MYSTERIES FROM DARKNESS (Part 3) HIS PAVILION – THE POWER OF WEAKNESS OUT OF DARKNESS SPRINGS LIGHT
“For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His PAVILION: in the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me; He shall set me up upon a rock” (Psa 27:5).
We are all acquainted with those wonderful times when we are hidden from trouble. During those assuring occasions, we echo the words of David —“…Yea, in the shadow of Thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast” (Psa 57:1). And again in Psalm 91:1 — “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” We are so thankful to be protected from ensuing calamities, when piercing lightning bolts strike with a vengeance in other people’s lives. We have all known such times when we remain miraculously unharmed when so many are deluged with adversities.
However, as we progress ever closer to the end of our journey, we are becoming more aware that God’s secret place, His pavilion, is sometimes not the same as we once knew it. In the beginning of our walk as newborns, infants, and toddlers — God’s protection was all about us. We were spared things too numerous to recount. But now, in our travels though the valley of the shadow of death, we find ourselves being baptized in Fire. His pavilion (Heb. cukkah: booth, hut or lair) has taken on a change. The shadow of His wings that once sheltered us from the storm seems now to be the storm. The shadowhas become what the word means — a shadow, a shade, that which lacks light. His pavilion wherein we now abide for a season is the one David referred to: “He made DARKNESS His secret place; HIS PAVILION round about Him were DARK WATERS and THICK CLOUDS of the skies.” (Psa 18:11).
The light of day is often diminished while we are overshadowed by God’s pavilion. Although He is always present, and there is great joy, a shroud ofdarkness can replace the illumined brightness of His warm embrace.
This darkness comes in various ways, one of which is hard to believe when it arrives. It is the darkness of rejection, not rejection from our Lord, but from our friends. It is the shadow of no one standing with us when we need them the most. Jesus was acquainted with this dark cloud of God’s pavilion, and even though He knew beforehand that those closest to Him would forsake Him, it hurt terribly. When Jesus was arrested, His most faithful followers turned their backs and denied they ever knew Him. Paul was another who was overshadowed while in the secret place of God’s tabernacle. He wrote, “At my first answer (or defense, Grk) no man stood with me, but all men forsook me” (2 Tim 4:16). Brethren, if you have never been rejected by those you love, you cannot imagine the deep pain that is inflicted. It sweeps over your soul like a rolling wave of suffocating darkness. Notwithstanding, there are a multitude of other things found in the shadow of God’s pavilion. To name a few: sickness and afflictions of all kinds and magnitudes; loved ones dying or being killed without warning; infidelities; divorces; wayward children; drug and alcohol addictions; depression; mental breakdowns; persecutions (religious and otherwise).
Oh, the wonder of what God is doing! Who can know it? If the Lord had not been standing with us in these dark pavilions, we could have wavered, stumbled, and fallen. Without His abiding presence and power of grace sustaining us, and changing us, we would never see His mysteries rising from darkness! The dark clouds of adversity would have devoured us. We would be no more; but praise God — that is not to be our end! Our end is to rise into the radiant light of the One who is the End — the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End — Jesus Christ.
After the baptism of fire has finished its purpose, we shall rise without the smell of smoke upon our garments. As lightning, we will burst forth from the clouds of darkness and bring His shining glory into all the earth! Hallelujah! Although our lives may be blanketed with darkness — it is time to rejoice, saints! For Tabernacles is drawing to a close.
Let us not complain about our circumstances; for they are working a far more weight of glory than we could have ever dreamed possible. We would short-change ourselves if what we imagined to be our end actually came to be. It has never entered our minds what God has prepared for us, and it certainly had never entered our minds the path that would carry us there. Oh, the mystery of it all! How could we have known that the way to life was death. It was far from our minds. We were strangers to the thought that to break forth into Christ’s effulgent light would first require a time of darkness.
