(Elderly ministry 26 Feb 2010)
Keywords: prayer to see God’s smiling face
Those who know the Lord are blessed. There are those who meet with bad things, but those who are led by God will see good things always following them. However, do we know and give thanks to God when we see this?
The better things come with a longer time, or even when we go through lengths of battles, for there is surely a spiritual battle. It is only through the plan of God (Kingdom, King and People) that we can progress and enjoy through every step. Jesus Christ did not toil to go up to the cross, but He was joyful when He was walking towards the cross, and therefore, had wisdom even when in chains, and accomplished the greatest thing on the cross. We can be like Jesus if we model after His Life, and His life continually go against the one that caused Adam to fall. Through knowing Christ, our spirits became open to God so that we can converse with Him. Through receiving wisdom and the perfect plans of God in all our situations, we receive crown. This is how the small can rise up like a nation, just like Israel.
Bible Overview brings us to know all about God and our assurance, know all His perfect will and receive His personal voice to us, entrust on Him and receive accomplishes as days go by, receive testimony/authority/messages in our life so that we know who are the jewels of this era, so that we can find them out and lay our lives for them. What I have mentioned just now is about our Christian living. Our system of belief has to have three ingredients and this is of reason, spiritual and of the heart. Without (reason – logic) Logos, there can be no Perfect Will (spiritual). Without both of the Word of God (Logos and Rhema) and the Holy Spirit (faith and the language of vision), we cannot have the correct and limitless romance between us and God. Through this way, the more the sufferings and failures, we receive more messages, testimonies and stories of love between us and God. The Face of Jesus Christ is that of joy. We must clear our misunderstandings of our belief.
1. Recap – where is <Leviticus> placed?
Genesis shows us that our life is in God’s hands and He has never forsaken us. We felt so because we are separated by sin and Satan’s deception. The only solution possible is <3:15, 21> seed of woman / garments of skin, symbolizing Jesus Christ. There comes 2 tribes – the tribe that is blessed are baptized and whole family saved with promise of the rainbow by the ark of Noah; the tribe that is in fallen state will only become more chaotic even when they are in more successes. Through this culture, Abraham was chosen by God. Through Him, the promise of four big gospelizations – individual, family, regional and the era are given to him and his descendants – Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. Do we desire four gospelizations? We desire not because we can do it, but because we understood that He has never left us even when we were weak to the point of denying Him, and we call out to Him to give us our portion of inheritance on earth now. All these are in Abraham, and we must receive the blessings of four gospelizations now.
In 70 years, Israel grew in numbers to 3 million. Exodus is about Israel being delivered out of Egypt, crossing the Red Sea, setting up the tabernacle, walking in the wilderness and conquering Canaan. Exodus is systematic theology of the whole bible – about born again, victory, prayers, walk with God and inheritance.
Last week, God said that He would meet us at the tabernacle and talk to us.
Leviticus tells us to how to supplicate and make intercessions. All throughout the book, there is blood. Without blood, there is no successful worship and prayers. Blood means “by the tabernacle”.
Numbers is about walking with God in the wilderness, so that through failures, we are sanctified if we do not complain. We restore with a regenerated heart in each steps.
Deuteronomy repeats the promise so that we can habitually hear it, impress, carve and circumcise it in our hearts. Only by fixed perspective can we conquer Canaan and have our own inheritance, seeing that people gradually get blessed through our continuous teachings, intercessions, striving to do what we teach, and waiting upon the Lord’s timetable.
2. Only those who have discovered the absolute necessity of prayer are able to enjoy prayer
Passage reading: Lev 17:11, 19:2, 26:1-46
Lev 17:11 For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.”
-> Blood is life and everything is about life. Without the shedding of blood, forgiveness, accusations and guilt cannot leave. This is the requirement of the law in <Heb 9:22>. Without testimonies with the smell of blood, we cannot overcome the accuser Satan <Rev 12:11>. It is sad that there are many Christians only have the smell of the world culture. I teach you to smell a person – whether there is blood, or whether the smell is rotten and indulgent in the world.
Lev 19:1-2 says, “Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy.”
