"The service of the house of the LORD was set in order"
As we have entered into another year, shall we examine ourselves to see how our behavior was last year in the House of God. Have we contributed to order or disorder in His House?
Five steps preceded the setting up of the service of the House of the Lord in order, in the time of Hezekiah. The first
of the five steps taken by him in the first month of the first year of his reign, was the step of CONFESSION, and it
was out of deep conviction and not mere empty words. The king himself led in that confession: "For our fathers
have trespassed...and have forsaken him and have turned away their faces from the habitation of the Lord" (v.6).
God's people had become a backslidden and fallen people, and the House of the Lord was filled with filthiness (v.5).
In this age of the Laodicean Church, true spirit of confession that was seen in Hezekiah's time is missing, because
of the lack of conviction of sin as it is written: "...no man repented him of his wickedness, saying, What have I done?
Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? neither could they blush" (Jer.8: 6,12). Let us like
Daniel go even further and say, "We have sinned". Thrice he made that confession (Dan.9: 5,8,11). Let us like him
seek God's mercies and forgiveness and ask Him to make His face to shine upon us in this New Year.
The second step was the CALL of Hezekiah to the Levites reminding them that they were the chosen of the Lord to
stand before Him to serve Him. Our service can never bring blessing to anyone or to His House if we do not stand
before the Lord and await His guidance, His instruction and His infilling both of His Spirit and Word, Let us take a
few examples: "",Abraham stood yet before the LORD"(Gen, 18:22), till his prayer on behalf of Lot was answered,
Elijah is another example: "…As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand" (1 Kings 17:1 ), He stood
before the Lord that he might receive direction from Him for his ministry, and we know from the following verses
how clear those directions were. And we know with what power he spoke to the king as well as to the people. Yet
another example is in the New Testament. Gabriel the angel testifies, "...I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of
God; and am sent to speak unto thee"(Luke 1: 19). God cannot make us a blessing to others, neither can He send
us to high or low for His purposes, unless we stand before Him and await His direction and Word, How many of us
today in His service take decisions concerning our ministry and His House without standing before Him! We take
them in our own carnal wisdom and for our own selfish ends. How much loss we have brought to His House
because of this independence from God! The Lord grant us this burden to set the service of the House of the Lord
in order by following these steps. "And therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you …blessed are
all they that wait for him" (lsa.30: 18).
The third step was the step of CONSECRATION (2 Chron..29:5). Hezekiah directs the Levites very firmly: "And said
unto them, Hear me, ye Levites, sanctify now yourselves" -this is to be set apart wholly to God. The Lord Jesus
Himself is an example to us: "And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the
truth" (John 17:19). We often boast that we are consecrated to His work, His House, and so on. But without
ourselves being consecrated to God, every other consecration, however sincere it might be on our part will never be
of any pleasure to or acceptable unto God, because that work, instead of proceeding from God's will has proceeded
from ourselves. And God cannot accept anything that proceeds from ourselves. The Macedonian church offers us
an exemplary conduct to emulate. Paul writes about them in his letter to the Corinthians. "Moreover, brethren, we
do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; How...beyond their power they were
willing of themselves; Praying us with much entreaty that we would receive the gift, ...And this they did not as we
hoped, but FIRST GAVE THEIR OWN SELVES TO THE LORD, and unto us by the will of God" (2 Cor.8: 1-5).
Then our service will also be a sweet savour unto the Lord. Let us first consecrate ourselves to the Lord that we
may do His pleasure and His will throughout this year.
