Tuesday 18 December 2012

God's Building Company...GBC. Psalms 120-134

Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;Ps127

The Psalms of Ascent are strange to a world which builds its constitutions in leftbrain lists of prose.

Can you think of anything more weird than someone announcing a 3 year university course, with the main syllabus as the Psalms of Ascent  broken down into about five psalms a year?

You see God doesn't "build" how we build.
Actually the disciples matured in the Spirit, from being quite secular people, most with quite different jobs, to people who could "fish" men by the Spirit and lay a foundation of Christ in people after only three years of being with Jesus.

Perhaps we should note here in these psalms then, that if we would "go up to the House of the Lord" individually, seeking that God should reveal His Son in us, that we are not offered a list of accomplishments, not even a list of beliefs per se, but  kind of blurry interconnecting stages of revelation about us, the ways of the Lord, and how we come into unity and union one with the Lord and each other.

And guess what? It's all written in Praise....as if Praise is the main manual or guide language!
Christ forms in us His Person. 

It's not  a "sufficient body of knowledge" that we attain to like in a secular university.
It's a Person who forms spiritually in the same sort of stages that we grow naturally....children ,young men, fathers.

I 'd like to say  I have revelation on the whole set of Psalms 120 -134. I haven't, but what I have I will briefly share.

Psalm 120 is the launch pad. The launchpad takes the form of  a squeeze. A bind. That which was formerly roughly OK for us in our surroundings is now detestable to us. Our own tongue. Our own thoughts and confessions are seen for what they are....LIES.  And surrounding us we see war not peace. The trouble thrusts us before the Lord. Lord we need an answer.....NOW.

Psalm 121 is about where are we going to get our help. On what are we relying on? The Material....or the Unseen...the realm where the Lord dwells.

Psalm 122  Is interesting. If 120-121 had been our individual decision, 122 brings us into the courts of the Lord to the place of the Spirit where we start getting knitted to others in the Body of Christ. It takes a revelation of the Spirit to do this...otherwise we are just a club of reasonably "distanced individuals".  But it is the working of the Spirit that makes one loaf of us.....COMPACTED TOGETHER.

Psalm 123 I would say is THE PSALM that the Holy Spirit used to lay in us who met in the renewed Baptist Church in Old Town Amersham...of the "way" God wanted His meetings run. And the "way" He wanted us to walk in our individual lives. I now call this  "moving in the Melchizedek Order". Listening to and seeing what the Lord is doing and getting in on it. This was how Jesus did His stuff too.

Psalm 124  Once we start to learn in Psalm 122 that we are a new people, a royal priesthood, almost immediately we learn firsthand that we are a "different people of a different spirit" to the ones who surround us. Interesting that Israel themselves were for a time quite at home in Egypt...but then imperceptibly the pressures mounted. Persecution. This is one of the main forcing procedures which form consciousness of who we are now...and how different it is from who we were before.

 Psalm 125 is the direct result, where we start to really experience the immoveable sure foundation of the Lord's Life now inside us. Christ ain't going nowhere....even when we can't perceive Him...sure enough He's still there living our Life.

Psalm 126
We start to experience the new phenomenon of the Life within us. It's NOT just about us anymore. Everyone in the world has troubles....but somehow ploughing on with "believing" in our hearts doesn't just lead to personal breakthroughs....we look around and start to see breakthroughs, and fruit and seed....that seem to appear....as if they've nothing to do with us...hey....where did all those results come from????

Encouraged on by this, we think....well supposing I worked a little bit harder, a little bit longer hours....
Hmmmmm....then we learn the other truth

"we" can't produce God's fruit for Him, we can't of ourselves produce His work, His Temple.
Ohhh...that's a bit of a chastening blow. We learn afresh...we really aren't in charge. And hereon in is a bit like Romans 6 and 7, where we start to be led into a path, designed specially for us, to XRAY for us exactly WHO WE ARE AS PERSONS....and WHO WE ARE NOT and NEVER WERE.

Psalm 128
Here is the main difference between God's Building Company and the devil's building Company.
The devil is building a corporation. A pyramid of willing serfs that are prepared to labour to produce his "things", his "works".

Salvation....or sozo wholeness...produces LIFE

God doesn't build Pyramids and force everyone into pyramid shapes to fit.
God's The Dad  who is bringing forth Giant sized Family.
Multi ethnically.
Multi personality -ly

Psalm 129 
In 1 John 2 :12 ff John says two things. That there are three stages of growth and secondly he encapsulates in these verses what they are.
You will notice the "young man " stage is quite a battle, but John speaks the word of faith over them saying...THE BATTLE is ALREADY  WON...you HAVE overcome the enemy. 
This psalm is really in the thick of it.
Whatever version you or I go through....spiritually speaking it's just the same.
But it's a battle to DEFINE US TO THE CORE.
God doesn't need to know who we are. He included us already into the death of His Son. We have to make the story ours so that we know it.
The Israelites had to go through the wilderness so that THEY knew inside themselves...what God HAD ALREADY done for them  in delivering them from Egypt via the blood painted on their lintels, and the Red Sea Rolling Aside to let them pass.
We don't think anymore of cursing individualsas if they are the source of the problem....this is a cry that we are separated from all the spiritual forces that used to bind us and foul up our lives. They were always the real enemies. 

