Monday, 20 May 2013

Dear Pilgrim, do you need cleansing?

Dear Pilgrim, is it the cry of your heart to know Him better? To enjoy a greater fullness of all that is offered through the gospel message? Then allow me to take you to the tabernacle in the dusty desert, the tabernacle that was outlined with great care and in great detail by Yahweh to Moses from the mountain top, the sanctuary in which the Lord would dwell among His people.

Look at the courtyard before us – with linen curtains surrounding it. White linen – symbolizing the purity of the place in which God would dwell. Come with me through the one entrance into the courtyard, that one entrance that speaks of the only way of salvation in His Name, the Name of Jesus Christ, for there is no other Name by which man might be saved. Note the colours of the curtains in the entrance – blue, purple, scarlet – pointing to the Divine King who gave Himself as a Sacrifice.

Do you see the brazen altar? There are many people here, all bringing their sin offerings to the priests to be sacrificed before the Lord, that they might receive forgiveness for their sins. See the grate in the altar, where the fierce fire from the Lord burns up the sacrifice. Bronze – this withstood the fiery judgment and wrath of the Lord when the rebels brought their own incense before the Lord. Oh, Pilgrim, kneel with me and see how this bronze altar points to Him and the sacrifice that would give us the forgiveness we need for our sins. And note that there is no seat next to this altar, for the priests had to stand continually, endlessly repeating the sacrifices - as the blood from the animals could never take away sins. Take comfort, precious Pilgrim, in the knowledge that the Lamb of God sacrificed Himself for our sins once and for all, and He is now seated at the right hand of God. What a Saviour!

But dear Pilgrim, I urge you, not to keep your eyes cast down by the altar. For our God took a great deal of care in outlining the plans for the tabernacle to Moses on the mountain. The tabernacle is not limited to the bronze altar of sacrifice. Lift up your eyes! Do you see – the laver?

Oh Pilgrim, come, walk with me to the laver. These are precious steps we are taking. For when the pattern was given to Moses, it was only the priests who could walk to the laver. The Israelites could go no further than the altar. But the great truth of the Sacrifice our Lord made for us is that now, He has made us all priests. Can I share with you a sorrow of my heart, Pilgrim….for so many years, I remained at the sacrificial altar, eyes cast down, not realising I was free to walk further into the tabernacle. But now He has lifted my eyes, and the laver….

For walking this Pilgrim path, it is dirty, it is dusty, and despite our best efforts our feet get dirty. We are clean, for we have come past the bronze altar, we have accepted His sacrifice, our guilty consciences have been cleansed and we have been given life that we might know Him. Yet we still get dirty. Oh, Pilgrim, come to the laver with me. Be cleansed!

I see you are doing as I have tried so long, my friend. You are trying to cleanse yourself with the water from the laver. It seems the right thing to do, doesn’t it? Yet His ways are higher than our ways, His thoughts higher than our thoughts. Look – here comes One to clean your feet. Pilgrim, I understand the look of horror in your eyes as you realise Who this is, that has been my reaction. “Lord, are You going to wash my feet?...You shall never wash my feet!” Is it not enough that He had to sacrifice Himself on that cross and bear the wrath against sin in our place? Does He now have to come and bend down at our feet, our feet that need to be cleansed, take hold of them, wash them, dry them? This is not how it should be – we should be the ones to bow down at His feet. How can we let Him do this, the King of Kings?

Oh dear Pilgrim, allow yourself to be broken yet deeper still. Broken in recognition of the fact that we can do nothing to cleanse ourselves of our dirt, broken from any remaining vestiges of pride, broken in recognition of the fact that the Servant King is the only One who can cleanse us, that He desires to do this for us, that it is His joy – and gratefully receive, Pilgrim! Take to heart His words “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me”.  We are IN Him, through the sacrifice at the altar – to be WITH Him, to enjoy a greater fullness in our walk with Him, let Him wash us clean. Let us run to Him when our feet have become dirty, just as Peter did when He saw the risen Lord - and was restored in his spirit through an intimate time of fellowship.

And after He has washed your feet clean - fall at His feet and wash them with your tears of worship.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Dear Pilgrim, are you feeling burdened?

He who overcomes,
I will make him
in the temple 

of My God
Rev 3:12

Dear Pilgrim, are you feeling weighed down and burdened? Come with me, I have something to show you that will lift your spirits, lighten your heart, fill you with hope.

Come with me to Solomon’s Temple. Majestic! Awesome! Bow down and worship!

Everything about this Temple points us to our Messiah, from the bronze altar and bronze sea in the outer courtyard pointing to the sacrifices of Messiah’s blood and our need for washing clean in Him before we can enter into the Temple to meet with the Presence of the Living God, to all the golden furnishings of the temple inside.

But, dear Pilgrim, I want us to stand in the outer courtyard and look at the pillars standing at each side of the portico of the temple. One of these pillars is called “Jakin”. This means “He establishes”. The other pillar is called “Boaz” – by His strength. Dear pilgrim, can you see – He will establish these pillars in the temple by His strength. He is building His church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it!

Come with me, dear Pilgrim, let us go and walk up to these pillars. Can you lift your head with me and look to the top? Can you see what is on top of the pillars? These are called capitals. Do you see they are in the shape of lilies? This reminds me of the Song of Solomon where the chosen is called a “lily of the valleys”, a lily among thorns. The bridegroom has come and taken this precious lily from the depth of the valley and where has He placed her? Right at the very peak of the pillars adorning His temple! She has made her Aliyah! Pliny has written of the lily ““No flower grows taller; sometimes it reaches three cubits, its neck always drooping under the weight of a head too heavy for it”. It is true – the lily does bow down her head for she knows she has been chosen among thorns, she knows she is what she is all through the grace of God, she knows that she has been established by His strength alone, she sees that she has been lifted up, and she can do nothing but bow down in awed wonder and worship in the presence of the Living God!

Can you also see the decoration of pomegranates around the capital? Such a delicate design, in rows upon rows. An orchard of pomegranates! Can you hear the bridegroom’s voice? Listen! “Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates with pleasant fruits”. The fruit that He has caused to bear in you is an orchard of pomegranates, and this adorns the lily-shaped capital at the very peak of the pillar in His temple!

One final thought, dear Pilgrim. The capital on the pillar is usually there to mediate between the column of the pillar and the load thrusting down upon it, for normally the pillars would be supporting a heavy roof. These capitals have no load bearing down upon them. For He says to us “My yoke is easy and my burden is light”. Oh, dear Pilgrim, as you bow down your head before your God, lift it up in the freedom He has given you! Just as the gates should lift up their heads that the King of Glory should come in, so you too, precious lily, lift up your head, lift up your head – and the King of glory shall come in! Who is this King of Glory? Yahweh Sabaoth, the LORD of hosts, He is the King of Glory!