people from all the places where they have been scattered. It is His calling and His responsibility that He is implanting in us in order to “heal the hurt of the daughter of My people.”(Jeremiah 8:11)
Now, let’s get on with today’s sharing. Oh…and by the way…better get your cup of java poured if’n you haven’t already.
When I wrote about David in this series, I commented that he perhaps more than any other Biblical character has had an impact on my life. The things he shared, the Psalms he penned, and the life of praise and worship he led have been a part of my thought processes and unfolding revelation in my spirit for nearly sixty years as of this writing.
As a young boy, however, my experiences with angelic appearances and that first appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ in my bedroom at age seven prompted my mother to take me to the events surrounding the calling of the prophet Samuel as a youngster as it is described in Scripture. Mom had a way of sharing events and stories from the Bible so that you were almost a participant in those Biblical events. She had a flair for the dramatic and loved to dramatize Bible stories so that my brother and I – and all the kids she taught in Sunday School – were immersed in the events by her story-telling. Mom realized that the Lord was dealing with me and revealing Himself to me in a way that – in many respects – paralleled that of Samuel.
That said, I was anxious to talk to Samuel in person when the Lord gave me the opportunity to meet and talk to anyone I desired during that first trip to Heaven. The fact that the Lord first called him in his early youth made him someone I could easily relate to, and I wanted to hear him talk about what he experienced.
Samuel was another one of those folks I had a mental image of as an aged prophet. It was easy to see him as an eight-year-old with Eli, the High Priest, and I could envision him much later in life as the old bearded prophet and mentor of David. What I saw in fact was very much like everyone else – a young-looking, but mature man who was hale and hearty, filled with vim, vigor and vitality. Seeing Samuel was one more reminder that folks don’t age in the presence of the Lord. In fact, age is totally irrelevant since we as spiritual beings are eternal, made in the image and likeness of the Lord God. There is nothing about Jesus that is old, and despite the fact that Father God is described as “the Ancient of Days” He simply does not age in any way.
My first question to Samuel related to his age when he first heard the voice of God.“How old were you when you first heard the Lord call your name?”
He smiled as he responded, “Not that far off from where you are now – and perhaps closer to your age when the Lord Jesus first appeared at your bedside to call you. I was eight years of age. Unlike your experience, however, visions, dreams and angelic visitations had become a rarity in Israel. Though the priesthood should have been regularly experiencing communication with God because of entering into the Holy of Holies once a year, it had been generations since there had been a High Priest who really reverenced the Lord, or had any real perception of what it meant to fear the Lord and His Holiness.
“Eli had received the Word of the Lord concerning his lack of respect for the sacrifices and the way in which he permitted his two sons to continue as priests despite their utter disregard for the Lord as well as their perverse behavior and contamination of the sacrifices – and he did nothing to stop them. But he had never personally received angelic visitations; and he had never personally heard the Lord. For that matter, neither had any of his recent predecessor High Priests. There simply was no open vision of the Lord or of the Heavenly realm in those days. We had no visible manifestation of the presence or power of God in the way that Moses and Joshua had experienced.
“All of Israel knew – I knew – that we were a people who were supposed to be chosen by God. I knew that we had priests who were supposed to represent us before God, but I’d never seen any demonstration of Him that I was aware of, and I’d certainly never heard of anyone hearing or talking to God in any recent times. When the voice of God first spoke in my hearing, it was different from Eli’s voice and yet I thought instinctively that it had to be Eli calling me from another room. I had no expectation of God talking to me. After all, I was a young boy! Who was I that He would talk to me?!”
This was different. In my conversation with Abraham earlier, he had said, “Once you’ve heard the voice of God, there is no other,” meaning of course that His voice is distinctively different from all human voices. That begged the following question from me.
“How would you have not known instantly that this was the Lord speaking?” I asked.“Surely you would have known in your inner self that it was God!”
My question came from my own reference point, of course. I’d had three years of non-stop visitations from angels, followed by the appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ at my bedside. His voice was filled with an indescribable peace and presence I don’t to this day know how to adequately put into words. No one would ever be able to tell me I hadn’t heard or seen Him, and no one would ever be able to sell me on a Him being a false Christ or demonic apparition. In the years since that event I have seen demonic spirits visibly and I can promise you that there is no peace or presence of the Lord that accompanies them.
Samuel answered me, “Thinking back, I did know the difference but as I said, there had never been any reference point for the voice of the Lord to me. I just didn’t know Him yet and He had never revealed Himself to me up to this time. My reactions were based in my own reasoning. It had to be Eli calling me. Who else would it be?
“Not until it had happened three times and Eli instructed me to say, ‘Speak Lord, for thy servant heareth,’ did it actually register that this was truly the voice of God. Then when the Lord spoke to me and told me what He was going to do to Eli and his household, the last thing I wanted to do was to share any of it with Eli.
“Eli’s acknowledgement and acceptance of that Word of judgment sealed in me the realization that God had indeed talked to me and that the Word was going to be fulfilled. I never had to guess again as to whether it was the Lord speaking. I knew! In the months and years that followed, He spoke to me on numerous occasions – and each time He spoke I received more revelation of Who He is. There was a distinct impartation and revelation that came with His voice and an inner knowing that He would fulfill everything He spoke to me.”
Everything Samuel was speaking confirmed my own personal experiences with the Lord up to this time. I could easily recall the pictures – the visions, if you will – of the Jews being able to return to their homeland as Israel was once again declared a nation. Those pictures had been engraved in the back of my mind, and not too many months thereafter I saw a copy of Life Magazine with photographs of the very same thing. The Lord had said to me during that first visitation that Israel was being restored as a nation, and now I had seen the photographic proof exactly as He had implanted the visions. The Word of the Lord had been confirmed to me in the same way that He had confirmed His Word to Samuel.