The fourth step was the CLEANSING of the House of God. And this cleansing started from the inner part of the
House of the Lord. "And the priests went into the INNER part of the house of the Lord...and brought out all the
uncleanness that they found in the temple of the Lord" (2: Chron.29: 16). Let us recall how the Lord brought Ezekiel
into the inner court of the Lord's House to show him abominations greater than what he had seen outside (Eze.8:
16). We are the temple of the Lord. Do we examine the inner recesses of our heart -our motives, our desires, our
plans, our ambitions? Are we worshipping them? Are our behaviour and ministry directed towards achieving those
ends in the House of the Lord? Are we focused on these things to exalt ourselves instead of the Lord? These are
the gods that have taken hold of us -gods of power, possession, position, and preeminence. These are the sun,
moon and stars that Ezekiel beheld being worshipped by those inside God's House (Eze.8: 15). As Jesus drove out
the moneychanger and sellers from the temple, let us also this New Year take this step of cleansing our own temple
and His House too, of all such filthiness (2 Cor. 7:1; Eze.43: 12).
Finally, the service of the House of the Lord was set in order when all the congregation worshipped the Lord. And
the worship was centered round the burnt offering. Let us also this New Year draw near the CROSS where Jesus
offered Himself unto God as a burnt offering, as a sweet smelling savior unto God. May the Lord in this first month
of the New Year lead us and help us to put our decisions firmly into these steps that Hezekiah took for himself, for
the people of God and for His servants so that God's House and its service may truly be set in order before His
MY JOY MIGHT REMAIN IN YOU
Scripture Text: John 15
"These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be
full" (verse 11).
Chapters 14-16 of John's Gospel, contain the last message, which our Lord gave to the disciples before He was
crucified. That is why; every word of these three chapters is full of deep meaning. You are inspired as you go
through these three chapters again and again. The messages in these chapters can be summed up in three small
fragments. In John 14:27 our Lord spoke of His peace, in John 15:11 He spoke about His joy, and in 16:33, He
spoke of His victory .The Christian life is summed up in these three words: Peace, Joy and Victory. In our previous
issues we saw something about true peace, which we have in the Lord Jesus. It is a wonderful experience to have
God's peace. If you have not received that peace, we trust that the Lord would give you that peace by the Lord
Jesus Christ Himself. He said, "My peace I give unto you". He spoke the same words when He appeared to His
disciples on the day of resurrection: "Peace be unto you". We find the very same words repeated in the beginning of
every epistle of Paul. Then again, we see in 2 Peter 1: 2, "Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the
knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord". By faith in God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior, we
have obtained peace.
Now in John 15:11 we find the second experience of salvation. "These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy
might remain in you, and that your joy might be full". Again we find that John says in 1 John 1: 4, " And these things
write we unto you, that your joy may be full". That is the whole purpose of the Bible-our joy may be full. It is very
painful to have our sins uncovered. It is very very humiliating when we see our hidden condition, but God does so to
make our joy full. Whatever God may do to us, either punish us or chastise us, He does it with the same purpose.
He wants to make our joy full. Only then, He is satisfied. We find that the very same message was brought to the
earth, by the heavenly host at the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. At that time some shepherds were watching over
their flocks in the fields of Bethlehem. An angel came to the shepherds and said, "Fear not: for, behold, I bring you
good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people" (Luke 2:10). This good tidings of great joy is for all people with
no exception. People of all classes and countries can have that joy. Whatever might have been your handicap or
failure or condition or sin, this good tidings of great joy is for you. Whosoever you may be, if you have the real
experience of receiving the Lord Jesus Christ, then you will have this great joy. Otherwise there is something wrong
with your salvation. Outwardly you may look very happy, but inwardly you are full of misery .You are not satisfied.
We give you this message of good tidings that you too can have that wonderful joy.
Then we see in John 16:24, "Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy
may be full". These words were spoken by our Lord to those disciples who were with Him for three years. It is quite
evident that their joy was not full. Our Lord knew there was something lacking in their lives. They had forsaken all,
they were good people, hard working, and God-fearing. Above all, they knew the Word of God. They knew the
prophecies about the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. They knew how to make sacrifice for God. They also saw
many miracles during three years, lived with the Lord Jesus Christ day and night, and heard all His sermons. And
yet, our Lord was saying, "I know that your joy is not yet full". If that was said about them, then what about us? So
let us make sure, what kind of joy we have. In many cases, we find their joy is not full or real.