The Ark Of Revival
The Ark Of Revival 20th Jan
Last week we looked at the glorious revival when David brought the Ark home to Jerusalem – at first David had, with great intentions, tried to bring the Holy Ark of God to Jerusalem from the house of Abinadab as King and leader. He had just captured Jerusalem and defeated the Philistines and was a victorious all conquering leader. Flushed with great successes and a heart after God it was a natural thing for David to want to bring the Ark up – The Presence of God to the Tabernacle of David.
But in his success and victory David momentarily lost sight of the Glory of God – of the Holiness of God. What David had set out to do was a good thing, it seemed right and proper – his intentions were great and his planning and taking up 30,000 people to make a procession of honour – the Priests put the Ark on a new cart and they were followed by David and the musicians – David was not dancing before the Lord this time – he was leading the Procession – The victorious King out in front.
Is 42:8 I am the Lord, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another, Nor My praise to carved images.
Sometimes we have all the right intentions and even the right practices – and our desire is for God but our motives can be wrong – they can be all about revival and the Presence of God – but for our own agendas and glory. Uzzah touched the Ark!
2 Sa 6:9 David was afraid of the Lord that day; and he said, “How can the ark of the Lord come to me?”
David knew the fear of God that day – How can the Ark of the Lord come to me? – David was a man with a heart after God’s own heart – yet he thought he could bring the Ark of the Lord to himself – for his glory. David was stunned at the holiness of God that day – He was shocked – this is not about me or my kingdom this is about God’s glory!!. How subtle the change is, in a man’s heart, that turns the glory of God into the purposes and blessings of the man. ------- Humanism.
So as we saw, the second time David went to fetch the Ark it was all about God’s Glory – the Ark was approached in awe and holiness – it was approached according to the explicit instructions given in the law – there was no familiarity or pride here! David had been reminded that he was chosen by God to be King , He was chosen because of his heart – a heart God had given him in the first place – he was painfully aware that he was King for God’s glory and God’s glory alone – this whole nation of Israel
was to be a glory and testimony to God – not a glory to David!! This time he went up in fear and trembling, this time he went up reminded that they depended upon God’s mercy and grace to turn aside His righteous wrath and anger at their sin. Bringing up the Ark of God could only be done if their sin was covered – sin cannot stand in the Presence of God. So there had to be an atoning for their sin as they went – there had to be the shedding of blood – a substitute for them –
Paying the price for their sin instead of them – dying in their stead. With the victories of David and the establishing of the great kingdom, with the wealth and prosperity of being conquerors how quickly the people allowed compromise and a change of heart to sweep in. As they marched up behind the Ark that second time those people of Israel indentified with the oxen and the sheep being sacrificed – they witnessed, saw and understood sin, their sinfulness and fallen nature ---
Temple worship and Priestly intermediaries will always give way to religion and slip into ritual and empty tradition because it slowly turns us into thinking everything is about us – we have done what is required. We have taken up the dove or the lamb or the kid of our offering – we have attended church
every week – we go to home group and attend meetings and do our bit –
The thing that brought the glory into Jerusalem that day as the Ark came home was the peoples understanding and acknowledgment of sin – as each ox and sheep was sacrificed they repented and accepted the substitution – and when the Glory of God came down – David feared God that day, He danced this time, not in some demonstration or attention seeking way, but because as the Ark progressed and the sacrifices were made according to the law of God – God was faithful to His Word –
There was Glory there – there was Presence there, David danced for God’s glory and in God’s glory and by God’s glory it was not about David it was about God who had forgiven him, and them – all Israel! When they were given later, the bread and the meat and the raisin cake – it was after repentance, it was taken in absolute identification of the sacrifice only being necessary because God is Holy and we are sinners – it was taken for His glory in the church – in Israel.
Jn 6:53-66 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.” These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum. Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?” When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you? What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.” From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.
Here is Jesus saying the same thing! I am the sacrifice given for you – to all those who are called and chosen in Him from before the foundation of the world – Jesus is the Ox for us, the fat sheep, the Lamb who was slain – and it is the same for us as it was for them – unless we eat of His flesh and drink of His blood we remain apart from Him – this is a difficult saying, and as it was then, many are offended – but it is one of only two ordinances we are given – the communion and baptism.
Yet there is a thing of faith here – because we can’t actually eat the flesh – but it speaks of an identification that when realized I think can bring a similar revival!! – Stay with me here –
Jn 17:1-4 Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.
Jn 16:13-15 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.
The most important thing to God is His own glory – it is the only perfect, untainted, marvellous thing in all Creation – or beyond creation. God’s glory is above, over and in all He is and does – God cannot be separated from His Glory it is the essence of His Perfection and Holy Radiance. When we read the W.O.G. it is to reveal to us and teach us of that Glory – God’s Glory is the most significant thing in all things pertaining to this life and everlasting life in heaven, or in hell! His glory is holiness.
The reason Jesus came to earth was not so He could identify with us, with mankind – see I think we think Jesus came for our sakes and to rescue us. That the whole purpose of the incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection was for mankind. But Jesus came to glorify His Father – Jesus came to obey His Father – the whole ministry of Jesus was about the Glory of God –
Jesus did not come to rescue us – He came to Glorify God – our salvation was and is always about God being glorified. And the Holy Spirit – the dispensation and age we are now part of, – but the Holy Spirit came to glorify Jesus that God might be glorified in the Son!!
