They saw God

road-348544_640Exodus 24:11: And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.

To see God is what it means to be enlightenment. The only path of self-discovery is God discovery, because being in pursuit of God causes us to realise our full potential.

In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve not only related to God but saw him (Genesis 3). God spoke to Adam about his place, his role in the pristine Garden. They were to maintain an order in creation, and to the limit that they saw God, that order will be maintained. They were meant to be representatives of God, and to the limit that they are in alignment with him, they bear his image and get to rule on earth.

The disciples saw God and did not know it when Jesus walked the earth (John 14:8-11). At the end of that time, Philips told Jesus: show us the father, and that is enough for us.

Jesus was sad, and said: “you have been with me all these while and you still ask to see the father!? Do you not know that if you see me you have seen the father?”

Jesus walked on the earth as God in the flesh (John 1:14, 17). But that thought is too lofty for mere man to consider, because that (the incarnation) was a creative act without precedent on the earth.

Because of the uniqueness of his birth, Jesus qualified to be a high priest in the order of Melchizedek. Having no father or mother, no beginning of days or end of life, he stands as a priest forever, in an unending mandate (Hebrews 7). That is why he is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through him.

John did not mince words when introducing Jesus, declaring that he is God the word (John 1:1-5), who was in the beginning with God through whom everything was created.

But for the purpose of making salvation available or everyman, he took on the form of flesh, God the Word became flesh and dwelled among us, talking on our form so that in salvation we can take on his form; condescending to us so that we can ascend to him; manifesting as us so that we can manifest as him; changed into us so that we can change into him.

By the same spiritual portal through which he was delivered to the earth as Son of Man, we were delivered to heaven as Sons of God. He became poor so that we might become rich (2Corinthians 8:9), he became limited so that we can become unlimited, he came to the earth not only so that we can see God, but so that we can manifest his essence to others. Principalities and powers, angels get to see God in us, they gain a new perspective of God. It is written: the church displays to the principalities and powers the manifold wisdom of God (Ephesians 3:10). They get to see different lights of God through us. They get lectured about God through us.

He created man and put him in the Garden of Eden so that he can bear the image of God, manifest his essence. The ultimate expression of the work of salvation is for people to see Jesus in us, as we are changed into who he is (Ephesians 4).

Jesus lived his life seeing God. That was the key to his success because seeing God is linked to getting direction from him (John 5:19). When Moses saw God in the burning bush it was time for him to be the deliverer he was born to be (Exodus 3). When Jesus saw the Holy Spirit descending on him after he was baptised by immersion by John, it was the beginning of a new day for him (Luke 3:21-23).

Paul saw Jesus in a revelation (Acts 9), while he was on the way to Damascus. Before then he pursued a different vision for his life. He thought he was doing the right thing, but when he saw a bright light and heard the voice of Jesus, he submitted to the Lordship of Jesus, realising the errors of his ways. His direction changed.

Seeing God causes us to go in the right direction. We are told to summit ourselves under the mighty hand of God, and in due season he will lift us up (1Peter 5:6). Going up is the right direction. Submitting to him is about obedience. It is about being changed from glory to glory as we behold the Lord. It is about liberty in his presence, and it is about reflecting his light, conveying his power.

Habakkuk wanted to take time out and see God because he felt that the conclusion he came to about the situation around him needed to change. So he said: I will stand upon my watch to see what God will say to me (Habakkuk 2:1), and his life was changed after that. To see God therefore is to have a life-changing encounter with him.

When Job saw God he knew that his previous experiences of him was just by the hearing of the ears. We need to have such an evolving experience of God, in which we see him, more and more, drawing closer to him as he draws closer to us (James 4:8).

To see God is to experience him for who he is. And real change comes when we see God, being the ultimate aim of prayer. Prayer should not just be about getting things from him. When we see him, his image becomes more and more manifest in our lives.

To look at God means to have expectation of him. The bible says of some people, they looked unto him (God) and their face was enlightened and they were not put to shame (Psalm 34:5). Blind Bartimaeus though without physical eyes saw spiritually (Mark 10:46-52). He saw Jesus as the solution to his blindness and shouted at the top of his voice: Jesus son of David have mercy on me.

It was obvious that He saw Jesus with the eyes of faith because when he met Jesus and he asked him: what do you want, and he said to be able to see, Jesus said: let it be to you according to your faith.

The woman with the issue of blood also saw Jesus with the eyes of faith (Luke 8:43-48). She said in her heart long before he met Jesus that she will be healed when she touches the helm of his garment, and that was what happened. She touched Jesus, having seen him in her heart as healer and she was healed. Jesus equally told her: your faith has made you whole.

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The enemy’s plan

us-army-379036_640Exodus 15:9: The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil, my desire shall have its fill of them. I will draw my sword; my hand shall destroy them.’

The bible says that when the enemy shall come like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will raise up a standard against him (Isaiah 59:19).

The focus verse says three things which capture the direction of the enemy:

I will pursue

The devil pursued Jesus to the wilderness tempting him (Luke 4:1-13). He was not going to leave him alone to ravage his kingdom in whatever way he wants.

