by Wade E Taylor
“But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and you shall be witnesses to Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts 1:8
Most all of us have received a word, or an indication of something that is to take place, but somehow is delayed, and we wonder why?
The word “after” tells us that there is something between the promise, and a productive life experience. “After” speaks of a “divine delay,” until certain conditions are met, and the Lord is satisfied to release the needed “divine enabling” (power) for the fulfilling of the promise.
This “process” can be seen in the life of Jesus, when He was baptized by John in preparation for His ministry.
“And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up immediately out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:16-17
During the baptism of Jesus, as He came up out of the water, the heavens opened, the dove descended to rest upon Him, and the Father spoke: “This (explicitly) is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” Jesus had now received the Spirit without measure, and a confirmation of the “approbation of God” (divine favor) resting upon His life.
It would appear that Jesus was now ready to begin His ministry. Instead, He was immediately led into the wilderness, where for forty days, He suffered hardship, hunger, and temptation. It would have been easy for him to doubt, or to discount what had happened at the time of His baptism.
“And Jesus being full of the Holy Spirit returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days He did eat nothing: and when they were ended, He afterward hungered.” Luke 4:1-2
The “wilderness” is a barren place, where there is nothing – no divine favor or blessing, no one to seek out for help, or to give a word of encouragement. Instead, when Jesus became intensely hungry, the enemy came and reminded Him that He, being God, could easily feed Himself by turning stones into bread. Jesus refused to satisfy His hunger with anything less than the provision of His Father.
“And when the tempter came to Him, he said, If You be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But He answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:3-4
It was in the place of hunger and privation, rather than in the place of blessing, that Jesus received the ultimate blessing. He had to go through a time of processing (wilderness time) in order to enter the higher purposes of God.
“And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season. And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee….” Luke 4:13-14
Notice that Jesus entered the wilderness in the “fullness of the Spirit,” but He came out in the “power of the Spirit.” Between the time of His receiving the blessing of the Father, and His receiving the enabling “power” for the outworking of His ministry, there was a delay – a time of testing during which Jesus suffered intense hunger.
In relation to us, this “wilderness time” is an “indeterminate” span of time during which a particular purpose is accomplished. Our self-dependence and self-centeredness must come to an end through an experience of “utter dependence” on the Lord. When we are tested, we will either pass the test as an “overcomer,” or we will come short of gaining a victory over our self-life, and will need a further time of preparation.
We tend to measure our spiritual attainment with the “blessings,” or the “giftings” that we have been given. However, these are only the beginning. We must go beyond these (what we do), to a change in our nature (what we have become). Therefore, by divine arrangement, the Lord will place us in situations where there is no available means of satisfaction (wilderness), that a higher purpose might be accomplished.
Because the Lord is more interested in what we have become, than in what we are doing, there are “divine delays” that we must face in the outworking of our spiritual development.
Especially at this present time, there is a call to come “higher.” If we desire to go beyond the level of our present spiritual experience, and “apprehend” the higher calling and purpose of our Lord, we will be taken through a difficult time of testing and proving in order to become a part of the “corporate” Jesus (He is the head, we are the body) that is about to be revealed in His coming “Parouisa” (the manifestation of His end-time glory).
Jesus will again do all that He did in a single body, through a corporate body.
“Verily, verily, I say to you, He that believes on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to My Father.” John 14:12
The “greater works” – all that Jesus did in His first coming in a single body, are now about to happen again, but through a many membered corporate body. For us to have a part in this, we must be prepared, as He was prepared.
“After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven…. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.” Revelation 4:1-2
In the message to the seven Churches, each “door” led into the next period of Church history. At this present time, there is something different, because we are living toward the end of the Laodicean Church Age, and there is nothing further. There is a door that is to be opened, but it is not a horizontal door that will lead into another aspect of the Church, rather, it is a vertical door that leads upward to the throne.
For those who are ready, there is a progression that is about to take place, from the pulpit (Church) to the throne (Kingdom). This spiritual hunger, the stirring and searching that is taking place within us today, is happening because the Lord is knocking upon the door of our heart, seeking entrance within our lives, due to the urgency of the hour in which we live.
“If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.” John 14:23
The word “abode” in John 14:23, and the word “mansion” in John 14:2 in the original text, is the same word. Jesus is saying, “I will come and make My abode in your present life experience.” Another way to say this is, “In My Father’s house are many levels of relationship.”
We are to progress from one level of relationship to another level. During each upward step in this progression, there are dealings – things that the Lord must do in order to prepare us for the higher level. If we are not careful, we will misunderstand and misinterpret these things.
In the Song of Solomon, the Bride said:
“It was but a little that I passed from them, but I found Him whom my soul loves….” Song of Solomon 3:4
It was “but a little” that I passed from them (our dependence on hearing from the Lord through others), that I found Him. This is a “wilderness time” (time of testing), in which we are separated from the spiritual womb where we have been very comfortable, into a new place and level of relationship and attainment. Our tendency, rather than to wait and allow the Lord to bring the adjustment, is for us to go back to the place where we were comfortable.
