ANOTHER COFFEE BREAK: THE PSALM 23 ADVENTURE, Part 37
April 14, 2017
Thought I was going to get to sharing some pictures from my visit at Uncle Roy’s but still haven’t gotten there yet. We will see what the day brings us today.
There is another, totally different, aspect of the Rod that comforts us and brings us peace as we walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. The rod that David describes is a whole lot more than just a rod for correction. Of the 81 times it appears in the Old and New Testaments it is a symbol of authority in the large majority of references.
The following scriptures exemplify the Rod of Authority.
Exodus 7:9-12: When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Show a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast it before Pharaoh, and it shall become a serpent. And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the LORD had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments. For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods.
What is clear in this example is that the Rod of God in the hand of Moses and Aaron is the Rod of Authority. God’s authority is demonstrated in this event in the rod that became a serpent that swallows up the serpents that were the rods in the hands of Pharaoh’s magicians. Their authority disappeared by being swallowed up by God’s authority. Pharaoh had vested his authority in the magicians and expected them to show Moses that all he had were cheap parlor tricks. The fact that his authority in the hands of the magicians disappeared and was swallowed up should have sent him a strong message, but, as the Word makes clear, he just hardened his heart against it.
Here’s a different picture of the authority of the Lord that many believers fail to see and understand today.
Exodus 27:32-33: And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD. He shall not search whether it be good or bad, neither shall he change it: and if he change it at all, then both it and the change thereof shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed.
Do you see it?
When we understand that the tithe is that which comes under the authority of the Lord and is His holy portion, and we honor His authority and holiness with the tithe, we experience a level of blessing and provision that more than makes up for that which we return to Him. The fact that He entrusts it all to us is a test to see if we will return that trust and demonstrate His kind of integrity.
Let’s consider this picture of authority in another dimension.
Psalm 2:7-11: I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
Before I continue with another illustration from Psalm 110, let me share an experience that my father had.
Dad was 19 years old when the Lord called him to Alaska. This was pre-WW-II, of course, and Alaska wasn’t a place that the overwhelming majority of folks even thought about as a place to minister. Without repeating a lot of detail already shared in the Coffee Break series titled, 40 Years Below Zero, after some years of preparation and a spectacular miracle of provision that enabled our family to make the move, we landed in Nome in the fall of 1944.
After nine years of ministry in Nome, the Lord began to quicken Dad’s spirit concerning the various towns and villages scattered throughout the arctic. In the spring of 1953, he was able to hitch a ride on an Air Force C-124 to Barrow. What he saw and what he experienced being there lit a fire inside his whole being. Nevertheless, because of the seeming insurmountable obstacles of moving our family into the arctic, building a church, and attempting a ministry where the native cultures were radically different than anything encountered in Nome, he lifted the situation before the Lord. What he was looking for was something from the Lord that would confirm everything he had already seen and experienced.
Back in Nome, he was praying and the Lord spoke that Word to him from Psalm 2: Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.
Not in his wildest imagination could he have foreseen or imagined just how real the Holy Spirit was going to make that apply to him. The very next verse says, Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.
What Dad saw break was a spiritual opposition, religion(s) that pervaded the native communities and the fall of shamanism as a major power in the villages – and even in Barrow and Kotzebue – two of the largest communities north of the Arctic Circle. The Rod of Authority was genuinely manifested when, in the face of religious opposition, we saw an outpouring of Holy Spirit that rivaled anything you can read in the second chapter of Acts, with miracles beyond counting and a harvest of souls easily equal to that which happened with Peter when he preached on the Day of Pentecost.
However, the “uttermost parts of the earth” didn’t stop with arctic Alaska or Canada or Greenland (the ministry had extended all the way around the globe (except for Siberia).
A day came when Holy Spirit began to direct him to the Pribilof island of Saint Paul – a tiny little island (4.5 miles deep by about 14 miles long) in the middle of the Bering Sea – and some 1,000 miles travel west from Anchorage. The “uttermost parts of the earth” took on a whole new meaning. The spiritual opposition was more fierce at Saint Paul than anything Dad & Mom had ever experienced, but the Rod of Authority broke that opposition in ways I don’t begin to have time to describe.
One tidbit deserves repeating. Dad went home to be with the Lord on Good Friday of 1986. Mom remained on the island until the summer of 2000, and went home to be with the Lord in September of that year. Della and I were tasked with the responsibility of taking care of all their personal effects and cleaning out the home at Saint Paul Island. Representatives from the community begged us to say and take over the ministry, but the capstone came when the Russian Orthodox priest, who had spearheaded a campaign to drive Dad & Mom from the island, showed up at the door, weeping and expressing his deep appreciation for the change that had come to the island because of their ministry. He, too, begged Della and I to remain on and continue where they had left off, but that was not what the Lord was saying to us.