Psalm 130 
Nobody who hasn't been through this measure of defining process can't imagine what a ploughing experience it is. The word harrowing is not a mute phrase. "Out of the depths I cry" is just about the sum of it. You were previously unaware that you had these level of depths.
This is where we learn what is "back of house". Secular life is all about front of house. Now Buddhists are going to say that they ARE aware of "back of house"...and largely I have to agree....but the claim of Christianity is that Jesus sends us the Holy Spirit who leads us into all truth...and He alone is qualified to take us down into our basement  AND STILL sustain us with His Power while He is doing it.
Now , from the moment of conversion Jesus Spirit comes into us. Our spirit is NOT what this is about. It's Our soul. What is easily seen and what is underneath. But it's our soul that needs answers. Our spirit is fixed in the Lord. 
 My soul waits for the Lord
More than the watchmen for the morning....

No matter what "front of house" looks like....I declare what the Word says about me.
There is an earnest "waiting in hope"....but based on what is spiritually true NOW.... 
Psalm 131
This describes that state of rest the Holy Spirit plunges us into. Nolonger this "soul-powered" delusion that everything is front of house. The Cross. The Word has axed itself right through this spiritual delusion.
Why a weaned child?
Well a suckling child is still in the delusion that the universe revolves around it. As soon as it is hungry all it has to do is cry. And immediately it has a breast to suck, for comfort and food.
But....after weaning it learns about meal times. About falling into line. About taking its right place in the universe....alongside the order of all things.
What's the connection spiritually?
Someone who doesn't know spiritual circumcision yet  doesn't have a single eye? Jesus meant by this phrase that you ONLY SEE GOD GOING ON. You don't simply decide what you want, or want to do and get on with it. By now you are mature training your senses in righteousness. Sensing whether God is in something or not.
This has such a srange appearance to secular non-spiritual people. This is one of the big differences between Irish and English people. Or English and Eastern people, or Western and Russian people . People who have spiritual depth move from their insides.
Not from surface feelings or surface thoughts as the devil pulls them.
Trouble is....religious people who still live "front of house" try to copy what they perceive spiritual people are doing, and they invent stupid rules like off the islands of Scotland where the churches are not permitted to sing with musical instruments, because it's unspiritual. Maybe at one timeperiod...or one Sunday the Holy Spirit may have given this direction....now forever and a day since these churches practice this deadletter rule.

Psalm 132
Try thinking of these psalms as three sets of struggles and resolutions.
The first squeeze nudges us into exploring what a relationship with God might mean.This is like the child stage of spiritual growth . Then comes much persecution and trial of our faith as we press into God's NEW DEFINITION of us since the Cross. This is what Mother Basilea Schlink called the "Battle of Faith". What Norman Grubb calls our passage from Romans 6 to 8 AS CONSCIOUSNESS within us.
Once established, Psalm 132 begins another squeeze. Our eyes are opened to spiritual reality. A reality that we couldn't have taken before or we'd have been buried in terminal depression.
We'd got too many of our own problems to cope with.
But the great victory  after Psalm 130 is so incredible that Paul says it inspires great hope in us....consolation. If God can do this in me....then He can do this thing for others too.
Romans 5:3-4 we also boast in the tribulations, knowing that the tribulation doth work endurance;and the endurance, experience; and the experience, hope; Youngs Literal Translation
The reality is that according to the Promises in the Word that we are to keep in remembrance, and bring them before the Lord, as representatives of the bottom foot of the Covenantal ladder, the House of the Lord remains unbuilt....and a new holy desperation grips us. A determination, that just as we have been set free, we want others to also know this consciousness for themselves too.
  “If your sons will keep My covenant
And My testimony which I will teach them, NASB

Well Jesus has come and taught us His testimony.
It's a combination of an actual walk that Jesus learned as a man on this earth, with no party tricks, laying aside His glory and overcoming for thirty years, and also it is a testimony in the sense that He taught us "faith talk", "faith protocol". How the gift of faith and the word of faith work.
I will not give sleep to my eyes
Or slumber to my eyelids,
Until I find a place for the Lord,
[c]A dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.”

