Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament epistle which was written unto the Hebrews. More specifically, today’s passage is found in verses eleven through fourteen of the fifth chapter. When you approach this particular portion of the epistle you will find the language contained therein a little difficult to bear. Perhaps you might even find the words which the author of this epistle wrote to be too direct, too pointed, and too confrontational. You might find yourself reading these words and being unable to hear—much less actually respond to that which the author is trying to convey. It is this particular portion of the epistle where the author seems to once more confront those who would read the words found in the epistle—this time along the lines of maturity and growth. The words which the author of the epistle presents in this portion of scripture are essentially linked to the words which come thereafter in the sixth chapter, and while we aren’t getting into that which is found in the sixth chapter quite yet—suffice it to say that the language found here is essentially the foundation upon which the following chapter is built. What is so interesting and unique about this particular passage of Scripture, is that while it is only four verses—these four verses pack quite the theological punch. In all reality, I almost feel as though these words are essentially a sucker punch in the gut—one that if you are reading them for the first time will shock and perhaps even stun you. While the words contained within this passage of scripture might seem to come as a surprise—maybe even a shock—I would dare say that more often than not the most necessary words are those which come when we least expect it. I have found that more often than not the words which are the most necessary within our lives often seem to come out of the shadows and into the light. The words which the author of this epistle wrote in this passage or scripture are of such a nature that they see most likely intended to explode within the hearts and minds of the readers.
This particular passage—while it is only four verses long—are of such an explosive nature that it more than likely rocked and completely shook those who read them. What’s more, is that these words come after the author has already—not once, not twice, but three times—confronted them with the tremendous significance and importance of today. Within the third and fourth chapters of the epistle the author confronted the audience of this epistle with the tremendous reality of today, and the power that lies within the awesome importance of today: the author reminded the Hebrews of their fathers, and how in the wilderness their fathers not only provoked the Lord, but also tempted Him for forty years. What’s more, is the author of this epistle even wrote of that previous generation of fathers how although the word was preached unto them, they did not and could not receive it because they did not mix it with faith. The author sought to directly confront the audience of this epistle with the history of their fathers in order that they might warn them concerning the nature and condition of their own hearts and minds. What I so live about this epistle, is that while it is entirely Christo-centric in its nature, its language concerning Jesus the Christ was meant to invite the readers to a powerful response to that reality. The portrait of Christ was wonderfully and powerfully painted and presented within this passage, and the author then used the revelation of Jesus Christ to incite the audience to a marked response to that revelation. It’s almost as if the author sought to present the reality and revelation of Jesus the Christ, and then in light of what was written and revealed, thus confronted them with how they would live in light of and in spite of that reality. It’s as if the author declares unto them the reality and revelation concerning Jesus Christ and then immediately demands a response to such a revelation. LIVING IN THE REVELATION ABSENT THE RESPONSE! If I am being honest with you who are reading these words, I would dare say that there are many of us who are living in the revelation of who Jesus Christ truly is, and yet we seek to live in that revelation absent the response and responsibility of such a revelation. We want to remain in the place of revelation because we feel that it is safe, and comfortable and convenient, and yet we never transition to that place outside of and absent any response.
I would like to continue along the lines of living in the revelation absent the response, for there are countless men and women among us today who seek to enjoy and experience the revelation of Jesus Christ, and yet they seek to live in that place of revelation without ever transitioning to the place of response. I can’t help but be reminded of the words which were recorded in the seventeenth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew, for in this particular chapter we find Jesus taking with Him Peter, James and Hohn into a high mountain. It was there upon the mountain where Jesus was transfigured before their eyes and appearing in a measure of the glory He had with the father in eternity. What’s more, is while transfigured before them, Jesus appeared to be speaking with Moses and Elijah. This is actually quite unique, for both Moses and Elijah had encounters with God atop a mountain, for Moses went up unto the Lord atop Horeb in the wilderness—a mountain that burned with fire, and which was consumed with the glory of the Lord of hosts. You will recall that Elijah was atop mount Carmel, and atop that mountain—not only did he call down fire from heaven, but he also prayed for train to once more come upon the earth. There atop the mountain Elijah called down fire from heaven and it fell, and prayed for rain, and it fell. Now, both of these men are once more present atop a mountain—this time speaking with Jesus as He was transfigured before the face of the disciples. What you will find when reading the words of the apostle Matthew in this passage of scripture is that while in the midst of that revelation, Peter spoke up and declared unto the Lord that it was good for them to be there, and that they should build three tabernacles—one for Moses, one of Elijah, and one for Jesus Himself. In all reality, Peter sought to remain in the place of revelation without transitioning from the place of revelation to the place of response and responsibility. We cannot, we dare not, we must not get so caught up in the place of revelation that we are absolutely unable to transition from that place into a place of revelation. PARALYZED IN THE PLACE OF REVELATION! I am utterly and completely convinced that we have great need to consider this reality of being paralyzed in the place of revelation, for there are countless men and women who right now are paralyzed in the place of revelation, and are quite content to be there.
