ONE Saturday in mid-May the Lord inspired and enabled two people known to one another to teach, unbeknown to the other, upon His Glory and in such a way that encourages us to focus upon it personally and daily. This has since become very appropriate in view of the prophesied changes that are about to happen here.
FIRST : A teaching course held over Pentecost weekend by Revd Wes Sutton opened by “marching to the beat of a different drum”. He capably encouraged delegates to take new perspectives upon ‘Living In The Anointing’, ie. being endued with Holy Spirit’s power, gifts and fruit in our ‘walk’ with Jesus. Having been on similar courses, I was interested to hear Wes’ perspective as director of the Acorn Christian Healing Foundation.:
“It’s not getting the anointing that is the issue, but staying anointed is!”
His practical ways for nurturing and staying in this holy anointing are noteworthy. Basing this upon Exodus 33:7-20 (Moses meets with the Lord; the Promise of God’s Presence) was new to me and I especially liked Wes’ focusing upon the glory of God.
Here are verses 7-12 per New King James Version, courtesy Biblegateway.com:
7 Moses took his tent and pitched it outside the camp, far from the camp, and called it the tabernacle of meeting. And it came to pass that everyone who sought the Lord went out to the tabernacle of meeting which was outside the camp. 8 So it was, whenever Moses went out to the tabernacle, that all the people rose, and each man stood at his tent door and watched Moses until he had gone into the tabernacle. 9 And it came to pass, when Moses entered the tabernacle, that the pillar of cloud descended and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses. 10 All the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the tabernacle door, and all the people rose and worshiped, each man in his tent door. 11 So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle. (Emphases added)
Several pragmatic points emerge from these in connecting anyone’s enquiring of God:
- the importance of honouring Him as ‘first and only’ (ie. no plan ‘B’, dependency and trust are hallmarks of faith and means following Him as our guide);
- in view of the awesome fact of His loving relationship with us, then treat holy things reverently, especially in key areas: – of the Word – of the people – of the presence – of the house of the Lord;
- restricting human action and opinion in favour of revelation;
- remaining in His presence after the ‘meeting’ is over;
- accepting consequences of our relationship;
- living for the pleasure of God.
In other words, our day is best when starting at ‘the Tent of Meeting’ – our own home!
SECOND : I was unaware of one of Wes’ Acorn associates being on a course that same weekend to train as an occasional lay preacher. Attendees were given scriptures upon which to give a short message.
What Vicki Slater spoke about that day was amazingly related to what I’d heard from Wes – it conveyed the same principles, albeit based upon the Temple rather than Tent. Vicki has kindly allowed me to quote her full message. It’s based upon 1 Kings 8 verses 22-23 and 41-43; the dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem:
‘Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in front of the whole assembly of Israel, spread out his hands towards heaven and said:
“O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like You in heaven above or on earth below – You who keep Your covenant of love with Your servants who continue wholeheartedly in Your way…
“As for the foreigner who does not belong to Your people Israel but has come from a distant land because of Your name – for men will hear of Your great Name and Your mighty hand and outstretched arm – when he comes and prays towards this temple, then hear from heaven, Your dwelling place, and do whatever the foreigner asks of You so that all the peoples of the earth may know Your Name and fear You, as do Your people Israel, and may know that this house I have built bears Your Name…” (NIV)
‘I don’t know if you remember the weather conditions on the first Saturday of this course but my remembrance was opening the curtains and seeing fog, a thick dense cloud that made visibility almost zero. The journey to get to St Mary’s Church Hall that morning was slow, any points of focus or landmarks that I had noted on a previous trial run could not be seen. Fortunately, an app on my phone talked me all the way from my house to the car park. Admittedly it spoke in an unusual accent, but I was just glad that it was correct and precise in its instructions and directions! So to say I was quite pleased to have arrived on time and in one piece that morning was an understatement……
‘I wonder if Solomon was quite pleased as he stood in front of the completed Temple……or if that would be an understatement!!
