|~ Part 9|
Knowing God in the Darkness
WE CANNOT IGNORE WHAT THE LORD JESUS SAID IN Revelations 2:23 regarding His searching the reins and the hearts. He said all the churches will know when He is doing it. This means it will be an operation of His Spirit in believers everywhere. It points to a visitation that will override all religious activity, both the trivial and the good. He will do this awesome work in the final days to make ready a people to inherit His Kingdom with Him. If we are to participate with Him in His Kingdom, we must undergo this awesome work of His.
Most people, even believers, have little idea of God's Kingdom. If they think anything at all, they think we're being saved to spend eternity in a distant place. Some seem to hold a vague idea of something like a glorified amusement park, with regular angelic concerts, and beautiful trees and flowers and vistas to behold, with reunions with loved ones and joyful fellowship with saints gone on before. But, there is much in Scripture pointing to what the Lord will do here, in this very earth, as He brings His Kingdom in every nation and draws His saints into its rule with Him.
There are thousands of questions we might ask about all this, but for the present, let us just give ourselves to the understanding that is breaking upon us. Through many years of serving the Lord, we've learned not to ask questions like, "How are You going to do this?" We've seen enough of His work to know He has more ways of bringing things to pass than we could ever imagine.
We know this: God's Kingdom, as it spreads into all the earth, cannot be weakened by those who falter under stress or who give themselves to unholy principles of life. Nor can it be weakened by those whose lives center in themselves and who serve Him for their own purposes. Because of this, He is searching the reins and hearts of His people in a great last-days work to make us ready.
As we learned in the last article, the word reins means "kidneys." The reference is to those two "kidneys" of our inner man which we learned are our God consciousness and our self conscience. They must be, can be, and will be cle~sed of all impurity and obstruction in His people for us to be made functional for His Kingdom on earth.
What a wonderful thing this is! God designed kidneys in our body to remove impurity from our blood. If they malfunction, life is hindered and poison builds up. So, He designed the reins of our inner man to remove spiritual poison. They are filters meant to take out what hinders us in His Kingdom. Functioning well, they remove things like unbelief, discouragement, dismay and disgust, along with resentment and bitterness. Add to this low self esteem, horror at the work of the enemy and all kinds of weakness-and spiritual pride! In his attempt to disqualify us for God's Kingdom, Satan tries to inject these poisons, and more, into our spirits. As life flows on in the Kingdom, however, they pass through our reins that have been made whole. In this, the poison of them is removed.
THERE HAVE BEEN THOSE WHO SERVED IN THE KINGDOM WITH personal impurity. Indeed, most of us who have served have done so with some degree of impurity. But, as the Day of Christ draws on, this is no longer allowable. This is why the searching in our reins and hearts must go on.
In an attempt to explain the "searching" work of the Lord, there is a very crude illustration. It may be one to which some of you can relate. His searching through, or tracking out, our reins and our hearts could be similar to the work of the "Roto-Rooter" man who works on the drains of our homes. With a device designed to track out the pipes that carry waste water from us, he enters each clogged channel and cuts and chips and pushes out the deposit that has collected and hinders the flow. You know that if this waste cannot flow away, a mess will occur. In a way we might say is similar, the Spirit of our Lord will enter the "pipes" of our inner man to cut and chip and push out the spiritual garbage that has collected in them.
Sometimes the other pipes of our homes, the ones that bring water in, must also be opened. A strong acid released into them can cut loose the buildup of minerals that incoming water containing impurity has left along the way.
We find many into whose lives the impurity of spiritual flow has brought a deposit of spiritual poison. For some, it becomes difficult to function even in normal life. Mercifully, the Holy Spirit is moving to remove this. Often, when we minister to people, we have them renounce every religious spirit that has worked its way into them to oppose the work of the Holy Spirit. No work of Satan is so sly and treacherous as when he seeks to imitate the Holy Spirit in vile attempts to corrupt the children of God's Kingdom.