“One more question before I change the topic,” I said.“How many years went by before God’s judgment fell on Eli and his house? When did you become the High Priest in Israel?”
“There is one thing you ought to keep in mind,” Samuel answered.“This will help you in the years to come in understanding that God has a specific timing in the way He does things. He’s not in a hurry, and He is never late. There is a mathematical order to Him and numbers with God have great spiritual significance. Because of that there is a principle of maturity and responsibility.
“Within the life of Israel as a people, when a young man is first released into his years of training and preparation by his father to assume the family name and responsibility, he is usually about twelve years of age. There have always been a few exceptions – me being one of those exceptions – where the training begins earlier. That period of training usually lasts about seventeen years, give or take a couple depending on the responsiveness of the young man.
“Usually by the age of 30 the father calls friends and family together and there is a public ceremony or pronouncement that the son has accomplished his years of preparation and is now taking on the responsibility of the father’s business. The son now has the authority to speak and act in his father’s name; and everything he does from now on carries the weight of his father’s character and integrity – his name and his rank.
“That tradition has come out of the way God has dealt with His people. Isaac was nearing 30 years of age when Abraham was instructed to offer him up as a sacrifice to the Lord. If you remember your Scriptures, Jesus was about 30 years of age when Father God placed His stamp of approval on Him and released Him to minister and to speak in Father’s name and on His behalf.
“In that same way, I was about 30 years of age when the Philistines invaded Israel and took the Ark of the Covenant. The two sons of Eli were killed in the ensuing battle and Eli fell over and broke his neck, dying instantly when he heard the news. Though Eli had in many ways mentored me for more than 21 years, it was the continual and growing relationship with Father God throughout those years that prepared me. It was His voice that released me. It was His voice in me and through me that caused Israel to respond and accept me as God’s spokesman to them.
“The Word of the Lord was holy to me. I reverenced Him and I reverenced His Word; and I wasn’t about to allow anything He revealed to me go to waste. With Eli’s death, I now had a solemn responsibility before Israel to act on their behalf towards God and plead Israel’s case. My relationship of trust with Him made it imperative that I do or say nothing to lose His trust, nor Israel’s trust.”
We now switched topics as I asked him, “Would you tell me about anointing both Saul and David to become King over Israel? What was so significant about pouring oil over them? Why did that set them apart?”
“You’ll remember that God instructed Moses to set Aaron and his sons apart from the rest of Israel’s leadership. A specially prepared oil was poured upon them, and then rubbed on them. It signified the anointing of the Spirit of God. The oil represented the Holy Spirit. The rubbing in meant that this was something more than “skin deep.”It was to saturate them in such a way that they became a separated people unto the Lord. The Lord would hear them when they interceded and offered up the sacrifices for the sins of the people because He had set them apart for that purpose.
“In that same way I was acting on behalf of the Lord to set Saul apart to become God’s leader and king over the people. Israel’s elders had decided they didn’t want to be different from the other nations in having a High Priest and Prophet to judge them. Rather they wanted to have a king so they would look like the other nations surrounding them. I warned the elders that this would be a huge mistake, but they wouldn’t listen. So the Lord picked someone out of their midst who would look like a king in their eyes and in the eyes of the surrounding nations.
“When I first poured the vial of oil on Saul, you’d have thought he had become a prophet like me. The impact of that anointing caused an impartation of the Spirit of God to Saul and when he came in contact with a company of prophets he began to prophesy as though he’d set apart as God’s spokesman to the nation. You’ll remember that it didn’t take long for the people to accept him as their king.”
“I guess I don’t understand why he rebelled against the Word of the Lord the way he did,” I responded.“How could someone with the anointing he had get so far out of line? What would make him think he could get away with offering sacrifices in your place? Why, after such exacting instructions from the Lord through you, would he save Agag, the king of the Amalekites, alive and keep the best of the sheep and oxen?”
Samuel laughed.“The anointing is not a substitute for relationship,” he said.“The anointing is an empowering that comes by the Spirit of God so that a person can accomplish tasks that would normally be beyond their capability. You are forgetting also what happened with Lucifer. Remember how Isaiah prophesied of him how he had become lifted up in his own eyes and thought he could take over the throne of God? If Lucifer could fall like that, men can fall as well.
“Even David with his anointing, his heart after the Lord and the wonderful experiences he had in God messed up. David’s salvation was his intense desire to please God and to fulfill His heart’s desire. David’s salvation was the fact that he truly knew how to repent. Saul wasn’t the least bit sorry for what he had done; he was only sorry that he got caught.
“David was a different breed entirely. Israel never had another king like him. It wasn’t just his anointing, either; it was his pursuit of the Lord and his desire to see that Israel became a living picture of God’s chosen people in the earth. David wanted to see that the Lord received the honor and Glory due Him.
“The day I was instructed to pour oil over David and anoint him to become King of Israel, when I saw him I knew the Lord had deliberately chosen him and that the timing in his choosing was specific so that Israel – and the world around – would have a revelation of the Lord God in a way that had never before taken place. Although I didn’t get to see it in the natural, I certainly got to witness it through the eyes of the Lord once I was here with Him.”
That, my friends, is as far as I can take this discussion today. I’ve run a bit long, but I’m sure you will appreciate the significance of the revelation that unfolded in this conversation.
Next: HEAVEN XI: Isaiah.
Though 2011 has already been a difficult year – and it is going to get even more difficult in the weeks and months ahead-- God is going to show His hand on behalf of His people, especially those who believe His Word and trust Him implicitly!
Blessings on you!
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