Delivered to Be Obedient, Not Just Free: Coming to the Place of Sacrifice and Cleansing Through the Word of God









Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Jeremiah, and more specifically, is found in verses fifteen through thirty-four of the seventh chapter. This chapter continues a powerful prophetic word that was delivered in the gate of the house of the Lord. One of the thing that so thoroughly amazes me about this passage of Scripture is that the Lord doesn’t hold or reserve His word in the streets or upon the street corners. WHEN THE WORD OF THE LORD IS BROUGHT TO THE GATE OF THE HOUSE! WHEN THE LORD BRINGS HIS WORD STRAIGHT TO HIS HOUSE! This passage of Scripture reveals how the Lord instructed Jeremiah to take the prophetic word and proclaim it in the very place where He had placed His name. This passage of Scripture reveals how the Lord holds no punches when it comes to proclaiming His word unto His people. After six chapters within the prophetic book of Jeremiah, we find the prophet taking the prophetic word of the Lord straight to the gate of the house of the Lord. How absolutely incredible it is that the prophet was instructed to take the word of the Lord straight to the very gate of the house of the Lord—straight to the very entrance of the house of the Lord. The prophet wasn’t instructed to take the word of the Lord to the altar of burnt offering, or even to the portico between the porch and altar. The prophet Jeremiah took the prophetic word of the Lord straight to the very entrance of the house of the Lord where it would be heard by each and every man and woman who came to the house of the Lord to present and offer their sacrifices unto the Lord. The prophet Jeremiah was instructed to take and proclaim the word of the Lord in the very place where men and women would enter to come and appear before the Lord their God. TAKING THE WORD OF THE LORD TO THE PLACE MEN ENTER TO APPEAR BEFORE THEIR GOD! This is quite astounding, for before they could present their offerings unto the Lord, they had to first pass through the word of the Lord. Before they could come and present themselves unto the Lord in His holy temple, they had to first come and pass through the word of the Lord. WHEN IT’S NECESSARY TO PASS THROUGH THE WORD OF THE LORD BEFORE APPROACHING THE ALTAR!  
 Oh, I can’t help but wonder how many of our churches would be completely different if before men and women came and presented themselves unto the Lord, they first passed right through the word of the Lord. What would many of our services and assemblies be like if before we could come to the altar of the Lord we first had to pass through the word of the Lord? When you study the layout of both the Tabernacle and the Temple, you will notice that there were essentially three different areas that comprised it. First was the outer court where the altar of the Lord—the altar of burnt offering—and the bronze basin were located. Immediately after that—once you passed through the altar (the place of sacrifice) and the basin (the place of cleansing)—you then entered into the Holy Place where the table of shewbread was, where the altar of incense was, and where the golden lampstand was. Separating the holy place from the Most Holy Place—the Holy of Holies—was a veil. Beyond the veil was the Ark of the Covenant where the Mercy Seat of the Lord of hosts was present. In other words, before entering into the place of presence and glory, you first had to pass through the place of sacrifice and cleansing. Before you p assed through the place of glory and presence, you first had to pass through the place of bread, the place of enlightenment, and the place of worship and prayer. How many times do we attempt to proceed to the place of presence and glory without first passing through the place of sacrifice and cleansing? How many us believe the lie and the delusion that we can somehow pass through the veil to the place of presence and glory without first coming unto the altar and the basin. COMING UNTO THE ALTAR AND BASIN! Of course I know and understand that when Jesus died upon the cross of Calvary two-thousand years ago, the veil was torn in two from top to bottom. This tearing and rending of the veil signifies and suggests that reconciliation had been made, and that men could now come directly to the Father through the finished work of Jesus Christ. It was Jesus Christ Himself who revealed that the way to the presence and glory of the Father was through the place of the altar and the place of the basin.

