Report From The Tower
Recent family illness has shuffled the deck of family duties around here. Over the weekend, I found myself handling the watering of the flower garden during the cool of the evening. I took note of a small potted plant as I made my rounds of watering all the plants: identified as a "Mint" plant. None of the other 60 odd plants in the vicinity of the garden had taken on any appearance of thirst, but this little mint plant was certainly expressive: leaf and limb all rolled up and drooping over itself. This little plant occupies a place on the stone ledge that is adjacent to our front steps, so it is clearly visible from our front door windows. Later in the evening, just before sundown, I took a look outside and took note of the little mint plant: totally revived. I promptly named this little plant. I called it: The Spokesman.
One day passed and on the second day, in the afternoon, I once again took note of "The Spokesman". All of the other plants looked no worse for the wear but once again, this little mint plant was putting on an impressive display to rival it's show of two days ago. Once again, I made my rounds and watered all of the plants. Then, I went inside and the Lord gave me a revelation.
God has in various and sundry places used various plants, trees, vines and fruit to describe His people. The Lord was once again drawing me to receive a parable from Him that He had been revealing to me about His people and their present condition before Him. He says that they are parched and withered, yet only one out of a hundred of them will raise a complaint. That one is like my little mint plant: The Spokesman. The others are just as thirsty and in just as much danger, but they make no sound and complain of no lack. Yet that one is speaking for the whole hundred: send down some water please!
I did hear from a solitary human spokesman a couple of weeks back, so I have been praying about how to move forward in the ministry, given that we have now passed by Pentecost and we are still, apparently, waiting for the Lord to come suddenly to His temple. This "spokesman" was calling upon me to do more in the ministry, so I told the spokesman that I would seek the Lord about a recommencement of radio ministry and an increase in the written ministry. I had then decided, after prayer, that I was going to step up the pace of ministry but that I was feeling led of the Lord to head in a direction where I have only lightly touched in the past: that is Christian Life teaching, acting in the mode of prophetic teacher, for I believe this is what is called for just now. So, I will, for a season, leave behind the assembly and its' obvious deficiencies. I will also turn aside from prophecies of judgement and the calculation of the appearance of times and seasons. The parable given over the weekend has confirmed my leading. I will now turn to the individual: the disciple and the saint. We must now, each of us, go on the stretch for God.
God's people are in a real dry spot right now. They are parched and withered, yet only one in a hundred will express any lack. They are hunting through twenty and thirty year old sermons and reading old books in an attempt to find some water in a dry and thirsty land. The general apostasy is complete and total and whether you attend Petrified Church, Prurient Church or a Profit Church, you are dying of thirst from one cause or another. Wherever and whatever kind of assembly you are attending right now, it is severely lacking in God things. I am including the home churches in this...I am not impressed and neither is the Lord. Yet, God has warned us through the writer of Hebrews about forsaking the assembling together. So, we know that we must, somehow, assemble together, yet when we do so, all who honestly assess their circumstances are filled with longing for the coming around of some good time they remember in the Lord when the worship was more electric; the word of God more ringing and compelling; salvation more frequent and dramatic; miracles, signs and healings more prevalent and joy more abounding. We have tried to address this dearth with Egroups and Facebook groups. I leave it to you to decide just how successful we have been. I believe that right now, at this interval, you are going to have to connect to God individually in order to make it. It is, in a sense, every man for himself right now. If you have one or two to pull with you, you are fortunate. Your own desperation and perseverence is going to make all the difference!
Psa 42:1 As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. Psa 42:2 My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? Psa 42:3 My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God? Psa 42:4 When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday. Psa 42:5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.
There is much to be found in the scripture that has to do with individual desperation and perseverence. Over and over again, we learn of the accomplishments of a single man or woman of faith, achieved against long odds. We have been told in our churches about the importance of the church and the accomplishments of the many. Church members brag on their pastor to other church members. I have even heard it said that one group brags that their pastor's jet plane is bigger than any other, yet the scripture has this extremely individual and solitary aspect to it in a great many places. God's people, in a crisis, were delivered, over and over again, by the solitary exploits of one man or one woman who went beyond what was expected by the crowd. Rarely, if ever, are these exploits performed by a leader of the current systemic religion. You should not expect that any pastor of this present great apostasy will prevail with God to lead us out of this present mess. Why should this one great deliverer not be you or me in this generation? Someone is going to have to go on the stretch and reach God! Why not you? Why not me?
1Sa 14:6 And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few. 1Sa 14:7 And his armourbearer said unto him, Do all that is in thine heart: turn thee; behold, I am with thee according to thy heart.
