Daniel Fast: A Guide written by Marshall Michael
A Daniel Fast is a spiritual discipline designed to help us become better connected to God. A Daniel Fast is a partial fast, where we abstain from some foods that are normally in most of our daily diets. Typically a Daniel Fast lasts for only 21 days, which is the length of time Daniel fasted while in captivity in Babylon.
This year, our fast begins on January 15 and ends February 4th!
This informational guide to the Daniel Fast will teach you about the Daniel Fast, the foods to eat and what not to eat, the purpose for our Daniel Fast and also recipes to help you with food choices during this time of fasting.
Not only will we be fasting, but we will also be praying. Our chapel will be open daily Monday – Friday during the 21 days of fasting for those who would like to come pray during their lunch hour. The chapel will be open from 11:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. There will be recorded worship music playing, to aid in your prayer time. Fridays we will have LIVE worship from 12 to 1 pm. Remember, fasting and prayer go hand-in-hand. Fasting without prayer is only a diet program.
You can get a print copy of the Daniel Fast Guide during any service at Abundant Grace Community Church or you may download a digital copy here for your E-reader or tablet. To download simply right-click on the link below and then click “save target as…” or “save file as…” depending on your web browser.
Please join us Sunday January 15th through February 4th in this time of prayer and fasting for souls and revival in the Rio Grande Valley!
Reading Plan/Prayer Focus
“Times of Refreshing”
Acts 3:19, “Repent therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out, So that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”
As we begin our 21 days of Fasting and Prayer let us examine ourselves. Let the Holy Spirit search our hearts to see if we have areas where we need to repent.
Bad attitudes, anger, jealousy, any unforgiven sin, gluttony, or simply placing other things before our relationship with God.
Luke shares Peter’s sermon where he admonishes us to repent and be converted. When we repent we turn our backs on our sinful nature and deeds we have done.
Ask God’s forgiveness and let Him change our hearts (conversion) so that the promised “times of refreshing may come from the Lord.”
For only in His presence is there fullness of joy.
As we pray and repent, we are repenting on our behalf and standing in proxy for our nation.
A Call to Prayer
2 Chronicles 7:14, “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
Prayer is an essential component to seeing God’s kingdom purposes accomplished on the earth. This verse is not talking to the unbeliever, this is speaking to those who have been “called by My name.” Who are they? They are those who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior and become part of God’s family.
The Complete Jewish Translation of the Bible says, “When My people humble themselves” not “If.” The key is to humble ourselves. Pride is an ugly thing. God does not give His grace to a prideful person but to the humble (James 4:6).
WHEN not IF we humble ourselves, pray, seeking God’s face, turning our backs on our wicked ways, THEN we receive His Grace that hears our prayers, forgives our sins and heals our land.
Call A Fast, Consecrate the People
The trumpet has been blown, a fast has been called and we have been summoned to a sacred assembly. During these 21 Days of Fasting and Prayer God will sanctify His people. To sanctify means to set apart for a special or holy purpose.
In this passage, God gives specific groups of people to call to the time of fasting. From the general congregation to the elders, children and even babies, even the bride and groom were not exempt from the time of fasting and prayer.
The priests and musicians, those who ministered daily before the Lord were given specific instructions they were to stand between the porch, where the congregation was, and the altar, a place of sacrifice, and cry out to God on behalf of the nation.
Fasting and prayer go hand-in-hand. When we fast we are denying our flesh and consecrating it to God. Through prayer and supplication we seek God’s face for specific areas. David writes in Psalm 27:8 that God is calling us to “seek His face.” Our response should be the same as David’s, “My heart says, ‘Your face I will seek.’” God desires us to be in His presence, He wants us to make a complete response to Him with our whole heart.
Joel 2:18 tells us that the Lord will be zealous for His land and take pity on His people. The He will answer, sending the provision, fresh oil and new wine, and His people will no longer be a reproach among the nations.
God had just given Daniel a vision about the coming Messiah (Daniel 9:24-27) After that Daniel went into a time of “mourning” where he fasted and prayed for 21 days before the angelic messenger came to him.
During this time he said that he ate “no pleasant food, no meat or wine.” It is believed that he only ate vegetables and drank water during these 21 days. Daniel was a high-ranking official in Babylon and the whole of the king’s kitchen was available to him. He denied himself the pleasures of the king’s “pleasant food” for the full 21 days to fast and intercede for his homeland, Israel and Jerusalem its capital.
We too, as we journey through the remainder of this time of fasting, must continue to seek God’s face on behalf of our nation, our city, our community, our church, and our family. We are encouraged by God to seek His face, and when we do, we will find Him.
