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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Discipline Unto Prayer # 20

Gathered Of God

Isaiah 56:6-8

In the latter part of his prophecies Isaiah concentrates on the return from captivity and the restoration of the Lord's testimony in Zion. It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of this recovery, for at its heart, the goal and explanation of it all, we find the house of God. It is God Himself Who is most concerned about re-gathering His people, for this is essential to His own will and glory.

Scattered Ones Gathered Into Fellowship In God's House

The Lord's declaration that His house "shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples" does not primarily mean that it shall be a place from which prayer shall go out on behalf of men everywhere. It is true that the house does become a center from which there radiates a ministry of life and blessing in answer to believing prayer, but the context shows clearly that the first thought  is of that house as a center of gathering, a rallying point to which all who will may come. The Spirit's work is to unite in practical fellowship those who have been delivered from the kingdom of darkness, and to unite them under His own authority in His own house. It is, of course, a blessed privilege for those concerned. They have trusted and proved the Lord in their scattered state, but they have known that they were not experiencing the fullness.  There is always something lacking when believers know the Lord in isolation only or in sectional groups.

The Word of God had set before the "outcasts of Israel" prospects which were far beyond their present experience - promises of the glory of God in the midst and of feasts of fat things in the mountain of the Lord. All this was to be accomplished by a great Divine gathering of those who had hitherto been scattered and in limitation. God would make them joyful in His house of prayer. The greatest values, however, were not to be personal and local, but universal and Divine.

It is God's great desire to manifest Himself in and through His people: "That now ... might be made known through the church the manifold wisdom of God" (Ephesians 3:10). When God's scattered people are freed from every bondage and brought together in true oneness, the impact of His presence and kingdom will be tremendous in its range. This gathering is of supreme importance to the Lord, for it provides Him with His house and ministers to His satisfaction. Who can calculate the effect of the unrestricted and ungrieved presence of God in a people? The house of God is no hollow pretence; it is not a relic of what used to be, nor a vain ideal of what ought to be; it is meant to be a present, spiritual reality. "For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matthew 18:20).

They are not gathered together for their own name, nor for any other earthly name; not for any personal interests, nor even for the furtherance of a cause. They have been drawn by the Spirit into the house of God where all things are of Him and all things are for Him. In that house God is given His rightful place in everything.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 21)

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