The Lord Recognized and Received (continued)
You remember the tragic story in 2 Samuel 15, of the rejection of David in the usurping of Absalom. It is a pathetic story - David driven away from his place; leaving, passing out of, the realm of his rights. One and another accompany him, and Zadok the priest brings the ark of God with him, but David turns to Zadok and says: "Carry back the ark of God into the city: if I shall find favor in the eyes of the Lord, He will bring me again, and show me both it, and His habitation". The inference is: "When I come back, I shall have in the city, in the place of my rejection, that which is sympathetic with me, to which I can come back. I shall not come back a stranger; I shall not come back to nothing; I shall not come back to find there is no home for me: I shall come back to something that is one with me. Zadok, you are one with me; yes, you wanted to come out with me - this is a perfect sympathy. Now go back into the city, and when I come back I shall come back to something that is with me."
And that is the principle here. The assembly here provides the Lord with that in which He is now, by His Spirit. It declares that He has a foothold in a rejecting world, and He is coming back to that. He will have something to come back to which is on His side and which, being on His side, will provide Him wit the ground for reestablishing His universal rights, just as Zadok did for David.
And that is why the Lord would have His Church here in assemblies, local assemblies, over the face of the earth. They are testimonies to His rights, in a world where those rights are disputed and disowned; and they stand there to say: "Yes, His rights are the supreme rights in this world, not the rights of the usurper," and they maintain that testimony. When He comes back, they are to be the means, the instrument, of His recovery of those rights which have been disputed and from which He has been driven out. There is a good deal bound up with receiving the Lord. He is coming back to His own because He is already there in possession.
You understand why the devil is always out to destroy, if possible, the local expression of the Church; to destroy the little companies of the Lord's people who are living in heavenly union and fellowship with Him. It is because they represent His rights - the Lord's rights - and they are there all the time disputing by their very presence the rights of the usurper. The ark of the testimony is there; and while that is thee, on the side of the Lord, the usurper has not universal sway. He knows that it represents that his kingdom is defeated, is menaced, and it is a constant thorn in his side. And so, if possible, he will quench it, break it, divide it, do anything to get rid of that local expression which is according to Christ and in which He is. That is what the Church ought to be as locally represented; that is what every believe ought to be here on earth: a foothold to the Lord in this earth, a testimony to His Sovereign Lordship and rights. To receive the Lord provides Him with such a foothold and such a testimony.
And so we see that the very first step as related to Bethany is of the greatest significance. It represents a principle of tremendous importance. The Church is constituted, to begin with, upon the simple principle that Christ has found a place: amidst all the range of rejection He had found a place.
(continued with # 3 - "His Heart's Satisfaction")