-> We must be totally holy. Yes, our works must be holy, but I mean that our hearts must totally open to God to use all our life to follow God. This can only happen if we know the blood. Then we will naturally follow God, and naturally be holy.
Lev 26:1-13 says that if we abide by the shedding of blood, we will surely have evidences that follow us. Living evidences must happen in our hearts, seeing God (whether we can see God smiling to us, seeing His face shine towards us, seeing the countenance of God), and see gradual progress for our family, job and church. If we do not see the smiling face of God, unlucky things will follow us.
1 ” ‘Do not make idols or set up an image or a sacred stone for yourselves, and do not place a carved stone in your land to bow down before it. I am the LORD your God.
2 ” ‘Observe my Sabbaths and have reverence for my sanctuary. I am the LORD.
3 ” ‘If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, 4 I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees of the field their fruit. 5 Your threshing will continue until grape harvest and the grape harvest will continue until planting, and you will eat all the food you want and live in safety in your land.
6 ” ‘I will grant peace in the land, and you will lie down and no one will make you afraid. I will remove savage beasts from the land, and the sword will not pass through your country.
7 You will pursue your enemies, and they will fall by the sword before you. 8 Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall by the sword before you. 9 ” ‘I will look on you with favor and make you fruitful and increase your numbers, and I will keep my covenant with you. 10 You will still be eating last year’s harvest when you will have to move it out to make room for the new.
11 I will put my dwelling place among you, and I will not abhor you.
This means that God will not set His face against us.
12 I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people. 13 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt so that you would no longer be slaves to the Egyptians; I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high.
There is no need to be afraid! Nothing holds us and we just walk uprightly.
Unlucky things if we despise God’s decrees and laws
14 ” ‘But if you will not listen to me and carry out all these commands, 15 and if you reject my decrees and abhor my laws and fail to carry out all my commands and so violate my covenant,
16 then I will do this to you: I will bring upon you sudden terror, wasting diseases and fever that will destroy your sight and drain away your life. You will plant seed in vain, because your enemies will eat it.
Nightmares will always come if we do not see God. If we do not walk with God, when we pick up the phone to hear some news, we will be fearful and our hearts will drop.
17 I will set my face against you so that you will be defeated by your enemies; those who hate you will rule over you, and you will flee even when no one is pursuing you.
When God sets His face against us, it is really a great suffering.
18 ” ‘If after all this you will not listen to me, I will punish you for your sins seven times over.
If you do not repent, you will get “disease” in your heart – being negative always. If you still do not repent, you will work hard and suffer. If you still do not obey, you will sin 7 times over…
19 I will break down your stubborn pride and make the sky above you like iron and the ground beneath you like bronze. 20 Your strength will be spent in vain, because your soil will not yield its crops, nor will the trees of the land yield their fruit.
Everything will be in vain.
21 ” ‘If you remain hostile toward me and refuse to listen to me, I will multiply your afflictions seven times over, as your sins deserve.
If you still do not listen, and you totally do not care but hate God! Then…
22 I will send wild animals against you, and they will rob you of your children, destroy your cattle and make you so few in number that your roads will be deserted.
23 ” ‘If in spite of these things you do not accept my correction but continue to be hostile toward me,
If you still do not obey even when everything is not in the right place, and even Gentiles set 7 times more strength against you..
