Wednesday, October 25, 2006

It's Not of Your Own Strength

What is TRUE worship? What is TRUE ministry? God has been speaking over and over again to His people about these very issues. Somewhere in our thinking, somewhere in our obsession with “having church,” we have lost focus.

God dealt with me first about Joy, but then about the Body of Christ collectively. I spend a great deal of my prayer time interceding on behalf of God’s people and asking the Father to reveal things to me that will help us please Him more. I have noticed for a while that many are getting tired and weary in their well-doing. Some are even on the verge of quitting, wondering if ministry is really worth the price. Many are struggling with one thing or another, feeling as if God has forsaken them in the midst of their assignment. Even I have felt heavy and tired, almost depressed at times, so I had to ask God – what is going on? What are we doing wrong?

God said His people still don’t understand true worship and true ministry. He said we are still trying to do too much in our own strength. He reminded me that the flesh is weakened in His presence. So when we try to minister to the Father, but use natural means to do it, we become exhausted.

A few weeks ago, the Lord spoke a word and said His people enter into worship too haphazardly. In other words, we often seek His face without weighing the cost. We want to sit in God’s presence, but we’re not willing to die completely to flesh. There is a misconception in the Body of Christ that if we are doing “good works,” we are not operating in the flesh. Herein is where the problem lies. Those of us who operate in ministry must be submitted to our SPIRITUAL assignments. We often submit and stay in God’s face for a season. Yet, somewhere in our service, many of us decide to do things our way. We begin to get concerned about our own reputations and our own agendas. At that point, ministry becomes WORK rather than IDENTITY. God wants us to walk in Spiritual Identity rather than labor. Hallelujah! I am an African-American female. Because of that, there are certain facets of life that may be different than others, yet I walk in my identity. I simply am who I am. Should I decide one day that I will be more successful in life as a Caucasian male, WORK will be required in order to operate in that facet. Too many of us are tired, because we are involved in unnecessary tasks rather than following our assignment. When in spiritual obedience, our steps are already ordered by the Father. In TRUE ministry, there is no room for flesh. TRUE ministry cannot be done in your own strength!

1 Chr 13:5 So David gathered all Israel together, from the Shihor, the brook of Egypt [that marked the southeast border of Palestine], to the entrance of Hemath, to bring the ark of God from Kiriath-jearim.
1 Chr 13:6 And David and all Israel went up to Baalah, that is, to Kiriath-jearim which belonged to Judah, to bring up from there the ark of God the Lord, which is called by the name of Him Who sits [enthroned] above the cherubim.
1 Chr 13:7 And they carried the ark of God on a new cart and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, and Uzza and Ahio [his brother] drove the cart.
1 Chr 13:8 And David and all Israel merrily celebrated before God with all their might, with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and cymbals and trumpets.
1 Chr 13:9 And when they came to the threshing floor of Chidon, Uzza put out his hand to steady the ark, for the oxen [that were drawing the cart] stumbled {and} were restive.
1 Chr 13:10 And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzza, and He smote him because he touched the ark; and there he died before God.

The Lord revealed something significant to me about this passage of Scripture. After David consulted with the leaders and decided the Ark of the Covenant should be returned to God’s people, the ENTIRE CHURCH took part in handling God’s presence. In essence, this was the first mistake, and David learned from it, as we’ll see in subsequent Scriptures. Many times, we feel like the entire church congregation is entitled to enter God’s presence and prepare the sacrifice of worship…NOT SO! Not everyone has the ability to touch the Father and stand in His presence. He has a select few who are ordained to minister unto Him.

Often in ministry, we even assume that because someone has a title or ministry that they also minister to God. Even this is a misconception. God even showed me there is a difference between the Five-Fold/Ascension gifts/offices and the Levitical anointing. Those in the Five-Fold ministry (Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers) are gifted and called by God TO THE CHURCH. They operate in the gifts and callings for the purpose of edifying the Body of Christ and bringing the PEOPLE into the knowledge of Jesus Christ. However, not all who are called to these purposes are also called into the priesthood. The priests of God have a special assignment, often atop of a Five-Fold office, ordaining them to minister directly to the Father. Yes, there is a separation between ministry to people (the flesh) and ministry to the Father (in Spirit and in Truth) the Many are called, but FEW are chosen!

There is a separation between those who are equipped to enter God’s presence and those who are not. In the Scripture, I noticed that the events took place on the THRESHING FLOOR. Yes, the place where the wheat and the chaff are separated!

Now, back to Uzza… First, understand that the name “Uzza” means “strength.” As the place of separation (the threshing floor), God’s presence (the Ark of the Covenant) looked and seemed as if it was in jeopardy – as if it may be lost. So the man of God used his own strength (Uzza) to try and steady or constrain the presence of God! Too often we rely on gifts and abilities, intellect, knowledge and even entertainment to try and rescue God’s presence. The Father is saying this is not the way. FLESH MUST DIE WHEN IT TOUCHES HIM, hence the death of Uzza. He had gifts, but lacked the spiritual assignment of the Levites. So by attempting to touch God in his flesh, he brought about his own death.

1 Chr 13:12 And David was afraid of God that day, and he said, How can I bring the ark of God home to me?
1 Chr 13:13 So David did not bring the ark home to the City of David, but carried it aside into the house of Obed-edom the Gittite [a Levitical porter born in Gath-rimmon].
1 Chr 13:14 And the ark of God remained with the family of Obed-edom in his house three months. And the Lord blessed the house of Obed-edom and all that he had.

The Word of God says that David was afraid after this incident, and decided he would not attempt to constrain God’s presence. So, he sent the Ark to Obed-Edom. This house was blessed by God’s presence for two reasons. 1 – This was a place of Levitical ordination. This man was ordained to minister in the presence of the Father. 2 – “Obed” means “service and worship.” Need I say more?

1 Chr 15:2 Then David said, None should carry the ark of God but the Levites, for the Lord chose them to carry the ark of God and to minister to Him forever.

Now, David gets a revelation. He understands the Levitical call, and decides to follow God’s way rather than the plan of the people.

The Lord has shown me the massive amounts of blood that are on the hands of the church. We have literally ushered people into their own demise. How so? We tell them they can bring anything as an offering unto our Father. We allow anyone to attempt to bring in God’s presence. We put gifts before holiness. As my Pastor has stated before, we honor gifts more than the fruit. We tell people they can approach the Father just as they are. We have lied to so many. Now, the Body thinks that flesh can live in God’s presence.

It’s not of your own strength!

1 Chr 15:11 And David called for Zadok and Abiathar the priests, and for the Levites--Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel, and Amminadab,
1 Chr 15:12 And said to them, You are the heads of the fathers' houses of the Levites; sanctify yourselves, both you and your brethren, that you may bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel, to the place that I have prepared for it.
1 Chr 15:13 For because you bore it not [as God directed] at the first, the Lord our God broke forth upon us--because we did not seek Him in the way He ordained.
1 Chr 15:14 So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel.
1 Chr 15:15 The Levites carried the ark of God on their shoulders with the poles, as Moses commanded by the word of the Lord.

1 Chr 15:16 David told the chief Levites to appoint their brethren the singers with instruments of music--harps, lyres, and cymbals--to play loudly and lift up their voices with joy.

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