Feeds:
Posts
Comments

2 Samuel 6:1-3 Again David gathered all the choice men of Israel, thirty thousand. And David arose and went with all the people who were with him from Baale Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, whose name is called by the Name the LORD of Hosts, who dwells between the cherubim. So they set the ark of God on a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill; and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drove the new cart.

David’s desire to bring the ark to Jerusalem was indeed a good thing. But a good thing can be done the wrong way. When the Philistines returned the ark to Israel, they returned it on a new cart (1 Samuel 6:7). They had no way to know what God required concerning moving the ark so they did what they thought best. And now when David was ready to bring the ark to Jerusalem he also used a new cart to transport the ark, even though he had God’s law which gave instruction as to how the ark is to be carried on the shoulders of the Levites.

Maybe David hadn’t looked into it and just assumed that because it worked for the heathen it would work for him. But God never intended us to follow in the footsteps of the worldly and especially when related to the sacred things. His way should have been sought out so that the holy things would not be handled carelessly….for when that happens, lives are affected.

Deuteronomy 10:8 At that time the LORD separated the tribe of Levi to bear the ark of the covenant of the LORD, to stand before the LORD to minister to Him and to bless in His name, to this day.

Numbers 7:9 But to the sons of Kohath he gave none, because theirs was the service of the holy things, which they carried on their shoulders.

There were three divisions of the Levites and each was assigned specific duties related to the Tabernacle. It was the sons of Kohath who carried the most holy things…including the ark of the Presence. Why were they chosen from the three? I wonder if their very names give us a clue…

Gershon means “exile, a refugee – someone forced to live outside of their own country”. This represents believers who live as foreigners in the kingdom of God. They call Jesus king but their allegiance is divided because they feel more comfortable in the other kingdom and secretly long for its pleasures and comforts, yet realize that they cannot indulge in such lest the king become angry and banish them. It’s very possible that these Gershonites fear hell more than they love God.

Merari means “bitter”. This represents people who are loaded down by their resentments and unforgiveness, and maybe even just the sorrows and disappointments of life. They have become inwardly focused….rehearsing and nursing their wounds leaves them no time or inclination to carry the Presence.

The name Kohath means “to ally oneself”. To ally means to join together, to unite, to cooperate. This represents those who are “all in”. United with King Jesus and His kingdom purpose, having no other allegiance, they have joined themselves to this King and delight to be part of His work in the earth.

While Gershon, Merari and Kohath were unable to change their assignment, we are. Today’s Merari can be tomorrow’s Kohath. God’s way is for us to be carriers of His Presence. That is His way for all of us….He is no respecter of persons. But not everyone will be a carrier of the Presence. Many people are content with the new carts of religious activity which offer nothing life giving….for them or anyone else. Perhaps that is because being a carrier of the Presence requires something of you. It is an investment of your life to seek the face of God and dwell in His Presence. But the benefit of it….Oh the benefit!! What greater privilege could we have than to live with Him so much in the secret place that the sweetness of that fellowship is carried into every public place?

We only have a few short years on this earth. Don’t waste it with new carts. Be a carrier of the Presence of God.

Advertisements

Matthew 1:20  “But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.”

The word “thought” (Strongs 1760) means to ponder or deliberate, but the root word has the meaning of passion, anger and heat. So Joseph’s musings were probably not a calm reasoning through of the situation but rather an emotionally charged review of what had happened. He must have felt so hurt and betrayed. Thank God he didn’t react in the heat of passion assuming (as anyone naturally would) that he understood what had happened. He didn’t understand what had happened, and had that man acted rashly in the heat of anger (which was actually fueled by righteousness) he would have missed the privilege of a lifetime.

Don’t think you always understand what is happening just because you know certain things by your senses. There are spiritual realities at work all around us that we might just miss out on for lack of thinking….pondering….wondering….if there might be a greater reality than what we have observed. Turn aside and see….stay still and listen….make sure you don’t miss out on the glorious thing God wants to do just because it doesn’t make sense to you.

 

Returning sons are rarely a pretty sight. Often they’ve made a mess of things and our first inclination can be, at least in our heart, an “I told you so” or maybe “you should have known better”. However, let’s remember that it is not honorable nor spiritual to usurp the role of accuser of the brethren. We may commend ourselves for our “ministry” to them if we pray a nice prayer or buy them a hamburger. But the returning sons need the faithful sons to walk with them, encourage them, and remind them of the Father’s heart for them. They don’t need our things….they need our life, our time and our love. How many returning sons never made it all the way back home because of the disapproving looks of those who couldn’t forget the shame they brought to their Father’s house.

Don’t be ashamed to love them even if others disapprove. The Father isn’t ashamed of them and neither is Jesus. They are His brothers and He rejoices in that.

If necessary, bear the reproach of those that don’t understand and let God sort it all out in that day. It’s okay to be misunderstood. It’s okay to be wrongly judged. But it is not okay for your love to fail. Love them all the way home.