Many of us hold so much spiritual impurity that we become accustomed to living in a manner "un-Kingdomlike." When faced with the demands, and the possibilities, of Christ’s Kingdom, they seem foreign and unattainable. We find it difficult to comprehend what living and functioning in His Kingdom might be like. Spiritual poison like condemnation, guilt and extreme legalism-which some ministers impart to those to whom they minister-stand to oppose the work of the Kingdom as much as do unclean desires and unholy practices.
THE IDEA THAT WE MAY RULE WITH CHRIST IS so far beyond the comprehension of most of us that we can't even begin to percei ve this Word He spoke in the same Letter where He mentioned the reins. And he that overcometh, and keepeth My works unto the end, to him willI give power over the nations—Rev 2:26. This means those who overcome will share with Him in His earthly rule.
Something-a powerful something, perhaps that searching of the Lord Jesus-shall have happened to make persons, once susceptible to every attack from the enemy, into overcomers who can share in Christ's rule among the nations.
The Kingdom, as the Lord Jesus presented it, demands a change in the way we think. Remember, He said, Repent ye: for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand (Mt 3:2). Repent, the first Word of the Kingdom, is from the Greek IJ£Ta/.lob.u (metanoeo). It means to undergo a change in frame of mind and feeling. It means to make a change in the principles and practices of life. What Jesus said meant, "Exchange your way of thinking for a way of thinking that is compliant with Heaven's rule." This would make a people in the earth read) to receive heaven's Kingdom with Him. This first Word
from the Lord Jesus has been a mandate upon the church from the beginning, but it will likely be the pressures of the end-and His wonderful searching work-that will finally crowd us fully into hearing what He did, indeed, say.
In the Lord Jesus that we find the greatest example of a person whose reins were in order. He could say the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand because His God consciousness and His self-conscience were pure and whole. He knew the God of that Kingdom. He knew Who and where God was in Him, and He knew Who and where He was in God. His reins were open and flowing with the life of the Kingdom. Wherever He was, God was-and the Kingdom was.
As the Kingdom He presented works to lay hold on our reins and our hearts, our consciousness of God undergoes change. We come to know Him intimately and personally. We become aware of His Life moving in us and flowing through us. Our self-conscience changes and we come to know ourselves in Him. The idea of ruling and reigning with Him becomes less remote because we too begin to know His Kingdom is at hand. We are coming to know who and where we are in His Kingdom and the pure Life of that Kingdom is beginning to flow through us.
The grace that was manifested to us through Him has reached for us to draw us into the same awareness of God He had. When we look at some of the statements He made about Himself and God, we begin to discover what it can mean to have our reins and our hearts clean and open.
FOLLOWING ARE SOME STATEMENTS OF JESUS FROM THE... Gospel of John. While they may be beyond the grasp of our weak human minds, they can begin to have meaning if we receive what Paul said in Phil 2:5. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. Let this mind be is from the Greek, phronéo, about which we have written in The Framework of the Inner Man. It means, "Let the same way of thinking come over into you that was in Christ Jesus." It is the Holy Spirit's admonition that we allow this to happen. We are called to let the old way of thinking go as Christ's way of thinking and living enters our reins and our hearts.
Look at the following statements the Lord Jesus made, revealing how He thought and how He lived. He said:
AS AN ILLUSTRATION of Jesus' statement in John 14:20, A. W. Tozer told of the iron that is put into the fire where it remains until the fire enters the iron and they become one. A friend of mind told of his grandmother knitting socks and then dying them. She would dip them in boiling dye and take them out then dip them again and again, until finally while the socks were in the dye, the dye came to be in the socks. Our Lord is processing us, drawing us out of ourselves and into Himself, drawing us and processing us till finally we know we are in Him and He is in us. Then, with reins whole, we know where He is-and we know where His Kingdom is.
When Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me (John 14:6), it is manifest His mission was more than simply to save us and take us to heaven. He came to bring us unto the Father.
In John 17:19-21 we see how Jesus prayed with regard to all this. For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone (that is, the disciples who were with Him at that time), but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word; that they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me. Jesus made supplication, simple and straight, that all who believe on Him would be brought together into the same union with the Father He knew. All this was that the world may believe.
This wonderful union is the desire of the Lord for His Body. He will look for this when He searches the reins and the hearts in all the churches.