The devil is still the tempter, still in the business of tempting, and he is not retiring anytime soon. He comes with different suggestions. The devil pursued Eve with temptation, and she was eventually captured in the web of sin (Genesis 3).

If the devil has any vision at all, it is to entrap us in sin. He creates tempting situation around us. The persecution he sends our way is to tempt us away from allegiance to Christ, because he wants our allegiance of himself. If our allegiance is not to Jesus, then it is to the devil, no matter who/what he is manifesting through to capture our allegiance away from Christ.

The words of the focus verse were the songs of Moses revealing what was in the mind of the army of Egypt as they pursued the Israelites as they walked free from Egypt. They could not think of a life in which they will not have their slaves. And so they decided they’ll rather die than lose their slaves. Similarly, the devil will rather go to hell than not have people subservient to him.

The ultimate enemy (Satan) “feeds” on those who serve/worship him, through which human beings give him power, make his lord, give him authority. But when we submit to Jesus, we transfer the right to have authority over us to Jesus from the devil.

The devil pursues to the end. The enemy is not the enemy if he does not have anyone to oppress, he is not the adversary if he is not tramping on people.

Peter said that the enemy roars like lion looking for whom to devour (1Peter 5:8). He is called the devourer, the enemy, Jesus said, has come to steal kill and destroy (John 10:10). The bible says the devil has wiles (Ephesians 6:11), schemes, he is the harbinger of hate, having a lot of fury.

There was war in heaven and the Michael and his angel fought with the devil and his angel (Revelation 12:7-12), and was beaten to the earth having great fury because his time was short.

He is out to trap people in more and more bondage using the fear of death (Hebrews 2:14-15). But Jesus has come that we might live in abundance, that we might move above the principalities and power, embodied with his power, and his name, shining with his light, expressing his glory.

While Jesus went about healing those who are oppressed of the devil (Acts 10:38), the devil stands as opposer to everything good. But with the name of Jesus we get to set people free from the bondage in which he puts them.

Since he is darkness the bible says that we have been translated from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light, the kingdom of Jesus (Colossians 1:13). We are no longer alone but greater is he who is in us than he who is in the world (1John 4:4, 5:4). We have authority to trample upon snakes and scorpion (Luke 10:19).

I will overtake

Overtaking means to take over. The devil does not just want to steal but he wants to kill and destroy. The devil does not just want a foothold he wants ten miles. He does not just want to deceive, he wants to control. The enemy said: I will pursue (talking about his effort) I will overtake (talking about his intention) I will divide the spoil (the endpoint).

Paul said if we are ignorant of the devices of the devil, he will take advantage of us, overtake us (2Corinthians 2:11).  We have need for wisdom for us to be able to stay above the wave of Satan’s intention.

When we walk in the light, we are able to overcome darkness. When we walk in the truth we are able to overcome the enemy whose forte is deception. Without the tool of deception, the enemy cannot do anything, without the gates of lies, there is no gate of hell, and the devil cannot keep us imprisoned. When the door of deception is closed, the door to the devil is closed. And change and freedom come when we come into the light when we come into truth.

I will divide the spoil

Just as God has a kingdom, and he wants to divide different inheritances to his children (Acts 20:32), the devil, who at best attempts to be a copycat, does something similar.

When the devil became the god of this world (2Corinthians 4:4) he divided it among his demonic forces.  Hence there were the prince of the Persia and the prince of Greece (Daniel 10:20). There are principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world and spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:10-12). These all give personality to the darkened influence in the world.

“Divide the spoil” is also a statement about the plan to maintain what has been gained. So also we need to have plans to maintain the territories that we have gotten through the preaching of the kingdom of God.

Jesus is the model. After the work he did on the earth, he did not just wish his followers the best, but he gave them an instruction, on how to divide the spoil.

He said that they should make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20). Through the process of discipleship, they maintain and expand the territory. It is true the saying that if we are not moving forward, we are moving backwards. We not only help those who believe to grow but also help them to grow others.

That was what Paul told timothy. He said: the things you have heard from me, commit to faithful men who will also be teach others also. It is a chain reaction caused by the process and principle of discipleship (2Timothy 2:2).

The devil also have his own kind of discipleship. His own mentorship programme.

He extends his influence, multiplied it, by messing up the family. That was what he did in the first few chapters of the bible. He was after the family, because, he thought, if he messed up the parents, the children are all but guaranteed to be messed up, at least at the beginning.

In the same way God set the family as his discipleship platform, he said of Abraham I know him, which he will instruct his children to continue in my word (Genesis 18:19). And in the establishment of the nation of Israel, God said that the older ones should teach the younger to learn and do the word (Deuteronomy 32:46). And the church should also be a family and in that context, discipleship goes on.

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God and the prophet

parrot-4078_640Exodus 7:1: And the LORD said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet.

The bible says that the Lord does nothing expect he reveal it to his servants the prophets (Amos 3:7). The prophet is God’s spokesman and what they declare on earth is already declared in heaven. It is in that light that we should understand what Paul said that everyone should desire to prophesy (1Corinthians 14:1-4).

