Friday, August 5, 2016

Only in Judah; Only in the Spirit

In Judah is God known. . . .
In Jerusalem also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling place in Zion.”
Psalm 76:1a–2

These simple truths came as a revelation from God to David, and we assume that everyone in Israel believed them to be true.  But in David’s time, only a small percentage of Israelites did.
To be sure, the Israelites believed that God could be known in the tribe of Judah, but they did not believe what David meant by that statement; to wit, God had chosen Judah as the only place where He would make Himself known.  Nevertheless, it was true, for if an issue arose in Israel that no one could resolve, the people had to go to Jerusalem in Judah, the place where God’s high priest was, to learn God’s answer.
Likewise, when David said that God’s earthly dwelling place was Mount Zion in Jerusalem, he meant God’s only earthly dwelling place was in Jerusalem.  The false teachers of that time responded, “God is everywhere!” and most of Israel followed them.  David, of course, knew that God was everywhere, but it had been revealed to him that God had chosen Jerusalem as the one place on earth where He would dwell in a temple.
Because only a few in Israel believed David, it was easy for Absalom, and after him a man named Sheba, to persuade the vast majority of Israelites to rebel against David as their king.  And when David was dead, the tribes in the north rebelled and separated themselves permanently from Judah and Jerusalem.
Today, few among God’s people believe a different revelation, just as true and simple as the one God gave David.  This revelation says that God is known in the Spirit, instead of “God is known in Judah.”  God’s people today agree that God can be known in the Spirit, but as in David’s time, they cannot agree that the Spirit is the only way one knows God.  They have been persuaded to believe that souls also “come to know the Lord” by “getting saved”, without receiving, or being baptized with, the Spirit.
In David’s time, it was Judah and Jerusalem; now it is the body of Christ and the Spirit.  Israel’s downfall was the result of denying that God had chosen Jerusalem as the one place on earth where He would be known.  What will be the result of modern saints’ refusal to believe that only by the Spirit can one come to know God?