During this time of fasting and prayer we are humbling ourselves before God and seeking His kingdom, Will and Purpose to be done “on Earth as it is in Heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)
Be encouraged, the journey has just begun. It is worth every sacrifice along the way.
Growing in Christ
2 Peter 1:3-4
When we seek God, we find Him. When we find Him, before every other thing, He gives to us all that we need. (Matthew 6:33)
Here we find Peter encouraging believers to remember that God, through His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, simply because we know Christ. Once you become family, you become and heir to every promise. As a Christian, once we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, we become part of God’s family, and thus heirs to every promise. Verse 4 tells us there are “exceeding great and precious promises” of which we, as believers, part of God’s family, can claim and partake.
Part of these promises deal with our health, our wealth, and our relationships with God and man. He grants us favor in the workplace, and that everything we do will be prosperous when it is God’s will to be so and done according to His will. You cannot expect to be prosperous if you are dishonest with your dealings.
The promises are given so that we can be partakers of His divine nature. When we are partakers of His divine nature we are growing spiritually, the Holy Spirit as our teacher and guide. Remember: the Holy Spirit will not reveal to us anything contrary to God’s word.
As we continue our time of Fasting and Prayer we will grow more in out walk with God. He will speak to us and show us the hidden mysteries of His grace. (Colossians 1:26)
Confession of sin in itself is not enough to enable the believer to automatically walk in the Spirit. God wants all of us, not just part. One must become a yielded instrument for God’s service. Being yielded to God is to put aside our old life for new life in Christ and allowing Him to lead and direct our life. Yielding yourself involves all of you, your body, and your mind. What is conceived in the mind is carried out in the body.
Paul tells in verse 2 not to be conformed to this world’s way of thinking, but to have our mind renewed. How do we do that? It is the transforming power of God’s word that changes our mindset. In Proverbs 23:7 the way we think is important, for as the way we think, so we are. What this is saying is if you think you’re a failure, then you are. If you think you’re and orphan, you are. If you think you are the “Righteousness of God in Christ,” you are. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
It all gets to what we believe and in whom we place our trust. Jesus quoted a passage from Deuteronomy when he was asked in Matthew about the greatest commandment. He said, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37) How we think about ourselves is important and so is how we think about God, and even more so. God wants us, that’s the whole reason Jesus came to this earth, to redeem man back to Himself. Some have the mindset that God is some mystical figure way up in the sky who throws lightening bolts at people when they don’t do what He wants. Some have a hard time seeing God as a “Heavenly Father” when they grew up without an earthly father. If you think of God as some scary guy or an absentee father, then that’s what He will be to you. But when you see God for Who He is, and that you are His child and He Loves you and wants the best for you, then we are seeing God in the proper mindset. This happens when we spend time in His Word, the Bible, and let it “transform our mind” or change our way of thinking.
So how do we become a “living sacrifice”? Simply by putting ourselves at God’s mercy daily and letting Him change us through being in His word, attending church, and spending time with Him in worship and prayer. We “lay” ourselves on His “altar of sacrifice” in total submission to His will and purpose for our life. A lot of that comes from how we think, that is why it is so important to let our minds be transformed by the power if His Word.
During this time of Fasting and Prayer use it as an opportunity to get into the Word of God, let our minds be changed, renewed and transformed day by day by the “washing of the water of the Word”. (Ephesians 5:26) When we do, the Word of God goes from our mind and into our heart and that keeps our feet from sliding. (Psalm 37:31)
Change Your Clothes
Welcome to Day Seven. Today marks one-third of our twenty-one day journey. As we fast we are denying our old sinful, fleshly nature, to put on the nature of God in Christ Jesus.
We talked yesterday about having our minds transformed by the Word of God. Too many in the church are still bound to the “old man”, to that sinful nature. Paul tell us here that we are to take off the old man (verse 22) and be renewed in the spirit of your mind (verse 23), and to put on the new man, created by God in true righteousness and holiness (verse 24). Then in the next few verses tells us how this “New Man” is supposed to conduct himself (Ephesians 4:25-32).
There is a teaching in the church today that says “I’m just a sinner, saved by grace.” While the generality of that statement is true, we were sinners, and we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus (Ephesians 2:8). According to 2 Corinthians 5:17 we are now a new creation, the old has passed away and everything has become new. From that point we are no longer sinners. Do we make mistakes? Do we slip up sometimes? Of course we do. Does that mean we are still sinners? No.
