Arabian NightsDecember 26, 2006
Matthew 11:28-30 “Come unto me, all ye that are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”
In these days of neverending drama and an ever-lengthening list of things that we must get done in order to keep pace with life at the end of 2006AD, many unwittingly neglect time with the Lord; quality deep moments which don’t have a clock screeming “it’s time to come back to earth.” Time in which we can really seek our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in prayer; with total, heartfelt adoration of him, as we ponder his word in our fervent desire to know more of him. That we might become “More like him” and “Less like us” as we are changed from glory to glory. To seek out those moments where time itself seems to be suspended for a while as we seek his will and strive to lay aside every weight and sin. The apostle Paul wrote it this way.
Philippians 3:10 “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death. If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”
Our desire to seek truth and seek the will of God should be so strong that we refuse to allow the will of the flesh, a denomination, an employer, our neighbors or the brethren to steer us away from this quest. Folks can be wrong and if we’re not careful, we can find ourselves venturing down the road to “another gospel” which will appear authentic on the surface but will ultimately pander to the flesh. In the previous verse, Paul is telling of his fervent desire to know Jesus on an increasingly personal level. To learn of the “deep things of God” in a way that can only come through spending time with him and spending time in his word. In the next verse, we learn of just where Paul received much revelation concerning Jesus Christ.
Galatians 1:15-17 “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mothers womb, and called me by his grace. To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; I immediately conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.”
I have been thinking on this lately. Paul was a man who was schooled in all of the traditions of the Hebrews. He knew the law and the prophets on a level that few of his contemporaries could match. When he became a christian, he went into Arabia and received revelation from on high. In fact, he received so much understanding that he had to be given a thorn in the flesh to keep him from being exalted above measure. Can you imagine having three years to just be “out there” fellowshipping with Jesus and learning of him daily? Can you imagine the truths that you could tell the saints upon your return to civilization? In todays society, many struggle to find ten minutes in their hectic schedule to spend time in prayer; let alone three years in the Arabian Desert. Yet we absolutely NEED that quality time with God; not just a couple of ponderings at the end of the day as we’re dozing off to sleep, but special time; carved out of the days theatrics to just “be still and know that he is God.” This is an area that all of us should give more diligence to.
II Corinthians 12:1-4 “It is expediant for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago. (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth) such an one caught up to heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up to paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.”
The fact that Paul had to remember back fourteen years in relating this tells us that such revelation to a person upon the earth is rare. Nonetheless, we need to diligently seek the Lord; knowing that he is the source of all wisdom, understanding, discernment, comfort and life. We may never see glory while on this side as the man in the above verse did, but as we seek God in ernest, he is faithful to grant understanding. I have mentioned this before, but most of us; if we actually received a glimpse of the world to come, we would be so “awe-stricken” that we would be unable to function in this world. Our Savior Jesus knows exactly what each of us need and exactly what each of us can handle. He truly is a faithful creator and is continuously calling us into a closer relationship with him.
Psalm 63:5-8 “My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: when I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.”
These verses come from one of my favorite psalms. In them, we find precious insight into the life of King David.
( 1 ) He was joyful and satisfied in the Lord. He really loved God and he rejoiced in knowing that he is always a very present help in trouble. Think about the first time that you fell in love with someone. You most likely thought about that person constantly. You found such thoughts pleasureful as your love for them was growing. Such it should be with us as we draw closer to the Lord. We should be joyful and content.
( 2 ) He thought upon God often; taking advantage of the quietness that the night offered. One of the things that I like about being on second shift is that I always come home late at night with a starry sky overhead, except when we have cloud cover. On such nights, I get out of the truck and find myself unable to go in. I just want to be out there thinking on the deep things of God
( 3 ) He sought God with all diligence; with all of his heart. To “follow hard” tells us that King David made the Lord his top priority. He sought God with a fervor and allowed nothing to turn away his heart.
Today, on December 26, 2006, we need to be likewise “following hard” after the Lord. To seek him with all that is within us; and not just follow along with the crowd. Today, the churches are filled, the drums are beating, and the saints are shouting “Alleluia!” The tares are doing the same thing. Many are making a lot of noise, but few are “following hard after the Lord; laying aside their own ambitions and seeking his will. Precious few are preparing for the hour of temptation that will come upon the whole earth. We need to take every single oportunity to get as close to the Lord as we can get. To lay aside every weight and sin as the days are darker than ever. I don’t know of anyone, personally, who could just go to the Arabian Daesrt for three years, but we can keep our thoughts continuously focused on the world to come and on the great salvation that we have in Jesus Christ. I’m going to close this for now. I’ll leave with two very familiar verses; but verses that are very needful.
Romans 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”