a monthly devotional journal
Issue No. 68
Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting because the cloud had settled upon it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Exodus 40:34-35
The Christian must, at some point in his or her life, face the important distinction between knowing God and apprehending Him--the difference between visiting God and actually living with Him.
Every born again believer knows God, but only some have truly apprehended Him. Only some have taken hold of the reality of holy God dwelling in them, coursing through their veins, filling their lungs with His Spirit.
for thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God, and the Lord hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth 1 Deut. 14:2 KJV
Imagine a nation--a people singled out by God--living in abject servitude, day after day, year after year, for 430 years. Imagine these people--numbering something more than a million souls--living all this time, enduring their plight under a steady stream of different Pharaohs, never having any contact with their God--never even having a prophet or priest to speak in His name.
(In our convenient arrogance we cluck our tongues at their wilderness demonstration of fragile faith, but really, after the silence they endured for more than four centuries, we should respect them for keeping any faith at all.)
But then, finally, at the time appropriate for His eternal plan, God did indeed hear their cries and put into motion events which would result in the people of Israel being released from their Egyptian bondage.
On their circuitous journey from Egypt to Canaan, Jehovah God gave detailed instructions to Moses for the construction of a place--a tabernacle, or 'Tent of Meeting'--where He could descend to meet with His people.
What a marvelous opportunity this was for the people! After four centuries of silence, they would now have the eternal God actually in their midst.
Access to His presence, however, was severely restricted. Only Aaron, the high priest, and Moses could enter into the most holy place where the glory of the Lord appeared. Only the high priest could represent the sins of the people to the Lord; only the high priest could receive the yearly atonement.
For the common person, this was as good as it got. Even so, this was an improvement over the old; at least one could stand outside worshipping in confidence, knowing that holy God was actually nearby--no longer silent, His cloud or fire visible to everyone.
Because of the blood of Christ, the modern believer need not settle for only 'nearby.' Christians have no need for a representative, such as a priest, to speak for them and offer up confession for sins. Christians need not carry around with them, or travel to a tabernacle--a place of meeting--for God is always with them, wherever they are.
When communing with His people, God requires a place. In the time of the ancient Hebrews it was a tent--later a stone building in Jerusalem; today it is the body of each believer.
The tragedy is that so few of His people have actually apprehended that presence. Oh yes, when one accepts Christ as Lord, the holy presence comes in to take up residence. But that indwelling is not the same as the believer fully taking hold of that presence--fully realizing and enjoying continuous, steady communion with Father, Son and Spirit.
"This intercourse between God and the soul is known to us in conscious personal awareness. It is personal: that is, it does not come through the body of believers, as such, but is known to the individual, and to the body through the individuals which compose it. "And it is conscious: that is, it does not stay below the threshold of consciousness and work there unknown to the soul, but comes within the field of awareness where the man can 'know' it as he knows any other fact of experience." A.W. Tozer
For two decades my wife and I kept Southern California at arm's length. For twenty years we lived, worked and played in the beautiful Mediterranean climate of San Diego, making friends, making enemies, and making a living until we finally left there to return to our native Iowa.
All that time--from March, 1971 to late December, 1990--we kept our distance from the culture and people of the area.
We mostly, and especially near the end, had a siege mentality. We considered our modest home to be our refuge, our safe haven, into which we barricaded ourselves from everything surrounding us. A woman lived next to us for years; we never knew her name. People on all sides moved in and moved out without our caring or even noticing. We kept our doors locked and our windows closed to their noise.
There were few trees in our neighborhood, yet we could not tell you what kind they were. There were some birds, but we didn't know their names. When relatives would visit and ask, "What is this bush?" or "What flower is this?" we couldn't say.
To be sure, this was not twenty years of misery. We had times of profound joy, and established relationships with people that continue to this day. But we never considered ourselves a part of the community--we never considered it to be home.
Even on our own property we had no regard for the outside; in our minds that area, being so close to the rest of the neighborhood, was up for grabs. While we kept the inside of our home nice--even adding on to the house--the outside was left a virtual wasteland. The condition of our lawn became a point of good-natured derision among our friends; one old acquaintance, trying to locate our house without recalling the street address, nevertheless located us simply by the deplorable state of our front lawn.
