Seeing You in the Sanctuary Part 2

Recently as I sat with Him seeking to gaze upon His glory (2 Cor. 3:18) Jesus spoke to my heart, “Stay under My gaze.” A rather interesting phrase. It was a phrase I had not heard before yet I recognized His voice and also realized a few days later it was the answer to a question I hadn’t asked. This approach is something Jesus did regularly in the gospels. The important part however is understanding what staying under His gaze means and the implications for our heart and life if we respond in obedience. At the same time I seek to test everything by His written word and the scriptures seem to teach that we are to gaze upon Him.

18  But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NKJV)

However, implicitly, rather than explicitly, if we are gazing at Him then He is also looking at us. When I become aware of His focus upon me many times I quite literally start to feel like I am coming undone at some physical level and have to choose to not turn my face away, which I can only manage for a short time. However when we choose to stay under His gaze how does it affect our heart and life? The first effect is that if we stay under His gaze it means regularly turning our heart to Him throughout the day and being conscious of His gaze upon us. Secondly, we learn to lean more into His guidance in all that we do. The scriptural support for this injunction is found in the Psalms.

8  I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. Psalm 32:8 (NKJV)

Something to consider is that if Jesus is guiding us with His gaze we need to learn to discern His various gazes. If His eyes are like a flame of fire we are in trouble! Jesus heart is that we would learn whether He is with us encouraging, abiding, rebuking or a number of other responses. He calls all of us to pursue and understand His gaze and ways in our relationship with Him. In the midst of understanding this we in the modern North American church also need to understand that He is Lord and King, not a divine cheerleader. After all, the scriptures provide some sober New Testament warnings.

13  And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:13 (NKJV)

28  Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. 29  For our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:28-29 (NKJV)

So let us embrace ‘reverence and godly fear’ as we stay under His gaze.

A closing thought. Something else I realized as I meditated upon this is that Jesus lived this way, staying under His Father’s gaze. I encourage you to search the gospels and see if this is so. A useful reflection on this as we near Good Friday is the lyrics in the song below, particularly the line I have highlighted.

How deep the Father’s Love for Us

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure,
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss –
The Father turns His face away,
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory.

Behold the man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders;
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished;
His dying breath has brought me life –
I know that it is finished.

I will not boast in anything,
No gifts, no power, no wisdom;
But I will boast in Jesus Christ,
His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer;
But this I know with all my heart –
His wounds have paid my ransom.

Stuart Townend 1995 Thankyou Music

How deep the Father’s Love for Us

Seeing You in the Sanctuary Part 1

What is a sanctuary? There is a large issue happening in the US over ‘sanctuary cities’ and I think we generally understand them as a place of refuge or safety. However, I think that concept gets things backwards. It is always important to look to the scriptures. What do the scriptures have to say to us about sanctuary? Let’s take a journey together, a journey into His heart.

A key mention of sanctuary is in Exodus and we can use this verse to begin our journey.

8  And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. Exodus 25:8 (NKJV)

Here Yahweh is speaking to Moses about the building of the tabernacle in the wilderness. The word sanctuary means a ‘set apart’ or ‘holy’ place. Moses, and key artisans whom Yahweh designated, built the tabernacle, the sanctuary in the wilderness. However, what made it holy was not their skilled craftsmanship or Moses obedience. What made it a holy sanctuary was Yahweh’s presence. We see what happened when all the preparations were complete.

34  Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. 35  And Moses was not able to enter the tabernacle of meeting, because the cloud rested above it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. Exodus 40:34-35 (NKJV)

The same thing happened when Solomon’s temple was complete.

1  When Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. 2  And the priests could not enter the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD’S house. 2 Chronicles 7:1-2 (NKJV)

So what do these verses have to do with us and sanctuary? I believe that in this hour we both need to, and are able to, encounter and be overcome by His glory. I will go further into this but invite you to sit with Jesus and meditate on some verses from Psalms prior to going further into this in the coming weeks.

13  Your way, O God, is in the sanctuary; Who is so great a God as our God? Psalm 77:13 (NKJV)

1  O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water. 2  So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory. Psalm 63:1-2 (NKJV)

4  One thing I have desired of the LORD, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD, And to inquire in His temple. Psalm 27:4 (NKJV)

Show me Your Glory by Jesus Culture


You Who are Spiritual Part 4

What is the capstone of a spiritual life? When we climb the mountain of spirituality what vista unfolds before us? I don’t know if we think about this very often but I do believe there is a scriptural answer. I will start with Jesus as the ultimate example then look at a couple of His friends.

Psalm 40:7-8 is quoted in Hebrews as a prophetic picture of Jesus.