DAVID, WITH WHOM GOD MADE COVENANT CONCERNING the Kingdom, had unusual understanding about the reins. In him they were an open dimension of instruction. He makes a powerful statement about them in Psalm 16. We are aware this is one of the high Covenant Psalms, that is, a Messianic Psalm. While spoken by David, it had first reference to the Lord Jesus. Peter quoted from this Psalm in his Pentecost message as he explained the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus. When we know our place in Christ, the Word of the Psalm becomes ours also.
We find two powerful principles that worked in the Tomb to bring Jesus forth, and they will work in us in the darkness of any trials we may face. One principle is: when our reins are in right order with God, the darkness can hold no hurt for us. The other principle is: when we have taken the Word of God into our lives, it maintains its power even in the face of situations that contradict it.
Take note of the Word from David. He said, I will bless the LORD, Who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons—Psalm 16:7. Instruct is from a Hebrew word that means to chasten or punish as a means of admonition and instruction. Thus, our reins become instruments to keep us in line should we be tempted to move from the path of God's ordination for us. Another Psalmist said this, Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins (Psalm 73:21). The Hebrew can mean, "I felt stinging pain in my reins." Both the heart and the reins are instruments for keeping us in line with God's perfect way.
Going back to Psalm 16:7, we find the reins give their instruction in the night seasons. This means more than at night when most people sleep. It means those times of darkness when understanding and faith are put to the test and one cannot, with nature's understanding, see the way. Our reins will keep drawing us back into the straight line of God's will, even though we cannot, with our natural abilities, always perceive the path of it or walk in it.
After David spoke of the reins in verse 7, he proceeded with a powerful Word that lays out the way of a person whose reins are clear and open before God. This Word, Psalm 16:8-11, accompanied Lord Jesus into the Tomb and brought Him out in Resurrection glory. He knew this Word.
The Holy Spirit knew it. Peter knew it. Now, let us know it. I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
This Word is about knowing God intimately and powerfully. It's about having one's God consciousness in so clear a focus that even death itself cannot break in to destroy it. The Word has Covenant power and retains its energetic force even in the grip of death. This word is so important that it was part of the first Word brought to the church in this dispensation. Let us see it as it unfolds in Acts 2.
There we find Peter speaking of Jesus, Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains (or, "birth pangs") of death: because it was not possible that He should be holden of it (that is, "governed by it")—Acts 2:24.
Observe carefully what Peter gave as the reason death could not hold Jesus. For David speaketh concerning Him... Death lost its power because of what David said in Psalm 16. It was that statement of his just after he told of the reins that give their instruction in the night seasons. He laid out the inner workings of Christ Jesus Whose reins were in order before God. Oh, what we can learn from this, if we will but receive it! See what David and Peter said, and see what it can mean to have one's God consciousness in order. Acts 2: 25 (drawing upon Ps 16:8) I foresaw the Lord
always before My face, ("I held Him vividly present in my thoughts, my meditation, my memory, my imagination and in all my conscious knowledge.") . for He is on My right hand, that I should not be moved:("He is the stability of My life. Nothing can move me, not even death.")
The promise, the power, and the instruction of Psalm16:7-11 were for Jesus, but not for Him alone. They belong to His Body, the Church. They are ready to become ours with Him for the darkness that is impending.
IN YET ANOTHER of David's Psalms he said something revealing about the reins. We take note in Psalm 139:12,13a— Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth. as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to Thee. For Thou hast possessed my reins...
Interpreters added "to Thee," but that weakens the statement. David said simply, The darkness and the light are both alike. …period. He was making a personal statement. He could say, "Because You, 0 Lord, have possessed my reins, there is no difference for me in the darkness or the light. I can see perfectly at all times because I can see You."
Possessed is from a Hebrew word which means "to acquire by purchase, or to redeem." How powerful when we see this! The Lord obtained our reins when He redeemed us. Let us confess it.
DEAR LORD, when I submitted to the Redemption which is in Your blood, You acquired the rights to this inner part of me. You redeemed my reins. I yield them to You. I submit to Your presence in my life. Now, I can know You in the darkest hour—and in the brightest hour of Your Kingdom.
this month's PRAYER STARTER and see how
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