The connotation of that statement is, yes, I’m saved by grace, but I’m still a sinner so I can keep doing what I was doing, continuing in sin, but that is not the case. My point being, once you get saved, do you still have to deal with some of your past? Certainly. Does that mean you are the same person? Certainly not! We are a person changed from what we once were, sinners, into a new man, new creation, the Righteousness of God in Christ.
This is the purpose of changing our clothes, putting off the old man and putting on the new. The whole process is not about us but about the Holy God who wants us so much His Only Son was willing to die so that we could become part of His family again. Redeemed, Reconciled and Renewed.
Let the water of the word wash over you today, transforming your mind into the mind of Christ. Let the old pass away and walk in the newness of life in Christ Jesus.
Sacrifices and Fasting
1 Chronicles 21:18-27
A little background…
At the beginning of the chapter, Satan tempts King David to count or take a census of the people of Israel. Joab, one of David’s officials, tried to talk him out of it as being unnecessary. Nevertheless, David’s word prevailed (verse 4). Joab gave the results of the census to David. God was very displeased with what David had done and struck Israel (verse 7). David recognized his sin and repented (verse 8)
God spoke to David’s prophet, Gad, giving three choices of punishment. It was David’s choice of three years of famine, three months defeated by his enemies, or three days of the Angel of the Lord destroying parts of Israel (verses 11-12). David being in great distress placed himself into God’s merciful hands (verse 13). The Angel of the Lord came and struck the land with a plague that killed 70,000 men (verse 14). The angel was sent to Jerusalem to destroy it and it was then that the Lord relented and stayed His hand (verse 14).
God spoke to Gad once more that David was to purchase a threshing floor, build an altar and make a sacrifice of repentance to the Lord. David did has he was commanded of the Lord, paying full price for the threshing floor and there he built the altar and made his sacrifice. God then made the angel return his “sword to its sheath” (verse 27).
During this time of fasting and prayer we are offering ourselves as the sacrifice (Romans 12:1). Our sacrifice will cost us something, we are giving our time, we are giving up foods we enjoy, all to have a greater relationship with our Heavenly Father. Giving up certain things and activities is also part of the sacrifice. A sacrifice is something that costs you. Most are unwilling to pay the price. Those who do, receive the blessing from the Lord.
There is usually a purpose and focus for each time of fasting, and prayer always accompanies the fast. If not all we are doing is a weight-loss program.
Join us for daily prayer times, Monday-Friday, 11 am to 2 pm, Tuesdays at 7 pm, Fridays for Men’s Prayer at 6 am, and Sundays at 10 am. Do not neglect the power of corporate prayer.
A Strong City of Peace
God has a city whose walls are salvation, and through those gates the righteous nation may enter. God’s city knows joy and feasting because of submission to His rule. Many times the turmoil we endure is made by our own choices. God didn’t cause it, but He will use it to draw us closer to Himself.
Peace, perfect peace, comes from keeping our minds on God. Not that we won’t encounter a trial, but that we will have His peace through it all, because our trust is in the Maker of the Universe, Yahweh Himself. To submit to God and His will and purpose is to discover He will protect and provide for us no matter what comes. HE is our strength. HE lays low, or casts down, the lofty and prideful to the ground, and brings it to the dust.
As we continue our time of fasting and prayer let us remember God is faithful and trustworthy. What we give Him, He keeps. All our cares and anxieties HE takes care of because He love us so much (1 Peter 5:7)
Our response to such a loving God is in the act of seeking after Him, pursuing Him. Verses 8 and 9 resonate, “Yes, in the way of your judgements, O Lord, we have waited for You. The desire of our soul is for Your Name and to remember You. With my soul I have desired You in the night. Yes, by my spirit with me I will seek you early; for when Your judgements are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness
May that be our daily heart’s cry and declaration to Yahweh, our Lord.Day Ten
How are your relationships? Your relationship with God? Your family? Others? Does your relationship with others reflect your relationship with God?
In these words of Jesus we find that if our relationship with others is not right, neither is our relationship with God. Earlier in the chapter Jesus says that He is the vine and we are the branches. If we are, then His blood is what is flowing through us. Grafted branches draw from the same root stock as the natural branches.
Jesus commands us to love others as His love and His Father’s love have been shown. Love is the fruit of the vine. He chose us to be the ones with whom He made an “everlasting covenant.” There has never been a greater example of a covenant relationship than the example of Jesus. As He loved us so should we love one another, that is His charge to us.
He said, “Greater love has no man than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends (verse 13).” From then on, Jesus stopped referring to us as servants, but now as friends. Then He says something even more interesting. He said we did not choose Him, He chose us (verse 16). Not only that, but told us to go out and bear much fruit and that the fruit should remain. Let us blossom and bear much fruit of Love.
