Thursday, May 3, 2012

Some Thoughts on Psalm 81

To the Chief Musician; set to Philistine lute, or [possibly] a particular Gittite tune. [A Psalm] of Asaph. 
How religious we are when we fail to realize that everything that has breath, every created melody, and every expression is His.  If He so desires, He can redeem it and bring it into His divine plan.  He can take a filthy Philistine tune, clean it up, and cause it to express His purposes. How often do we dismiss an expression of praise that we do not understand, dismissing not only the expression, but also the expresser?  God delights in saving punk rockers, hip-hop artists, rappers, country musicians, and whatever other flavor their expressions come in; God receives them and their expression of praise more liberally than critics or cynics.  Whether these children mature and leave off immature expressions or not is God’s business to address.  Too often, we judge  flavor rather than fruit, and even regarding the fruit we too often get ahead of God and His timing –God gave you time to mature and become fruitful, and we must allow God to give them the needed time to do the same.   
SING ALOUD to God our Strength!  Shout for joy to the God of Jacob!  Raise a song, sound the timbrel, the sweet lyre with the harp.

There is a time to shake off the lethargy and make the SACRIFICE of praise.  Activate God within; let God arise…allow the Spirit to move through you.  Speak and shout in tongues if need be, but arise from indolence and work out what he has worked in.  Placate the rumblings of your mind and its churnings with sweet music; tame the beastly nature and bring your disquieted soul into alignment with His purposes.  No more crying that you have no strength; He is our strength and we go from strength to strength only on the path to Zion anyways.  Besides, our spiritual trek will always sap our natural strength.  Coming to Mount Zion is more terrible than coming to Mount Sinai, because to refuse the heavenly voice is more frightful than to refuse the earthly one.  Our spiritual man is the only man God is speaking to; a further separation from our natural man is being required in this hour to hear the unadulterated truth.  We must SACRIFICE today while we hear His voice.  Sing, shout and raise the strings of your hearts; let the wind of the Spirit pluck our inner chords and make music of His liking alone.    
  
Blow the trumpet at the New Moon, at the full moon, on our feast day.  For this is a statute for Israel, an ordinance of the God of Jacob.
I believe trumpets have been blowing now for some time; God has been calling people upwards into the higher realms of the spirit for some time now.  It requires that we throw off yesterday, the flesh, and all sin.  To fully orb into all that God has created us to be we must wax larger until we reflect the full measure of the Son.  All statutes and ordinances are to be subsumed into a fluid and seamless adherence to all Truth and Spirit based on the RULE of the new creation disposition within us.  Interestingly, the Hebrew meaning of “statute” is (2706) from (2710); an enactment; hence an appointment (of time, space, quantity, labor or usage); an “ordinance” is from (4941) which is from (8199) –to judge; it means a verdict (favorable or unfavorable) pronounced.  Now, an “enactment” is to make something into law –the processing of a new force that will ultimately be the ruling disposition; Israel is representative of our spiritual or heavenly man, and has been appointed the rule for our behavior via the Spirit writing its demands upon our spiritual man’s heart.  The God of Jacob has judged our natural life as unfit to proceed except via a hitch in its giddy-up; God takes no pleasure in the legs of a man (see Psalm 110).  His verdict for us (our spiritual man), is thus against us (our natural man–as far as being the ruling disposition).  This blowing the trumpet, the new and full moon, corresponding to a feast day, and securing proper rule in proper amounts and places is all emblematic of the fullness of our maturity in Christ.  We are to wax brighter and brighter until the full day as we rejoice and again rejoice (both for the death and the life He gives us); we are to obtain our very souls (and bodies) as the outcome of our suffering.  Living in booths upon our own rooftops is being spiritually naked before the world; this Feat of Tabernacles is an autumn feast, a mature feast, where we are spiritually naked and yet unashamed.  So thoroughgoing has been the agency of Pentecost (the Holy Spirit), that we can now ever shout from the rooftops our transcendent message.  We have put away sin and its consequential shame; physical nakedness we yet cover, but our last Adam is unashamedly bare before the entire world.  The Feast of Tabernacles corresponding to our bodies is the third and final stage of the development of the last Adamic race.  Christ birthed Himself within our spirit, grew into our soul, and now has matured into our body; we have become the manifested sons of God as Christ manifests Himself in our mortal flesh.  He has given to us all things pertaining to life and godliness; we MUST work out what He has worked in in this hour.  We are to rebuke our own carnal minds, control our own unruly emotions, and force our own stubborn wills to soften and comply with God; we alone are to mortify/starve our baser appetites –our flesh –and keep diligent watches over all surfeiting; we alone have the power to stop the full development of Christ throughout our comportment (corresponding to our spiritual agreement)/disposition (our soul compliance)/behavior (restraining the action of our body/flesh).   
