ANOTHER COFFEE BREAK: THE PSALM 23 ADVENTURE, Part 8
August 5, 2016
Have you ever considered "Pentecost?" Do you realize what this represents? Pentecost -- representing 50 days -- began with Moses receiving the Word of the Lord on Mount Sinai. God revealed Himself to Moses in ways that the sub-natural world treats as "supernatural."
When we read in the KJV, for example, that God showed Moses His "hinder parts," we don't realize that the Hebrew terminology is using metaphorical terms to express "the past (from Creation) up to the present." Understand? God was revealing the whole of Creation to Moses. He was displaying His plan and purpose from the beginning to have a people for Himself -- the family of God!
What was revealed to Moses there in the mountain was a prophetic picture of redemption. Moses saw the temple of God and was given the plan for a portable copy of it (the Tabernacle) as a visual prophecy for Israel. Divided into sections with "the outer court," the "holy place" and the "holy of holies," it became a graphic representation of salvation and redemption, followed by the place of revelation and intense desire for communion with God, and -- ultimately -- the marriage covenant between God and His Beloved.
Because of his intense love for the Lord, David was given much of the same kind of revelation. He saw the unfolding adventure that God has for all who will commit unreservedly to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. He had a revelation of "Pentecost" when he wrote, "He leadeth me beside the still waters."
We pick up, then, with where we left off last week.
Speaking in tongues is the evidence that you have given up the most stubborn part of your being — your tongue — to the flow of Holy Spirit within and through you. Again, this is only the beginning. Now it becomes necessary to open up to a daily flow of this river within. The more we open ourselves up to this daily flow, the more a new dimension of Holy Spirit begins to come alive in our beings.
You’ve heard me say this before, and I’ll say it again!
We have been designed and destined to be supernatural beings in a sub-natural world. We have been designed to become “naturally supernatural” and “supernaturally natural.” What that means is that we have been designed for the Glory of the Lord to be on display in us!
The fact that Holy Spirit “leads” us beside the still waters is a testimony to the fact that He does not compel us to drink. On the contrary, this MUST be a free-will decision. If He were to force this or “make us” we would essentially become automatons. What the Lord is and has been looking for in a people are those who choose Him, choose His heart’s desire, choose His destiny in us — WITHOUT COMPROMISE OR EFFORT TO ALTER IN ANY WAY!
Think about the Day of Pentecost for a minute. Just as Pentecost occurred for Moses and Israel 50 days after they were delivered from Egypt, the Day of Pentecost occurred 50 days after Jesus' resurrection and redemption and salvation made available for "whosoever will." The disciples were all gathered together for one purpose. Jesus had instructed them to “tarry” — to wait as long as it took — until they were literally invested, clothed, arrayed inwardly and outwardly with Holy Spirit.
The Greek text of Luke 24:49 uses the word, enduo, to describe what Jesus was saying. This word describes “a sinking into” in the sense of being literally enveloped by, covered over, so that this is what everyone sees (including yourself) when they see you. (Hence, the term, "the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.") Thus, Jesus was making it clear that there would be no moving forward, no commissioning, no anointing, no empowering to do what He demonstrated to them during the years that they followed Him until they were “endued,” clothed, immersed with dunamis — strength, power, supernatural ability — coming directly from God.
You’ll remember that Jesus made it clear at the Last Supper that He had to depart so that Holy Spirit could come as our Paraklete.
This is an interesting word coming from the Greek, parakletos, which is a compound word. In its widest sense, this word means: a helper, aider, succourer, an assistant. In this application, the word describes one who leads us to a wider and deeper knowledge of the Truth, one who gives the divine strength needed to undergo the trials and persecutions we will endure.
Perhaps the best and most illustrative application of this word would be Hegai, who prepared Esther over a three-and-a-half year period (seven times as long as the norm) to be prepared to become the counterpart of the King.
Let me pause here to share a personal experience that took place when I went to Heaven for the first time.
After nearly three full days of walking and talking with the Lord, meeting and talking with the patriarchs, David, the prophets and the apostles, Jesus led me to the site of a great palace that was obviously under construction. What I saw at first glance was a great domed palace that defied description.
As we approached the main entrance I saw my name over the doorway. I said to Jesus, “Lord, what is this place?”
His answer was, “This is your life. This is what I am making of you, and this is what I am building for you.”
When I stepped through the entry way, there were hundreds, if not more than a thousand, workmen engaged in their various trades, cutting, engraving, building, shaping with gold and other precious metals, doing inlay with precious stones. It was something that is still hard to describe, even to this day, but glorious to behold.
My initial reaction was awe, but it was years later that I finally began to understand what I saw. These were the people the Lord was going to bring into my life to do the cutting, the engraving, the shaping, the inlay work, etc., of His character and nature in my life. It might not be comfortable at the time, but what He was going to bring in me was all of the changes and development I needed to become that living expression of His Glory.
I’ve often heard Christians express shock and horror at the idea of persecution, trials and “tribulation,” and they say, “Why, God wouldn’t do that! He is a loving God! He wouldn’t bring pain and suffering into your life.”