This reality and concept of being paralyzed in the place of revelation is actually one that is more common than we would even care or wish to admit. There might be some who read the words contained within this writing and would think—perhaps even believe—within themselves that such a reality cannot be manifested within the lives of individuals. The truth of the matter, is that this simply is not the case, for there are countless men and women who right now are absolutely stuck and completely paralyzed in the place of revelation. It’s almost as if these individuals have entered into the place of revelation and for one reason or another seem to get stuck in that place and are either unwilling or unable to move from that place. While it is true that there are instances within Scripture when the glory of the Lord and the appearance of His image—both in the Old Testament, as well as in the New Testament—was so great, and so powerful, that it literally caused men to fall on their faces as dead men. It is true that there were countless experiences where men were so overwhelmed with the glory of the Lord at that given moment that their only response was to fall to the ground on their faces as dead men. There were instances when men could not stand in the presence of Jesus, and were immediately brought low to the earth—sometimes completely unable to move from that place. Please note that what I am referencing when I write about being paralyzed in the place of revelation has absolutely nothing to do with this type of response. There are times when we can be so consumed with the glory and presence of the Lord that we cannot help but fall to our faces, or fall to our knees and be completely unable to move because His presence is so strong. What I am referencing by this concept of being paralyzed in the place of revelation is entering into the place of revelation and becoming so consumed within that place of revelation that we in all reality get stuck therein. It’s almost as if we enjoy the experience and weight of the revelation so much that we get trapped in that place, and we don’t give any attention or thought to the reality that we were never meant to remain in that place. What we must recognize and understand is that with revelation comes responsibility, and there are a number of men and women who want the revelation, yet they want the revelation absent any type of responsibility. There are men and women among us who want to continue to enjoy the revelation of Jesus Christ, and want to continue to experience and enjoy the glory and presence of the Lord, yet they do not give any heed to the reality that revelation always demands and carries with it responsibility.
I am absolutely and utterly amazed at how incredibly easy it is to experience the glory and presence of the Lord within our lives, or perhaps even within the house of the Lord, and yet we get so caught up and consumed in that place of revelation that we fail to transition from that place. Please note and please understand that what I am referencing here is experiencing the glory and presence of the Lord—whether in the secret closets of prayer, or in the corporate house of the Lord—and yet living in the place of revelation without at all considering the response that is needed to that revelation. In all reality, revelation has always and will always demand response and responsibility. There are many times when we seek to live our lives continually in the revelation, and yet we pay no attention, and give no thought to the fact that such a revelation demands a response on our part. We were never intended on experiencing and enjoying the revelation of Jesus Christ within our hearts and lives, and yet experience that revelation without any type of response on our part. Search the Scriptures and you will find that absolutely every time there was an encounter with the glory and presence of the Lord, it always demanded a response. Throughout Scripture revelation has always and did always require and demand responsibility. Within Scripture we find various different individuals experiencing the glory and presence of the Lord, and yet that revelation, and the experience of God’s glory was never meant to simply be an experience which one enjoyed, and that was it. More often than not we treat the glory and presence of the Lord as an experience we are to enjoy rather than a call to action and a call to response. I am utterly and completely convinced that if and should—perhaps even when—the glory and presence of the Lord are manifested within our midst, it always demands a response on our parts. Revelation was never intended on simply being an experience which we enjoy on our end, and never results in any type of response or action on our part. Oh there are so many times when we so throughly enjoy the manifestation of the glory and presence of the Lord that we completely neglect, ignore, and perhaps even lose sight of the fact that such an experience warrants and demands our response. Revelation was never intended on tickling our senses and being a notch on our “experiential belts” which we wear each and every week when we enter into the house of the Lord.