If you happen to be in such a dark pavilion that you don’t think you will ever see the Light of Day, take hope, for as “…wisdom excels folly — light excels darkness.” (Eccl 2:13). The light shall prevail! Darkness is not forever. And do you not know — the Light of Jesus Christ abides in you? If this is so, and it is, then this unquenchable Light will excel the darkness that overflows your lives. You will not remain in these pavilions of darkness forever, for pavilions, if you recall, are temporary booths. They are individual tabernacles designed to hold you only for a short time (seven days unto perfection).Tabernacles are not permanent dwellings. While in the midst of fire, when the burnt offerings are being consumed, it may seem like there will be no end to the blaze of fire. However, an end is ordained. It comes at our transformation — after the holy flames of God have finished that for which they were fashioned.
Who would have imagined that such pain we are suffering could be called holy? Not many, I am sure. Nevertheless, if these hard things we are enduring are of God, and if they are working a holy change in our lives — then they are holy! They could be nothing less.
THE POWER OF WEAKNESS
Man’s way is to increase himself so he can have more strength. The stronger he is the more power he has. The more power he possesses, the more he will be able to do the things that are set in his heart. This is the thinking of the world; however, it is not relegated to the world alone. It has saturated the church as well. This viral way of thinking has pervaded every quadrant of the religious systems of the world.
For instance: if a man, saint or sinner alike, wants to become rich, he generally doesn’t seek to become poor. If he wants to live, he flees the threat of death. When he looks to be strong, it doesn’t make sense to become weak. Should he desire to build, it is not in him to tear down and destroy. He will not root out when his desire is to plant and bring forth a great harvest. His general idea is to improve upon and add to that which he already has.
God’s thoughts, however, are different. His thoughts are not man’s thoughts, and His ways are not man’s ways. God’s thoughts and ways are foolishness to the carnal minded man. That is why many look upon those in His dark pavilions as having missed the mark. More than a few who seek after all those things that entice the Gentiles (Mat 6:31-34), believe God has been angered and is measuring out His wrath upon those who are under the shadow of death.
Nevertheless, when I am weak He is strong. Jesus became poor that we, His body, might become rich. God told Jeremiah that before he could build or plant he had to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down (Jer 1: 10).
For Jesus to become the Lion of the tribe of Judah, He had to be led in humility as a sheep to the slaughter (Acts 8:32). Before all men could drink of the River of Life, He had to empty Himself. He divested Himself of authority so He could come forth with greater authority. In death, He ceased from the Father’s works so greater works could be done by those of His corporate Body. He sounded no alarm for his followers and legions of angels to defend Him. He opened not His mouth. Rather than robing Himself in glory, He submitted to the humility of being stripped naked. He could have taken His rightful place upon Earth’s throne, but relinquished it to endure the pain of being nailed to the cross (not a likely seat of majesty, honor, and authority).
Jesus could have ascended in glory upon mount Zion; but rather, with plucked beard, beaten back, face marred beyond recognition, He climbed shamefully upon the hill of Golgotha. Rather than taking His position as the anointed King of kings, He emptied Himself and became the servant of all.The richest man in the universe became the poorest of all, having no place to lay His head. He was such a man that the grandest shrine to His honor would pale in the presence of His dead body; yet a tomb had to be borrowed for His burial. Even at His birth, the palace chambers with midwives were not for Him — a borrowed stable was His delivery room, and the animals’ feed-trough took the place of a feather-down bed. He was not born in the midst of great men who would marvel at His majesty, but among the beasts of burden. They were his companions in birth, and throughout his life such were also his friends. Oh, the wonder of it all! Out of Darkness came forth the Mystery of the ages — the Light of the world!
He was crucified in the weakness of flesh as the son of man, but “He was declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Rom 1:4). Where men destroy their enemies by killing them, Jesus destroyed the devil through His own death. What a paradox! To the natural mind it doesn’t make sense. But who would ascribe God as having a natural mind?
