THAT THE LORD GOD MIGHT DWELL THERE
Copyright © 2017 Robert B Thompson. All Rights Reserved.Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
Mount Bashan, majestic mountain, Mount Bashan, rugged mountain, why gaze in envy, you rugged mountain, at the mountain where God chooses to reign, where the Lord himself will dwell forever? The chariots of God are tens of thousands and thousands of thousands; the Lord has come from Sinai into his sanctuary. When you ascended on high, you took many captives; you received gifts from people, even from the rebellious—that you, Lord God, might dwell there. (Psalms 68:15-18)
It may we true that we suppose God created us and saved us to make us happy. I do not believe that is the case. Rather, God created us and saved us with His desires, needs, and eternal purposes in mind. We have imagined the concept that we have been saved so we might go to Heaven when we die instead of to Hell. There appears to be much more involved than escaping punishment when we die.
The key to a correct understanding is the expression: "that you, Lord God, might dwell there."
We know that God has at least two major desires and needs: a house and a place of rest.
This is what the Lord says: "Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be?" (Isaiah 66:1)
"Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me?" says the Lord. "Or where will my resting place be?" (Acts 7:49)
The idea of God needing a house and a resting place must be important since it appears in both the Old and New Testaments.
In addition, we find that Christ and some others will be sharing the Throne of God.
To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. (Revelation 3:21)
Also, a "home" is being prepared for God.
Jesus replied, "Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them." (John 14:23)
A "home" is infinitely different from a "house." Any skilled carpenter can build a house. But a home is where our loved ones are. God wants to be loved as well as sheltered.
First the Holy Spirit enters us and prepares a home for the Father and the Son by enabling us to keep Christ's commands.. Then, as we keep the commands of Christ, the Father and the Son will come and occupy the place in us that the Spirit has prepared.
Thus we will be filled with all the Fullness of God.
However, God has a fifth need and desire. It is to have a chariot in which to ride. When God moves from Sinai to His sanctuary, He comes to the Christian Church. God then will select from His sanctuary, the Church, those He wants to serve as a chariot.
But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. (Hebrews 12:22-4)
Prior to coming to the Church, God has ridden on the Cherubim. But He much prefers to use a human being as His chariot.
He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind. (II Samuel 22:11)
God loves the people He has created. He wants to be among them and teach and guide them. He scarcely can do this while riding on a cherub. He prefers to dwell in a human being. Thus our Lord Jesus Christ is the Chariot of God, bringing the Father to us.
But God desires to have thousands of chariots in addition to the Lord Jesus.
"The chariots of God are tens of thousands and thousands of thousands; the Lord has come from Sinai into his sanctuary." (Psalm 68:17)
Guess what? The Lord wants you and me to be a chariot!
At this point, some people may choose to leave the program of becoming a chariot of God. Why? Because we have to die to our self-life so we will be ready at all times to obey the will of the Lord.
Then I heard a voice from heaven say, "Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on." "Yes," says the Spirit, "they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them." (Revelation 14:13)
The passage above is speaking of the "rest" of God, presented in the fourth chapter of the Book of Hebrews.
If your self-will is like mine, it will be a pleasure to get rid of it.
To be a chariot of God we have to think along with God; speak along with God; and act along with God.
This requires some practice before we behave this way by nature; but it is possible to any sincere, determined disciple of the Lord Jesus.
So it is up to us to provide a house, a home, a place of rest, a Throne, and a chariot for the God of Heaven. For these purpose we were created, and we will be serving in these five capacities for ever and ever.
Think of it! An you may have thought that you were saved to escape Hell and socialize with your friends in Paradise. What I am describing really is a better deal!
Notice a statement in our opening Scripture:
Mount Bashan, majestic mountain, Mount Bashan, rugged mountain, why gaze in envy, you rugged mountain, at the mountain where God chooses to reign, where the Lord himself will dwell forever?
The only mountain God will reign in forever is Mount Zion, the Christian Church. Mount Zion is composed of people, both Jews and Gentiles, whom the Lord has chosen to be members of His Royal Priesthood.
But there are imitators who gaze in envy at Mount Zion. They want to be the ones whom God has chosen, where God will dwell forever.
Notice that the tribe of Dan is one of those gazing in envy at Mount Zion.
About Dan he said: "Dan is a lion's cub springing out of Bashan." (Deuteronomy 33:22)
It is my understanding that this is the reason the tribe of Dan was not sealed with the other Jews. Dan is portrayed here as being presumptuous. Presumption is a deadly error in the Christian life.
Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel. (Revelation 7:4)
Trouble comes upon all who are not sealed.
And out of the smoke locusts came down on the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They were not allowed to kill them but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes. (Revelation 9:3-5)
Today there are several highly placed Christian leaders who are teaching and preaching that which is not found in the Bible. They are presenting miracles to validate that what they are teaching is of Christ, although it is not according to the Scriptures. They are the very picture of presumption, and they shall not be spared from torment.
Then I saw a second beast, coming out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon. (Revelation 13:11)
I believe these presumptuous Christian leaders of our day, who depend on miraculous signs to prove Christ is with them, are the beginning of the prophesied "False Prophet," the "second beast." They may have forgotten that Christ said there are workers of miracles in His name whom He does not know.
When we depart from the Bible, we are as Dan. We are envying the promises of God made to those true Christians who are not as flamboyant as we, but who steadily and patiently carry their cross of self-denial after the Master. God does not select as His eternal home those who are developing their own potential.