Behold, we heard of it in Ephrathah,
We found it in the field of [d]Jaar.
Let us go into His [e]dwelling place;
Let us worship at His footstool.

Arise, O Lord, to Your resting place,
You and the ark of Your strength.
Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness,
And let Your godly ones sing for joy.
  Initially, the first generation of new covenant priests since the 60s and 70s have thought in terms of worship meetings and our manner of gathering together in the Holy Spirit. Really it is in this context that David Swan writes "The Holy of Holies.", that Bill Johnson and IHOP function, that Jorge Pradas wrote his Argentinian book "Congregados Para Darle Gloria." This was after all how we sensitised ourselves to the Holy Place, to the real Presence of God after centuries of only trickles of the stuff followed by an awful lot of preaching,and praying according to liturgy.

Somehow we missed John 4 and what Jesus was really about, followed by Paul who described us as Living Letters written on by the Holy Spirit. Jesus said to the Samariatan woman, neither here nor at Jerusalem shall people worship, for they shall worship Me in Spirit and truth.

It's not about places.
It's about becoming His footstool, fullstop.
Not as one Facebook writer caught up in a narrow grace view wrote, so we can be stomped all over.....but in the context of Earth being tooooo toooo little  to contain the exceeding greatness of God's glory....so it's called a footstool. A place where God can put His feet up. He's come home!!!!

Psalm 133

Now as charismatics we kind of adopted psalm 133 as we revelled in a new found sense of unity after all of us from many church backgrounds found more unity together than ever before through the experience of the baptism in the Spirit.
But actually Paul describes unity this way.

Ephesians 4:3being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
......verse 13 until we attain the unity of the faith

There's a unity we came into way back in Psalm 122 where we were compacted together after being filled with the Spirit. In tabernacle terms this took place at our baptisms...in water and in the Spirit pictured in the Laver. The Laver being also a mirror, wherein we look at our new reflection, which is the Person of Christ in us. This is our spiritual basis for unity which we are to maintain, the fact that we are all vessel containers of Christ now that we have been born again.

Together we cross the outercourts to the tent of meeting, the holy place, where we meet together in Jesus.

However Psalm 133 is another order of unity altogether .
It's a mystery psalm.
It's a prophetic psalm
It hasn't really happened yet.
For a start this kind of priesthood COMES AFTER all the experiences of the psalms so far.
This is a Body we haven't really seen yet.
This is the third level church, where NOT JUST ONE priest ministers of the stature of Watchman Nee, or Boehme,or Norman Grubb,or Sundar Singh...
No, we're talking of a whole generation Ps 110 of people who have volunteered in the Day of His power.
Of a generation of Psalm 24 people who have sought the face of the God of Jacob.
This is a specific level of church that knows the Psalm 91 Abiding in the Shadow of the Most High, a people of the Holiest Place.  Now onto THIS people comes an anointing so strong, for a start in brings together the two mountains for the first time in history. We are talking MIRACLE.
It is like the dew of Hermon which comes down on Zion.
Really this was prefigured by Ruth Heflin's call, as a complete Jewish outsider,or Gentile, to raise up a well of praise,adoration and worship in the centre of what will be the final form of Israel according to Ezekiel 28 , in other words not the present one called Sidon/Tel Aviv.
It's talking about the Arab and Jew coming together.
The Gentile Church and the converted Jew coming together.
It's one incredible psalm and this incredible cocktail of unity
takes us through to 

Psalm 134  

This is a people like Ian Clayton says who have learned the trick of beholding. Behold, bless the Lord......
They are not novices at it because they have spent since Psalm 123 doing it.
At the time this psalm was written only ONE servant of the Lord, the high priest, entered and once a year on the Day of Atonement.

Jesus said:
But the day is coming when all those who worship Me will worship in Spirit and in truth.John 4:23
The New Covenant declared by Jeremiah was
they shall all know me from the least to the greatest. Jer. 31:34 Like Moses standing on the shore of the Red Sea commanding the waves with his rod, this psalm describes a tight spot.
....who stand by night in the house of the Lord.
At such a moment, and for such a moment have these servants been prepared in greater number than ever before, to declare a blessing from out of the true Zion....those who worship in Spirit and in truth.  "May the Lord Bless you from Zion....and the question of scale....He who made heaven and earth."
Whatsoever ye bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven."

This is said with the anointing  of God's Shekinah glory Presence which hovers over the Mercy Seat in the Holy of Holies. This is said by a priesthood that has learned like Jesus to walk as vessel containers of God.
Containing the Law of God within them, the Rhema Presence of the Lord symbolised by the manna, as well as using "whatever is in our hand", whatever we learned the ways of the Lord with, whatever we find most naturally part of us, but stripped down,simplified like the almond rod, and put into God's hands for Him to express His Almighty authority through. 

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