Seeing, therefore, that Jesus became weak and suffered the death of the cross that we would live — can we expect it to be different with us? Are the servants greater than the Master? It is unlikely. Paul spoke of the difficult road that we where to walk: “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and THE FELLOWSHIP OF HIS SUFFERINGS, being made CONFORMABLE UNTO HIS DEATH; If by any means I might attainunto the resurrection of the dead” (Phil 3:10-11).
Day by day, the written word is opening to us in this area. It is becoming alive by the Spirit of revelation. It is also becoming increasingly clear that our lives are bearing it out. There are three things we see transpiring today: 1) The letter declares these truths, 2) the Spirit is quickening them to us, and 3) we daily walk it out. Who can deny such a thing, especially when that which is written and revealed to us becomes a reality?
In relation to the hardships we endure while in Tabernacles, Paul said: “For we that are in this TABERNACLE (tabernacle: skenos, a hut or temporary residence, Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance) do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, thatmortality might be swallowed up of life. Now He that hath wrought us for THE SELFSAME thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.” (2 Cor 5:4-5). What a paradox — while in Tabernacles, HUTS if you will, we groan, we are burdened — and for what purpose? That we might be clothed upon by a glorious body, that mortality might be swallowed up of life! God wrought us, He made us, He called us to endure THE SAME SUFFERING as Jesus so we could be arrayed in the same glorious garment of life.
Again, it doesn’t make sense to the natural mind that one must die to live, weep before he can laugh, know sorrow to be filled with joy, to be humiliated to be lifted up, to become naked to be clothed upon, to know darkness to come forth as Light. Paradoxes, yes, but true, nevertheless.
Today, rather than large assemblies of God’s anointed being gathered, we are dwelling in booths, alone, individually. No wonder we don’t see those with a vision drawing together and trying to get something going, and the ones who try, fail. More than a handful of people meeting in one place for any length of time is a rarity. The simple truth is, it is the season of TABERNACLES, BOOTHS, HUTS! Until Tabernacles is over, we will remain alone. And it matters not if we are attending meetings or not — if we are in the Feast of Tabernacles, we will still be alone with God in His Dark Pavilion.
On the other hand, if you are caught up in the latest moves of God, so called, and the excitement of large crowds is where you find your “life,” you are not in Tabernacles. Such things are the very opposite of this solemn Feast of the Lord. Some of what we see is, no doubt, of God — but it is not the Feast of Tabernacles, of which the Sons of God are now partaking.
We have long touted the fact that we are the anointed Sons of God; but our understanding of this anointing has been lacking. We had assumed it was the anointing of life and power, the anointing to rule and reign, the anointing to do exploits and to raise the dead, and this is not altogether wrong. For God hath wrought us for the selfsame life and power of Jesus. However, He not only made us for the selfsame life, but also the selfsame death. We see this anointing when the woman anointed Jesus with a precious ointment from an alabaster box — and the anointing was on behalf of HIS DEATH, of which Jesus said was good and was for HIS BURIAL! (rf. Matt 26:7,10,12).
Do we want the power of resurrection in our lives? Then let us receive the anointing of death. We don’t have to enjoy it but can endure it as our Lord before us — “…The Author and Finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him ENDURED THE CROSS, despising the shame” (Heb 12:2). Let us, therefore, rejoice for the joy that is set before us while being swept over with the cloud of death.
Do we want to reside with God in His glorious Temple? Then praise Him with all our hearts while in Tabernacles, while we abide in these temporary huts of humility. For it is in that season our burnt offerings are made. This is when the renewing of our minds is made and our transformation comes. Before we rise into the heavens which we are destined to rule, we must first descend into hell. Its dominion of darkness will embrace us sorely, this is sure, yet it can neither hold us nor destroy us. After it has worked its purpose, we shall turn and command it. We shall ascend with power and dominion over death, hell, and the grave.
