Carrying The Heavenly Vision

24 And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to speak unto the people concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind?
25 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they which are gorgeously apparelled, and live delicately, are in kings’ courts.
26 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet.
27 This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
28 For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he. Lk. 7:24-28
Just the other day, a brother and I were walking in the hot midday sun and we got so exhausted that one of us quipped, “Sometimes I wish we had a car to move about with!”
To which the other replied, “True. But that’s hardly a priority.”
“Yes”, agreed the former. “A car is hardly a priority with us.”
One of the incredible graces that God has blessed this brother and I with is to discern what God’s real blessings are. I remember there was a time when I used to pray for every material blessing under the sun. I had a long list of things that I wanted God to give me. While some are needful, yet I now realize that most of the things that I used to desire and pray for so vigorously are absolutely insignificant.
When some believers hear me saying that, they deride me.
“It is because you do not have these things, that’s why you talk that way”, they say.
But I know their accusation is not true. On the contrary, it is what is in my heart that makes me to consider material things unimportant in my life.
There are many blessings in my life which that God has granted me. One of the blessings that this brother and I cherish in our lives is the deep contentment we get from each other’s company. We both realize that the grace of God is upon our lives in this regard. This brother’s company is one of the most amazing and important things in my life. He is as I and often I wonder at the blessing of having such a wonderful brother by my side.
Today’s modern gospels want the believer to believe that the comforts of this world are the most important things in their lives. This leads him to compete with the world for the things and comforts of this world. But we ought to realize that, although we are in the world, our Kingdom is not of this world. We should not become materialistic Christians.
Jesus said, “… Behold, they which are gorgeously apparelled, and live delicately, are in kings’ courts.” (Lk. 7:25)
These are worldly-minded people, Jesus said. In today’s world, the prosperity gospel has bewitched God’s people.
But the man whom Jesus was about to talk about did not live in kings’ houses.
Now, one the most amazing facts about this account is the fact that Jesus would take such a long time to speak about a man, John the Baptist. This shows us that this man was very important in God’s Kingdom. Jesus Himself said as much.
Jesus began by contrasting John the Baptist with the comfortable lives that earthly kings live. A king’s lifestyle represents the highest standard of living in the land. He lives that kind of life because he holds the ultimate reins of power.
But Jesus went on and told the people that, even though John was so weak in the worldly sense that he appeared like a reed in the wind, yet he represented something which had infinitely much more power and glory than that of earthly kings.
Jesus said, “You went out to see, not a king, but a prophet.”
It is beyond doubt that a prophet is supremely above any king. A prophet is someone who has been sent by God. That in itself sets him far above this world in terms of glory, power and importance, for all earthly kings are subject to God. A prophet carries a message from God. He might be sent to warn, to direct or to comfort, but his message comes directly from God Himself. He is God’s mouthpiece. In spiritual terms, an earthly king in all his glory pales in the face of a prophet of God. The former lacks enduring glory and power, while the latter carries the same in himself.
But, still, Jesus told the crowd, John’s mission was far greater than that of an ordinary prophet. John had a mission that set him apart from other prophets. This is because he came to accomplish the most important task that would ever be accomplished by any man on earth. John was sent to precede and prepare God’s people for the coming of God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world.
26 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet. 27 This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.”
There could never be a more noble duty assigned to man than this!
For this reason, Jesus said, “… Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist”.
Among those that are born of women, including kings, there never had been, and there never would be, a greater prophet than John the Baptist.
But Jesus had not arrived at the end of what He wanted to tell the people who were listening to Him. In saying all this, Jesus was laying a foundation for the ultimate message that He was about to deliver. All this was a preamble to the important message that He had for His listeners. And it was that, finally, He declared it:
“… but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”
Notice there are two “he”s in this sentence. The last “he” refers to John the Baptist, of course, but who does the first “he” refer to? And it is clear that this person is greater than John the Baptist. Who could this “he” be?
It is us, we who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus was telling His listeners that anyone who would believe on Him under the New Covenant would be far greater than John the Baptist.
What an awesome realisation! Jesus indicated that John was of another era, the Old Testament era, whose end he was announcing. The Lord Jesus Christ ushered in the new era of the New Covenant. And the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 3 that the New Covenant is far greater than the old one.
Now, if Jesus could contrast, or separate John the Baptist from the world and its comforts, how much more should we be separated from them? Much, much more, I believe.
It is not that we should not have the things of this world; rather, it is that our hearts should never, ever be bound up with these things.
One of the most powerful examples of this in the Bible is Job. Job was one of the most blessed men in his generation. He was extremely rich materially. But Job lost everything, including his children, in just one day. Upon receiving the news of his staggering calamity, however, the Bible says that Job fell down on his face and worshipped God. And the Bible further says:
“21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. 22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.” (Job 1:21-22)
Clearly, Job’s heart was not on the things that God had blessed him with. Job’s heart was on the heavenly glory; losing, or not having material things was a small sacrifice for him.