After living in the same house for seventeen years, when the time finally came to pack up and leave, we departed without regret or the smallest measure of sentimentality over the house, the neighborhood, or the community.
When we took up residence in our present home, we felt, almost immediately, that we were, indeed, home. In only a matter of months we knew our eleven-and-a-half acres more intimately than we ever had our one-third acre in San Diego.
In Southern California, as soon as we would step outside the house, we felt ourselves in alien territory. But here the house and out-of-doors are fused into one: our home. Here the windows are flung wide, the doors unlocked, the sounds and smells of the outside permeate, traveling throughout all the rooms.
Now we know almost all the trees and bushes by name. We understand their ways, their seasons; we know when the leaves will fall, and when they will return. We know when the bushes will flower, and when they will dry in the autumn wind. Their upkeep is our happy responsibility.
The lawn is kept mowed and trimmed. Annuals and perennials bloom from early spring through to the first frost, and are often cut and brought into the house to brighten the rooms. Fruit trees are managed, to supply apples, pears and cherries for the table; vegetables are raised and eaten fresh, as well as canned for winter consumption.
When a bird sings outside our window we now know its name, and whether it is male or female. We know when it will leave, in the late autumn, and when to expect it back in the spring. We know where it has built its nest--and quite often how many eggs have been deposited there.
We know when to look for the arrival of the wood ducks, and when to expect the year's new fawns. We are learning their behavior and sounds, their ways.
Put simply, we have invested ourselves in this place--in ways never imagined or pursued in California. We have committed ourselves to having a relationship with this place we now call home--to truly know it.
"Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." John 17:3
It is our responsibility--each of us as an individual, not as a collective group--to have a relationship with God. No one else can do it for us, and the Father never forces Himself on anyone. It is up to us.
What began many centuries ago as a simple tent, then was transformed into an elaborate stone temple, now exists privately and intimately in each us. God has chosen to 'tabernacle' with us individually--to meet with us one on one.
"The moment the Spirit has quickened us to life in regeneration our whole being senses its kinship to God and leaps up in joyous recognition. That is the heavenly birth without which we cannot see the Kingdom of God. It is, however, not an end, but an inception, for now begins the glorious pursuit, the heart's happy exploration of the infinite riches of the Godhead." Tozer
The pursuit of God never ends; since it is impossible to ever know Him completely (in this life), the pursuit continues. It does, however, mellow with time. At first we pursue Him as a child: sporadically, emotionally, in fits and starts and pouting disappointment when things don't go our way.
Later, as the pursuit mellows with our gathering maturity, it gradually evolves into a comfortable cohabitation: two friends living together. At least that's how it should be.
But many of us keep God at arm's length. We know He's out there; we see signs of His presence. But we prefer Him to stay in His place, while we stay in ours. Just a little bit of Him is all we really want.
"May not the inadequacy of much of our spiritual experience be traced back to our habit of skipping through the corridors of the Kingdom like children through the market place, chattering about everything, but pausing to learn the true value of nothing?" Tozer
The Kingdom is filled with people bobbing and weaving through their spiritual walk--like a boxer trying to dodge incoming blows. God is patient, but He nags, and we resist His subtle advances as if they would do us harm.
For many of us our intention should be this: to stop thinking as a renter, and begin conducting ourselves as a homeowner.
As I mentally compare what we were in California to what we are now, two truths reveal themselves: First, we missed out on a lot by not having more of a connection with the society around us and, second, it was our own doing.
We could have invested ourselves more in that community, and we would have been the better for it, but we chose not to. Here, in our present home, we have assimilated more into everything around us--and we are the better for it.
Just so with the Lord God. He is with us, in us, all around us--there for the having. He contains the wealth and riches of eternal knowledge and grace, and offers it to us in eager, outstretched hands. Yet we take Him into out hearts thinking that's the end of it--that that's as good as it gets, all the while missing out on His limitless bounty.
Haven't we all marveled at the stories of contemporary saints of the faith who seemed to exist on an entirely different plane from the common believer ...
- Jim Elliot
- Charles Spurgeon
- Dwight Moody
- Aiden Tozer
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer
What made them extraordinary? Why did they stand out so in the kingdom?