We can now see why Paul could say — “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in MY INFIRMITIES, that THE POWER OF CHRIST may rest upon me” (2 Cor 12:9b). To enforce his conviction of this truth, our Lord told him — “My grace is sufficient for thee: for My STRENGTH is made perfect in WEAKNESS“ (2 Cor 12:9a). It was Paul who also wrote — “But God hath chosen THE FOOLISH THINGS of the world to confound THE WISE; and God hath chosen THE WEAK THINGS of the world to confound THE THINGS WHICH ARE MIGHTY” (1 Cor 1:27). Therefore, my friends, if you happen to be among those who are acquainted with the bitter waters of grief, and the pavilion of darkness has been your place for seven days, take heart — you will shine on the morrow.
OUT OF DARKNESS SPRINGS LIGHT
“The people which sat in darkness saw GREAT LIGHT; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death Light is sprung up“ (Mat 4:16). At various times we all have sat in darkness. Our first darkness was that of the world. It lasted until we saw the Great Light of Jesus Christ. Our souls were filled with unspeakable joy when He came forth into our lives as our Savior. He was as a warm summer’s dawn. We were delivered from the power of darkness, and set into the kingdom of God’s dear Son (Col 1:13). Most of us joined ourselves to a church of some sort, wherein we were blessed for a season. Those confines satisfied, but not for very long. Where we had once known freedom and had seen light, darkness soon squeezed tightly about us.
Our quest for life was calling us to be free, and it was not long that we saw again His Great Light, and to our surprise, it was not in the church where we presumed it had to be. It was in us, in our own hearts and mouths (Rom 10:8-9). It was in the same place we first saw it.
With this new light shining, we tried to remain and share it with our friends, yet we found this to be futile. Not only that, the longer we stayed attached to ‘our’ church, the dimmer the light grew and the lonelier we became. The sweet, and sometimes not so sweet, people could not provide that for which our souls hungered. It was then that many of us took a leap of faith and left the protection of our ‘coverings’, so called. Once again the light shined brightly and illumined our pathway. We had no idea where it would lead; but we knew we could not remain in the stagnation of darkness to which the church system had descended. Our exodus was a must in order to continue our search for life, and life more abundant, as Jesus said He would give. Out of darkness we came. We were truly Mysteries from Darkness.
We had not, however, expected to leave one darkness for another. This was not in our vision. We could see in a vague way the grand things that pertained to Sonship; but what lay between us and our destiny was out of sight. The farther we walked, the more things changed, and they have not always been pleasant. And now, rather than in the midst of manifested glory, we find ourselves secured in God’s pavilion of darkness. Even so, there is the true Light that still brightens our days within. Outwardly, the dark waters and thick clouds may cover us over; but inwardly, we persevere and hold fast to that which is Life.
Many of us know the pain of sorrow, anguish, and longsuffering. They weigh heavily upon us at times. In the heat of the day, or the cold of the night, there seems to be little hope as the fierce winds taunt us, and the waves of the storm beat relentlessly upon the eroding shoreline of our lives. But let us rest assured, fellow hut dwellers — although “weeping endures for a night, joy cometh in the morning” (Psa 30:5). Jesus will “Give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:79).
We may presently be in the shadow of death. Maladies and ongoing traumas may be very real; but as this seventh day of Tabernacles draws to a close, we can rejoice. The Great Light of our Lord shall guide our feet into the way of peace. It matters not if our minds bodies are racked with pain, the truth is, our eye is single. With our eye being single our whole body is full of light (Luke 11:34). And this hidden light within the pavilion, if it has not already done so, will guide our feet into the way of peace.
Although the pavilion of darkness is not pleasant, and there is much suffering in its confines, we are not forsaken. Darkness may shroud us on all sides, yet we are blessed. When it seems that our frail ships will sink in these fierce storms, our Lord’s presence insures safe passage. Many of us can already say that in the face of overwhelming circumstances — we have His perfect peace that passes all understanding. We do not complain, but rejoice always. Although we are compassed about by adversities, inwardly we do not walk in darkness. We have the light of Life (John 8:12).