These Bashanites, these deceived Christian leaders "leap about" in their envy, anointing themselves, desiring to prove that God is in them. But to no avail. God has chosen those who have pressed forward in Christ until they have become the chariots of God. God has chosen Mount Zion, not Mount Bashan, as His eternal resting place.
"Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?" declares the Lord. "These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word." (Isaiah 66:2)
The False Prophet has the two horns of the Lamb (he demonstrates the double portion of Christ, the Lamb of God.)
But they speak with the voice of Satan: "God wants you to be rich, to attain to a high level of importance in the world. You have an inner potential that can be developed until you are wealthy and important, and greatly admired by the people of the world."
Imagine! "You have an inner potential." But the inner potential of which they are speaking is not Christ but the self-will of the individual. Does this sound like the Lord to you? The first and most important attainment of the mature Christian is: "The Lord alone shall be exalted in that day."
Notice what the Bible says:
Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? (James 2:5)
Jesus told us that if we would put seeking the Kingdom of God in first place in our life, our daily necessities would be furnished.
Those who are laying hands on us and telling us God is going to open doors of great prosperity for us are liars. They are not lying deliberately. They are deceived, and attempting to bring us into their deception.
Their future is not enviable.
There were such liars in the days of the Apostles. Do not listen to them.
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. (Ephesians 4:14)
You can keep yourself from deception by patiently following the Lord Jesus, bearing your cross of self-denial. He who is true and faithful will keep you in the truth.
Also, do not be afraid to challenge the spirits to see if they are of Christ. God will not be offended if you test a spirit a hundred times. His Word commands you to try the spirits.
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (I John 4:1)
It is of interest to note how our passage in Psalms 68 is repeated in the New Testament.
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11,12)
My understanding is that "to equip his people for works of service" is referring to the gifts and ministries given to the apostles and others.
Those who thus are equipped with ministries are to serve to build up the Body of Christ until all of us reach unity in the faith and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Why is it important that all of us Christians attain to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ? It is so God will have a house, a home, a resting place, a location for His Throne, and a chariot by which He can come in contact with all of His creatures.
Each of us Christians can be a house, home, resting place, location of His Throne, and a chariot for the Lord God of Heaven. But we must pay attention to His apostles and teachers until we come to maturity, to the full stature of Christ, who Himself is the House, Home, Resting place, Throne, and Chariot of God.
I think numerous pastors are content if the people in their congregations have placed their faith in the atonement made on the cross of Calvary and have been baptized in water.
In some churches there is an additional emphasis on the baptism with the Holy Spirit, including speaking in tongues.
However, we are not to stop with these accomplishments, as important as they are. We who are pastors must now see to it that the exhortations of the New Testament are included until the believers come to maturity in Christ.
For this to be true, the weekly sermon by the Pastor must be supplemented with the exercise of gifts and ministries among the people of the congregation. We are built up by that which every person supplies.
The common practice of making evangelism the prime operation of the churches is not scriptural, however venerable it may be. The New Testament in many passages exhorts us to lay down our adamic life and seek greater participation in the things of the Kingdom.
That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:20-24)
The Christian people are not going to become aware of the importance such passages, of which there are many in the New Testament, but must be fed them, just as we would not leave a young child to their own diet.
Are we endeavoring to build a church or to build homes and resting places for God?
Instead of feeding the new converts with the milk of the Word we are apt to exhort them to go out and bring in babies as immature as they are. The result of this unscriptural emphasis on evangelism are churches without much strength in righteous behavior.
They have been persuaded that if they do not behave in a godly manner, lawless grace will cover in the eyes of God their misbehavior. "There is no problem with this attitude," they think, "because we all, even the most carnal among us, are going to be carried up to Paradise later this afternoon in the 'rapture,' there to socialize with our friends while there are wars and famines on the earth."
The Christian churches in America are in a sad shape morally. They are living in the false hope of "rapture" that soon is to carry them all to Glory. They are mistaken. We all will be here until the appearing of Christ from Heaven. At that time, only those who are living by His Life will be gathered to Him and receive the change in the body.
America is in the process of being judged; and this trouble is going to worsen to a very great extent if abortion and homosexual practices continue.
My suggestion is that we fix our eyes on the Lord Jesus Christ, pressing into Him each day, preparing ourselves to meet God's desires and needs. Hopefully by doing so we will save ourselves and our loved ones from great pain and desolation.
One final warning: You may remember that in the last days, the victorious saints will overcome the accuser, the result being that Michael and his angels will be able to move Satan from the heavenlies to the earth.
In that day the pressures of the lords of darkness will be enormous. Every unclean spirit from the lusts of fornication to Juju will be seeking to invade our personality. The only certain antidote is to be filled with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit at all times.
If you want protection in that hour, it would be a good idea to start praying right now to be filled with the Fullness of God. There will be some deaths to suffer patiently as God examines His eternal dwelling place in you.
Mount Bashan, majestic mountain, Mount Bashan, rugged mountain, why gaze in envy, you rugged mountain, at the mountain where God chooses to reign, where the Lord himself will dwell forever? (Psalms 68:15,16)
Filled with God, yes filled with God;
Pardoned and cleansed and filled with God.
Filled with God, yes filled with God;
Pardoned and cleansed and filled with God. (E. E. Fullerton)