REJOICING IN THE WISDOM AND POWER OF GOD: UNITED WITH JOY IN HIS ETERNAL PLAN AND PURPOSE
'Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.' (1 Corinthians 1:24-25)
The anointed worshipper, who is united with Christ in His sufferings, rejoices in being called a fool for Christ. But the highest level of worship is worshipping God from the mountain top of faith, and seeing the panorama of His eternal plan and purpose. He or she is able to see the outworking of God's purpose on earth from a heavenly viewpoint, and worship is lifted to the heights of glory where the angels worship. The worshipper rejoices in the foolishness of God that stands in complete contrast with the wisdom of the world. It is seeing the purpose of God fulfilled through the weak and foolish things of the world. On the previous level of worship the anointed worshipper rejoices in suffering persecution and trials, but on the higher level the anointed worshipper sees beyond this and rejoices in the knowledge that all these things are working together for good in the eternal plan and purpose of God. 'And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.' (Romans 8:28)
At the previous level the worshipper bears no grievance towards those who cause him or her harm. But at this level he or she sees higher than this. The worshipper rejoices that God is fulfilling His purposes through the evil actions that were directed against him or her. Joseph learnt this through the evil actions of his brothers against him. He had no thought of revenge; instead he was free to bless his brothers when he said to them, 'But as for you, you thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.' (Genesis 50:20)
Forgiveness on this level goes beyond holding no ill feeling for the harm that is done, it sees the purpose of God fulfilled through the evil deed. When Jesus was crucified he prayed for those who crucified Him, saying, 'Father, forgive them; for they know not what they are doing', (Luke 23:34). This prayer goes beyond holding no ill feeling. Jesus prayed for them because they did not know what they were doing. They knew they were killing Jesus, but they did not know that their evil deed was the fulfilment of the eternal plan and purpose of God. The crucifixion of Jesus was planned in eternity past. The evil that made it happen was a consequence of time, and those involved in it were unaware of what was really taking place. The Lord forgave them for their evil deed because He rejoiced in fulfilling the eternal plan and purpose of God.
Worship on the highest level
rejoices in the wisdom of God in providing the way of salvation. The angels always worship on the highest
level because they are aware of the glory of God. When Jesus was born in
The angels have never experienced salvation because they have always been holy. The angels who rebelled against God could not be redeemed once they had fallen. When Adam and Eve fell the angels had never known redemption. The angels also knew that when Adam and Eve fell they were irreversibly united with sin. The old man in Adam cannot be redeemed. Yet God promised He would save those who trusted Him. God was in fact promising to do the impossible. The angels did not know how God could redeem His people when they were sinners irreversibly linked with sin. Satan also sought to do the impossible. He was seeking to destroy God by causing Him to deny Himself. God gave His word that He would redeem His people, but this appeared to be impossible. Satan believed that he had won a great victory, and he was now able to attack God in a new role as the accuser of the brethren. If God justified an unjust people then He could no longer be who He is. God is the I AM THAT I AM (Exodus ) and He must keep His word. His love cannot deny His holiness.
How did God do the impossible? Firstly, the eternal Son of God became the mediator between God and man by becoming a man himself. But this alone could not save us. So how could He do it? The wisdom and power of God is seen in that God used death the greatest enemy of man to be the means of bringing forth eternal life. Death entered into the world through sin and this was how God brought about redemption. God made death the greatest blessing because without it there was no other way the Son of God could redeem us. 'And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.' (Hebrews 9:15)
In Christ the sinner is crucified and buried with Christ and He or she is raised a new creation in Christ. The old man inherited from Adam is buried with Christ and the believer is raised a new creation, born again of the Spirit of God. 'Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.' (2 Corinthians 5:17). What do we do when we understand this? We worship; there is nothing else to do. Unlike the angels we are able to worship from an experiential level of being lifted from the depths of sin to the heights of holiness. No wonder the Bible says, 'the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.' (1 Corinthians 1:25).
Worship on the highest level
rejoices in God's plan to build a temple for worship. When the Son of God became man, worship was
lifted to a new realm. For not only was the
Son of God the object of worship, He as man worshipped the Father. The eternal Son of God became a worshipper so
that He could redeem a people for worship.
Jesus died on the cross worshipping the Father for He knew He was
fulfilling the eternal plan and purpose of God.
'Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our
faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the
shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.'