Prior to the appearance of this two man Phillistine wrecking crew in the book of 1 Samuel, we are given some hints into just how a man might come to be used in the way that Jonathan was in the foregoing passage. Such a man must have greatly honored God. Then, it is no surprise to see that honor befell him. A unnamed man of God came to the high priest Eli to warn him concerning the unlawful, disgusting and abominable actions of his two sons. Eli was to be held accountable because he alone had the power to discipline or remove these sons from their offices, but he had declined to do so. So God sends Eli a warning. At the end of it, a principle about those who honour God is revealed.
1Sa 2:30 Wherefore the LORD God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the LORD saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.
Why did that type of honor from God seek out Jonathan? I believe you can find the truth about the how and why when you consider that Jonathan, the son of Saul, had every opportunity to betray David into the hands of Saul, his father. Every consideration of the carnal mind would have tempted Jonathan to destroy his apparent rival to the throne, yet Jonathan seems totally unmoved by and immune to those carnal desires and lusts for power over others that have been so common down through the ages of human history. Somehow, Jonathan had become convinced that God had selected David to be the next King: Jonathan had believed the prophet. Somehow, Jonathan had decided that it was better to become less and to allow David to become more. Jonathan had entered into this path of seeking the honor that comes from God alone. Everything cleared for him and he knew exactly what to do. Oh, what a resurrection brother Jonathan must be having from that time, to the present day and beyond, for when one honors God so completely and shows such total disregard for seeking the honor that comes from man, a kind of fragrant worship is released unto God that is incomparable.
I think now at this juncture about E.M. Bounds, who wrote eight volumes on prayer and intercession, none published in his lifetime. Is there a more famous author today on prayer, yet he was a virtual unknown during his life. James Strong labored his whole life to produce the concordance that bears his name. He finished it as a blind man. Johann Gutenberg died penniless, totally unaware of the impact on the Gospel that his invention of offset printing for the English language would have in less than a hundred years as the Geneva Bible became the bible of the common man. Each of these three men labored with all their strength for an honor that few seek after. Each obtained.
Joh 5:43 I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. Joh 5:44 How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?
Tozer made long mention and discussion in his eighth chapter of "Pursuit Of God", noting that it appears to be the case that Jesus established an eternal principal that those who refuse to seek the honor that comes from God alone cannot even believe in Jesus the Messiah. These things keep coming around again in history and there is no new thing under the sun in the Television and Internet generation. Never have there been so many temptations to seek after fame and honor from men. Yet God alone knows whether He has been sought for that honor that comes from Him alone. That kind of honor can come from no other and it is connected over and over again with a divine enablement for exploits and power. That is the kind of empowering that we need right now.
A man wrote me a few weeks ago, complaining about the churches in his area. He made the case that he simply could not see how God could possible come suddenly to any of these churches to empower them. He therefore does not see how God can do what I say that He is about to do: come suddenly to His temple. He has begun to think that this thing may even be impossible for God. I wrote this in reply:
"With God, nothing is impossible. In fact, many times in Bible history, God arranged things so that what He did was totally impossible for men, so that men could never take the credit. Scripture says that Jesus will come suddenly to His temple. It does not say that the temple will come to Him. The hows and whys are still shrouded in mystery. We must wait upon the Lord for more revelation or to see the actual event happen. But, I note that God saved humanity by using one man (Noah) and God brought faith in God into the world by calling one man (Abraham). He seems to like for it to get down to almost nothing before He moves. The Messianic line of David was down to one little child (Joash) in the days when Athaliah went searching out and killing all the royal seed. But she never could get her hands on that last one. Gideon was told to keep sending soldiers away until he only had a few hundred left. Then God let the battle begin."
Tozer closes his eighth chapter of "Pursuit of God" with a prayer that speaks to me very deeply. It is quite easy to be excited about service unto God when the crowd is roaring their approval. One can be quite content when many friends are handing out the compliments, you have a sterling reputation and almost anyone can see that the ministry is a success. But what will one do if and when all of that evaporates like a morning mist? It is then that God will find out just what type of honor the searcher and seeker is looking for.
"O God, be thou exalted over my possessions. Nothing of earth’s treasures shall seem dear unto me if only Thou art glorified in my life. Be Thou exalted over my friendships. I am determined that Thou shalt be above all, though I must stand deserted and alone in the midst of the earth. Be Thou exalted above my comforts. Though it mean the loss of bodily comforts and the carrying of heavy crosses I shall keep my vow made this day before Thee. Be Thou exalted over my reputation. Make me ambitious to please Thee even if as a result I must sink into obscurity and my name be forgotten as a dream. Rise, O Lord, into Thy proper place of honor, above my ambitions, above my likes and dislikes, above my family, my health and even my life itself. Let me decrease that Thou mayest increase, let me sink that Thou mayest rise above. Ride forth upon me as Thou didst ride into Jerusalem mounted upon the humble little beast, a colt, the foal of an ass, and let me hear the children cry to Thee, “Hosanna in the highest.”" Tozer, A.W.. The Pursuit of God (Kindle Locations 1015-1027). Faithful Life Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Stephen L. Bening
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