Covenant relationship is one of love. From this day forward let love reign supreme. If forgiveness is needed, forgive. If you need to ask someone for forgiveness, ask. In so doing you are breaking down the wall and establishing a covenant relationship of love. Not your love only, but the love of Jesus being shown through us. Then, Jesus said, we could ask the Father anything in His, Jesus’, Name, and He, the Father, would give it.
Love one another and thus establish a covenant relationship of love with those in your sphere of influence.
Renew Your Mind
There was a great debate going on in Rome among the group of believers there, Jews and Gentiles. Word got back to the Apostle Paul of the debate and the cry for help to clarify the issues. The debate was that the Jews who had accepted Jesus as Messiah believed the Gentiles who accepted Jesus should be circumcised and follow the teachings of the Torah, the Law.
The great debate continues to this day. Does the law free us from sin? The answer is certainly NO! But does that mean the “law” is no longer of effect? The answer again is no!
Paul had to deal with this issue the more Gentiles became Christians. He deals with this also in the church at Ephesus (we talk more about that later). In Romans, Paul is trying to make the distinction of living in the Spirit as opposed to the flesh.
Our carnal mind, our natural mind, our thinking and mindset is preset to be contrary to the Word and will of God. As we are taught from God’s Word, by attending church, Sunday School, and our personal time in the Word of God, His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, speaks to our heart and begins the transformation process from the fleshly mindset to the Spirit. The Spirit mindset brings life. Do not confuse thinking God’s thoughts with what the world calls “spirituality.” We are talking about the “Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” (verse 2). Christ brings everlasting life.
Our carnal mind is an enemy of God’s commands and will. It is His enemy because it does not belong to Him. Many times we do not receive the promise because of our mind. Paul tells the church at Philippi to have the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5). What is the “Mind of Christ”? Jesus knew who He was, the Son of God, a fact that was witnessed by everyone on the shore when Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan River. Matthew 3:17 says a voice was heard from Heaven saying, “this is My Son, I love Him. I am pleased with Him.” If we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior then we have become children of God. Our Heavenly Father says the same thing about us: THIS IS MY CHILD, I LOVE THEM. I AM PLEASED WITH THEM. Once we realize who we are, our whole mindset changes and we know the same spirit that raised Christ from the dead, lives inside us and it is making us alive from our old sinful, carnal mind and nature.
As we continue in this time of fasting and prayer, let the Holy Spirit renew our minds by the washing of the water of the Word of God so that our thoughts line up with His.
The I AM of I Ams
It was by the second day that I realized there would be no set time for the teacher’s coming. He came in the afternoon.
“Do you know the Name of God?” asked the teacher.“I don’t know that I do.”
“It is made up of four Hebrew letters, the yud, the heh, the vav and the heh: YHVH. It is the most sacred of names, so sacred some refuse to say it. And yet you say it all the time.
“The sacred Name of God?” I replied. ”How could I when I never knew it?”
“When you speak of yourself, you say the Name.”
“I don’t understand.”
“When you feel happy you say, ‘I am happy.’ When you are not, you say, ‘I am sad.’ When you tell others who you are, you say, ‘I am,’ followed by your name.”
“Then we all say His Name.”
“Yes, and you have always said it. It is woven into the fabric of existence that when you speak of yourself, you must say His Name.”
“Why is that?”
“It’s because your existence comes from His existence. He is the I AM of all existence…the I AM of all I ams. Your I am only exists because of His I AM. And as you exist from Him, so it is that only from Him that you can find the reason and purpose of your existence. Therefore when you say your name, you must always speak His Name. And must always speak it first.”
“Because His existence is first and your existence flows from His. That’s the flow of existence. Therefore, you must put Him first and let everything flow from that. Let everything begin with Him and flow forth from Him. That’s the secret of life. To live only for Him, but to live your life from Him, to live from His living, to move from His moving, to act from His actions, to feel from His heart, to be from His being, and to become who you are from who He is… I AM.”
The Mission: Today, let us learn the secret of living each moment from His life, doing from His doing, loving from His love and being from His being.
When I was growing up, my grandpa had a rowboat which he would take to the lake fishing. There was a motor on the boat he used to get near the location he was going to fish. Before he arrived at his final destination, he would turn off the motor and use one of the paddles, or oars, to quietly guide the boat to his desired spot. I asked once why he didn’t just use the motor the whole way and he told me he didn’t want to disturb the fish and scare them away. Makes sense. The quietly casting his line, the gentle plop of the lure, within seconds having his first of many catches of the day. He had wisdom on how to catch fish.