[Below: The brother I love and myself]

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Memucan – Staying On The “KIng’s Highway” (Part 2)

19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 1 Corinthians 1:19-21

So what is it about this Biblical prince, Memucan, that is so admirable?

After Queen Vashti developed ‘progressive’ ideas and refused to obey the king’s command to go show her sweet face to his guests, the king’s anger was kindled and he sought from his princes and advisers what he should do about the situation. It was so embarrassing for him as king to have his wife refuse to obey his command!

Memucan it was who provided the king with an answer that was deemed appropriate not only by all the other princes, but by King Ahasuerus himself.

Let us take time to read the entire account.

“10 On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, and Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, the seven chamberlains that served in the presence of Ahasuerus the king, 11 To bring Vashti the queen before the king with the crown royal, to shew the people and the princes her beauty: for she was fair to look on. 12 But the queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s commandment by his chamberlains: therefore was the king very wroth, and his anger burned in him. 13 Then the king said to the wise men, which knew the times, (for so was the king’s manner toward all that knew law and judgment: 14 And the next unto him was Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, the seven princes of Persia and Media, which saw the king’s face, and which sat the first in the kingdom;) 15 What shall we do unto the queen Vashti according to law, because she hath not performed the commandment of the king Ahasuerus by the chamberlains? 16 And Memucan answered before the king and the princes, Vashti the queen hath not done wrong to the king only, but also to all the princes, and to all the people that are in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus. 17 For this deed of the queen shall come abroad unto all women, so that they shall despise their husbands in their eyes, when it shall be reported, The king Ahasuerus commanded Vashti the queen to be brought in before him, but she came not. 18 Likewise shall the ladies of Persia and Media say this day unto all the king’s princes, which have heard of the deed of the queen. Thus shall there arise too much contempt and wrath. 19 If it please the king, let there go a royal commandment from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes, that it be not altered, That Vashti come no more before king Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal estate unto another that is better than she. 20 And when the king’s decree which he shall make shall be published throughout all his empire, (for it is great,) all the wives shall give to their husbands honour, both to great and small. 21 And the saying pleased the king and the princes; and the king did according to the word of Memucan: 22 For he sent letters into all the king’s provinces, into every province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language, that every man should bear rule in his own house, and that it should be published according to the language of every people.” Est. 1:10-22

Some biblical scholars have declared the king’s decree “silly” and Vashti has been exalted as a “bold” woman.

But King Ahasuerus is a type of the authority of God. We cannot bring in irreverent ideas like, “Oh, y’know, this man was drunk, and he had no right to dishonor an honorable woman!” I don’t even know whether he was drunk. The fact that he was the king, however, supersedes all else. (My dad used to be a drunk, and he never ceased to be my dad because of that!)

With man it might appear as if the king was dishonoring his queen, but with God, it was the king exercising his authority – and honoring his wife’s beauty.

I don’t see any indication in the least that King Ahasuerus lost anything after the saga had ultimately played out. Not his honor, nor his power, nor anything. If anything, the king gained – vastly – by marrying Esther. And throughout the Book of Esther, King Ahasuerus stands tall to the end, a shining example of God’s authority and the defender of God’s people.

Actually it was Queen Vashti who lost out. She lost her position as queen and became a commoner.