Here were men cut from the same cloth as any of us, flesh and blood sinners, imperfect members of the body of Christ. Here were men who were not without their critics. So what set them apart? What was it about their lives that made them shining examples for all of us?
I believe one answer to be that each of these men would say, along with the apostle Paul in his letter to the believers at Philippi,
Whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philip. 3:7-14
"I want to know Christ ... becoming like him ..."
One thing that made these men (along with many others) remarkable was their commitment to knowing the person of Christ, with their purpose being to emulate Him. They were determined to "remove themselves from the realm of the common"--to fully invest themselves in the person of Christ, and the cause of His kingdom.
When I left the shores of the United States aboard the U.S.S. Chicago, headed for Vietnam in the year 1970, I was a fresh-faced lad of a grand total of eighteen years. Barely old enough to tie my own shoelaces, here I was headed off across the waves to visit foreign lands and participate in a most bizarre war understood by no one.
Over a six-month period our ports of call included Hawaii, The Philippines, Japan and Hong Kong. One of my lingering and more uncomfortable memories from that time is how I, as one of the younger members of the group, would spend my liberty, in contrast to the older members of the group.
As I now recall, it seemed that at almost every port-of-call I would fritter away this valuable time in pursuits both silly and frivolous while the more mature members of the group would be off taking advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the sights. While I was down on the Hong Kong docks buying plastic trinkets, they would be off on a train trip to the Red China border; while I slept away the evening in my rack, they'd be visiting a museum or a theatre. How I wish now that I had been older--or at least a little less stupid.
Scripture gives us very good word pictures of the Spiritually immature contrasted with the mature. In Ephesians, Paul describes the immature as those who are constantly changing direction, easily tossed about by crafty liars with false doctrines.
It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Ephes. 4:11-16
But when we invest ourselves in the way of the Lord, when we "grow up into Him", we are on our way to preparing ourselves--as well as others--for His important work.
Jesus, in one of His parables, described how the good news of the gospel would not take root in the lives of those who were childish, those without any real depth to their lives.
"A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop--a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. He who has ears, let him hear." Matthew 13:3-9
Because even His disciples were not mature enough to understand the parable, Jesus explained it to them.
"Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown." Matthew 13:18-23
Finally, the writer to the Hebrews comes right out and compares them to babies incapable of digesting anything but warm pabulum.
We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Hebrews 5:11-14
The Christian does not leave childishness by declaring he'd rather be an adult; neither does he attain maturity by setting out to leave behind his childish ways. The sincere believer becomes mature as a by-product of living with Christ. The goal is not to become mature; the goal is to become like Christ.
Only when we stop keeping Him at arm's length will we begin to truly understand His ways, and begin to work those ways into our life. Only when we dare to step above the common-place--when we let Him draw us up toward His higher plane--will we truly know Him.
"If we truly want to follow God we must seek to be other-worldly. As we begin to focus upon God the things of the spirit will take shape before our inner eyes. Obedience to the word of Christ will bring an inward revelation of the Godhead (John 14:21-23). It will give acute perception enabling us to see God even as is promised to the pure in heart. A new God-consciousness will seize upon us and we shall begin to taste and hear and inwardly feel the God who is our life and our all. There will be seen the constant shining of the light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world. (John 1:9) More and more, as our faculties grow sharper and more sure, God will become to us the great All, and His Presence the glory and wonder of our lives.O God, quicken to life every power within me, that I may lay hold on eternal things. Open my eyes that I may see; give me acute spiritual perception; enable me to taste Thee and know that Thou art good. Make heaven more real to me than any earthly thing has ever been. Amen." Tozer
To many, the counsel to live 'other-worldly' flies in the face of all logical considerations. To them it sounds as if they are being told to live outside reality--to live with their head in the clouds. But living according to the eternal kingdom-world places our feet on a foundation much more solid than anything manufactured by this world. There is no greater reality than the reality of Christ's kingdom.
Living other-worldly means that while our feet may be planted on this temporal plane, our heart and soul reside with the Lord. It means that while our body is fed by this world's food, our spirit is fed from above. It means that when we are forced to choose between kingdoms, we choose the only one that will last forever.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had been taken as captives from their native Israel to Shinar by the conquering Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. From the beginning they had distinguished themselves--along with their friend, Belteshazzar (or Daniel)--as intelligent, astute, and in wisdom and understanding "ten times better than all the magicians and conjurers who were in all his realm."