Prophecy is speaking the mind of God for up building, encouragement and consolation.

Up building

God told Jeremiah that he has put a word in his mouth, to build up (Jeremiah 1:1-10). People do not normally associate prophetic words to the process of building up, but what really gets build up is your understanding. That is why Paul said that in understanding we should be men but in malice novice (1Corinthians 14:20).

The word declared also serves as the raw material (the building block) for the reality we see. In the making of the earth, God said let there be light (and other declaration) (Genesis 1:1-3). That was a prophetic word.

Before the advent of Jesus, there was the prophetic ministry of John which prepared for his coming, and part of the work he did was to build up the expectation of the people (John 1:24, Isaiah 40:3-5). Therefore the prophetic serves a faith building mechanism. When the mind of God is revealed, it implant a building block of faith (spiritual expectation) in our hearts.

Sometimes, before there is a building up there has to be a breaking down of what is wrongly built. God sent a prophet to Israel, to its idolatrous king Jeroboam, to declare that the altar he made for a god he created from his own imagination will break into two and the ashes will spill to the floor (1Kings 13:1-5). That word was to break down what is false. Within seconds that word came to pass and God was glorified. That prophet also build up the future by speaking of a coming king that will establish righteousness.

When God wanted to use Gideon mightily an angel gave him an instruction to pull down the altar to Baal in his father’s house, before the power of God can be released through him to deliver Israel from oppression, which is a building up (Judges 6).

When talking about the deliverance of the children of Israel from Egypt the bible says that by a prophet Israel was set free, and by a prophet Israel was established (Hosea 12:13). The establishment, building up came after the setting free, which is like the breaking down. God used Moses who described himself as a prophet (Deuteronomy 18:15), to tear off the hold of Egypt on the Israel, by declaring words of deliverance.

Jesus is also described as a prophet (Acts 3:22-23), and he said that he will build his church and the gates of hell will never prevail against it (Matthew 16:11). He pulls us from the world to establish us (a breaking down), to build us up in his kingdom.

The prophetic word is to build you up in faith in understanding and also in mission. When the Holy Spirit spoke to the leadership of the church in Antioch that they should release Paul and Barnabas for the task they needed to do (Acts 13:1-3), it was the birthing of a new mission on the earth to glorify Jesus and establish the kingdom in far places. It was a mission to build us the kingdom of God.

Encouragement

This is the divine word to get us doing the right thing. That was the word which came to Zerubbabel to give him encouragement in the work of building the temple (Ezra 5:1-2). When they have the divine word they could forge ahead, and not look back, in pursuit of the mandate of God. With a look into the mind of God, they could be assured of his backing and therefore will not allow anything to deter them.

The town David was staying was ransacked by a marauding military men carted away their children and wife and burned everything down (1Samuel 30). But when David sought the word of God, he was encouraged to pursue the enemy assured that he will have victory. And that was what happened. His effort was fuelled by the word of God, encouraging him on. It seemed bleak, but rather than yield to the negative emotion, as a result of a recent loss. It was easy for the situation to overwhelm David, but with the green light from God, he moved forward confidently and recovered all that was lost and much more.

Consolation

The prophetic word of comfort gives the word of a better future. God spoke to Isaiah: comfort my people, speak comfortably to Israel that are warfare is ended and she shall have double for her sin, everything that has gone wrong (Isaiah 40:1-2). That means if her sorrows could be measured on a scale, the joy she will later experience will be double that. The word coming expressed the divine intension for a change of situation.

Three kings leading their armies got into trouble, where there was no water for them to drink and they were on the verge of being defeated, came to Prophet Elisha, who told them by the word of the Lord that they would dig ditches which would be supernaturally filled with water (2Kings 3:5-24). And what was supposed to be the end, was not. They gained a resounding victory by the word of the Lord.

A town came to Elisha Jericho to say that their water is bitter (2Kings 2:18-22). He said they should bring a bowl of salt which he poured in the source of the water, and the water was healed. They had consolation they had comfort, a reversal of fortune by the prophetic word.

Conclusion

With the prophetic word we gain a new perspective. There is nothing better than gaining the divine perspective, and the ultimate perspective is that of love. The bible says that if I have the gift of prophecy but have no love, I am nothing (1Corinthians 13). Love is the higher way and the prophet when he stands in the counsel of God gain his perspective and more accurately represent his heart.

A prophet is not to proclaim his own words. Thus God told Jeremiah: I have put my words in your mouth. Jeremiah will later write that the words of God are like fire shut up in his bones (Jeremiah 20:9). The word moved him to say things that he would not have thought of himself. He bore the heavenly words.

The people of God are supposed to be prophetic people. That was the desire of Moses in the wilderness (Numbers 11:29). Therefore he said to Joshua that rather than have the monopoly of the prophetic gift, he desire that the thousands and thousands of the people of Israel should be prophets.

That shows us the ultimate aim of the prophetic ministry (for which the ministry of Moses was a type). It is not to see things for people but to facilitate their seeing.