24 I myself will be hostile toward you and will afflict you for your sins seven times over. 25 And I will bring the sword upon you to avenge the breaking of the covenant. When you withdraw into your cities, I will send a plague among you, and you will be given into enemy hands. 26 When I cut off your supply of bread, ten women will be able to bake your bread in one oven, and they will dole out the bread by weight. You will eat, but you will not be satisfied. 27 ” ‘If in spite of this you still do not listen to me but continue to be hostile toward me,
God’s anger was aroused…
28 then in my anger I will be hostile toward you, and I myself will punish you for your sins seven times over. 29 You will eat the flesh of your sons and the flesh of your daughters. 30 I will destroy your high places, cut down your incense altars and pile your dead bodies on the lifeless forms of your idols, and I will abhor you. 31 I will turn your cities into ruins and lay waste your sanctuaries, and I will take no delight in the pleasing aroma of your offerings. 32 I will lay waste the land, so that your enemies who live there will be appalled. 33 I will scatter you among the nations and will draw out my sword and pursue you. Your land will be laid waste, and your cities will lie in ruins. 34 Then the land will enjoy its sabbath years all the time that it lies desolate and you are in the country of your enemies; then the land will rest and enjoy its sabbaths. 35 All the time that it lies desolate, the land will have the rest it did not have during the sabbaths you lived in it. 36 ” ‘As for those of you who are left, I will make their hearts so fearful in the lands of their enemies that the sound of a windblown leaf will put them to flight. They will run as though fleeing from the sword, and they will fall, even though no one is pursuing them. 37 They will stumble over one another as though fleeing from the sword, even though no one is pursuing them. So you will not be able to stand before your enemies. 38 You will perish among the nations; the land of your enemies will devour you. 39 Those of you who are left will waste away in the lands of their enemies because of their sins; also because of their fathers’ sins they will waste away.
Yet, if you confess and repent:
40 ” ‘But if they will confess their sins and the sins of their fathers—their treachery against me and their hostility toward me, 41 which made me hostile toward them so that I sent them into the land of their enemies—then when their uncircumcised hearts are humbled and they pay for their sin, 42 I will remember my covenant with Jacob and my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land.
God will restore! God’s discipline is slow, so that one will know little by little, step by step. However, if he is not humbled down, and even when God gives grace in the midst but yet he still does not repent, discipline will continue until God takes him home. This is why Israel had been destroyed leaving only Judah. In Hebrews 11-12, the ancients of faith all received discipline.
43 For the land will be deserted by them and will enjoy its sabbaths while it lies desolate without them. They will pay for their sins because they rejected my laws and abhorred my decrees. 44 Yet in spite of this, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them or abhor them so as to destroy them completely, breaking my covenant with them. I am the LORD their God. 45 But for their sake I will remember the covenant with their ancestors whom I brought out of Egypt in the sight of the nations to be their God. I am the LORD.’ ” 46 These are the decrees, the laws and the regulations that the LORD established on Mount Sinai between himself and the Israelites through Moses.
In the history of mankind, there are always rewards and discipline. What we must do is to take the disciplines of history and learn so that we walk gathering rewards. Therefore, we must know how to see the countenance of God in prayers; if we will see God’s face setting against us, then we are a goner.
Therefore, let us format back what we have just mentioned
Why We Must Pray, cannot but pray, like to pray
1) For those who truly met God, they must pray:
Because of personally having met the loving, righteous, abundant, eternal, and practical God Who loves me, and there is no reason to fear, receive persecutions, feel weak, shortage, unmoved and cold in the hearts. It is not about commitment, but about whether one has clearly met God.
2) For those who understand what spiritual problem is, they must pray:
If we continue to want to see the countenance of God in prayers, we will find that it is not easy. This is because it is a spiritual problem, not wanting in the heart or not. Not watchful and alert in prayers (remembering identity/belonging/purpose/God’s words/covenant/fixed perspective), you will fall back into a state of flesh instantly, for Satan is “roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.” <Job 1:7>, “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” <1Pe 5:8>, “accuses our brothers before our God day and night” <Rev 12:10>. Understand that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” <Eph 6:12>.
=> Those who truly knows all of these facts will certainly put on the full armor of God, and pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests <Eph 6:13,18>.
3) For those who have experienced the “before and after” effects of prayer they must pray:
Uneventful, dark –rely on the cross and covenant–> joy => will very naturally want to pray
4) For those who have realized the changes in the spiritual world, in their own heart and spirit, and in their surroundings after prayer, they must pray:
(1) Heart willing to love God <-> own motivations => enter prayers
(2) God’s Words <-> letter => Holy Spirit’s convictions as reminder
(3) Angels <-> darkness/flesh => arise and refresh
(4) Freedom from inner spirits <-> outside zeal => authority
(5) More grace in troubles <-> negative mindset => perspective
(6) Change the spiritual atmosphere all around <-> inward experience => practical / relevant / accordingly
(7) Meet all peoples, things, times good <-> not a living faith => bless all nations
5) A person’s life will truly receive grace only after starting to realize the necessity of prayer:
Realization and not self-determination, enjoyment and not zeal, hearing more and not wait => then will pray.