Oh church how we have taken this gospel of Jesus Christ to the glory of God and turned it into humanism – into the gospel of our salvation – of what God is going to do for us – we have said that Jesus came to make us happy and satisfied and that Jesus came so that He might indentify with us. We have truly thought this, that Jesus was incarnated so that He would know what it was like to be human and so He could identify with us and our sin!!
But you know it was Jesus who created us – it is Jesus who was with God before time was – Uncreated glorious God – and it is in Him we live and move and Have our being – and He remained sinless – He never sinned though He was tempted as we are – He does not identify with our sin – He sinned not!!
Col 1:15-18 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
Jesus our Lord, didn’t come in the flesh so He could identify with us – He came that we might identify with Him! That we, through Him, might see the Glory of the Father and so worship and live for Him. Jesus came in obedience to His Father and our God – that we might be a praise to His glory!! He created us and it is in Him we consist – it is only in Him we continue to be at all!! Oh if only we could have the Spirit of revelation in the knowledge of Him as the Apostle prayed!!
But we have been so taught, indoctrinated to believe that it is all about us that Jesus came, it is all about us that God gave His only begotten Son, and in believing that, and accepting that without question, everything we believe and how we read the W.O.G. all doctrine and practice is filtered through that lens – that belief – and it is a lie, a distortion of the truth and it robs God of His glory in Christ – and it robs us – and it steals away our hope and purpose.
When Jesus died in our place – took our sinfulness, became our substitute, having no sin He became sin for us – it was just like those Oxen being sacrificed. – When it was done in secret the Priests carrying out the ceremony in secret – the people accepted and went about their lives and religion – but when they saw the blood poured out and watched the death and knew it was only necessary because of their sins – and when they ate that meat – the flesh of the sacrifice – they became partakers together.
1 Pe 4:12-14 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.
Now here is a very interesting thing – the Holy Spirit is given to glorify Christ – Jesus said when He has come He will glorify Me! There is nothing the Holy Spirit will ever do that will not be to the glory of Jesus! Not one thing – and here we are told emphatically that if we partake of Christ’s sufferings and are reproached for His Names sake – the Spirit of Glory will rest upon us!! Because with this identification Jesus is glorified and the Father is glorified in the Son!
What damage has been done in this whole Holy Ghost party thing – this practice of the Holy Spirit
that is anything but glorifying to Jesus and Holy.
In many of our practices we have denied the Holiness of the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of holiness and the Spirit of Glory – and in so doing we have diminished the glory of Jesus. You know this is not a new phenomena – the devil has been active since the Garden – John Owen wrote about it in 1670 – this counterfeit and blasphemous practice – where men pretended the things of the Holy Spirit and seduced many away – even in the church! –
He went on to say (my paraphrase) for Christians to deny the holiness of the Holy Spirit and His Presence in this age is like the Jews who deny Christ and are called members of the synagogue of Satan. --- It is only by the Spirit of Christ that we might know Him – it is only by the Spirit who searches the deep things of God – it is the Holy Spirit who took Jesus to the Cross and the Holy Spirit who raised Him from the dead – and it is the Holy Spirit who can and will quicken the W.O.G. to us –
There is a problem though in that as we seek for the Holy Spirit – this baptism, this revival – we still think it is about us, about gifts and power and position and ministry – but He has come to glorify Christ, the Lamb who was slain.
Jas 4:3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.
If we are asking, seeking and searching for the wrong things then God cannot answer our prayers – if you being evil will give good gifts to your son how much more will my Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask!! – It is not because God is not faithful – He is – is it not rather that we are asking for the wrong things – we want to bring the Ark of His Presence into the H.O.G. – we want to lead the procession – but we don’t really want see the sacrifice, drink the blood and eat the flesh of the Lamb.
Php 3:7-11 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Col 1:24 I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church,
I think it was Paris Reidhead who said Oh to know Christ and follow Him and glorify Him and live for Him – no matter what it costs and what I might suffer – but to suffer for Him because He is worthy, just because He is worthy – and even if I was to live this life and end up in hell to live for Him because He is worthy! ----- I think if we can learn to know the fellowship of His sufferings being conformed to His death by the power of the Holy Spirit – we will see this revival we seek. What does that mean – this from Lewis : --
A visiting minister of Lewis declared: "So tremendous has been this sense of an 'awareness of God' that I have known men out in the fields, others at their looms, so overcome that they were prostrate upon the ground!" One outstanding trophy of Grace, converted while crossing a field, testified: "So awful was the sense of God's presence, that even the grass beneath my feet and the rocks around me seemed to cry out 'Flee to Christ for refuge!' "
So real and "deep" has been the conviction of sin, that even the most hardened sinners—tough, hardened, and notorious characters of the district—have literally cried out in agony of soul. Some have been found lying helpless by the roadsides, stricken with conviction as in the days of Wesley, Finney, and the Welsh Revival. Another remarkable feature has been the "persistent" nature of the work of the Spirit in following men and women until decision was made. Such was the case of a young man, who found, like Jonah of old, that it is impossible to escape from God ------- The reward of His suffering