7  Then I said, “Behold, I come; In the scroll of the book it is written of me. 8  I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart.” Psalm 40:7-8 (NKJV)

7  Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come – In the volume of the book it is written of Me – To do Your will, O God.’  Hebrews 10:7 (NKJV)

These verses capture Jesus heart. He came to earth to serve the purposes of His Father. In fact He stated it very clearly it was His delight to serve His Father’s purpose. As the verse below highlights, He came to walk among us as ‘the One who serves.’

27  For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves. Luke 22:27 (NKJV)

Jesus submitted His will to the will of His Father and His works flowed out of this intimate relationship.

19  Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. 20  For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel.” John 5:19-20 (NKJV)

What of Jesus friend Paul? How did he live and how did he tell us to live?

17  Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Philippians 2:17 (NKJV)

6  For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. 2 Timothy 4:6 (NKJV)

The idea Paul presents here is that his life is being poured out as a sacrifice to Jesus. Paul was giving his life so others could be joined to Jesus life. In Numbers 15:1-16 the wine (drink offering) is to accompany the animal sacrifices. Paul saw himself as living for Jesus and thus his life was being poured out to accompany Jesus sacrifice. Not as something having any atoning value but a gesture of love to accompany the atoning sacrifice. What did Paul say of us?

15  and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. 2 Corinthians 5:15 (NKJV)

We too are to pour out our lives in His service. Lastly, David, the man after God’s own heart. We have his epitaph from the Holy Spirit in Acts.

36  “For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption;” Acts 13:36 (NKJV)

What a declaration! David served his own generation by the will of God. A truly spiritual person is one with a servant heart seeking to further our Father’s purposes. Are our lives being poured out to further His purpose because our hearts desire to please and honour Him?

You Who are Spiritual Part 3

Who was spiritual, Jacob or Esau? When we look at their relationship in Genesis (Gen. 25-33) Esau at first seems like the responsible son and Jacob comes across as the manipulator. Yet what is the scriptural testimony of them?

2  “I have loved you,” says the LORD. “Yet you say, ‘In what way have You loved us?’ Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” Says the LORD. “Yet Jacob I have loved; 3  But Esau I have hated, And laid waste his mountains and his heritage For the jackals of the wilderness.” Malachi 1:2-3 (NKJV)

13  As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.” Romans 9:13 (NKJV)

Why this testimony? To understand it we need to delve into the spirit realm. Yes Jacob was a schemer and manipulator, not the character traits we admire. Esau however did not value the blessing that was his by birthright. As an aside, we tend to use phrases like ‘bless you’ rather casually. Yet in scripture they meant something. Read the blessing Jacob/Israel pronounced over his sons in Genesis 49. It laid out the future destiny of the nation. There was prophetic power in it. Blessing our food at a meal or blessing someone else is meant to be a term that describes that actual blessing. Consider the Aaronic blessing in Numbers.

22  And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 23  “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, ‘This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them: 24  “The LORD bless you and keep you; 25  The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; 26  The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.” ’  Numbers 6:22-26 (NKJV)

A blessing is a pronouncement that releases something tangible in the spirit realm. Consider what Jesus said when He sent out the seventy.

5  But whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ 6  And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest on it; if not, it will return to you. Luke 10:5-6 (NKJV)

Peace is shalom in Hebrew and that is what is referred to in both passages. The release of shalom is a tangible spiritual transaction. Jesus expected the seventy to know whether or not their shalom, what they released, was resting on the homes they blessed.

I have had this experience of praying for someone and feeling like my prayer was bouncing off them. They verbalized openness but were not actually willing to receive.

So, back to Jacob and Esau. Jacob did not start well. Yet it was in pursuing Yahweh’s blessing, with a selfish motive, that Jacob was transformed to Israel. His encounter with Yahweh (Gen. 32) broke his fleshly strength and transformed him into a spiritual man. We see this when he went down to Egypt with his family. Pharaoh was the most powerful man in the Middle East yet look what happened when he met Jacob/Israel.

7  Then Joseph brought in his father Jacob and set him before Pharaoh; and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. Genesis 47:7 (NKJV)

7  Now beyond all contradiction the lesser is blessed by the better. Hebrews 7:7 (NKJV)

Where is all of this going? How many of you are familiar with the concept of needing to clean up our lives so we can be filled with the Holy Spirit? It sounds spiritual but is simply a religious spirit masquerading as true spirituality. If we could clean up our lives without the Holy Spirit we wouldn’t need Him! Draw near to Him, pursue His blessing like Jacob, and be transformed by His touch and presence. We all need Him. Let’s pray for a greater hunger and not focus on our motives – that is being spiritual. He will change us!