True grace does not start from self-determination or from baptism, but from when one truly discovers the relationship between prayer and the spiritual world, prayer and Jesus Christ, prayer and one’s own heart and spirit, prayer and lifestyle, and prayer and the future. Hence, when we are helping new believers and blessing our children, don’t just rely on your own enthusiasm and fervor, but instead emphasize why prayer is essential in order to lead the true Christian life, especially when they meet problems, so that they can enter a practical and effective Christian life!
3. Distribute and go through the notes – Why does prayer have to be in the tabernacle?
Last week, we saw that we cannot just pray ourselves. When Israel could not see Moses, even if they have a high priest Aaron, all of them became fearful, and they must actually make the golden calf and worship it as Jehovah. God called Moses up so that he can receive the instructions for building the tabernacle, and the very reason for this is give Israelites a meeting place where God will meet with them. This place is none other than the tabernacle. We cannot just pray without a tabernacle.
There are 5 themes when we talk about praying by the tabernacle:
1) Give the Five Sacrifices (the content of prayer, the reason man needs Christ, the reason prayer is essential)
Fellowship Offering, a reconciliation with God, thus always protecting a heart of love and peace.
Grain Offering, without blood, because there is just freedom
2) Use the High Priest as a medium (the tunnel of prayer, the representation of Christ through the High Priest)
The five sacrifices are led by the High Priest..
3) The construction of the tabernacle (from the courtyard to the Most Holy Place) aka to the depth of prayer of man (from the physical body to the heart and mind to the spirit):
So that he goes from the courtyard to the Holy Place, to the Most Holy Place.
4) Giving sacrifice every morning and night, aka maintaining prayer:
And we do the 5 sacrifices, taking each step with Christ the High Priest, into the Most Holy Place, for morning and night.
5) Commemorate the three special festivals: Feast of Unleavened Bread (The Passover), the Feast of Harvest (Year of Jubilee), and the Feast of Ingathering (the Pentecost), aka the results of prayer—life, power, and fruits:
After prayers, we must have evidences of life, power and fruits. We do not continue to ask God to give these, for we only ask for God Himself. However, what I mean is that if your prayers are correctly in the tabernacle, there will surely be living evidences of people liking you, meeting doors of gospelization, etc.
The Notes – To read Leviticus remembering the 5 main things of prayers (2006 First 7 Prayer Messages)
I encourage you to go and listen, in order to understand the meaning of Leviticus, and when you read through Leviticus with the notes I am giving you now. I will burn the CDs for you, for the messages that are spoken in America for January and February in year 2006.
(1) Why do we need to pray in the tabernacle
01/08/2006 为何必在”会幕”祷告? <经文: 赛 60:1-5>
(2) Using the Five Sacrifices to Meet God
01/15/2006 拿着五个祭朝见神 <经文: 利 1:1-7,利 1:38-38,利 7:37-38>
(3) Meeting God through the High Priest
01/22/2006 借着”大祭司”朝见神 <经文: 利 8:1-9,利 9:22-24>
(4) Entering the Most Holy Place to Meet God
01/29/2006 借着”至圣所”朝见神 <经文: 出 25:1-22>
(5) Meeting God in the Morning and at Twilight
02/05/2006 每天朝夕朝见神 (祷告的维持) <经文: 出 29:38-39>
(6) Commemorating the Three Festivals to Meet God
02/12/2006 纪念”三节期”来朝见神 (祷告的果效) <经文: 出 23:14-17>
(7) Following the tabernacle to cross the desert and enter Canaan
02/19/2006 靠”会幕”行”旷野”进”迦南”朝见神 <经文: 民 9:15-23>
Notes at a glance
1. How to meet God and converse with Him? [Life] Chapters 1-17
1) To meet God through the 5 offerings (Chapter 1-7)
Burnt Offering = Offering of fire — Living Sacrifice, Self Offering
Grain Offering = Offering of grain = fine flour, oil, incense, salt, first fruits — thanksgiving, serving
Fellowship Offering = Sacrifice, Bread – Fellowship with God and man
Sin Offering = Repentance, Cleansing, Submission
Guilt Offering = Repentance, Cleansing, Compensate (1 + 20%)
(1) The Sacrifice of the blood (Worship, Prayer) = pre-figured Jesus Christ = Died and Resurrected = sacrifice self and submit (life, purpose, content, method)
→ To restore the love and righteousness of God, be sure of oneself, have mercy and bless others
→ To restore the life and living that is spiritual, cleansed, liberated, authoritative
* To confirm: Do I restore a new self after worship and prayer each time?