What was responsible for the impressive abilities of these four young men? Was it their schooling in Israel? The wise upbringing of their parents? Were they prodigies, born with remarkable wisdom and intelligence?
To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds. Daniel 1:17
These men had feet planted firmly on the temporal plane of Babylonian exile, but their minds were with Jehovah. Nebuchadnezzar may have had possession of their bodies, but the Lord had possession of their hearts.
Later, after the three had been given positions of authority in Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were brought before the furious king, accused of refusing to bow down before his gods and personal likeness.
The charge was perfectly true--if not racially motivated. The three had stayed true to the God of their fathers, and certainly had not bowed down to the graven images of the land.
Nebuchadnezzar was filled with rage over this--especially after going to the bother and expense of having a huge statue erected of himself for all the people to worship. Made of gold and measuring nine feet wide and ninety feet high, the statue had been erected on the plain of Dura and designated as an object of worship for everyone--no exceptions.
But Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego took great exception, and refused to bow down before this or any other graven image. Their explanation to the king is most revealing. Here were three men clearly living other-worldly:
"O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." Daniel 3:16-18Obligingly, the king ordered his furnace to be stoked to a temperature seven times greater than normal and the three to be bound and thrown in.
And [the king] commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. The king's command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace. Daniel 3:20-23
Over the charred remains of his own soldiers, Nebuchadnezzar stared into the blazing inferno and was stunned to discover that not only were the three men not being consumed, but were actually walking about freely in the flames with a fourth person! The king described this unexpected guest as having an appearance "like a son of the gods." Almighty God had not only spared their lives, but had actually come down to accompany them through the fire.
As a result, king Nebuchadnezzar repented before Jehovah.
"Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king's command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way." Daniel 3:28-29
"If we would rise into that region of light and power plainly beckoning us through the Scriptures of truth we must break the evil habit of ignoring the spiritual. We must shift our interest from the seen to the unseen. For the great unseen Reality is God." Tozer
The Bible is replete with potentially mysterious references to such things as
- the kingdom ...
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33
- the kingdom of God ...
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men. Romans 14:17-18
- the kingdom of heaven ...
Jesus told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field." Matthew 13:24
"The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field." Matthew 13:31
"The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough." Matthew 13:33
"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls." Matthew 13:44-45
"Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish." Matthew 13:47
- light ...
He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. John 1:7-9
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12
- with the spirit ...
What is the outcome then? I shall pray with the spirit and I shall pray with the mind also; I shall sing with the spirit and I shall sing with the mind also. 1 Corinthians 14:15 NASB
- in the Spirit ...
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Ephes. 6:18
In this age it can be difficult at times to grasp the reality of such things. They sound hazy, ephemeral--like trying to describe last night's dream. They seem to have no basis in fact for a world constructed on the foundation of logic and reason.
The truth of the matter is that it is precisely this age that is on shaky ground. Living other-worldly means that when this world's authorities confound you with their facts and figures and absolutes (all of which seem to change from day to day), you can turn with confidence to the only firm foundation there truly is.
When the latest paleontologist finds a new set of bones that proves incontrovertibly that women evolved from gibbons, but men evolved from gorillas; when astronomers inform us that "we now know that" God lives in the Delta Quadrant; when sociologists tell us that all people are essentially good, so it's unfair to blame the gunman who just sprayed bullets around the Burger King--when all the senses want to scream from the overload, the person who is living other-worldly need only turn to the comfortable truth of God living in his life.
What does it really mean to apprehend God? How do we accomplish it? Again, Tozer:
"We apprehend the physical world by exercising the faculties given us for the purpose, and we possess spiritual faculties by means of which we can know God and the spiritual world if we will obey the Spirit's urge and begin to use them."
God has designated certain parts of our bodies to have the ability to respond and deal with the Spiritual world: our mind, our spirit, our senses, our faith. The more we exercise and use these faculties, the better attuned we will be to God's Spirit.
To 'tabernacle' with God means to dwell with Him, to hear His voice at any and all times, to seek and comprehend His counsel before any other's, and to view all of life from His perspective.
