Gazing into the Face of Yeshua Part 4
For the past several weeks we have been looking at an incident in Luke chapter 10, where a woman named Mary (actually “Miriam” in Hebrew), who lived in the village of Bethany with her sister Martha, chose to sit at the feet of Yeshua and listen to Him teach, rather than help her sister prepare food for Yeshua and His other disciples.
We saw that Yeshua commended Mary, saying that she had done the “one thing” really needful. We saw also that what Mary was doing was not merely listening to Yeshua’s words, but also closely observing His manner of speaking—even, we could say, the way He did life.
What Mary was doing was not anything new. She was merely acting the part of a disciple in the culture in which she lived.
And what Yeshua said about this being the “one thing” builds on something from one of the psalms of David—Psalm 27.
In verse four of that psalm David says,
David is saying, “All I want to do, Lord, is just be with You where You are, to drink in Your beauty—to gaze on You—and to ponder You and everything about life with You in Your temple.”
Okay, so David went into the temple in Jerusalem and spent time in prayer--but wait a minute. There wasn’t a temple in David’s time. That was built by Solomon in the next generation.
I believe that David is recounting something: the Lord gave David a prophetic glimpse of the life to come. It’s a life where time is not an issue and where access to the Lord is also not an issue for those in Heaven with Him.
It’s also a life where God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—is revealed to us in His full glory. No wonder David is fascinated with the view!
Consider this also. In the Hebrew text the word that is translated “beauty” literally means “delightfulness.” So David is trying to find a word here that encompasses the wonderfulness, the delight that rises up in the heart of one who gazes on the Lord in His own house, in His own setting, where He is displaying the fullness of His glory.
There’s a transformational element here in this gazing. Beholding His beauty leads one to meditate. Something about His Spirit’s presence in this activity enters into our hearts and turns us to ponder Him and to ponder the issues of life in the context of knowing Him.
In fact in Psalm 27:4 the word translated “meditate” is literally “inquire.” It gives the sense of a conversation or an exchange between the one beholding the Lord and the Lord Himself. The inquiry here is along the lines of someone who is ignorant, coming to be filled with the experiential knowledge of God—experiencing God directly, rather than just hearing about Him from someone else. This is intimacy with God.
Doesn’t this remind you of what we said in earlier weeks about Mary and Yeshua? Mary wanted to experience Him directly, not just hear about Him from someone else.
Here is something more from Psalm 27. If you continue reading the verses that follow verse four, you find that a connection is made between intimacy with God and protection from trouble. From verse five:
David here has shifted from speaking of gazing on the Lord’s beauty in the temple (which did not exist on earth at that time), to talking about concealment in the Lord’s tabernacle. The tabernacle was the earthly sanctuary God told Moses to make in the book of Exodus. And it was still in existence in the time of David.
You will recall that when David was forced to flee from King Saul, he first took refuge at the tabernacle, even going so far as to ask for the loaves of showbread laid out before the Lord. That’s holy chutzpah! Only priests were supposed to eat those loaves.
But here in Psalm 27 David goes even farther. He says that in the day of trouble, the Lord will conceal David in the secret place of the tabernacle. What would that be? Well, the only place within the tabernacle that was off limits or “secret” was the Holy of Holies.
Do you realize what David is saying? He is saying that he believes that God would even hide him in the Holy of Holies—in the very shekinah presence of God—in order to preserve David from the wrath of his enemies.
What boldness in David! What confidence he has in the heart of God and in his welcome there. The Holy of Holies was only supposed to be entered by the High Priest, and that only on Yom Kippur.
The Holy of Holies contained such sacred furniture, that there were special regulations about how the Kohathites were to dismantle and cover it when it was time to move the tabernacle.
Ordinary priests were not supposed to enter there, let alone a “layman” like David.
But David had confidence that God would take him into the holiest of all, into the secret place of the Most High in order to protect him, because he had tasted of intimacy with God, and he knew His heart.
The secret place of the Most High is truly the hiding place for the believer.
I am going to close by relating a dream from Graham Cooke. Some of you are familiar with Graham’s ministry. For those who are not, he has trained thousands of believers in Great Britain to develop their prophetic gifts.
And Graham has written a wonderful series of small books on prayer. One of them, entitled Crafted Prayer, contains the story I am about to relate. If you are interested in obtaining a copy of the book, you can contact Graham’s office in the USA through his website.
In the dream Graham was being chased through the African bush by thirty nasty and evil warrior types. Graham was armed with a sword, but no matter how far he ran, these guys kept on chasing him. They never seemed to tire.
But in the dream Graham was tiring. So he began to look for a spot on which to make a stand against these thirty. He saw a strange sight in the distance—a kind of circular curtain of light.
He ran towards it and then just stepped into it. Though he was within the curtain, he could still see the enemy coming closer and closer, and he grabbed his sword. But a voice said (and kept saying, as Graham’s panic was rising), “Be still.” Of course the voice was God.
The thirty nasties came right at Graham—but at the last moment the group parted and ran right around him, as if he wasn’t there. Then they ran off into the distance.
When the incident was over, Graham asked God to explain. Basically, the Lord told him that when he is in his secret place with God, the enemy cannot actually touch him. The secret place renders us “invisible” to the enemy’s attacks.
Graham decided that from that point on, he was going to do everything he could to live in that secret place!
It strikes me that this is perhaps one aspect, although not the only one, of our life being hidden with Christ, as Paul writes in Colossians 3:3. When we are functioning in this place of hiddenness, we are hidden in His tabernacle with Him.
One of the ways we can learn how to access the secret place, the place of hiddenness, is by practicing the kind of prayer David is speaking of, the kind of prayer that Mary modeled for us in Luke 10: the prayer of contemplation.
But we will have to wait until next week.