What we saw in the arctic, and what we saw at Saint Paul Island, was clearly illustrated in what David writes in the 110th Psalm.
Psalm 110: The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.
The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath. He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries. He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head.
Let’s take this picture to its logical conclusion in our Kingdom economy. Consider now what Isaiah prophesied of Jesus:
Isaiah 11:1-5: And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;
And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.
What we have here is a picture of the Rod of Authority being vested in Jesus Christ. Isaiah names three of the seven Spirits of God in this particular prophecy as being the hallmarks of Jesus. As we know, there are seven Spirits of God, all of which ARE vested in the Lord Jesus Christ. In this instance, Isaiah is focusing on three of them because he describes Him as the Branch, growing out of those roots. Those three Spirits of God manifested in Jesus during His years of maturation. All seven became manifested once He was baptized, the Holy Spirit rested upon Him in the form of the dove, and Father spoke out of Heaven saying, “This is My Beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased.”
Once Jesus had fulfilled His purpose in developing His character and nature in His disciples, once He had fulfilled His redemptive purposes with his death by crucifixion and His resurrection from the grave, the Rod of Authority was about to be passed on to those who would be in Him, and in whom He would dwell. We are all aware of the Great Commission, but consider it now in the context of passing His authority on:
Matthew 28: 18-20 (NAS): And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.
The authority that had been vested in Him at this point is well described by the apostle Paul in his letter to the Ekklesia in Philippi.
Philippians 2:9-11: Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
That, folks, is the Rod of Authority! There is so much embodied in what Paul is writing here that we need to see this a bit more amplified.
As a result, and consequence of Jesus’ submission, Father God has elevated and exalted Him, granting and ascribing to Him that name – character, nature, makeup, authority, position and power – which is above and beyond all names (with their nature, makeup, authority, position and power)
So that at the sound and presence of Jesus’ name – all that He is, and Who He is – every single knee MUST bow, submitting to the authority of Jesus Christ, including beings in Heaven, beings in and on Earth, as well as the spirits of departed beings;
And every tongue, manner of speech and language should agree (with Father’s decree and declaration) that Jesus Christ is Lord – supreme in authority and controller of all – in the process bringing glory, honor, praise and magnificence to Father God.
(Philippians 2:9-11, RAC Translation & Amplification)
Now do you see why David could write “Thy rod … comforts me”?
With that kind of authority backing us up as we walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, what can possibly befall us that we cannot deal with in all power and authority? When we are in Christ, and He is in us, there is absolutely no power in heaven and earth, no authority of this world, no authority (if there be any) of Satan that can be exercised against us without the consequences of Heaven being employed!
All of the adventures that we have experienced up to this time, the commitments that we have made to the Lordship and Shepherding of the Lord Jesus Christ, the knowledge that all provision for everything and every circumstance has been given to us, the development of His Word in us, along with our responding to Holy Spirit’s work, the restoration process and deliverances we have experienced from the families of the Spirit of the Fear of Evil, the Spirit of the Fear of Man, and the Spirit of the Fear of Death have all brought us to the place where we can go through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, walking with Jesus in the Paths of Righteous (because His name, His character, His personality, His authority and power are all at stake in us) have produced in us a peace, a comfort for which words fail us, that comes from the Rod of Discipline and the Rod of Authority having been exercised for us, in us and through us. (Wow! Was that a wordy sentence?)
Are you seeing it? Now, do you understand why David could write as he did concerning the comfort of the Rod of the Lord?
Next week, we continue with the comfort that comes from His staff.
There is another, totally different, aspect of the Rod that comforts us and brings us peace as we walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. That’s where we will pick up this discussion next week.
I remind those of you in need of ministry that our Healing Prayer Call normally takes place on the first Monday of each month at 7:00 PM Eastern (4:00 PM Pacific). Our call-in number is (712) 775-7035. The Access Code is: 323859#. For Canadians who have difficulty getting in to this number, you can call (559) 546-1400. If someone answers and asks what your original call-in number was, you can give them the 712 number and access code.
At the same time, in case you are missing out on real fellowship in an environment of Ekklesia, our Sunday worship gatherings are available by conference call – usually at about 10:45AM Pacific. That conference number is (712) 770-4160, and the access code is 308640#. We hope to make these gatherings available by Skype or Talk Fusion before long. If you miss the live call, you can dial (712) 770-4169, enter the same access code and listen in later.
Blessings on you!
Regner A. Capener
RIVER WORSHIP CENTER
Temple, Texas 76504
Email Contact: Admin@RiverWorshipCenter.org
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