Once I asked my grandpa about the two oars in the boat. He told me that we needed both oars to keep going when the motor was off. I asked how that was possible when he only used one to get us to his fishing hole. He laughed and explained you need both oars to keep the boat going straight. You need both oars with even strokes, at the same time, moving the boat along in the water. If you use only one, as explained, you would find yourself going in circles instead of a straight line.
James tells us to ask for needed wisdom (James 1:5). My Grandpa certainly had wisdom to get to his favorite fishing hole.
The writer of Proverbs adds a second “oar” to our boat of life, understanding. In Proverbs 4:5 we are to get wisdom and also get understanding. “Wisdom is the principal thing, therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7)
It’s like this. If you lack wisdom, ask for it and you will get it. Wisdom gets the boat moving in the right direction. With wisdom we need to have understanding. Understanding helps us to apply the wisdom to our lives. It’s the second oar. Wisdom and understanding keep our boat of life moving in a straight line to our desired destination.
We have come to our 14th day of our fasting and prayer. God has been challenging us to become better, or in effect, make us “complete for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:17).
God’s word should challenge us on a daily basis to improve or come up higher in our walk with Him. That’s why it is very important that we spend time in His Word each day and let Him speak to the areas which need to be improved.
Through the years people have looked at the subject of GIVING in the wrong light. It has been skewed by greed, especially when it’s the whole “give to get” prosperity message. Growing up in church I’ve heard it all. I’ve heard, “If you have a need, plant a seed.” I was taught from Luke 6:38 about giving and getting from Jesus’ own words. AS we make a positive confession over our offering at each service we confess 2 Corinthians 9:7-8 about giving cheerfully and God making sure we have an “abundance for every good work.”
Don’t get me wrong, I believe God’s word, all of it. Some pick and choose what they want to believe and what they don’t. One thing for sure when it comes to giving, you cannot out give God . However, our giving must be done correctly and with the right motives. That being said…
God is our supply. One of His Names is Jehovah Jireh which means The Lord Our Provider. He provides for all our needs, even our money. All we have belongs to Him, He supplies it to us and He asks us to return 10%, a tithe, back to Him by giving it to your home church, to the place where you are being spiritually fed. It is one of His laws. Let’s not look so much at the requirement, as much as the blessing that is attached to it.
God said through the prophet Malachi that if we do not pay our tithe we are robbing God. I don’t know about you, but the whole idea seems to be a bit scary to me to knowingly steal or rob from God. God said we are cursed if we don’t. But let’s skip that part and look what happens when we DO tithe.
The blessing is that God will rebuke the devourer and open up the windows of Heaven and pour out a blessing so big we don’t have room to contain it (verse 10). He also says that He will not destroy the fruit of YOUR ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for YOU in the field (verse 11).
So what does that mean? If we pay our tithe, I say “pay” not “give”, we cause everything in our life to come into alignment with God’s will, plan and purpose for our lives. If you want the blessings and favor of God, tithe. I’ve heard people say they can’t afford to tithe. Hogwash! What they are really saying is they don’t trust God or His word. That’s why they live from paycheck to paycheck, barely getting by. God even tells us to TRY IT and see what happens. Hey, it’s His money anyway. Why not do what He says?
I know a family whose child was sick. They were trusting and believing God for healing, but weeks went by and the child didn’t seem to get any better. My pastor at the time preached a sermon on tithing. They realized they had not been tithing and decided to start. The whole concept of doing it for their child’s healing was not even in their thought processes. God began to bless their finances. He got a raise at work and his wife was offered a promotion at her job. God was rebuking the devourer and making them prosperous.
It wasn’t the fact of how much the tithe was, but the fact they TRUSTED God and acted in OBEDIENCE to His Word. And God did exactly what He said He would do. And in case you were wondering, their child was healed and is now grown with a family of their own. I have many examples of God being true to His word because of people’s obedience, but there is not room to list it all here.
Suffice it to say, when God has our money, He has our heart. Matthew 6:21 Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” If He has our heart, He has every part of us.
So, trust God. Stop being devoured. Tithe. You’ll be glad you were obedient.
Try it! God will like it!
Jesus said, after turning over the tables of the money changers in the temple, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer…’” He was quoting from Isaiah 56:7. The tables were set up to over-charge those coming into the Temple to make their sacrifices. Instead of prayer going up before God, there was greed and selfishness.
