An Open Heaven vs. the Wilderness

Jesus in the wilderness

IN CHRIST AN OPEN HEAVEN FOR US

Well, all that is, I know, very simple, but we shall not do ourselves any harm by contemplating what He won for us in that wilderness, how great a thing it was that resulted from that cry. The answer given to that cry – “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” – is our supreme and all-inclusive blessing: it is that we may never know any more forsaking of God. Oh, put your feet down upon that. It is not as simple as it sounds. No more forsaking of God! Have you, a believer, a believer perhaps for many years, in full devotion to the Lord – have you never been tempted to believe that God had forsaken you, God had left you, had given you up, washed His hands of you, parted company with you, withdrawn? If you have never had that temptation, I am not going to say that you ought to, but I will say that I do not think you will get through your course in a really spiritual life without having it, and more than once. As in Adam’s case, so with every son of Adam and every child of God, with every member of this human race, the Devil’s greatest work is to get between us and God. Once he has done that, if he can establish himself there between us and God, it is an end of all things, it is hopeless. But in the case of a believer he cannot now do that in actuality. He can only do it in effect, by the attitude that a believer takes toward this great thing that happened on the Cross, by the answer that the believer will give in his or her own heart to Christ’s question, “Why hast thou forsaken me?” If you really will give the answer, ‘In order that I might never be forsaken’ – if you give that answer and stay there, you have entered into the value of what the Lord Jesus accomplished in destroying the works of the Devil, especially his supreme work of getting between you and God.

Calvary is always an open door, an open way, to God’s face. You know that it was ever by Jordan that the place of God’s face was reached – always by Jordan. Of the promised land the Lord said, “The eyes of the Lord thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year” (Deut. 11:12); His face would be toward it, and so it was described as the land of unspeakable blessing. Israel never arrived there except by the Jordan. When they came back from the captivity to the land again, where God’s face was, they had to go across the Jordan again or through the Jordan. When the Lord Jesus went to the Jordan, He passed that way in order to come to the place where the heavens were opened, where the face of God was seen; always by Jordan to the place of God’s face – in other words, always by the Cross. It is by the Cross that we come into the light of His countenance.

This excerpt is from :

The Significance of Christ
by T. Austin-Sparks

Chapter 1 – In Relation to the Race as it is

May we always seek His face and may the wilderness never get the last word on defining who God is in our lives! mdc

 

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12 comments on “An Open Heaven vs. the Wilderness

  1. White Raiment says:

    Ah, more rich thought from Mr. Sparks! He writes, “the Devil’s greatest work is to get between us and God.” That’s so true in my experience, but the Lord hasn’t left me there, and he won’t leave us in a pit of despair, if we’re HIS! Then there is the Jordan…the flow of the Jordan is strong, but it’s so worth it to cross over to that land of blessing, flowing with milk and honey. Oh, what treasures he has laid up for us in the Land! Thank you for sharing this, Michael.

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  2. […] from A Wilderness Voice Blog (Michael […]

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  3. Pat Orr says:

    I have recently, again told the Lord that I want to seek His face. I also have ask the Lord what it means to seek His face – meaning how do I know when He has answered my prayer. So much of the scriptures in experience are still not revealed to me. Even so, more has been revealed than I have laid hold of. So I continue to hunger and thirst and seek. I know that God is faithful and without Him I can do nothing. Thank you for sharing, it is always a joy to read. I had not read the piece from T. Austin-Sparks before. However, I have found him on line and been reading some of the articles.

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    • Michael says:

      Dear Pat,
      Good to hear from you again! Seeking the Lord’s face and its meaning has evaded me as well, but in 1994 for He spoke to me through the words of this song and it so impacted me that I collapse into a heap on the floor in tears…

      I Will Change Your Name

      (D.J. Butler)

      I will change your name
      You shall no longer be called
      Wounded, outcast
      Lonely or afraid

      I will change your name
      Your new name shall be
      Confidence, joyfulness
      Overcoming one
      Faithfulness, friend of God
      One who seeks my face.

      Well, my sister, I was singing this song with a group of Christians after being in His wilderness for 14 years without hearing His voice or perceiving His presence the whole time. I was totally heart-broken from being cut off from my Lord in this “dark night of the soul” for sooo long. It was this song that He chose to let me know that my wilderness was over. I sang the first stanza thinking, “Yes, this song describes me perfectly… “Wounded, outcast, lonely and afraid.” But then this song continued and HE made the last stanza strike home and personally said to me… “Your new name shall be confidence, joyfulness, overcoming one, faithfulness, friend of God…” AT this point I cried out in tears, “Oh, God! Who am I that you would call me YOUR friend???” and He answered me, “because you are one who seeks my face.” David wrote,

      One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret place of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock. And now shall my head be lifted up above my enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD. Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When you said, Seek my face; my heart said unto you, your face, LORD, will I seek.
      (Psalms 27:4-8 KJ2000)

      There is a time when He cloaks us in HIS darkness (yes, God hides Himself in darkness. Do a word study on this word and it will blow your mind!) while he does some deep surgery on us. He knocks us out for the pain would be too much for us if He did not, while he removes from us all that is of the anti-christ within. It was HIS mercy that He dealt with me this way for 14 years and now that I am on the other side I can pray, “Father, I agree with you and EVERYTHING you have done in my life and I submit to your mighty hand as you do with me as YOU see fit. Forgive me for fighting against you so in the past in my confusion. Amen.”

