Take a close look at the picture. Does anything seem familiar? Yes, it is a picture from Steak n’ Shake. Yes, it is a hungry man asking why this is such a small burger. But look beyond that.
I find my heart crying with the psalmist, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my heart pants for you O God”. It has been a long time since I’ve experienced what many call “a mountaintop experience”. But there is a reason for this: I simply don’t believe in that anymore. You see, it sounds great on paper. It seems right, because many of us are experiencing such a similar lifestyle – up, then down, then up, then down, then up, then… well… you get the point.
There are only a handful of words that have captured my heart, but once I’ve learned them, I can’t unlearn them. The first is ruach. Ruach is the Hebrew word that means “spirit” – sometimes translated as breathe or wind. It is first found in Genesis 1:2, where the ruach Elohim – the Spirit of God – hovered over the waters. Now, what is interesting here is that the verb being used in the piel participle of rachaph. For those who have no idea what I just said, I’ll explain it 🙂
In Hebrew, verbs have no vowels. Depending on the vowels that you put, and if there are any prefixes or suffixes, the verb will be translated a certain way. One of the verb tenses is call the piel. It is an intensifying tense (sounds redundant…). The verb rachaph (resh chey pey) means “to relax”. Now, the piel conjugation intensifies that: to relax intensely, or to rest. Now, within most of the verb conjugations there is what is called the participle. A participle is using the verb as an adjective: “the resting Spirit of God”. So why don’t we have “And the resting Spirit of God over the waters”? The answer is simple. The verb is being paralleled with the previous statement: “Darkness was upon the face of the deep”. So, we pretty much parallel the two.
This verb is used only one other place in the Bible: Deuteronomy 32:11, “Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, and HOVERS over its young…” Here we see the verb being translated “hovers”, and being paralleled with “stirs”. So, back to Genesis 1:2, what does it mean that the ruach “hovered” over the waters? It brings this idea of stirring up the creation into greater degrees of order and filling. For example, on the first day God creates the heaven and earth, but on the fourth day He fills the heaven with the sun, moon, and stars. On day two, God creates the atmosphere and the “sea”, but on day five, He fills the sky with birds, and the sea with fish. On day three, God creates the dry land, and on day six He fills it with animals and people. Do you see the progression?
So, the ruach is that which stirs the creation into order and filling. It is what brings harmony and life. It brings peace and nourishment. The ruach is this energy of God – a physical, tangible, real manifestation of the presence of God here upon the earth. And that tangible energy – presence – of God has hovered over the face of the earth since the beginning of time.
This brings an interesting question. When we experience our life being brought into order and being filled, is it the Spirit of God? I say yes. What is our salvation experience? Is it not the very Spirit of God coming down upon that darkness and chaos in our life to stir our hearts into newness of life? My life is no longer the way that I used to be. Something has changed. I would submit that it isn’t that I found God, nor necessarily that God found me, but that the more proper language to use would be that somehow I was plugged back into the ruach of the universe. God has been here all along, and I – I did not know it. Therefore, this is now called Bethel, the House of God, for here I have found Him.
Yet, it doesn’t stop there, does it? Because we find out that the rest of our lives are also now being energized and ordered and filled and brought into peace and nourished no matter where we may be… This is what it means to be saved. This is the New Covenant, prophesied by Jeremiah and Ezekiel. It is about a new heart – somehow we have the capacity for the eternal God to dwell in us. We’ve been plugged into the ruach, therefore sayings like “mountaintop experiences” can’t exist. Did I get unplugged? If so, then why? If not, then why is this moment considered a “high”, but that moment is considered a “low”, as if there are any moments spent apart from God?
We come to the New Testament and we find fascinating language. First, lets go to Hebrews. In Hebrews 10:19-22 we read, “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water”.
Here the writer is using language from the Temple. He is saying that we have been beckoned into the Holy of Holies – which is where the physical, tangible, real presence of God abode. The Most Holy Place was considered the very throne room of God, and the Ark of the Covenant was His throne. Into that room we have been called. Are you seeing the connection here? Not only should there be sobriety in this, but also joy. We are already plugged into the ruach of God if we are indeed Christian. Therefore, we have access unto God through the blood of Christ Jesus, not simply every now and then to partition heaven, but to live in that throne room with God forever. We are beckoned to plug into the ruach, and to never unplug from the sap of God’s life.
But the author doesn’t stop there. We continue and find that in chapter 11 he explains these people who sought for this very thing and weren’t given the promise. They all died “not receiving the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. Instead they were longing for a better country – a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” (Hebrews 11:13-16)
Yet, in Hebrews 12:22 we read, “But you have come unto Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God.” So, that which they did not receive, we are now a part of. How? It is through the faith in Christ Jesus, by His blood, entering into the Most Holy Place that we have come. To plug into the ruach is to come into the presence of the Almighty forevermore. We find in Revelation 4 a scene of this Heavenly Throne Room. This place where the living creatures and elders worship day and night before our God is the very place that we have entered into for fellowship with Him.
Lets go back to the picture at the top again.
Why did I call this “Meat in Due Season?”
I have found that many of the men and women who want to talk about the depths that they have attained have not yet come unto this. They talk about their depths, and they talk about the glory, but when you come right down to it, they continually talk about themselves… How can someone who has been caught up into this heavenly vision talk about themselves so much? Wouldn’t this cause pause and sobriety? Wouldn’t this cause for humility? And yet, so often the “meat in due season” that is given is shallow unkosher bacon, full of flavor, but also full of fat. I’ve actually even been criticized because I wasn’t getting fed while there was “plenty of meat to go around”, and at another time that I had too high a view of Scripture! Is that even for real? The “mature” are mad at me because I take God seriously?
My reason for writing is actually different though. I know there are a lot of people who have questions. They have been asking for a long time, and no one seems to be answering. It comes to a point where you wonder if you’re simply asking the unanswerable question. There are many of you who are also looking at the “meat” and “deep truth” in Christendom, and you’re saying, “Is this it?” No, it isn’t. There are answers. There are deeper realities. There are heavenly visions that would cause for any human to fall upon the ground as though dead. I find myself asking along with many in my generation, “Where’s the beef?”
So to you who are hungry, come and buy meat with no price and no cost. To you who are thirsty, come and buy milk – pure milk – without money and without cost. To you who are heavy hearted, who have chains upon your shoulders that are wearing you down, come and find rest for your soul. This is what it means to come to Christ. It is about finding the reality of reality. It is about being plugged into the ruach – the eternal Spirit of God – and in that, never being cast out from His presence ever.
May the God of peace and love give you what you’ve been searching for, and may you find joyous fellowship with the Holy Spirit, amen.