(2) The depth of communicating with God: Courtyard → Holy Place → Most Holy Place → Ark of Covenant (The Mercy Seat = The Atonement Cover)
(3) The Sequence of communicating with God: Atonement (Sin offering, Guilt offering) → Set Apart (Burnt offering, Grain offering) → Communication (fellowship offering)
* Duty-Bound Offering: Sin offering, Guilt offering
Voluntary Offering: Burnt offering, Grain offering, Fellowship offering
2) To meet God through “The High Priest” (Chapters 8-10)
(1) The Mediator = Prefigured Jesus Christ = Set apart as Holy, Anointing, Offer Sacrifices, Blessings = The evidence from establishing Covenant with God
(2) Surely must use “the fire that comes from God”, absolutely cannot use “unauothorized fire” → Nadab and Abihu being consumed by fire = The serving that is God-driven
(3) Saint = High Priest (1 Pe 2:9) = Intercede, Evangelize, Heal others, Bless others
3) To meet God after being ‘cleansed’ (Chapters 11-17)
Chapter 11: Clean and Unclean
Chapter 12: Childbirth (Original sin)
Chapter 13-14: Those who are contaminated with mildew (Leprosy)
Chapter 15: Those that have blood discharge
Chapter 16: The Day of Atonement
Chapter 17: “Blood” = Life, Shedding of blood to atone for sins
2. How to walk with God? [Living] Chapters 18-27
1) The Holiness of the People (18-20) = 18:2
Do not be like the worldly people (Egyptians, the inhabitants of Canaan)
(1) Negative: Do not worship demons (Relationship with God), do not curse your parents (The beginning of our relationship with men), do not commit adultery (the culture of the society) To be cut off from the people
(2) Positive: To love God and men, set apart as Holy, maintain chastity, give fair judgment
2) The Holiness of Priest (21-22)
(1) Priest = Leader, differentiate from worldliness and all people
(2) The sacrifice that is set apart as holy
3) Observe appointed feast (23-25)
(1) Chapter 23 → Main appointed feast: Sabbath, Feast of unleavened bread, Passover, Feast of Tabernacles
(2) Chapter 24 → Always light up (communicate with God) (24:1-4): Everyday, 24 hours, Eternity → Bread (God’s word), Olive oil (Holy Spirit), Incense (Prayer)
(3) Chapter 25 → Sabbath Year, Year of Jubilee = Rest, freedom, inheritance = God’s original will towards His people
4) Blessings and curses (26)
(1) Blessings (26:1-13) — To obey laws and decrees (love God and men) Body, mind and spirit, lifestyle, interpersonal, property
(2) Discipline (26:14-39) — Punishment gradually add on = God continue to give chances of repentance
(3) Restoration (26:40-46) — Repentance = Turn to God and once again restore the promises and blessings of Abraham
5) The regulation of fulfilling vows (27)
(1) Living Sacrifice, Serving, offertory
(2) Man, animals, property = Original price + 20% of original price
(3) Not to be sold or redeemed = Things that a man owns and devotes to the Lord, things that are bound for destruction, tithes
3. To apply practically
1) Confirm born again →
2) To establish covenant with God →
3) To communicate with God →
4) To walk with God →
5) The fruits of life and living (eternal inheritance) →