God spoke to Ezekiel about seeking for someone to “stand in the gap”, or intercede for others and for the land so God would not destroy it, but found no one (Ezekiel 22:30). God is still looking for those who will intercede for others and the land. I Isaiah, God calls them “Watchmen.” (Isaiah 52:8)
The primary job of the watchmen was to look for any invaders who wish to take the land. In the Spirit, God calls His watchmen to intercede on behalf of the people and the land. Many people are called to be watchmen, but very few answer the call or even recognize it.
It is not recognized because the cares of the world, a.k.a. life, has become louder than the voice of God. Many Christians say they don’t even hear God speaking to them. I always ask them if they are reading their Bible. Most generally the response from all is that they are not. If you are not in the Word of God, reading the Bible daily, you aren’t going to hear God when He speaks to you. Many do not hear the call of God because they are not in the Word of God. The best way He speaks on a daily basis is through His Word, if we would only read it. To hear God and understand what He is saying is a “wellspring of life” (Proverbs 16:22).
Understanding that God has called all of us to pray and intercede for others is one of these wellsprings of life. Not only does praying for someone else help that person, but it helps to strengthen your relationship with God because we are drawing near to Him and He in turn draws near to us (James 4:8). Psalm 73:28 says that it is good to draw near to God. When we draw near to God, we are placing more and more trust in Him.
God is calling for watchmen to stand in the tower, on the wall, in the gap of the hedge, to intercede for others.
Join with Habakkuk and declare that you will stand your watch and set yourself on the rampart. His name literally translated means to embrace or hug. Embrace the Word of God today. Embrace the call of God on your life as an intercessor. Stand in the gap for others who are unable to do so. Watch and see what God will do through you, to you and for you.
Oh, by the way, the next time you’re wide awake at 3 a.m., that may be God waking you to pray and intercede. Be listening for the call.
THE TABERNACLE OF DAVID
“On that day I will raise up the Tabernacle of David…” (verse 11). Ever wonder about the Tabernacle of David? Before we can know why God wants to restore it, we need to know what it was in the beginning. For that we must look at 1 Samuel 4. Samuel, still a young man, recounts for us the order of events.
The Philistine army was attacking Israel. The prophet Eli had two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, who were raised hearing the tales of how when Israel went into battle they carried the Ark of the Covenant and God gave them victory over their enemies. So when the Israelites were being defeated, the elders of the people came and had the Ark taken from the Tabernacle of Moses, to the battle encampment. When word spread that the Ark of the Covenant was in the camp, the people rejoiced. They shouted so loudly that the ground shook (1 Samuel 4:5).
The Philistines were frightened when they heard the shouting and remembered this had happened to them before. But they recovered their courage and defeated Israel. What?? You expected Israel to win? No. The people of Israel, because of fear, acted in disobedience by taking the Ark from the Tabernacle (the original one set up by Moses) that was set up at Shiloh. God didn’t tell them to take it, and now because of sin, God’s glory and presence had departed, and that’s the reason Hophni and Phinehas didn’t die when they entered into the Holy of Holies to retrieve the Ark.
Because of their disobedience Israel was defeated, the Ark of the Covenant was captured by the Philistines and taken back to their land. Hophni and Phinehas were among those killed by the enemy that day. When word reached to their father Eli, he fainted, falling off the wall on which he was sitting, breaking his neck and dying the same day as his sons.
Fast forward to 1 Samuel 16, God has rejected Saul as king of Israel, again because of disobedience, and God sends Samuel to anoint David as king, the Philistines are still fighting with Israel. Enter Goliath, and David, with God’s help, defeats the giant with a slingshot and five smooth stones.
Fast forward to 2 Samuel 5, Saul is dead, David is now king of Israel. When the Philistines heard this, they came against Israel once again. King David “inquired of the Lord” (2 Samuel 5:19) asking if he should go up against the Philistines, and God said “Go”. Because of David’s obedience, the Philistines were defeated.
Disobedience lost the presence of God. Obedience keeps it and restores the Presence. God will not stay where sin is, sin separates us from God. God is holy. Obedience to God will also defeat the enemy. Want God’s presence and blessing in your life? Be obedient to His Word.
TO BE CONTINUED…
THE TABERNACLE OF DAVID RESTORED
You’re probably asking yourself, “What happened to the Ark of the Covenant?” When the Philistines defeated Israel they captured the Ark as spoils of war. Usually a conquering army would melt down valuable artifacts, especially if they are covered with gold. The Philistines did nothing with the Ark because they were afraid of it.
They left the Ark with a man named Abinadab at Balle Judah. It was under his care for more than 20 years (2 Samuel 6). David takes his men to the Ark and bring it back to the land of Israel and to Jerusalem.
