ANOTHER COFFEE BREAK: THE PSALM 23 ADVENTURE, Part 9
August 12, 2016
Good Morning once again! We’ve spent a fair amount of time talking about the purpose of the “still waters,” the objective of Holy Spirit in pouring Himself into us, the release of our spirit and intellect so that we allow Him to flow through us – and especially our tongue! I will keep saying this over and over and over again throughout this series (and I’ve said it before): we were created “in the image and likeness” of God.
With that creation comes the power of creative speech. Our tongues have the ability to speak and declare life, health, wholeness and prosperity. They also have the ability to speak and declare death, sickness, sorrow, disease and lack in our lives.
The unredeemed tongue can – and does -- speak doubt, fear and unbelief. Without restoration and deliverance from the spirits of doubt, fear and unbelief, we wind up speaking the very things that stop us in our spiritual growth and the development of our walk in intimacy with the Lord Jesus Christ. Everything we learned as we ate and feasted in the green pastures of the Word is going to be put to the test. Without some spiritual surgery we will fail the tests again and again and again.
Our failures as we are tested will bring frustration and despair, and many will stop totally in their growth in God. Thus, we come to the timing in God’s economy, following the work of Holy Spirit in and through us, where we are ready for some surgery. You may laugh at my illustration but I believe that what we know as “the Baptism in the Holy Spirit” anesthetizes for the surgery that must take place.
Bear with me for a bit as I lay some foundations in explaining this.
This is going to seem like a bit of a departure from sharing from the 23rd Psalm, so bear with me. We are dealing with David’s prophecy, “He restoreth my soul,” but I want to take you back to the beginning so we can understand what David is driving at here in this prophetic picture — and adventure — that takes us from being totally focused on ourselves, our needs, our disappointments, our despair and feeling like we’ve been deserted by God to the place where He is revealing His Glory in and through us. The restoration that David is describing extends into every area of life — and most importantly, our thinking.
Genesis 2:15-17: And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
You’ve undoubtedly heard me share this before but consider Adam & Eve’s first reactions when they ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Genesis 3:7-10: And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.
And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
You see the first reactions:
(1) The Glory of the Lord vanished from their physical beings and they suddenly saw themselves as carnal human beings.
(2) They felt the need to cover themselves and made clothing to cover their private parts. (This was the beginning of the Fear of Man. They needed to make sure that they appeared acceptable to one another.)
(3) When they heard the voice of God, the sudden realization of their disobedience to the Lord caused fear to erupt in their beings. (This was the beginning of the Fear of Evil. Partaking of a tree forbidden by God, and doing it at Satan’s suggestion and enticement put them in his camp; and that resulted in a Satanically-induced terror of God, devoid of God’s love.)
Now, see what happens next!
Genesis 3:11-13: And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
Do you see the expansion of the Fear of Man? This is where the “blame game” or “passing the buck” begins.
Next, we see the beginning of the Fear of Death.
Genesis 3:17-19: And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife (instead of My voice), and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake;
In sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
There are so many facets of this that it would fill entire chapters of a book, so let’s see if we can simplify it.
(1) The ground itself (from which Adam was created) is now cursed. Now Adam will have to work the very ground that (1) used to produce at his voice. That “work” will be ‘itstsabon, worrisome, vexing, (sometimes causing anger) sweat and toil (with the knowledge that if the ground doesn’t produce, you don’t eat, and therefore you die).
(2) The formerly compliant and favorable earth itself will fight against you and bring forth thorns, thistles, and everything it can to fight against your productiveness.
(3) You will labor until the day you die (do you see now the promise of death?), and that same dust you were created from and given life is the dust you will return to, becoming dust yourself.
Thus, the Fear of Death brings sweat, toil, and the constant nagging that if you don’t produce, you die. And here is where every major disease known to man is born!
Let’s get back to the whole concept of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. This tree comes by its name by virtue of the fact that the partaking of it trades the revelation which comes by eating of the Tree of Life for information — information which allows us to reason out for ourselves what is good and what is evil.
Everything — and I do mean EVERYTHING — that God has for us is based in revelation. In revelation by the Spirit of God (we will talk about this more momentarily) comes wisdom. With that wisdom comes every piece of knowledge we have need of, in and for every conceivable situation.
Are you beginning to get a grasp of why David worded this step of adventure like this: He restoreth my soul?