      Love you, my sister! It is a joy to be in His kindred Spirit with you!!!

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  4. Kennth Dawson says:

    This post about the significance of Christ was very timely because today on the post of T Austin Sparks was the same chapter on the same subject..and like the writing says we as believers do feel sometimes that God has forsaken us..but no we know better…not just by the stories from the bible but by our personal experiences.

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  5. Years ago we were told through a prophecy that the church wished we never walked through there doors. Eventually I back slid. Never dropped God but sunk to low depths.
    Didn’t know what else to do. Still I’m responsible. I got so low and depressed for years, at times I thought maybe I was the antichrist. Yea. Pretty low.
    Destroyed my whole family unto this day……but, God delivered from my demons when He opened my eyes concerning churchianity and all the rejection. Then He pulled us out of the organization and took us into the wilderness where our peace and joy and hope were restored. Understanding the ‘truth’ of all things twisted in Christendom finally set us free from the religious demons. And that’s what they are.
    I no longer ever feel forsaken when the hard moments hit. To know Him, who He REALLY is makes all the difference.
    A hard row to hoe but oh the things He has shown us. His word now is clear and makes sense.
    I now hunger for His word. When I tried to feed on the wrested word from the Grecian pulpit it it kept us in spiritual death and heartache.
    Born from above we were, but feeding from the slop created by a corrupted word offered up by men with self interests. Not a good thing.
    I’m sorry. I feel I have gotten off topic.
    Let me cap with this. Under the false system, I felt God forsaking me all day long. A lie. But a lie I could not overcome by listening to falsehood.
    Learning His truth indeed sets one free. Praise His matchless Name!

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    • Michael says:

      Devon, YES, we share a common journey out of Christendom and into His marvelous Light! I know that I felt like Neo (in the movie, “The Matrix”) at first when he woke up after being delivered the computer that dictated to him his false reality and life as it sucked him dry. He looked up to his deliverer, Morpheus, and said, “Why do my eyes hurt?” And Morpheus replies, “Because you have never used them before.” What a trip this has been once I walked out of Christendom for the last time and set my heart on the Zion which is above, that city whose Builder and Maker is God which HAS Foundations, Jesus Christ, and was NOT founded by some man. If we build on a faulty foundation, the whole building will be faulty from the start and eventually it will come tumbling down just like that temple and Jewish system did in 57 A.D. And, “all the king’s horses and all the king’s men will not be able to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.”

      In this very hour, “everything that can be shaken, will be shaken, until only that which is Unshakable remains.” Or Jesus put it this way, “Every plant that my Father has not planted shall be rooted up.” So, let us be about our Father’s business in these final days in which we live and let the blind guides lead their blind followers, knowing that God has appointed ditches that are great teachers and eye openers, too. Not one of those who are His will be lost, so let us press on, not looking back (remember Lot’s wife?) but setting our eyes on the goal of our high callings IN Christ Jesus! Amen?

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  6. Pat Orr says:

    Bro. Michael, I have just finished reading your reply to me. Thank you for this also – so rich a word in God. The first time and other times that I have heard ” I will change your name” by Butler; I got so emotionally blessed by the music that the words became secondary. I will meditate on the words afresh. Also I will research the darkness ordained by God in scripture.

    Today, I finished reading (rereading) FED MY SHEEP by George Warnock. I am refreshed and blessed with his writings and his spirit.

    I shared in am earlier communication that once when I was lamenting that I had no roots, my God spoke correction to me. He said that I had roots in Him and in His people. I am rich in Him, and also in His people. Thank you for being one of His people.

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  7. I cannot believe it took me this long before I read this….just awesome thoughts Michael.

    I think there comes a point in our Christian lives where we finally come to the place where we really trust in what God actually says. It’s different for each of us in this sense….God will use what He will, the people and places that reveal to us the true as well as the false. It’s similar for us in this sense…..dependence is always learned through trial and testing- it is not forged from simple religious duty or ritual as many of us once thought and even attempted to live out. No wonder He seemed to fail us when we thought we needed Him most.

    Jesus appears in the clouds yes, He hides in the shadows and only He knows the opportune time to call us to Himself (an initial seeing), teach us of Himself (a deeper seeing) and I believe (a fuller seeing yet) when we can honestly say ALL is of Him. The degree of these can be known by our attitudes toward suffering, our ability to truly forgive despite what others have done to us and whether we have peace in each and every circumstance we face.

    There were in the past many seasons where I questioned God’s workings and dealings in my life- yet in every instance, and in most cases even when the “seeing” didn’t come about for years, He was proven trustworthy and faithful every time. Do I always like where I find myself these days- no, nor is my attitude always proper. But do I believe God way is best- yes I do, and praise God I would have it no other way.

    The significance of Christ- who can fully know. One thing is for sure, it’s those who actually cultivate this relationship that will “fully see and fully know” even as they are known. There is absolutely nothing that Jesus ever said or did that does not or could not alter our reality in some manner. Thanks for sharing another aspect of Him (albeit through another brother) as a reminder of how vital are His Works and how dependent we must remain upon them.

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    • Michael says:

      Michael F,

      Thanks for writing, dear brother. Wow! Sounds like the Lord has had a breakthrough in your life! I know that He has been doing some deep “mining” in mine lately as well. God bless you and if you still want to come out this summer to see us you are still welcome
      Michael C.

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