(Hebrews 12:2). The joy that was set
before Him was the joy of presenting worshippers to the Father. His body was the
Paul saw this as he wrote to the Ephesian believers from prison. He saw that his ministry was in fulfilment of the purpose of God to build a dwelling place for His glory to dwell in; a place of worship; a temple consisting of Jews and Gentiles (Ephesians -22). He became enraptured as he wrote because he saw the wonderful plan and purpose of God. He was lifted from the level of suffering shame as a prisoner for Christ to the height of seeing that in the eternal purpose of God he was the prisoner of the Lord, 'For this reason I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ, for you Gentiles' (Ephesians 3:1). He was not a prisoner of Rome; he was a worshipper of Christ. This is what is marvellous about the epistles of the New Testament. They are not literary expertise; they are the writings of worshippers who are inspired of the Holy Spirit. Paul worshipped in delight at ‘the unsearchable riches of Christ' (Ephesians 3:8), knowing that he was united with Christ in building a people for worship.
is still fulfilling His purpose through the weak and foolish things. The plan and purpose of God in the Great
Commission involves the whole body of Christ.
'God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise',
(1 Corinthians ). Some Christians have the perception that the
evangelisation of the world is being done through big evangelists and all we
have to do is to support them. Thank God
for evangelists. Philip was an
evangelist who saw God move mightily in
The worshipper has a relationship with the Lord from where he or she can be lead from worship to intercession. This is exactly what happened with Moses when he asked the Lord 'show me your glory', (Exodus 33:18). Moses wanted to 'know the Lord' (Exodus 33:13), and the Lord let His glory pass by him (Exodus 33:19-23). Once Moses had encountered the glory of God, he worshipped. But he did not stop there. He began to intercede on behalf of the children of Israel, 'And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped. And he said, If now I have found grace in thy sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray You, go among us; for it is a stiffnecked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for Your inheritance.' (Exodus 34:8-9)
Worship brings us into a close
relationship with the Lord so that intercession becomes a natural progression
from worship on the highest level. We
should always be ready to use our relationship with the Lord to begin
interceding on behalf of others. The
Greek word translated intercessions (enteuxis) in 1 Timothy 2:1 is the word used for
approaching a King. An intercessor is
one who through worship maintains a close relationship with the Lord and through
this relationship is able to approach God on the behalf of another. 'I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications,
prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;' (1 Timothy 2:1). Everything Paul did flowed out from worship. It was therefore natural that Paul had the
heart of an intercessor. Paul's heart
burned for his fellow countrymen. He
Jesus revealed the wonderful truth that the Father is seeking worshippers to a Samaritan woman at Jacob's well. There is significance in this because scripture identifies Jacob as a worshipper. In the book of Hebrews, Jacob is shown to have worshipped at the end of his life: 'By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.' (Hebrews 11:21). The significance of Jacob leaning upon his staff is that he was weak in the flesh. It reminds us of how he was weakened when he wrestled with the Lord, and went away limping. Jacob was a natural deceiver who could gain what he wanted by craftiness. From his youth, Jacob desired the blessing of God, and he sought to gain even this by his own craftiness. The Lord loved him despite all his faults and saw in him the potential of a worshipper, but the Lord had to deal with his craftiness in order to lead him to the heights of worship.
Having a heart for God was not enough; Jacob had to become weak in his own strength in order to become mighty in worship. The Lord was with Jacob, leading him, teaching him, breaking him, and Jacob was learning to know the Lord. The heights of worship can only be reached through brokenness. Jacob's testimony at the end of his life was that his days were 'evil' meaning sad and unpleasant. The joy of worship flowed out from his broken spirit. 'And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been,' (Genesis 47:9). Jacob experienced great sorrow when he suffered the loss of the wife he loved, and then the loss of his favourite son. This was the only way that Jacob could be led to the heights of worship. When he reached the end of his life the beauty of his relationship with the Lord is revealed as he worships on the highest level prophesying concerning the eternal plan and purpose of God. Jacob’s life is an example of how the Lord leads us higher in worship when we have a desire to seek after Him. The reason the Lord leads us the way He does is because the Father is seeking worshippers. God has led you this way to bring you to the heights of worship.
The anointing at this level lifts the worship from earth to heaven. The worshipper not only rejoices in being counted worthy to suffer shame for the name of Jesus, but sees beyond this into the eternal plan and purpose of God, which was prepared even before the creation of the world. There is great rejoicing in every situation because the anointing of the Holy Spirit is in control of every situation and circumstance. Although this is the highest place of worship within this level of worship there will always be greater heights to reach. The height of His glory is infinite. Worship on this level will always produce intercessory prayer, because intercession is born out of a close relationship with the Lord. Intercessory worshippers are characterised by a complete lack of self-interest; the desire to seek the glory of God; and a heart that burns with love for the eternal welfare of others.