 

Luke 15: 25-32 Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, “Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’ “But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. So he answered and said to his father, “Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’ And he said to him, “Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.”‘

Much has been written about this other son. We despise him sufficiently, but let us make sure that his error does not become our own. At the bottom of it all, this older son is angry that the younger son is getting the benefits of sonship that he feels like he never received. And it makes him angry. I don’t blame him for being angry, but he was angry at the wrong person. The father made it clear that everything was his, but he was so busy working, working, working, that he never enjoyed the things that the father has already made available to him. If he had been a son that availed himself of all the benefits given by the father, his heart would have been so full that he would have rejoiced that his brother had returned because it made the father happy. What sweet fellowship could have been had if the older brother had joined him in watching for his brother’s return?

Don’t let yourself fall into the trap of getting angry and jealous over what somebody else is receiving from God. Go bury your face in the face of God until you are filled with every good thing He has for you…then join the Father in those things that rejoice His heart.

The Father is ever watching for the returning sons while we are busy with life. Maybe it would please His heart more if we skipped that religious activity we do out of obligation (whatever that might be in your life) and went out to meet some prodigal on his return trip home….shielding him from shame as he makes his way home to the Father. Assuring him that he is accepted, beloved and forgiven.

 

Luke 15:20 “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.”

This is such a beautiful picture of the Father’s heart for every prodigal….he never stopped longing for the son that had left him. He had been humiliated by this son, his goodness had been exploited, his love had been trampled on. But his heart yearned for him. I wonder if he went every day to gaze down the path his son had traveled when leaving…..scanning the horizon to see if this would be the day he would return home. How many days passed with no son returning? We aren’t told. But on the day the son returned, the father was watching. Intently watching. So much so that he saw him a great way off.

The world had been harsh to the boy and he was returning with his tail between his legs….broken by the life he had chosen. The son who had humiliated the Father now returned humiliated. How many neighbors must have seen him on the road as he traveled home? Their glaring disapproval must have disheartened him all the more. Shame is piled upon shame and humiliation upon humiliation. But the father saw the beloved son approaching, and unwilling for the boy to be humiliated any further he did the unthinkable….he picked up the skirt of his robe….and RAN. No respectable man runs. That is the activity of children. So the disapproving eyes are turned away from the son, now onto the father…as he ran to his son and embraced him, hiding him in his arms away from every condemning stare. The boy finished the rest of his journey home accompanied by the father, that very presence announcing to all who saw him – ACCEPTED! BELOVED! FORGIVEN!

 

Acts 19:24-27. For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Diana, brought no small profit to the craftsmen.  He called them together with the workers of similar occupation, and said: “Men, you know that we have our prosperity by this trade.  Moreover you see and hear that not only at Ephesus, but throughout almost all Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away many people, saying that they are not gods which are made with hands.  So not only is this trade of ours in danger of falling into disrepute, but also the temple of the great goddess Diana may be despised and her magnificence destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worship.”

I get the sense that Demetrius was not so much a religious man as a greedy man, as he makes several appeals to the financial benefit that Diana worship brings to men of the city of Ephesus.  Surely such a businessman had the intelligence to realize that Paul was correct…a man cannot make a god with his hands. However that was not a profitable stance for him to take and not one that he would lend any credence to. So he appeals to the men on the basis of what he worships (money), and then on the basis of the dangers to their religious culture and warned that Diana’s magnificence would be destroyed by what Paul was teaching.  This is the “greatness” of a man made God- it is ever subject to being demolished and dismantled by truth. Whatever magnificence Diana had was a magnificence imputed by men and could thus be taken away by men. But the magnificence of the true God cannot be touched or diminished.  No man gave it to Him and no man can take it from Him.  The magnificence of Jesus was revealed in greater glory and power after they attempted to destroy Him by crucifixion. Though He is rejected by men still, His magnificence is untouched.  He remains as glorious as He has always been in eternity past and will be in eternity future.  He doesn’t need us to protect His splendor….only to reveal it. Let the world in its vanity scoff and mock if they will.  He loses nothing by their disapproval and disdain. His remains an untouchable magnificence.

Psalm 34:19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all.

What a beautiful promise of deliverance this is for the child of God….one that many have clung to in the dark seasons of life. Deliverance.  An end to the trial. This is often our sole focus in time of trouble, trial and affliction….the end of it.  But what about the fruit of it?  What about the work of God through it?  That same verse tells us that afflictions WILL come. Many afflictions. It is an unavoidable part of life.  Can we believe there is purpose in it?

Acts 16 – Paul had been in Philippi for many days. He had been to Lydia’s house and to the river, but what about this jailer?  How would he hear the gospel?  The wisdom of God is to put His ministers in jail. Paul’s prison was for this man’s soul.

Paul probably didn’t know this when he was beaten and put in the stocks, but He trusted God enough to leave His suffering to God’s sovereign purpose. How else would he be able to worship in such a situation?

My suffering often benefits me when I allow myself to be instructed through it and I am grateful for the lessons I have learned and the experience with God through it. But maybe….just maybe…my suffering is for someone else.  How easy to bear is a prison that brings forth a soul.