In this verse, Holy Spirit uses the word, nephesh for soul. This word has a broad spectrum of meanings and applications: the activity of the mind, the seat of emotions and passions, the inner being of man, one’s appetites, one’s lusts, one’s desires, one’s mortality, the breathing substance or being.
Pretty specific and very explanatory, don’t you think? When we submit ourselves to Holy Spirit to the restoration process, we are going to undergo a radical revision of the way we think, what we desire, our emotions, our appetites, our lusts — and quite specifically, our mortality — our Fear of Death.
This last one is an issue that will be challenged continually. There is the innate knowledge in everyone of us that we were never designed for death in the first place. Death was a key point in the curse that came with eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
In fact, deliverance from each of the three families of fear is central to our restoration. Fear — no matter what family that fear is rooted in — is rooted in the way we think.
In Proverbs 23:7, we read the following: “For as (a man) thinketh in his heart, so is he.”
If our thoughts are predicated in the way that we’ve been taught and educated (in the world’s way of thinking), everything we do and say will have its basis in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Hence the need to bring our thoughts, our minds, our emotions, our feelings under the discipline of the Tree of Life.
Paul put it like this:
“For though we live, deport and comport ourselves by that which we see, hear, taste, smell and touch, we do not contend with, war after and execute military strategies [against Satan] by that which we see and hear, know intellectually, or have opinions of:
For the weapons and instruments of our war and executed actions [against Satan] do not have their origins and [weak, impotent] operation in natural flesh and human abilities, but they are skillful, potent and powerful – like dynamite – through God to the demolition and extinction of all fortified and guarded places of opinions in opposition,
Bringing down violently and demolishing (to total extinction) all mental reasonings and thought processes, and every mental barrier or arrogant and self-elevated attitude that justifies itself in opposition to the knowledge of God; bringing into captivity and making a prisoner every perception of the intellect and every mental purpose or determination to the compliance and submission of Christ and His anointing [in the same way that He complied with the will and desire of the Father].” (II Corinthians 10:3-5, RAC Translation & Amplification)
You understand what Paul is saying, do you not? The restorative ability we have in walking with the Lord in the Paths of Righteousness allows us — through Holy Spirit — to demolish the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, its way of thinking, its way of operating and the consequences that come in our lives as a result.
Paul goes on to say in Verse 6:
“And holding in readiness and preparedness the [spiritual] fitness to vindicate and punish all refusal to hear what the Spirit is saying when your attentive and obedient submission has been satisfied fully and executed.” (RAC Translation & Amplification)
THAT is the discipline that comes with the Tree of Life. When our soul is restored, we have the ability to shut down and exterminate thoughts and reasonings within ourselves which oppose and exalt themselves against that which Holy Spirit is saying and instructing. We recognize that certain thoughts and rationalizing are in opposition to the Word of the Lord in our lives.
Thus, He restoreth my soul, becomes a living, practical reality for us. That restoration moves us from the death that results from previously eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, to the life — the spiritual vitality, the breathing in and breathing out — that comes from eating of the Tree of Life.
Let’s return to our earlier discussion on the families of fear.
Everything that the natural, nonrestored soul reacts to or responds to is predicated in one of the families of fear.
Let me use a classic example — and we see this in millions of Christians who still have not grasped the difference between eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in this area — and reacting accordingly — and partaking of the Tree of Life. You’ll recall that I’ve shared in the past the fact that botanists (and this is recorded in a book published by the Sierra Club) have done genetic studies of the trees and plant life in general — that they have reduced the 50,000 species of trees in the world to their beginnings in ten fundamental genus of trees.
That may not mean much unless you realize that there were ten genus of trees in the Garden of Eden — one of which was the Tree of Life, and one of which was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. How was it that the Lord referred to these trees in the Garden when He spoke to Adam?
Genesis 2:16-17: And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
One tree — one of ten genus of trees — was reserved unto the Lord. The essence of His command to Adam and Eve was, “You can eat of any of the other genus of trees (including the Tree of Life), but I’ve reserved One unto Myself. You can have nine of the tree species, but the tenth is mine. Do NOT eat of that tree! If you do, it will change your entire being from that which I’ve made you to be, and death will result.”
We’ve barely scratched the surface so far, so let’s stop here and continue 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 (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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