As I sit here and consider this reality and concept of being paralyzed in the place of revelation, and dwelling in the place of revelation absent response, I can’t help but be completely and totally struck and consumed—not only with the encounter which the disciples experienced atop the mountain with Jesus, but also the words which the author of the epistle unto the Hebrews wrote. If I am being honest with you who are reading these words, I would dare say that remaining in the place of revelation without giving any thought or heed to the response that is needed is a powerful sign of immaturity on the part of that one who does so. I believe with all my heart that those individuals who get caught up in the place of revelation without paying attention to the call to action that is directly linked and connected to it are aptly and powerfully demonstrating their immaturity before the Lord within the earth. With this being said, I am convinced that one of the greatest signs of maturity within the heart and life of an individual is how they handle experiences and encounters with the glory and presence of the Lord. It is an absolutely overwhelming sign of maturity when those individuals who experience the glory and presence of the Lord are able to enjoy such an experience while it is unfolding, but immediately transition from that place of revelation to a place of response. What I mean by this, is that although they experience the revelation of Jesus the Christ within their lives, they fully and completely recognize that there is a powerful call to action that is intrinsically linked and connected to it. We dare not, we cannot, we must not miss or lose sight of this reality, for to do so would be to completely and utterly miss the point of revelation from the Lord. Search the Scriptures from beginning to end and you will find that revelation—revelation of the glory and presence of the Lord—always demanded response, and always initiated a powerful call to action. I can’t help but be reminded of the glory of the Lord descending upon the mountain of God in the wilderness, and the tremendous call to action that was directly linked and connected to it. Consider if you will the words which are found in the first nine verses of the nineteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Exodus:
“In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai. For they were departed from Rephidim, and were come to the desert of Sinai, and had pitched in the wilderness; and there Israel camped before the mount. And Moses went up unto God, and the Lord called unto Him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people:L for all the earth is mine: and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the ch I Loren of Israel. And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the Lord commanded him. And all the people answered together, and said, All that the Lord hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the Lord. And the Lord said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever. And Moses told the words of the people unto the Lord” (Exodus 19:1-9).
What we find in the opening verses of the nineteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Exodus is the beginning of the encounter both Moses and the children of Israel had with the Lord in the wilderness at the foot of mount Sinai. It was there at the mountain of God in the wilderness where the Lord brought the children of Israel unto Himself in order that He might reveal Himself unto them. With that being said, it is absolutely imperative that we recognize and understand that such an encounter, and such an experience was not meant to simply be something they enjoyed without any type of response or call to action. In fact, as you continue to read the account of the children of Israel before the Lord at the mountain in the wilderness you will find that not only did the Lord provide the pattern for the tabernacle there atop the mountain, but the Lord also provided the Ten Commandments, and the law which they were to obey. In all reality, it was the Law which the Lord had given unto Moses there atop the mountain of God in the wilderness that truly set the children and nation of israel apart from the various other nations. We would love to think that it is solely experience that sets us apart from those around us, but I am utterly and completely convinced that it is that which the Lord speaks to us, and that which the Lord requires of us that truly sets us apart from those around us. It was true the Lord descended upon the mountain with fire and smoke, thunder and lightning, and with clouds and darkness, but all of that was meant to bring them to a place of action and response. Consider if you will how the nineteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Exodus continues, beginning with the tenth verse:
“And the Lord said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes, and be ready against the third day: for the third day the Lord will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai. And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: Whosoever touches the mount shall surely be put to death: there shall not an hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet Sounders long, they shall come up to the mount. And Moses went down from the mountain unto the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes. And he said unto the people, Be ready against the third day: come not at your wives. And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice. And the Lord came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the Lord called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up. And the Lord said unto Moses, Go down, charge the people, lest they break through unto the Lord to gaze, and many of them perish. And let the priests also, which come near to the Lord, sanctify themselves, lest the Lord break forth upon them. And Moses said unto the Lord, The people cannot come up to mount Sinai: for thou chargedst us, saying Set bounds about the mount, and sanctify it. And the Lord said unto him, Away, get thee down, and thou shalt come up, thou, and Aaron with thee: but let not the priests and the people break through to come up unto the Lord, lest He break forth upon them. So Moses went down unto the people, and spake unto them” (Exodus 19:10-25).
Within the nineteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Exodus we find the direct manifestation of the glory and presence of the Lord in the midst of the children of Israel, for the Lord descended upon the mountain with fire. There before, and there in the sight of all the children of Israel, the Lord descended upon the mountain with thunder and lightnings, with clouds and thick darkness, and with fire and smoke. What we must recognize and understand when reading this particular encounter with the glory of the Lord, is that not only did it demand immediate response, and immediate action, but it also carried with it continued action and a continual response. The children of Israel were to immediately respond to the glory and presence of the Lord there in the wilderness, however, they were also to continue to act upon that revelation. As Moses continued to speak with the Lord atop the mountain, you find first and foremost the giving of the Ten Commandments, which was essentially the royal law contained within the Law. Continuing to read the Old Testament book of Exodus you will find the Lord building upon the giving of the Ten Commandments to giving the pattern of the tabernacle, which was given unto them that they might know and understand how they ought to approach Him. The pattern of the Tabernacle was given unto them that they might recognize and understand how they ought to approach and worship the Lord, and that they would not seek to worship Him the way they saw fit, and the way they intended or desired. The Lord sought to establish the pattern of the tabernacle in order that the children of Israel might wonderfully and powerfully recognize and understand how to come near to, how to approach, and how to worship the Lord, thus further confirming the reality of this call to action. Oh, it is absolutely imperative that we recognize and understand that while revelation is in and of itself absolutely incredible, and truly necessary, it alone is not enough. It would be absolutely and incredibly easy to get caught up in the revelation, and yet not realize the tremendous call to action that is directly linked and associated with the revelation. If you read the ninth chapter of the New Testament epistle which the apostle Paul wrote unto the saints which were at Rome you will find him writing concerning the children of Israel, and the tremendous privilege the children of Israel had—a privilege which didn’t merely include revelation, or the glory of the Lord, or the presence of the Lord. Consider if you will the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the ninth chapter of the epistle written unto the Roman congregation beginning with the first verse:
“I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen. Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all israel, which are of Israel: neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children : but, IN Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sara shall have a son. And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to the election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” (Romans 9:1-13).