I received a “word” directly from the throne of God in 1959, that I would have a ministry to prepare “overcomers” for the end-time purpose of the Lord. This visitation was so powerful that I thought it would begin within a few weeks. As time went on, things would happen that would cause me to think that this ministry was about to begin. The next thing I knew, it all fell apart. This happened several times.
The excitement came, and then all at once I was saying, “Lord, what happened?” I sought out and tried all that I knew and understood, but none of it worked. Finally, I said, “Lord, I give up.” Within a short time after I said this, it happened. I then realized that it could not have happened sooner, as there was a much deeper working of the Lord that first had to take place within me.
“Divine delays” stretch our patience. “…I sought Him, but I found Him not” (Song of Solomon 3:2). Why? The Lord has something better for His Bride. He is waiting (divine delay) so He can take us further, but there is a price that we must accept.
The “sermon on the mount” is the “key” to a Kingdom life.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3
“Blessed” are all those who have come to the end of their abilities, into abject poverty and utter dependence – those who have come to the end of self, and trust the Lord, leaning heavily upon Him, “for theirs is the Kingdom.”
We have discovered “methods” in our spiritual life experience with which we are comfortable, as we know how these function. When we do certain things, we experience a certain response. If we are to go further, we must enter into a time in the “wilderness,” where we can be separated from these dependencies. In order to go higher, we must move into a place that is unfamiliar to us, leaving the familiar behind. We must be careful to “stay” in the wilderness for the full appointed time, as we tend to say, “I am going back, as I felt much more comfortable there, and I knew what to expect.”
The Lord is seeking to bring us out from the familiar, into the “ways” of the Spirit. Here, His voice is becoming as the “voice of the trumpet” with a present word for us.
“After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up here, and I will show you things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and One sat on the throne.” Revelation 4:1-2
It is not easy for us to move from the familiar, into a place of dependence, where we become available for the Lord to speak through us, as He may desire.
“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed and he went out, not knowing where he went.” Hebrews 11:8
Abraham went out not knowing where he was going, as the future was veiled. There is a purpose in our wilderness experiences, as the delays and reductions that we experience have a higher purpose. We are being brought into the place of total dependence and obedience in which we will receive – “after.”
“And you shall remember all the way which the Lord your God led you these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you, and to prove you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments, or no.” Deuteronomy 8:2
The delays of God reveal our true motives and intents that correction might be made, and that we might be brought up into a higher level of relationship and experience.
“Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. When He had heard therefore that he was sick, He abode two days still in the same place where He was. Then after that says He to His disciples, Let us go into Judaea again. Our friend Lazarus sleeps; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.” John 11:5-7, 11
Martha (service) and Mary (devotion) were attempting to get Lazarus (adamic nature) healed.
“Then said Martha to Jesus, Lord, if You had been here, my brother had not died.” John 11:21
Jesus stayed away “two days” (divine delay). Lazarus (adamic nature) is now bound up, and has become so dead, that he smells. In the “fullness of time,” Jesus came and said, “Lazarus, come forth.” Later, Jesus is sitting at the banquet table with Lazarus (John 12:2). The delay was to bring forth the higher, because life comes out of death. Unless we go through this time of processing, we cannot receive the word to “Come up” (Revelation 4:1). Service and devotion (religious activity) will hinder, if they possibly can.
There is a purpose in the Lord seemingly discouraging us. This short time of discouragement will only make our roots go deeper, and cause us to push all the harder.
“…The kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” Matthew 11:12
Mark 7:25-29 is the story of a certain woman whose daughter had an unclean spirit. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, will you heal my daughter?” He answered, “This is for the children, the chosen, not for the dogs.” In other words, Jesus said, “you are a dog, you cannot have this.” She replied, “The dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs.” Jesus said, “For that saying, your daughter is healed.”
This Greek woman knew what she wanted, and she refused to be insulted. Blessed are the bankrupt, the “poor” who will give up the right to their own lives and become a part of the expression of His life.
“Let us not be weary in well doing (our present level of believing in hope of receiving): for in due season (there is an appointed time) we shall reap, if we faint not.” Galatians 6:9
The Lord may allow a “divine delay,” as we wait for our “appointed time.” If we will patiently endure our “time in the wilderness,” and move past our expecting a quick response, we will receive the reward, as the present word of the Lord is, “come up.”
If we do not weary in our waiting in hope, then in “that day,” at the appointed hour, the body that is veiled (that which all creation is groaning for – Lazarus being called out of the tomb by Jesus), will be called to come forth to be unveiled and empowered, for the outworking of the end-time purposes of the Lord.
“Come, and let us return to the Lord: for He has torn, and He will heal us; He has smitten, and He will bind us up. After two days will He revive us; in the third day, He will raise us up and we shall live in His sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord; His going forth is prepared as the morning; and He shall come to us as the rain, as the latter and former rain to the earth.” Hosea 6:1-3
“Come… He has torn, and He will heal us.” As we submit to and are patient in the times of processing, then the Lord, in His time, “will raise us up and we will live in His sight.”