 With this being said, I find it to be incredibly significant the Lord instructed Jeremiah to go and stand in the gate of the house of the Lord. I find it to be incredibly significant that the Lord instructed His word to be manifested in the gate of the house of the Lord—at the very entrance to the house of the Lord. The reason for this is because even before men and women were able to come to the place of sacrifice and cleansing, they first had to come to and experience the word of the Lord. I am thoroughly convinced that there are times in our lives when even before we come to the place of sacrifice and cleansing we must first come to the place where we encounter the word of the Lord. There are times in our lives when before we can experience the place of sacrifice and cleansing we must first pass through the place of the word of the Lord. Jeremiah was never instructed to stand between the porch and the altar, but was instructed to stand in the gate of the house of the Lord, thus suggesting and signifying the word of the Lord had to be encountered before anything else. THE WORD BEFORE THE ALTAR! THE WORD BEFORE THE BASIN! THE WORD BEFORE THE TABLE! THE WORD BEFORE THE LAMPSTAND! The prophet Jeremiah was instructed to bring the word of the Lord to the place of access and entrance, for one could not obtain access and entrance into the house of the Lord without first being confronted with the word of the Lord. I can’t help but wonder how many men and women actually took the time to stand and listen to the words which the prophet Jeremiah spoke. I can’t help but wonder what many of our assemblies and gathering together would be like if before we even entered into the house of the Lord we first encountered His word at the entrance of the house. There are so many men and women who enter into the house of the Lord, and that is the one and only time they encounter the word of God within and throughout their entire week. What if before men and women entered into the doors of our churches, the word of the Lord was present as they prepared to enter. What if the price of admission to the house of the Lord was encountering and experiencing the word of the Lord? Please understand that by price I am not speaking of any monetary value that should be collected or asked for. What I am speaking of in connection to this concept is the price of admission into the house of the Lord is being confronted with the word of the Lord at the very entrance.

 THE PRICE OF ADMISSION INTO THE HOUSE OF THE LORD! We dare not consider this reality to be too far out of reach for our understanding, for there was a price associated with entering into the glory and presence of the Father. Consider what great a price was paid in order that we might obtain access and entrance into the house of the Lord. When Jesus died on the cross two-thousand years ago, He paid the ultimate price to grant and provide access into the very Holy of Holies—that place which previously had been separated with and by a veil. WHEN THE WORD PAYS THE PRICE FOR THE GLORY! WHEN THE WORD PAYS THE PRICE FOR THE PRESENCE! What a truly powerful concept it is that it was the Word which paid the price for admission and access into the place of the glory of Almighty God. It was the Word which paid the price for admission and access into the place of the presence of the Lord. It was the Word who paid the price so the presence and glory of the Father as manifested in and through the person of the Holy Spirit could be manifested within the earth. Similarly, what if the word of God was the price of admission into the house of the Lord? What if we could not obtain access and entrance into the house of the Lord without first encountering the word of the Lord at the gate? What I am not suggesting and speaking of is that one’s response to such a word would somehow dictate once’s access and entrance into the house of the Lord. I fully recognize and understand the tremendous power that is present when the saints of God gather together—when one can put a thousand to flight, and two can put ten thousand to flight. I am fully aware of the reality that where two or more are gathered together in the name of our Lord, He is there in their midst. There is a phrase that keeps going through my mind, which is found in a song that is sung by contemporary Christian artist Shannon Wexelberg. The title of the song is simply this “Before I Sacrifice I Will Obey.” The entire song is based on the words which the prophet Samuel spoke unto Saul after he had been instructed and commanded to slaughter all the Amalekites. Samuel’s response to Saul came after Saul professed obedience to the word of the Lord, yet spared the best of the flocks and herds, and did so under the guise of sacrifice and offering unto the Lord.

 I must present you with the exact words of Samuel the prophet of the Lord as recorded in the fifteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of First Samuel. “Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, He hath also rejected thee from being king” (1 Samuel 15:22-23). These words are echoed by the psalmist David who was also the king of Israel: “O Lord, open thou. My lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise. For thou desiresst not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a bro,ken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” (Psalm 51:15-17). This reality is also echoed in the Old Testament prophetic book of Micah, and specifically, in the sixth chapter. “Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:6-8). I am also reminded of the words of the prophet Isaiah as recorded in the first chapter of the prophetic book which bears his name: “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? Saith the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, of of he goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn. Meeting. You’re new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are fully of blood” (Isaiah 1:11-15).