You’ve heard the phrase, “Ignorence is no excuse,” well, here is an illustration of that. David took his men to get the Ark of God (2 Samuel 6:2). They placed it on a new cart. Abinadab’s two sons, Ahio and Uzzah drove the cart. David, along with all of Israel, played music before the Ark on all types of instruments as they went down the road. As they were passing by the threshing floor that belonged to Nachon, the oxen pulling the cart stumbled and Uzzah reaches to steady the Ark. God was angry with Uzzah and struck him dead (2 Samuel 6:7). A great fear came over King David and he left the Ark at the home of Obed-Edom.
David inquires of the Lord on how the Ark is to be transported. He discovered that only the priests could transport the Ark. He gathers up those needed, and even the King dresses in priestly robes, the plain white linen garments, and went to carry the Ark back to Jerusalem. When they had carried the Ark six paces, David offered a sacrifice to the Lord. David danced before the Lord with all his might (2 Samuel 6:14). So David and all the house of Israel brought the Ark with shouts of praise and the blowing of trumpets.
David had prepared a special tabernacle or tent for the Ark of the Covenant. David offered peace offerings then he blessed the people, here we see David as both King AND Priest. Then he fed the people.
David’s Tabernacle was different because anyone who wanted to come before the presence of the Lord, God of Israel, could do so without fear. David set in place musicians and priests to worship and intercede before the Lord 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Prayer and praise continually being lifted up to God.
In Amos, God said He was going to restore the Tabernacle of David. Some have taken this to mean a literal building where there is 24 hour worship and intercession being given up to God. That is wonderful. However, we don’t have to wait until we are in a certain building before we worship and pray. God is wanting us to make our hearts and our homes into a Tabernacle of David. We are admonished in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to “pray without ceasing.” What this means is to have a prayerful attitude. We encounter people on a daily basis who need God and need prayer. Sometimes we are so wrapped up in our own tasks that we miss the opportunity to show the love of God to someone.
Establish a Tabernacle of David in your home. Spend time each day entertaining the presence of God and offering up your prayers to Him. Do not neglect the reading of His Word. You will be amazed at the peace and joy that will flood your heart, your mind and your home. Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You. Because he trusts in You.”
by Jonathan Cahn
He took me to an open desert plain. It was a windy day, so windy it was almost violent.
“Come,” said the teacher. He was asking me to walk against the wind’s blowing. So I did.
“What is it like to walk against the wind?” he asked.
“It’s a struggle,” I replied.
“In the language of Scripture,” he said, “the word for wind is ruach. But it has another meaning; it also means the Spirit. In Hebrew, the Holy Spirit is the Holy Wind. So what happens if you walk against the wind?”
“It creates drag. It becomes harder to walk and you get tired.”
“In the same way,” he said, “when you walk against the Spirit, it creates a drag on your life. Everything you do becomes harder. It takes more energy to do less. So when you go against His Spirit, you’re fighting against the Wind. And you can’t walk against the direction of the Wind without getting weary and worn out.”
“And what way is the direction of the Wind, the Spirit?”
“The Spirit is the Holy Spirit. Therefore, it blows in the direction of the holy, and blows against the direction of the unholy. Now try something else. Turn around and walk back, the same way you came.”
So I did. I was now walking in the direction of the wind’s blowing.
“And what was that like?” he asked.
“It was much easier,” I said.
“That’s because there was no drag,” he said. “You were walking in the direction of the wind. And the wind helped you walk. It moved you ahead. It made your walking easier. So when you walk against the wind, it creates drag. But if you turn around, then the wind gives you power. So it is with the Spirit. If you turn, if you change your course, if you repent, if you walk in the Spirit, then the drag will dissappear. Then the Spirit will empower you and will move you forward. And then everything you do, that you must do, will become easier.”
“So if you walk in the Spirit,” I said, “life will go from being a drag to a breeze.”
“Yes,” said the teacher. “For those who walk in the Spirit, the Wind is at their back.”
The Mission: What part of your life is against the direction of the Spirit? Today, turn it around and start walking with the Wind at your back.
THE FACE IN THE WATER
by Jonathan Cahn
We walked for some time until we came to a pool of water hidden at the foot of one of the desert mountains. We sat down by its edge.
“Smile,” said the teacher.
So I did.
“No,” he said, “smile into the waters. Lean over the waters and smile.”
So I did.
“Now make a face of anger.”
So I did.
“Now open your hand and stretch it over the waters as if giving a gift.”
So I did.
“Now do the opposite.”
“What’s the opposite?”
“Stretch your hand to the waters, close it and withdraw it, as if taking something away.”
“I’m not seeing the point of this.”
