“Give thanks unto Yehovah, call upon His name, make known His deeds among the people.”
King David had just finished a most arduous adventure in retrieving the Ark of God and bringing it to the tent he had pitched in the city of David. His exuberance and joy at the return of the Ark was epidemic among the people of Israel as he dances before Yehovah but his wife, Michal, despised him in her heart before Yehovah and rebuked him when he returned to bless the household; “therefore, Michal, the daughter of Saul, had no children unto the day of her death” (II Sam. 6:23). Yet in the passion of this wondrous occasion, David was given to set forth the first of his many thanks unto Yehovah into the hands of ‘the gatherer’ (Asaph) and his brethren.
This journey which David had endured did not begin when he decided that it was time to relieve Obed-edom (the servant of Edom) of this most venerated object nor did it end when the Ark was placed in the new tabernacle. David’s journey did not begin with the death of King Saul and his son Jonathan, with his slaying of the giant Goliath or with his anointing at the hand of Samuel; the journey of this man after the heart of God (I Sam. 13:14) was required and demanded of Yehovah before the world began. The time of the conception and birth of this one is filled with many wondrous intricacies and peculiar technicalities that no man could have even imagined let alone contrived and conducted to the perfection for this servant of God to praise His name aright.
Shall we begin with a small detail of a drought in Israel which caused a man, his wife and two sons to leave the Promised Land and venture into Moab? The account of Ruth (the friendship of a neighbour of the pasture) is so resplendent with obscure, irrefutable details that can only be dismissed by the stubbornness of the heart of stone as the hand of God turned the heart of man to the course which He has set. Yet each detail, no matter how insignificant, is absolutely necessary to bring this Moabite girl ‘of the pasture’ into position in the lineage of David. The lack of rain and diminished crops which drove Eli-melech (My God reigns) into the forbidden land of the children of Lot was the prescribed method whereby Yehovah God sent forth His servant to locate this daughter of Israel who did not know that she was indeed a daughter of Israel. Like the Samaritan woman at the well, Ruth had no vain hope that she could someday be transformed into one of the chosen people of God, for she was completely ignorant of the fact that she was “elect according to the foreknowledge of God through the sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and the sprinkling of the blood of the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah” (I Pt. 1:2).
Shall we speak to the apostasy of the nation of Israel who rejected God and demanded a King? Yehovah God had raised up judges in Israel who for about 450 years ruled over Israel (Acts 13:20), yet from the beginning this was a stiff-necked and rebellious people who did not like to retain God in their hearts. God gave them over to the desires of their minds and sent leanness into their souls and when they desired to be like other nations, He instructed the prophet to hearken unto the voice of the people; “for they have not rejected you but they have rejected Me that I should not reign over them” (I Sam. 8:7). Thus Yehovah God gave them, according to His perfect will, their desire (Saul) to reign over them for a space of forty years but even as he gave ample and open evidence of the inability of man to hear and obey the voice of God, the purpose of God was preparing His king for Israel.
Shall we speak as to his station in life being the least of all his brethren? When the prophet came to the house of Jesse, he was enamored with the first seven sons that passed before him but the King of Israel was “reddish with fair appearance and pleasant to look at” (I Sam. 16:12). He was the runt of the litter, inexperienced and untried yet the oil was poured out upon the head of this youth as he was proclaimed to be King over Israel.
Did he immediately ascend to the local authorities and demand his right of kingship? Did he register his claim before the magistrates and sue for his rightful place? NO for many years this young man grew and matured in the manner that the Lord had ordained necessary for him to become a mighty warrior. When he slew Goliath and led the route of the Philistines, the people followed him and King Saul applauded him for his valour, yet as David was granted favour in the eyes of the people, he became the target of the anger of the king. The King was manifested as a madman as the Spirit of Yehovah departed from him and the business of the kingdom was sacrificed for the pursuit of the anointed King of Israel.
Was David a stalwart champion of faith who stood before Saul and stared down his adversary, naming and claiming the promises and blessings of the Lord? Or was he a man who fled from the danger, hid in the wilderness and feigned madness himself as he dwelt among the enemies of Israel (I Sam. 21:13)? David’s antics are less than admirable as the path he was to walk led him into a self-imposed exile. He watched the nation of Israel be decimated by the aliens and immigrants (Philistines) and daily lived a lie as he sought the protection from Saul of ‘only a man’ (Akish) while he plundered the ‘ole inhabitants of the land; “And David smote the land and left neither man nor women alive and took the sheep and oxen and asses and camels and apparel and returned and came to Akish. And Akish said, Whither have you made a road today? And David said, Against the south of Judah and the south of the Jerah-meelites (descendants of Judah) and against the south of the Kenites (father-in-law to Moses)” (I Sam. 27:9). David lied to his host and eliminated all evidence to the contrary as he feigned his allegiance to the ‘press’ (Gath).