 The reason I mention the song which Shannon Wexelberg sings, and the reason I include these various references is because of the concept “before I sacrifice I will obey.” The prophet Samuel declared unto Saul that obedience is better than sacrifice. With that being said, obedience cannot truly be made possible without and part from the word of God within our hearts and lives. It is through and by the word of God that we understand that which the Lord has required of us, and what He has commanded us. I can’t help but wonder what many of our churches and gatherings would be like if before we came to the altar to sacrifice we first came to the word to learn obedience. If obedience is better than sacrifice, then it might be worth noting that before we even come unto the altar of the Lord, and before we even enter into the house of the Lord, we first encounter the word of God within our lives. How many of us truly come to the place of the word of God before we even enter into the house of the Lord? If obedience is better than sacrifice, then I am convinced that before we even come to the altar and the basin, we must first come to the place of the word of God. Jeremiah was instructed to stand in the gate of the house of the Lord, which meant that before the priests could enter into the house of the Lord they had to experience and encounter the word of the Lord. When Jeremiah stood in the gate of the house of the Lord, the “prophets” during his day and generation needed to experience and encounter the word of God. When the common man and woman came unto the house of the Lord to present their offerings and gifts unto the Lord, they first had to experience and encounter the word of the Lord. What’s more, is that those to whom Jeremiah was speaking in this passage of Scripture were the chosen people of God. Those to whom Jeremiah was speaking weren’t Gentile or heathen people—those from distant countries and lands. Those to whom Jeremiah was speaking were those to whom the covenant, the law, and the promise had been given. Those to whom Jeremiah was speaking were those to whom the inheritance had been given according to the promise unto Abraham. Undoubtedly there would have been those from other nations and lands that would have come unto the house of the Lord, and they too would have heard the prophetic word of the Lord as being proclaimed by the prophet of the Lord.

 I can’t get over the concept of passing through the word of God before even coming to the altar of the Lord. I can’t escape the concept of passing through the word of God before even coming to the basin of God. Jeremiah stood in the gate of the house of the Lord, and before men and women could come to the place of sacrifice and cleansing, they first had to pass through the word of the Lord. I wonder how many men and women in many of our churches today come to the altar and even the basin, yet they never experience, nor encounter the word of the Lord. Oh, I continue to believe that men and women can come into the house of the Lord and encounter the word of God, but how many men and women come into the house of the Lord and truly experience the word of the Lord. I firmly believe that we must preach the Word always and to be instant in season and out of season. With that being said, however, I am also convinced that there are countless times when men and women come and enter the house of the Lord, and while they may indeed and in fact hear the word of God, they don’t hear the word of the Lord. When Jeremiah was instructed to stand in the gate of the house of the Lord, he was instructed to take the word of the Lord straight to the house of the Lord, and to proclaim it in the place of entrance and access. I wonder how many men and women pass through the gate of the house of the Lord on a daily basis, and based on that reality—how many men and women would have heard the word of the Lord when Jeremiah stood in the gate of the house of the Lord. Before men and women could come to the place of sacrifice and cleansing, the first had to come to the place of the word of the Lord. In other words, they had to be confronted with the need for obedience before they found their way to the place of sacrifice. It was through the word of the Lord in the gate of the house of the Lord that obedience was demanded, presented and required of the Lord of hosts. It was in the gate of the house of the Lord when men and women would be confronted with their own sin and rebellion. It’s almost as if the Lord was asking the inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judah if they really wanted to come to the altar with their offerings and gifts in their present state. DO YOU REALLY WANT TO COME TO MY ALTAR WITHOUT FIRST BEING CONFRONTED WITH THE CONDITION OF YOUR HEART!

 I absolutely love that Jeremiah stood in the gate of the house of the Lord, for it reveals the incredible reality of how the Lord desired His people to encounter His word before they proceeded to bring their gifts and offerings unto Him. By positioning Jeremiah in the gate of the house of the Lord it was the Lord’s way of confronting men and women with their transgression and rebellion before even coming to His altar. In the pattern of the Tabernacle and Temple the priest had to come to the altar of incense by way of the altar of the Lord in the outer court, yet when Jeremiah stood in the gate of the house of the Lord, the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem would come to the altar of the Lord by way of the word of the Lord. Consider how much different the altar of the Lord would be if before we even came to the altar of the Lord we first came to the word of the Lord. How many men and women attempt to experience the altar of the Lord without first experiencing the word of the Lord? I believe with all my heart this was what the prophet Isaiah was speaking of when he referenced men and women coming to spread their hands before the Lord in His holy temple, yet their hands were full of blood. I am convinced this was even true during Jeremiah’s day, and is written and expressed in this very chapter. “Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit. Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not; and come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations? Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the Lord. But go ye now unto my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel. And now, because ye have done all these words, saith the Lord, and I spake unto you, rising up early and speaking, but ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not; therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by my name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gate to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh. And I will cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, even the whole seed of Ephraim” (Jeremiah 7:8-15).