“Oh, but there is a point,” he said, “and the point is critical for you to learn. When you smiled at the waters, there was a man smiling back at you.”
“And when you glared at it, the face of an angry man glared back at you. And when you stretched your hand out to the waters to give to it, the hand in the waters stretched back to give to you. And when you reached toward the waters to take from it, the hand reached back as if to take from you. This is the law of reflection.
As you do, so it will be done to you. If you bless others, you will be blessed. If you withhold blessing, your blessings will be withheld. If you live by taking, it will, in the end, be taken from you. If you live a life of giving, it will, in the end, be given to you.
Condemn others, and you will be condemned. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. Live with a closed hand, and His hand will be closed to you. Live with an open hand, and His hand will be opened to you. What you give will be given back. What you take will be taken back. Therefore, live a life of love, of giving, of blessing, of compassion, of an open hand and heart. Whatever you do, remember what you saw here. Live your life in view of the face in the waters.”
The Mission: What is it that you seek from life and from others? Today, make it your goal to give to others the very thing you seek.
by Jonathan Cahn
He took me out in the desert to an immense valley surrounded by reddish mountains, which turned increasingly purple and blue as they extended out into the far distance.
“What words come to your mind,” said the teacher, “when you look at the desert wilderness?”
“Dry …barren …hot …austere …severe …hard …forbidding …”
“And when people go through hard times – times of loss, crisis, tragedy, loneliness, conflict, hardship, problems, separation, tears – they speak of going through the wilderness. And yet the wilderness is a holy place. It was in a desert wilderness that God gave His Law, His Word, and where He revealed His presence. The wilderness is holy.”
“So the hard times in our lives are holy?”
“For those who are His children, yes.”
“In Hebrew, the wilderness is called the midbar. Midbar comes from the root ward dabar. And dabar means to speak. What is the wilderness? It is the midbar. And what is the midbar? It is the place of God’s speaking, the place of His voice. It’s where God especially talks to us. Why did He bring His people into the wilderness, into the midbar? So He could speak to them. He brought Moses into the midbar to speak to him in a still, small voice. So too He brings us into the wilderness that He might speak to us.”
“What is it about the wilderness that makes it the place of God’s speaking?”
“Look around you,” he said. “What do you see?”
“Rock, sand, mountains – not much.”
“That’s why,” said the teacher. “God speaks, but we don’t hear. We have too many distractions. But in the wilderness the distractions are gone. So God brings us to the wilderness that we might hear His voice. Therefore, do not fear or despise the wilderness of your life, and don’t despise His removing of the distractions. Rather embrace it. Draw closer to Him. And listen to what He is saying. Seek to hear His voice, and you will hear Him. For the wilderness in your life is not just a wilderness. It is holy ground …the midbar …the place of His voice.”
The Mission: Put away the distractions, those things that keep you from hearing. And go into the wilderness, the midbar, and seek the voice of God.
by Jonathan Cahn
Song of Solomon 1:2
There was a gathering in the school’s open-air tent. It was a time of worship and praise. We were just outside the tent listening.
“What do you think of,” asked the teacher, “when you hear the word worship?”
“Singing, hymns, prayers, words of praise…”
“That’s the outward form of worship,” he said. “That’s how worship manifests. But what’s the heart of worship?”
“I don’t know.”
“I’ll give you one definition, a secret. It’s found in the New Covenant Scriptures. It only appears in the Greek. It’s the word proskuneo. And do you know what it means?”
I had no answer.
“It means to kiss. True worship,” said the teacher, “is to kiss. And what does this reveal? What is a kiss? A kiss is the most intimate of acts. Therefore, worship is to be the most intimate thing you can experience.”
“To worship God is to kiss God?”
“In the spiritual realm, yes, to kiss from your heart, from your innermost being. And when you kiss, you don’t do it because you have to. You do it freely from your heart because you want to.”
“So true worship is never done by compulsion, but freely from the overflow of your heart.”
“And why does one kiss?” asked the teacher.
“Because of joy.”
“Yes,” he said, “a kiss is an expression of joy. And kissing brings you joy. So true worship is an expression of joy. You worship out of joy. Your joy becomes worship and your worship becomes joy.”
“Teacher,” I said, “we didn’t say the most obvious.”
“One kisses because of love,” I said. “A kiss is an expression of love.”
“It is. So then what is true worship?”
“Worship is an expression of love.”
“Yes,” said the teacher, “It’s as simple as that: It’s the most intimate act of love and joy. Worship is as simple as kissing God.”
The Mission: Today, draw near to God in worship, in love, in joy, in the deepest of intimacy. Learn the secret of kissing God.