“But Abner, the son of Ner, captain of Saul’s host, took Ishbosheth the son of Saul, and brought him over to Mahanaim, and made him king over Gilead and Jezreel and Ephraim and Benjamin and over Israel” (II Sam. 2:8)
Shall we speak of David’s coronation ceremony or his inauguration festivities? The nation of Israel rejected David for two years as Ishbosheth reigned over them but the house of Judah followed after David. Even though the prophet of the Lord had poured out the anointing oil upon the head of that lad so many years ago, the nation did not come and deliver him in sedan chairs to his throne. The translation of the kingdom from the house of Saul unto the house of David was beset with many hardships and obstacles that would leave any man doubting the whole matter yet this matter was not in the hands of man nor was it of the might, will or strength of man; this was of the Lord.
After two years of war between the house of Saul and the house of David the time had come for all the tribes of Israel to come to David at Hebron saying, “we are your bone and your flesh” and they anointed David king over Israel. For the third time the oil was poured out over this same head and David was thirty years old when he began to reign. He took the strong hold of Zion (the same is the city of David) and continued to grow strong for Yehovah of hosts was with him. When the heart of Hiram the king of Tyre was stirred of the Lord, he sent messengers to David along with provisions and man power for to build David an house; “And David perceived that Yehovah had established him king over Israel and that He had exalted his kingdom for His people Israel’s sake” (5:11).
Victory upon victory was given as David subdues all the nations around him and placed his enemies under his footstool and when he smote the Philistines from Geba to Gazer, “the fame of David went into all lands and Yehovah brought the fear of him upon all nations” (I Chr. 14:17). Then David gathered together all of Israel to bring the Ark of God from Kir-jath-je-a-rim but instead of following after the prescribed methods of the Law of Moses, this man, ‘after the heart of God’, who was daily being exalted before the eyes of the people of Israel and the nations of the world was given to devise an ostentatious plan that would result in the death of a well meaning participant. When the new cart that was carrying the Ark shook because the oxen stumbled, the driver put forth his hand to steady the Ark and was struck dead by the righteous demands of the Law. When man by his ‘strength’ (Uzza) presumes to interfere with the commandments of God’s law and do the work of God, even though there is an ignorant integrity in his intentions, the righteous justice of God is swift and exacting and David was at fault.
In the days when the nation of Israel was delivered from the land of Egypt, after they had crossed the sea and witnessed the drowning of Pharaoh’s men, they were brought to the base of Mt. Sinai. Here they heard the voice of God as the sound of many waters as the pillar of fire engulfed the mountain. Moses was summoned into the presence of god but when he tarried too long for the patience of the people, they rose up to play. In this folly they instructed Aaron to “up make us gods, which shall go before us; this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we know not what is become of him” (Ex. 32:1). Thus in the land of Horeb, they made the images of two fat young cows and worshipped the molten image (Ps. 106:19) which was abomination before the Lord.
The glory of Israel was lost when the Philistines defeated Israel at Eben-ezer. Here the sons of Eli were killed in a very great slaughter and the ark of God was taken (I Sam. 4:11). The Philistines took the Ark to the house of their god, Dagon, but the statue could not stand before the Ark of God; therefore they sent it to Gath. Here the men were stricken with emerods in their secret parts and many men died, so, the Ark was placed on two young nursing cows, which drew a new cart and “the kine took the straight way to the way of Beth-shemesh…and the cart came into the field of Joshua, a Beth-shemite and stood where there was a great stone”. The Levites took the Ark and offered burnt offerings and sacrificed sacrifices the same day unto the Lord but the Lord smote the men of Beth-shemesh for they had looked upon the Ark. Thus the men of Beth-shemesh called for the people who dwelt in the forests to come and take it from them “for who is able to stand before this Holy God?”
The men of the city of forests came and fetched the Ark and brought it into the house of Abi-nadab and sanctified his son to keep the Ark. Here it would remain for twenty years as the house of Israel lamented. It was brought forth by King Saul during yet another battle with the Philistines but it dwelt with the lords of Judah in the city of forests. Now David thought it time to bring forth the Ark, but instead of consulting with the Law and calling on the priests to carry it according as Yehovah had commanded, David was given to revert back to the abomination before God and place the Ark on a new cart drawn by oxen. The results of this disaster was that the Ark dwelt in the house of the servant of man which belonged to Gath, the very same land from whence stood up the giant Goliath, (Obed-edom) in the place of the breach of strength (Perez-uzzah). The Ark continued here for three months and Yehovah blessed the house of the servant of man and all his house-hold (II Sam. 6:11).
“Give thanks unto Yehovah, call upon His name, make known His deeds among the people”
In the fullness of time David was given an heart to hear the word of God and, being made willing in the day of the power of Yehovah, he obeyed and brought forth the Ark into the house which he built for it. David began his songs of praise unto Yehovah by instructing the people to be thankful for all they had been given of the Lord. The nation had experienced such magnificent things concerning the Ark of God, the testimony to His covenant with the people, and had suffered great loss. The thanksgiving to be surrendered unto Yehovah God was for His sovereign command and control over each and every aspect of these events as they “declare His glory among the nations and His marvellous works among the people”.