 What is so unique about this prophetic word—this word which was proclaimed in the gate of the house of the Lord—is that contained within it was a reminded of what the Lord had required of the children of Israel when He delivered them out and brought them up out of the land of Egypt. “Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Put your burnt offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat flesh. For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices: but this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you” (Jeremiah 7:21-23). I absolutely love this reminder which was proclaimed by Jeremiah, for with these words Jeremiah reminds the inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judah of what the Lord required when He delivered them out of and brought them up out of their slavery and bondage. When the Lord delivered them out of their slavery and oppressing, He commanded them to obey His voice, and to walk in all the ways which He commanded them. Please don’t miss this and catch this deep within your heart and spirit. When the Lord delivered and brought forth the children of Israel from their slavery and bondage, He commanded and instructed them to obey His voice, and to walk in all the ways He commanded. In essence, He delivered them to be more than a free people, but an obedient people. DELIVERED TO BE AN OBEDIENT PEOPLE; NOT JUST A FREE PEOPLE! The Lord didn’t just deliver the children of Israel from their slavery, bondage and oppression, and bring them into the land of their inheritance right away. The Lord of hosts didn’t deliver the children of Israel from their slavery and bondage to immediately bring them into the place of inheritance, promise and blessing. The Lord delivered the children of Israel out of their slavery and bondage in order that a free people would become an obedient people. WHEN A FREE PEOPLE BECOMES AN OBEDIENT PEOPLE! I am convinced that in these Last Days and in this generation, the Lord of hosts wants to do more than just set people free from that which has enslaved and captivated them. In this generation, the Lord desires to take and transform a free people into an obedient people. It is an obedient people that enter into the inheritance and experience the promise and blessing of the Lord. Oh dear brother, dear sister, the Lord didn’t deliver you from that which held you captive, and that which held you in bondage so you could be free, and free alone. The Lord delivered you from your slavery and bondage so you could be a free people.

 THE TRANSFORMATION OF A FREE PEOPLE INTO AN OBEDIENT PEOPLE! How absolutely marvelous it is to think that the Lord didn’t immediately bring the children of Israel into the land of Canaan after delivering them out of their slavery and bondage. The Lord instead brought them to His holy mountain in the wilderness for He wanted to take a free people and transform them into an obedient people. The Lord wanted to bring this redeemed people unto His holy mountain so He could transform them into a worshipping people. The same reality holds true of you and me, for we weren’t delivered from Egypt to immediately enter into Canaan. Before we ever enter into and experience Canaan we must first enter into and experience Sinai. There are far too many men and women who desire to enter into Canaan without first experiencing Sinai and the mountain the burns with fire and shakes under the glory and presence of the Lord. The Lord desires to take a free people and bring them to the place of His word in order that He might teach them how to obey His voice and His commandments. It was there at the mountain where the children of Israel encountered the voice of the Lord so He could teach them to listen for and to hear His voice. Oh that we would get this truth deep within our hearts and spirits, for we were delivered and set free in order that we might be a people that walk in obedience to the voice and commands of the Lord. We were delivered from our slavery, our bondage and our oppression in order that we might become an obedient people. You weren’t delivered simply to be delivered, or even to walk through the wilderness as a free people. You weren’t delivered simply to enter into the land of Canaan, for what good is entering into Canaan free, but unable to worship the Lord, and unable to obey His commands? What good is entering into Canaan free from slavery, bondage and oppression, yet not being able to discern the voice of the Lord, and thus be unable to hear Him when He speaks? Oh that we would not only be a free people, but also that we would be an obedient people who know the voice of the Lord of hosts, and who worship Him according to His word, and in spirit and in truth.

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