This He ordained in Joseph [the savior] for a testimony when He went out over the land of Egypt. The speech of One Whom I knew not did I hear [saying], I removed his shoulder from the burden; his hands were freed from the basket. 
Again a form of the word “ordinance” is used; He “ordained.”  God judged –made a verdict –which became a testimony to the entire world that Israel is God’s favored people –and even further so, or more specifically –those that came forth out of the branch of Joseph.  Actually, Joseph being a type of Christ, and having been the forerunner into Egypt, he really and symbolically saved the entire nation from starvation.  Egypt was to have been the furnace of affliction that ought to have prepared the Israelites internally to face the external temptations in the wilderness; their failure to understand God’s purposes, to not realize the fourth one in the fire with them, made them unable to live with restraint and patience –to possess their souls –thus they died in the very throes of a process that was going to eventually give them exactly what they wanted.  So many of His people just do not hear or understand the voice or purpose of their God.  Deliverance has been accomplished in Christ; realization of that deliverance is sadly only known by few.  How tenderly does God yearn to make His people whole; He declares that His heart is turned over within Him and His compassions kindled (see Hosea 11:8).  He also said, “I took them in My arms; but they did not know that I healed them.  I led them with cords of a man, with bonds of love, and I became to them as one who lifts the yoke from their jaws; and I bent down and fed them.  THEY WILL NOT RETURN TO THE LAND OF EGYPT (Hosea 11:3-5 parts, emphasis mine).”  It is also noted that the burden was upon their shoulder and their hands tended to baskets.  Shoulders are made for government, to center the load or weight of something across the entire person (especially with a yoke that situates across both shoulders and might very well have been how they lifted brick and mortar in two offsetting and hanging buckets); we must learn that the government is really upon Christ’s shoulders, and how His yoke is easy and His burden is light.  Hands being freed from baskets are similar to unburdening shoulders from harnesses; what free hands might do is able to be done without large conveyances.  So, no more slavery, or working for someone else’s profit or good without proper enumeration.
You called in distress and I delivered you; I answered you in the secret place of thunder; I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]! 
Having paused and calmly thought about it, the secret place of thunder could mean various things and might have referred to two possible events of which speak of God thundering.  According to Matthew Henry, this secret place of thunder was either the pillar of fire through which God looked down upon the Egyptians that dared to pursue Israel into the Red Sea, or it was from atop Mount Sinai where the law was given and the threat of death spoken to any that might break through the thick darkness to gaze upon God.  Thunder represents the voice of God; Syrian kings took monikers that suggested they too thundered like the most high.  I am reminded of a line in Wm. Cowper’s poem, Light Shining Out of Darkness: “Behind a frowning providence, He hides a smiling face.”  Herein this line is the key to understanding “the secret place of thunder;” we are temporarily a compound being –an affirmed new creation inner man clothed in a condemned old creation outer man –thus we are rightly affrighted by the booming and wrath filled voice on the outside, yet we are calmed by a graceful and peaceful still small voice –whose import rings louder than thunder –on the inside.  Thus, His SECRET is with those who fear Him; they alone interpret the sound of thunder, converting its trembling and fearful exterior elements into an interior calmness, trust and faith.  Indeed, His voice is always a test, and at Meribah, which has several meanings, God weighs our hearts in measure of discernment and obedience.  One meaning, “waters of contradiction” seems the most illuminating; other meanings, “waters of strife” or “chiding” only speak of different voices with different opinions, but the essence is this lack of unity or “contradiction.”  In other words, the chiding or strife simply arises out of voicing contradictory viewpoints.  God tests us here; His sheep hear His voice –will we?  His sheep parses the chatter and identifies His true voice from so much bleating.  Like as God tested Gideon’s army, incrementally whittling away those called but not chosen, so He is ever testing the mettle of His people, skimming away the dross of unbelief and removing the chaff of self reliance; this is done in the caldron of contradicting interpretations, ideologies and theologies.  We need to not be foolish but KNOW what the will of the Lord is; too many voices cause confusion and freezes initiative.  We must KNOW His voice!  He is always the source, but His voice is expressed from the lips of the saved and unsaved alike, learned and ignorant, young and old; even all of creation is telling of the Glory of God –so we are without excuse.  It is our responsibility alone to have ears to hear and eyes to see; a preconditioning and predisposition toward truth has already been implanted within every human heart.  Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end (Ecclesiastes , NLT).”  If we walk in the light as He is in the light we have fellowship one with another; simplicity of devotion to Christ alone clarifies the waters and tames their uproaring waves.