Those lacking insight to why we are dwelling in makeshift huts will be quick and ready comforters. But their comfort will be akin to the comfort Job’s friends gave to him. If, however, they took the words of Paul to heart, they would be a little more at ease. He said: “But with me: yea, it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment I judge not mine own self. For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but He that judgeth me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both WILL BRING TO LIGHT the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God” (1 Cor 4:3-5).
Brethren, it appears to me, that whether the things hidden are those evil things of the world (John 3:20), or they are like Paul, God’s chosen vessels — when it is time for the Lord to bring them forth — every man will praise God. The manifestation of Christ in men’s lives works this way. When an evil man’s heart is made bare by the light of Jesus, and His fire burns it clean, he shall praise God. And especially with those whose hearts are fixed upon Him. They shall praise Him. His light will penetrate the darkness of their suffering as He lifts them out of the strange place of God’s dark pavilion.
To be reminded: “He made darkness His secret place; His pavilion round about Him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies” (Psa 18:11). We are in God’s secret place. There is no doubt about it. We abide in His pavilion of dark waters and thick clouds. This is sure. Brethren, we are HIDDEN!But praise God — we will not remain hidden forever! For He WILL BRING TO LIGHT the hidden things of darkness. He will manifest the counsel of our hearts, whether of good or of evil. Since our eye is single (It is, isn’t it?), the counsel of our hearts shall manifest good. These burnt offerings that we are shall come forth as light into a world of darkness. That is what we have to look forward to, to be brought forth as light into a dark world.
This is the light that shall discover (uncover) the forests, and by it everyone in the temple of God will declare His glory (Psa 29:9). All the hidden things of the world, all those things covered over by man’s own righteousness and religious rituals (fig leaves), shall be exposed.
There are a few things that will strip a forest naked. The lack of rain will cause it to dry up and die. The icy chill of winter will rid broad-leaf trees of their covering. It takes more for the evergreen trees, those people who never change and seem to be everlasting in their self-willed ways. FIRE will strip them clean. Regardless of what it takes to expose man for what he is, God will make sure it is done. And as those in His temple praise Him, it will ultimately cause every soul to praise in like manner (1 Cor 4:5).
The gates of hell shall not prevail against this great exodus from the shadow of death. None can prevent God’s mysteries from coming out of darkness: “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor 4:6). Huts of darkness may be our temporary living quarters; but we are not of the darkness. “We are the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness” (1 Thes 5:5).
In this pavilion of dark days, we may wonder on occasion how we can possibly make it to our destination. Remember, we are not of the night, but of the day, and when His candle shines upon our heads, and when His light illumines our way — we walk through the darkness (Job 29:3).
At times our sight is diminished, especially when afflicted. The enemy seems to prevail against us as he plows through our lives. Deep furrows are made upon our backs, as it were; yet these days will not last forever, and the wounds will heal. Furthermore, we know our LORD is righteous, and He will cut the cords that bind us tight (Psa 129:1-4).
The Spirit in us refuses to relinquish. It won’t give up, for it rests neither day nor night until it brings us forth form darkness and into the full habitation of our mighty God and Father of spirits.
There is a time and season for everything, and we are now living in the time of being hidden in GOD’S PAVILION of Darkness. And there is the season of being unseen and protected in the secret of His tabernacle. Yet there is also the time when He shall set us up upon a Rock (Psa 27:5). And I can tell you, brethren, anyone who is UPON THE ROCK of Christ is no longer hidden! They are in plain view. They can be seen from great distances. At this setting, the seven days of Tabernacles are over. Hence — the manifestation of the Sons of God!
In the closing hours of Tabernacles, we hear David’s words echoing down through the ages and into our own hearts: “O satisfy us early with Thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. MAKE US GLAD according to the days wherein THOU HAST AFFLICTED US, and the years wherein WE HAVE SEEN EVIL. Let Thy work appear unto Thy servants, and Thy glory unto their children. And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish Thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish Thou it” (Psa 90:14-17).
Elwin R. Roach