I'm not sure anyone can tell another person how to go about this. I don't think it works to compile and distribute a neat, bulleted list of steps that will ensure success in living a life wholly enveloped by God. This is too personal. What works for one will not necessarily work for another. It is spiritual; the spiritual world can rarely be quantified.
What can be itemized, however, are the results. If we cannot set forth the method, we can at least set forth the evidence that the method is working.
Someone who is living other-worldly, who has substantially apprehended the presence of God in their life will reveal that perspective in a variety of situations.
When perplexed about a situation, this person will, like Nehemiah, be quickly on his or her knees:
In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought for him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before; so the king asked me, "Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart." I was very much afraid, but I said to the king, "May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my fathers are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?" The king said to me, "What is it you want?" Then I prayed to the God of heaven, Neh. 2:1-4
It is also true, however, that the person who has lived for a long time with the presence of the Lord need not always discover the Lord's will knelt in prayer. The more we live with Him and listen to His voice, the more often we will know His ways, and His choices for our life.
When tragedy strikes, the person close to God will view the moment through the wide-angled lens of His perspective, just as Job did:
"But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside. I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.
But he stands alone, and who can oppose him? He does whatever he pleases. He carries out his decree against me, and many such plans he still has in store. That is why I am terrified before him; when I think of all this, I fear him. God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me. Yet I am not silenced by the darkness, by the thick darkness that covers my face." Job 23:10-17
The close companion of God takes comfort in knowing that his life is not his own.
When good fortune presents itself, the companion of God knows that no matter what it is--whether property or money, goods or good times--it has come from the Lord, just as James tells us--
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created James 1:17-18
--and King David proclaimed publicly:
David praised the Lord in the presence of the whole assembly, saying, "Praise be to you, O Lord, God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name. But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand." 1 Chron. 29:10-14
When confronted by evil, it is the Lord God who is called upon, as David did:
To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame, but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse. Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:1-5
When the heart is filled with joy, that joy is raised as an offering of praise to a generous and gracious God, as did the sons of Korah:
Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy. How awesome is the Lord Most High, the great King over all the earth! He subdued nations under us, peoples under our feet. He chose our inheritance for us, the pride of Jacob, whom he loved. Selah
God has ascended amid shouts of joy, the Lord amid the sounding of trumpets. Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise. Psalm 47:1-7
In the tabernacle, as well as in the later Jerusalem temple, there was a veil that kept the average person from entering the Holy of Holies--the place where God came down to associate with mankind.
At Calvary, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ resulted in that veil being torn in two, so that never again would the believer need to go through another to dwell with God. From that point on the Lord became a personal, intimate God; from that point on, through Christ, He would be a friend and companion.
But that relationship is still up to us. Will we spend our days continually looking for Him--searching expectantly for that infrequent moment of visitation? Or will we once and for all, with joyful confidence take hold of the privilege He's offered us, and spend the rest of our days--every moment of every day--in happy communion with Him?
Issue No. 68
[1.] NIV: for you are a people holy to the LORD your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the LORD has chosen you to be his treasured possession. Deut. 14:2 (return to footnote 1)
[2.] Exodus 12:40-41. (return to footnote 2)
[3.] Exodus 12:37. (return to footnote 3)
[4.] Exodus 25:9-27:21. (return to footnote 4)
[5.] mishkan, mish-kawn', Hebrew Stg 4908; from Hebrew 7931 (shakan); a residence (including a shepherd's hut, the lair of animals, figurative the grave; also the Temple); specifically the Tabernacle (properly its wooden walls) :- dwelleth, dwelling (place), habitation, tabernacle, tent. (return to footnote 5)
[6.] Thank you, Mike. (return to footnote 6)
[7.] All quotations in this issue by A.W. Tozer--except where otherwise noted--are from The Pursuit of God (Christian Publications, 1982). (return to footnote 7)
[8.] A.W. Tozer, The Divine Conquest (Christian Publications, 1978), p57, 63. (return to footnote 8)
[9.] "Anything that is 'holy' is set apart. It is removed from the realm of the common and moved to the sphere of the sacred." (Lawrence O. Richards, Expository Dictionary of Bible Words (Zondervan, 1985, p339.) (return to footnote 9)
[10.] Daniel 1:20 NASB. (return to footnote 10)
[11.] Daniel 3:25 NASB. (return to footnote 11)
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