God is still on His throne. He is still the King of kings and Lord of lords. Human wisdom will never remove him from that position. On the contrary, human wisdom will only lead man to sin against God, as we see it happened with Adam and Eve – and Vashti.

And when we sin, as we just saw, we lose. But Memucan helped the nation to stay on the King’s highway!

Memucan – Staying On The “King’s Highway” (Part 1)

“19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
21 
For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” 1 Corinthians 1:19-21

It is difficult for the church to stay on the King’s highway, especially in our day. But we must.

Who was Memucan, and what is his significance in the Bible? In King Ahasuerus’s kingdom, Memucan was one of the princes “which saw the king’s face, and which sat the first in the kingdom” (Est. 1:14). It is so important to note that.

Memucan is one of the men I love in the Bible. He advised the king and enabled him to make a critical decision when his authority was being tested by the person closest to him – his wife.

Memucan brought on Godly wisdom that allowed a nation to stay on the ‘King’s highway’ at a time when the queen’s disobedience was about to derail the entire nation.

It is so sad how human wisdom has penetrated into the church today and we are not even aware of it.

I have read sermons by modernist preachers in which King Ahasuerus was censured for his “debauchery” and where Queen Vashti was praised for refusing to obey King Ahasuerus’s command to go show off her beauty in front of the king’s “drunken” guests.

Someone high-pitchedly said that Vashti did the right thing in refusing because they too wouldn’t want to be “paraded out there to be displayed like a prize horse!”

Another highly intellectual account talks about Vashti being “forced to surrender her womanly honor” by her “unworthy” husband!

These are simply human ideas about what the Biblical account is about. And you will find countless other similar statements within the church.

But the Bible says right there in the scripture above that we cannot know God through our human wisdom. God has rejected that avenue! It is an avenue all right, but God has rejected it. Only a revelation of God in a humble heart can enable us to know God and to know and walk in His holiness.

When you are not walking in this revelation, you are walking in the flesh, and your brain becomes alive, and God’s ways die in you.

I am glad the Book of Esther is in the Bible. It has been put there on purpose by God Himself to confound the wise men and women of this world – rebellious people, for human wisdom is rebelliousness against God.

There are people who would prefer for the Book of Esther to not be in the Bible. It grates against their intelligence and their sense of decency. This is because they are using their brains instead of their hearts to understand God.

But, you see, God is not about your intelligence or your preferences or your idea of decency. God is not even about what is sensible, rational, logical or judicious. And God is certainly not about women’s lib. I should probably say God is against women’s lib. If you wouldn’t want to be paraded out there like a prize horse, that’s all right with God. But the King plans on parading His bride out there, and that is the important thing.

And I deeply doubt that God is thinking of parading a horse out there, anyway! That is just someone’s human intelligence torturing them.

God is God. Actually, Jesus said that God is Spirit (John 4:24). That means that God is not something that human intelligence can make out.

Human wisdom is actually human pride. Progress, civilization, enlightenment, advancement, development – all these and kindred terms are positive terms as far as human beings are concerned, but it is not even remotely so with God. On the contrary, these very terms are enmity with God.

In our country today, education is at a premium. Parents go to incredible lengths to ensure that their children receive the best education possible. In fact, education has been placed on such a high pedestal that it has become a god. People, including born-again believers, are openly playing idolatry at the altar of education.

And yet this education is the very tool that the devil uses so effectively in his warfare against God. Remember Satan used the most intelligent animal in the Garden of Eden – the serpent – to deceive Eve!

I read in the news today that yesterday (Sunday) a transgender priest preached at the Washington National Cathedral in the U.S. That’s a Christian church! During his sermon he compared the sufferings that transgender people are undergoing worldwide to the sufferings of Christ!

The service was officiated over by a gay priest.

These are highly ‘progressive’ men (and no doubt ministering to highly progressive Christians). I can’t begin to imagine what such people would have to say in a house of God. But whatever they believe in has led them into sin since transgenderism and homosexuality are sin. When ‘progressive’ thoughts are injected into the church the result is sin.

Can you imagine a gay priest preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ? The thought is simply beyond comprehension.