The catch is that God doesn’t do that. The Enemy, Satan, does it to us. We do it to ourselves by our still-reactionary flesh wanting to do the things that please our fleshly desires and we wind up suffering the consequences thereof.
Our spirits may be “saved” and redeemed, but we have to work that in our flesh. Hence, Paul’s instruction to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling.”
Here’s the full quote from Philippians 4:12-13:
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Do you see the key word in Paul’s instruction? The word is “obeyed.”
What folks fail to understand is that the pain and suffering is the reaction of our flesh to the necessary dealings of God to bring about His Glory in us. We have a bad habit of not obeying. It’s not that God is doing it to us. Where the results will not end in our destruction, he permits these things as a part of our “working out our salvation.”
One of the things I’ve learned throughout the years is that God is a whole lot less concerned with the reactions of our flesh or our emotions than He is in the development of His character and nature in us.
We will see this a few steps later, but as He leads us in the paths of righteousness, He is doing this for His sake! It is His name, His onoma, His character and nature, His makeup, His personality, His love, His power and His authority that is at stake here!
That said, let’s move on.
In God’s economy, there is no room for those who decide what they will accept, and what they will reject. If we are going to move forward into the dimensions that God has for us, those dimensions ONLY come by our total acquiescence to EVERY part of His leading! Do you understand? It is our total responsiveness, our total obedience that moves us forward.
Do you remember what Paul wrote of Jesus?
Hebrews 5:8-9: “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;”
Let’s amplify this a bit.
Despite the fact that Jesus was a full-grown and mature son, He learned submission to Father by and through the things he underwent — the things he experienced, both with positive and negative consequences — and as a result [of his proper responses to both positive and negative experiences] developed the full maturity and completeness intended, becoming (in the process) the very cause and source of everlasting and (sum of all the) unending benefits and blessings to all who hear, obey and submit to Him [and to His Word]. (Hebrews 5:8-9, RAC Translation & Amplification)
Maybe I’ve taken you way down a rabbit trail to get here, but are you seeing and gaining a greater understanding of why “He leadeth me beside the still waters”?
He won’t make you drink. You have to decide that you want all the life, the nourishment, the sustenance AND the dimension that will open up as a result of drinking these waters. You have to know with every fiber of your existence that this is an absolute requirement for the spiritual universe that awaits, the adventures that accompany that universe and the personal costs that go with it.
You have to choose to drink of these waters. You must choose the absolute yielding of your flesh, your tongue and your natural desires to Holy Spirit.
Without that decision to choose and total responsiveness to Holy Spirit, this is where you cease to grow in your relationship in Jesus Christ. There will be no true intimacy in and with Him. There will be no real sense of His very heartbeat, His heart’s desire. There will be no communion.
Let me put this another way.
Yes, you will be led by the Lord. Yes, you will walk in paths of righteousness. Yes, you will experience testing, trial, tribulation and persecution. What you will NOT have is that dimension of personal union with the Lord that ONLY comes by drinking from the waters of Holy Spirit. Your spiritual life will be dry — Word-based, perhaps — but lacking the revelation that comes in this dimension.
To a large extent, you will still be eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil instead of the Tree of Life.
What you will lack is the ability to flow supernaturally in the tongues of men and of angels and tear down the strongholds of the Enemy, to pray according to the Will of God without your mind and your reasoning getting in the way, to declare and decree with Father’s authority, establishing and expanding the Kingdom of God.
Consider again, what John saw in Revelation 22:
And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the main street coming from the throne, and on either bank of the river, grew the tree of life, bearing twelve different kinds of fruits, a different kind of fruit for each month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (RAC Translation & Amplification)
Do you see where that river comes from? Do you see what David was showing us? Do you see “He leadeth me beside the still waters?” Do you know where the still waters are? They are in the pools, the eddies at different points along the river. Why do you think that this is all a part of responding to the Lordship of Jesus Christ?
Lots of questions, I know, but as you see in what John writes, this river flows right from the Throne of God and the Lamb — the Lord Jesus Christ. With this river comes the authority of the Throne, With this river comes a dimension of the Spirit of God that just doesn’t come anywhere else. The best part of this river is that it flows right through the Tree of Life.
We’ve mentioned this before, but the seven letters that open up the book of Revelation describe the transformation that takes place as we overcome. The first of those letters is written to Ephesus, and without digging into that whole letter, the sum and substance of it is overcoming the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil — overcoming the sin-developed instinct to rationalize, to think things through when it comes to trying to figure out spiritual issues — and even natural issues. The promise given to the overcomer is that they will have restored access to the Tree of Life.
NO ONE can eat of the Tree of Life AND eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil at the same time. The two just don’t mix! Either we pursue the presence of the Lord and direct revelation from Him (a revelation with transcends every realm of living), or we continue just trying to figure out spiritual things from reading the Word and calculating what God is up to.
The River of Life is where we MUST drink. The River of Life is what we have been led to!
Next week, we will begin sharing what I've come to call "The Surgery of Restoration."
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 (605) 562-3140, 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 (605) 562-3149, enter the same access code and listen in later.
Blessings on you!
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