IN HIS PRESENCE – A TIMELESS ZONE
(Migrating towards Third Court Worship)
Sun am 13 December 2009 – Kobus Swart
Ps. 137:1-9; Ezra 1:5; 2 Cor. 3:6-18
In the history of Israel, Egypt represents being in harsh slavery in a foreign land under a foreign king. Being an unregenerate sinner is to be in slavery in the kingdom of darkness. The born again experience is being delivered from that kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of His beloved Son.
There’s another experience Israel had after coming out of Egypt. Many years later they were taken captive again – this time to Babylon, where eventually, they became comfortable. They were in captivity for 70 years. Something similar happens to many Christians some time after they have been born again. They lose their first love and end up going through the motions. Because – for the most part – where the church has become institutionalized, vibrant Christianity has been replaced by a religious exercise. Instead of encouraging and strengthening a walk with God for the citizens who are now in the Kingdom of light and assisting them with a Word diet to grow into full sonship, believers fall back into a “Babylonian” captivity. Christianity has become another religion. Even in the early church, believers were only referred to as Christians once at Antioch. Five times they were referred to as those “of the Way”. They were clearly seen as a people in motion, constantly migrating to higher spiritual levels.
It’s so subtle but so real. You go through the motions, you come to meetings, you sing the songs but you’ve lost your first love and sensitivity of spirit. The difference between Egyptian bondage and Babylonian bondage is this: while the slavery in Egypt was hard labour, the people in Babylon have become comfortable. People in religious entrapment are usually comfortable; they don’t know they have lost something precious.
The exodus from Egypt brought all the Israelites out. The first call to come out of Babylon (Ezra 1:5) brought out only 5% (under Zerubabbel). The others were comfortable. Religion makes you comfortable, it numbs you – as long as you go through the motions, no transformation is required. This mood is captured in Ps. 137:1-9. You know you’ve lost something, that closeness of wanting to stand in His presence, that sensitivity when you stand in worship. They could not sing the songs of Zion; that “sound” was no longer in their hearts.
How can you sing a song of deliverance and freedom when you’re in bondage? How can you sing of the presence of the Lord when you’re under another lordship? The worship that will touch the Father’s heart will come from people who have come out of religious bondage and have reconnected in intimacy with Father. This should be the attitude in every heart against Babylon bondage, “let’s dash her babies against the rock. Destroy falseness and hypocrisy.” Rather let your problem hang out so God can deal with it in an atmosphere of compassion rather than you hiding it and going back into bondage.
How do you come out of Babylonian bondage? Do you have to be saved again? In a sense, yes. Look at the migration to maturity in our worship. Under Babylonian bondage you cannot sing the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb. You may sing it verbally, but it will not make a true sound. The first level of worship is where you come and sing about God. The second level is where we sing to God. Then there’s a third level or third court, where you’re singingwith God. That’s the level we must reach corporately. Worship does not end when we leave the meeting, it is a lifestyle.
Moses found himself in the presence of God on the mountain. He stepped out of the time zone into God’s realm, which is above time. When he stepped out of that timeless zone, he must have thought that he had only been there a few seconds. He – and the people – however, discovered that he had been in the presence of the Lord for 40 days! Why are we still time-bound in worship? The clearest sign that we have broken through is when we stand in worship and lose time consciousness – LOST in His presence!
How do we break out of those religious patterns – that Babylonian “comfort” – even in our worship? When preaching is only the letter and only a good sermon, the veil remains. It cannot remove the religious sinconscience because it lacks impartation. It is only apostolic impartation that removes the religious veil over people’s minds. When a man turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away – that is the key to be delivered from Babylonian captivity. You need a revelation of the Lord. The key word is revelation, not mental assent. REVELATION projects you out of that religious Babylonian bondage. That is when God breaks in to the time-space realm. You can read the Bible a million times but if you do not have revelation it will not set you free. You’ve got to see the Man in the Scripture. Where the Spirit is Lord, there is liberty. The Spirit of God should be the Lord, not a program. We, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory (2 Cor. 3:6-18).
May your spirit be stirred as in the case of those who followed Zerubabbel (Ezra 1:5), and you will return to that place of your first love, where you can again sing the song of Zion!