When I read the words contained within verses eleven through fourteen of the fifth chapter, I can’t help but be wonderfully and powerfully convicted by the language contained therein. Consider if you will the words which are found in this passage of Scripture beginning with the eleventh verse: “Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:11-14). The words and language that is found in this particular passage begins with the reality that there was still much to say, and there was still much to speak unto the recipients of this epistle, yet the audience of this epistle could neither hear, nor receive it because they were dull of hearing. What we read and what we find in this passage of Scripture is built upon the foundation of that which needed to be spoken by the author, yet it could not be spoken because they were dull of hearing. This reality and concept of being dull of hearing was aforementioned in the gospel which was written by Matthew beginning with the tenth verse. Consider if you will the words which the apostle Matthew wrote which Jesus Himself spoke unto His disciples when asked why He spoke in parables: “Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but showoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, Bey hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: for this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are full of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ear, and should be understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them” (Matthew 13:11-15). The author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews wrote unto them that there was still much which needed to be written and spoken unto them, but they could not bear or receive it because they themselves were dull of hearing.
As if this weren’t enough of an indictment toward and against the recipients of this epistle, the author goes on to write of them that by now they ought to be teachers, yet they actually had need of one teaching them again concerning the first principles of the oracles of God. What’s more, is that the author of this epistle wrote unto them that they are such which have need of milk, and not of strong meat. The author then goes on to indict them on the basis that those who use milk are unskillful in the word of righteousness and are mere babes in Christ. The author further indicts them concerning the reality that strong meat belongs to those which are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. What we find recorded in this passage of Scripture can be directly linked to that which the apostle Paul wrote in the first epistle which he wrote unto the saints which were at Corinth. Consider if you will the words which the apostle Paul wrote unto these saints beginning with the first verse of the third chapter: “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?” (1 Corinthians 3:1-4). The inducement which is found in this passage of Scripture is one that speaks along the lines of maturity and growth, for those who read the words of this epistle should have been teachers, and yet they needed themselves to be taught concerning the principles and oracles of God. When the apostle Paul wrote unto the Corinthian congregation the first time, he could not write or speak to them as spiritual, but as unto carnal. What’s more, is the apostle Paul could not feed them with meat, but rather with milk, for they were completely and totally unable to bear and handle it. The apostle Paul goes on to write concerning the nature of their being fed with milk and not meat, for they were given to much strife and much divisions and walked as men. The apostle Paul sought so speak to them as carnal, and yet he could only speak to them as babes in Christ because they weren’t able to handle anything stronger than meat.
The words which the author of the epistle which was written unto the Hebrews wrote are of such an explosive nature because they are indicting the recipients of this letter along the lines of spiritual immaturity. The author of this epistle wrote that by now they ought to be teachers, and yet they themselves had need to be taught, for they were still given to the rudimentary principles of the oracles of God and of Christ. In all reality, that which I find and that which I read in this passage of Scripture is a powerful call to press on to maturity, and to actively engage ourselves in the process of growth. In all reality, I am convinced that if we allow ourselves to get paralyzed in the place of revelation and do not recognize the call to action, as well as the need for response, we will remain in a spiritually immature place. Did you know that it is possible to experience the revelation of the glory and presence of the Lord, and yet still be spiritually immature before the Lord? There are a number of men and women within the house of the Lord today who are able to experience the glory and presence of the Lord, and yet they themselves are spiritual immature because while they are able to experience the revelation and manifestation of the glory of the Lord, they either don’t know what to do with it, or they deliberately and intentionally choose to do nothing with it. I am convinced that we have great need to be spurred on with the words found in this passage of Scripture and that we would press on toward maturity and growth, and would not remain stagnant and stale—even in the presence and glory of God. Please note that it is possible to be stagnant and stale in the presence of the Lord, and as a result remain spiritually immature in the sight of the Lord. Oh that we would allow ourselves to be completely and totally convicted by the words we find and read within this passage, and that we would recognize the tremendous need for maturity, and the need to respond directly to the experience with the manifestation of the glory and presence of the Lord.