Hear, O My people, and I will admonish you--O Israel, if you would listen to Me!  There shall no strange god be among you, neither shall you worship any alien god.  I am the Lord your God, Who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide and I will fill it. 

Once again we see an admonishing element leveled against His people in general and a cry for a listening ear to Israel specifically.  It is a forgone conclusion that His people (children) are to be admonished; Israel (adults), however, is simply implored to listen.  As law proceeds grace so immaturity proceeds maturity; the schoolmaster that brings us to Christ is a governmental transfer from the shoulders of flesh onto the shoulders of spirit.  But alas, and indeed, not all are of Israel; as Paul would later say: “Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel (Romans 9:6).”  The reaffirmation of the first parts of the Ten Commandments is clearly seen here, and sadly, it indicates the need to lay “again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God (Hebrews 6:1, partial).”  This first part of the Ten Commandments is almost the preamble; it sets down the foundation for all the other commandments that follow.  Exodus 20: 2-6 says: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.  You shall have no other gods before Me.  You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.  You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.”  Now the mouth herein mentioned is the place where are breathing, eating, drinking and talking occur; the preeminent portal of our visage and an expression of the timbre of our being.  It is our voice and words that most reveal to others exactly who we are.  The pleasure He has in His right hand is the food we need and desire; the flesh and blood of Christ are worth stretching our mouths wide enough to receive.  How slow we are to realize that we live and move and have our being only in Him; you sustain all life.  “These all wait and are dependent upon You, that You may give them their food in due season.  When You give it to them, they gather it up; You open Your hand, and they are filled with good things.  When You hide Your face, they are troubled and dismayed; when You take away their breath, they die and return to their dust (Psalm 104:27-29).”  Of course, way beyond the natural food we must have the eternal sustenance.  Times of refreshing must come from the presence of the Lord; Job used to minister to others as an ambassador of Christ when he spoke thus: “After my words they spake not again; and my speech dropped upon them.  And they waited for me as for the rain; and they opened their mouth wide as for the latter rain (Job 29:22-23).”  It requires hunger and thirst to desire to be fed and quenched; if we have tasted the Lord and seen that He is good, we will continuously desire to taste and eat of Him.  If we do not, it might very well be that we have substituted idols and images for God and His presence.

But My people would not hearken to My voice, and Israel would have none of Me.  So I gave them up to their own hearts' lust and let them go after their own stubborn will, that they might follow their own counsels.
The levels in which His people avoid obeying Him is again seen in the above text; His people do not hearken, or obey His voice, but Israel will have none of Him, which seems to go further.  To have none of Him suggests a lack of intercourse and intimacy that goes beyond words; a child may disobey parental authority and somewhat –only temporarily –breach intimacy, but an adult may be unfaithful to his spouse and irredeemably breach it.  When one repels another, the constraints of love nearly impel us to do more than plead, but wisdom dictates that all is lost along these lines.  If a lover will not come to us voluntarily than neither will  coercion accomplish our desire; and really, the nature of love leaves no recourse but to let the object of our affection go their own way. The Lord loves His people, and, of course, must even originate His people’s reciprocal love; nevertheless, when there is no reciprocity there is no intimacy, no courting and no marriage.  Those that do not return the love of God forsake their own mercy and end up making their own single bed.  They have cut off the very source of life; because God is love, to refuse love from Him is to refuse any and all expressions of Him. We were designed in relationship to Him; when we refuse Him we are but a shell or shadow of our original design.  We are designed to have life, and that more abundantly; “But the rebellious dwell in a dry land (Psalm 68:6).”  God is all vista and we are all void; He is 100% right and we are 100% wrong.  Stubbornness and rebellion are likened to witchcraft because all we can conjure up without God is death; to follow our own counsels is to go down a slippery slope that empties into the bottomless pit.  Oh, may we never be on our own, having only a darkened and futile mind to counsel with!
Oh, that My people would listen to Me, that Israel would walk in My ways! Speedily then I would subdue their enemies and turn My hand against their adversaries.  [Had Israel listened to Me in Egypt, then] those who hated the Lord would have come cringing before Him, and their defeat would have lasted forever. 
