In my last post I wrote about what David saw in the wilderness. What I didn’t address was the why or how. I think David saw because he was spiritually hungry. A large portion of the Psalms, written mainly by David, but also by others, flowed from the continual 24 hour worship before the Ark of the Covenant. David had daily access to the Ark and Yahweh’s abiding presence when in Jerusalem. I believe losing this, the rebellion of Absalom, and his concern over the nation made him more acutely aware of how much he needed Yahweh’s presence. I think his ability to see was because of his history with Yahweh combined with his prophetic gift.
In our day we have longings expressed in worship as well. We have the fairly recent Jesus Culture song Show Me Your Glory. In recent decades we had I Want to see Jesus Lifted High, The King is Here and many others. We have many traditional hymns such as Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus. They all express similar longings. Does this longing mean we can see as David did? Can we go beyond just sitting before Him in faith and expectation if we are truly hungry?
The answer is not explicit. We don’t know what state Paul was in when he described experiencing ‘visions and revelations of the Lord.’ We do know that twice in this brief passage he uses the term ‘caught up.’ Paul was taken up, he didn’t just wake up and decide he was going to the third heaven.
1 It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord: 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago – whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows – such a one was caught up to the third heaven. 3 And I know such a man – whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows – 4 how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. 2 Corinthians 12:1-4 (NKJV)
Similarly we know that prior to the unveiling of the book of Revelation and seeing the throne room John was ‘in the Spirit’ (Rev. 1:10) when these things took place but Jesus initiated the interaction and revelation and John’s seeing into the throne room in Revelation 4 was his looking in response to Jesus invitation to come up. Also, John said that seeing into the throne room happened when he was ‘in the Spirit’ at Jesus initiation (Rev. 4:1-2).
In my own experiences of sitting with Jesus, while I can imagine what the Throne Room might be like, I have never seen anything. I have however experienced a lot and still do. Without seeing it just by focusing my attention I am physically conscious of the eternal realm. Perhaps this is what Helen Lemmel referred to when she wrote ‘Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus’ or what Paul referred to when he prayed that through Spirit of wisdom and revelation the eyes of our heart or understanding would be opened. I don’t think Paul expected every believer to have a third heaven throne room experience, yet it is clear from his prayers in Ephesians 1 and 3 that he expected us to experience Jesus and His love, not just possess information about Him. My marriage would be quite empty if I possessed information about my wife but had no real experience of our relationship.
Whether we know it or not we truly need to ‘know’ Jesus. So, are we seeking an ongoing encounter with our King?