‘The precise plans for the layout and building of the Temple came from the Lord. It had taken seven long years to complete and needed many skilled architects, craftsmen and labourers to accomplish the task……but now, a permanent Temple for the God of Israel, had been built. A place where God could dwell amongst His people and be a place of focus for their worship.
‘A few hundred years previously the Lord gave Moses plans for a portable place of worship for His presence to dwell. This tent construction, called the Tent of Meeting or Tabernacle was more suited for the wandering lifestyle of the Israelites at that time. The Lord gave precise building instructions for the Tabernacle as He did for the Temple.
‘Interestingly with the completion of the Tabernacle we are told that a cloud came down and the glory of the Lord filled it (Ex 40 v34) and on completion of the Temple a cloud came down and filled it with the glory of the Lord (1Kings 8 v10-11) The Lord, at different moments in history was giving both constructions His seal of approval. His presence had come to dwell on earth.
‘The construction of the Tabernacle and the Temple were to be places of focus for the Lord’s people. The interior layout of them both were basically the same consisting of three areas, the outer court……the holy place in the middle……and the inner Holy of Holies. The ark, which was a wooden box containing two stone tablets inscribed with the Word of God, was kept in the Holy of Holies……A place which was out of sight, hidden away and unavailable to everyday people, yet God dwelt there.
‘In the gospel of John Chapter 1 v1 we read that
‘In the beginning was the Word……which was with God….. and was God.’
The Word was revealed as Jesus, the Son of God who came to live amongst us a fully functioning human being. He could be heard, seen and was accessible to all. The word, that was once written on hard tablets of stone……had become alive, and came down to earth……not in a cloud this time, but in this man called Jesus. His task, to reveal the Kingdom of God to the peoples of the earth.
‘When Jesus at one time took his friends Peter, James and John to the top of a mountain to reveal and confirm to them who He really was. The presence of God descended upon the mountain in a cloud from which God the Father spoke and confirmed His approval of His Son.
‘When we allow the living word into our hearts of stone, the Holy Spirit……the very presence of God, comes down upon us……dwells within us……as it did in the Tabernacle and the Temple. We now have that same seal of approval……God’s Amazing grace…… given freely which comes to melt our hearts of stone.
‘As the priests used to carry from place to place the ark containing the written word of God, and as Jesus carried and proclaimed the revealed word of God as He went from place to place, we now, as believers have been entrusted to be carriers and preachers of the word (portable Temples, if you like) taking it with us wherever we go. As it says in 1st Corinthians (Ch3 v16-17b)
‘Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s Temple and that God’s spirit lives in you? God’s Temple is sacred and you are that Temple.’
‘As Solomon stood before the newly built Temple……with his hands lifted towards heaven praising and worshiping God……he also petitioned Him about future believers from distant lands. He asks God to listen to and answer their prayers so that not only they……but all the peoples of the earth would come to know and believe in this God for themselves……
‘I have a sneaky suspicion that the Lord answered this prayer……what else can explain the reason we are all here today, wanting to be carriers and preachers of the word and we definitely are living in a land Solomon would have classed as distant!
‘Isn’t it amazing then that the God Solomon knew gave His seal of approval not only by coming to dwell within the humbleness of a tent……or the magnificence of a building but who now comes to dwell in the hearts of man. So we truly are the peoples of the earth…… from a distant land……who now know and believe for ourselves.
Solomon’s God is also our God.
‘Let us give thanks then to this God who answers prayers……who is not contained on stone tablets……or hidden in a box……
‘But is alive and lives and reigns in glory above the clouds……
‘But One day……
‘One glorious day……the clouds……will part and be lifted!
‘All past earthly plans and constructions will be no more. The heavenly ones will be revealed in all their splendour.
‘On that day when we meet Solomon’s God, our God, face to face in all His glory……our eyes will then be able to gaze, focus and see clearly……The best Architect and Craftsman of them all.’
Yes Amen Lord, let that be so. Maranatha!