The Lord longs that we not only hear His voice, but that we obey His words and His person; to walk in His ways is to walk not only in the exactness of command and its seemingly tyrannical demand, but in His disposition or attitude.  The Lord is a God of first and forever sentiments; all His dealings with us originate from an absolute orientation.  What you thought of God when He first broke in upon you is the basis of all future dealings with Him.  When He pleads with those in Revelation to return to their first love He pleads from its absolute nature and its requisite demand; we always regress when we come off the center of this sure initial love.  Our understanding may enlarge and even our appreciation for all that God is might increase (and ought to) just as our capacity to express love might also increase.  But the essential material of the love of God is God Himself and therefore it never increases because it is of a solid eternally inhabited whole.  Sealing His people’s fate with bonds of love is also a sealing of our enemies’ fate with bonds of wrath.  The idea of a slow displacement of our enemies in the Promised Land might not have been necessary if we had learned our lessons in the wilderness; and if we had been more responsive to God initially (in the land of Egypt) the wilderness experience might also have been unnecessary.  For us to forever defeat our enemies we must forever win our love for Him; obeying His commandments is the only evidence to prove we love Him.  God is not divided and He walks in complete and perpetual victory; we are one with Him in spirit, and ought to be in soul and flesh.  We must cease deviating in our minds and stop indulging our flesh if we are to remain a house undivided; if not, we are the divided house and must come crashing down (fall).  It is time to agree with God and to remain erect upon the solid rock foundation that is Christ.      
[God] would feed [Israel now] also with the finest of the wheat; and with honey out of the rock would I satisfy you. 
The finest of the wheat is the finest of humanity; for our spiritual stock to feed upon this is to be redeemed.  To be given back our lives as booty is the promise given to all that lose their lives for His name’s sake.  To actually become what God originally made us to be is the greatest expression of praise and adoration we can give our Maker.  It is the very essence of humility to remain –not groveling or elevated above others –but within the outline or parameters made for our unique expression alone.  When Satan told Jesus that he desired to sift Peter as wheat, he was questioning Peter’s motive; his contention that Peter was not real (made of pure wheat) was an astute observation that might have proven true if it were not for the Lord’s  prayers on Peter’s behalf.  How aligned are we with the accuser of the brethren when we base accusations against others solely upon our own truncated and spotty vision?  Feebleness and fragility is the human condition and chaff is the depth of our vision.  Our Lord read hearts perfectly because of perfect sight, and He judged no one; we are so often blind to even our own heart, yet we judge many with hardly a whit of evidence.  The finest of the wheat is about the spirits of just men made perfect; all the roughage of the wheat has fully purged their earthly bowels.  The Lord’s threshing floor lies dormant because He has finished His work in these sons of His.  Being purified, they receive more than the essential water out of a rock.  Having ate all of the lamb, with the bitter herbs and unleavened bread, the purified saint now begins to feast upon Christ with the sugary delight of honey and the loaves of heavily glutinous wheat bread.  Having endured the onslaught of the cross, he now is granted some reprieve, and can now walk in the fire as a purified immortal.  The bitterness is gone; sweetness has returned.  Now he rejoices in every fire, and the trials and tribulations cease to move him; sorrows evaporate under the brilliant glare of joy that he now sees and begins to feed upon
Honey means revelation and it glistens the eye; new life is breathed into endurance as the end from the beginning is realized.  The Rock is the root of every sweet flower and to enjoy the fullness of Christ we must be cross-pollinated.  Just as many stings might occur in pursuit of pure honey, so we must endure much stinging to obtain the sweetest revelation.  We must become a city compact together; if war is needed to bring peace, if flesh must be rebuked to reach spirit, then we must be willing to pay the price to place our  unity on spiritual ground.  We can no longer pray and seek God with all our hearts and then shove aside the answers because we do not like the vessels used or the methods employed.  It takes the pollen of a thousand flowers to make a cup of honey, and it will take many unified Christians to clarify our mind and individual purpose.  We see and know in part; the more that become one, however, the larger our one is, and the greater our part or portion grows.  It takes courage and purpose to delve deeply into life with others; the deeper we penetrate into our brother or sister, the more real we become with each other, the more stings we will encounter.  Our flesh and theirs will object to such intrusion; nevertheless, if we are to sweeten our lives and others we must deal with each other at a stamen level.  A stamen is the pollen-producing reproductive organ of a flower; we must have intimacy at a reproductive level if we are to see new births and have spiritual children to nurture and teach. 
It is exactly like Christ to be identified with a common rock because it is just like Him to extract the extraordinary from the ordinary; likewise, He desires to manifest Himself in our natural bodies (wheat) having pressed through our souls as a revelatory expression (honey).  In other words, if others are to taste and see that the Lord is good (and that through us) let us become a delicious and nutritious loaf of honey wheat bread to a starving populous.