David did not instruct the people to give thanks only for the good things and to see what they could do about the bad; he proclaimed that the great Master was to be feared above all the idols of the earth for Yehovah made the heavens. Glory was to be unto His name and praise of His name for He alone conducted the affairs of time and space for His glory and honour. He was to be worshipped “in the glorious majesty of His holiness” because He is the great King over all the earth. David may have had good intentions for the return of the Ark to Jerusalem but he had not the power in his hands to facilitate the move nor accomplish this task. When in the passion of his heart and by the power of his arm of the flesh he was given to attempt this ‘good work’ he was quickly shown, at the expense of a man’s life, that there is a time to every purpose under heaven.
God used the Ark as an instructional tool, interwoven into His plan for the people of Israel as a type of the natural man. He showed forth His magnificent power upon the mount and gave the people skilled hands and understanding hearts to fashion this coffin as a symbol of His love, mercy and judgment. He put His Law into the coffin to signify that no flesh can approach unto God without the shedding of blood which was manifested each year in the feast of the Atonement.
This type gave evidence that the work of God for the deliverance of His people required the shed blood of the perfect sacrifice for sin as the removal and covering of the sin of His people in Adam. He also instructed that the budding rod of Aaron (bringer of light), which signified authority through the resurrection unto life, was to be placed in the coffin of death. This was the type of the Lamb which stood as He had been slain unto whom is all glory and honour and praise because He is and was and shall be, forever God. Thus praise unto Yehovah God for His great deeds included the life and death, contained in the same covenant, which no man can approach; “sing psalms unto Him and speak of His wondrous works”
“Let the heart of them rejoice that seek Yehovah”
The natural man cannot comprehend the nature of God nor the magnitude of His greatness. The eyes of man have been set upon the tangible things of this world, from the beginning, and never was there a time, nor shall there ever be a time when the heart of Adam is given to rise up above the weak and beggarly elements of this world to ascend unto the throne of God. The speculations of man concerning the spiritual realm are vast and plentiful and with each crumb of what is acclaimed as evidence of the supernatural, the emotions of man are stirred and his attention is fixated upon vapour, clouds and specters; God is none of these.
God is Spirit (not a spirit) and they who worship Him must do so in Spirit and truth. If one has not the Spirit of God them he is not born from above and if there be no Spirit within, then he cannot worship God aright. Man can mouth the words and say all the ‘right things’ to fool his fellow citizens of the dust but the natural man cannot call upon the name of the Lord. The stammering native tongue of Adam can neither imagine the expression nor form the words of that perfect language necessary to call upon the name of Yehovah.
Only the sons of the Israel of our God, the children of promise of the generation of the Anointed salvation of Yehovah, His chosen ones, can cry out to the Father and proclaim His greatness and only those of like precious faith can understand when another speaks of ‘how great things God has done’. These continually seek the Lord, as their hearts find delight after His Law, walking in the light of His countenance. These have been given such experiences, as the nation of Israel was given, to call into remembrance the marvellous works and His wonders and His judgment. They understand the righteous demands of His perfect Law which draws them to cry out for mercy for the wretchedness of their ways. They know the beauty of this perfection, having the living waters which flow from the throne of God, “clear as crystal” flowing in them that believe, and they hear the voice of the Shepherd as He leads them in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yet through all this they find no rest in this habitation for the beauty of His Holiness magnifies the absence of holiness in the tabernacle of this dwelling.
The Spirit reveals this inherent weakness of the house of dust and the complete rebellion of the diminutive mind of Adam, thus the creature within groans, crying out for deliverance, earnestly anticipating the return to the Father’s house. He sees the image of the earthly with the natural eyes and the worthless vexation of this world is ever before him but these serve as a reminder of the glory of the coming forth of peace, which is beyond all understanding of man (Jerusalem from above). Thus it is with the nature of Adam the pilgrims and sojourners of this world seek that which cannot satisfy and will soon fade away for the life of man is but a vapour. The nature within, however, seeks that city whose builder and Maker is God as they are sustained by every word which proceeds from the Father’s mouth, having their thirst for righteousness quenched in the living waters, which, if a man drink, he shall never thirst again (John 4:13).
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts and ready always to an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear, having a good conscience that, whereas they speak evil of you as evil doers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ” (I Pt. 3:15)
The testimony of the children of the Kingdom of light is the testimony of light. The hope of the imminent return to the city from above and the deliverance from the body of this death is the declaration of the wondrous work which God has done from the beginning. This is the Anointed hope of glory within the children of the Spirit, whereby they give thanks unto God in everything, pray without ceasing and rejoice evermore. They are the living sacrifices of Yehovah, being of the house of the first-born and made acceptable in the Beloved. These alone know that Yehovah reigns yet they continue to cry;
“Save us God of our salvation; gather us together and deliver us form the nations that we may give thanks to Your Holy name and glory in Your praise” (I Chr. 16:35)
The religions of this world preach deliverance from the burdens and care of this life; the gospel of Jesus Christ is the deliverance from the inability of the flesh, the wrath of God and the vanity of this world.
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
May 21, 2017