The Lord wants us to minister to Him to enjoy Him as the hidden manna, the budding rod, and the law of life; He wants us to be in His presence in the Holy of Holies, ministering to Him, partaking of Him, being in resurrection, and allowing the law of life to operate in us.
There’s a great difference between ministering to the Lord Himself and ministering to the house of God; there’s a great difference between serving God and serving His house.
It is possible for us to do many things for God and in God’s name, yet inwardly we don’t minister to the Lord by spending adequate amount of time to deal with Him, be infused with Him, and be filled with Him.
Throughout the centuries there have been many good-hearted and well-meaning persons who took upon themselves to do things for God; these things were not bad necessarily, but they were not initiated by God, and their source was not a personal time with the Lord.
Whatever we do should be for the Lord’s sake, for His satisfaction, His heart’s desire, His happiness, His goal, and His glory; we should deny our self with our desires and preferences, and we should take God as our source in everything.
Just as the Lord Jesus, we need to learn to withdraw from the crowd – even from our own family members – and spend much time alone with God, for our real spiritual strength comes from our private time with the Lord.
When we spend intimate, private, personal, and spiritual time with the Lord, we are infused by Him with His desire and intention, and we will serve Him for His sake, to fulfill His desire, and to be for His satisfaction.
To minister to the Lord we need to enter into the Holy of Holies, in the very presence of God; here we don’t have to “do” anything – all outward work stops, and all that we do is enjoy Christ in God’s presence.
Here, in our mingled spirit (the reality of the Holy of Holies today) we enjoy Christ as the reality of the hidden manna, the budding rod, and the tablets of the covenant – the contents of the ark of the covenant.
In the mingled spirit, we partake of Christ as a special portion of supply (the hidden manna), we live in resurrection by Christ – the resurrected One, and we are under the operation of the spontaneous law of life to be conformed to the image of Christ.
It is by ministering to the Lord in the mingled spirit that we are empowered, guided, and commissioned to serve Him and do something for Him.
Experiencing Christ in His Resurrection as our Acceptance by God for Authority in the God-given Ministry
In the Lord’s presence in the Holy of Holies we enjoy the hidden manna (Christ as a special portion for our supply and nourishment), the budding rod (the resurrected Christ being our life and living), and the law of life operating in us constantly.
After the children of Israel rebelled (see Num. 16), God commanded the twelve leaders to take twelve rods (according to the twelve tribes of Israel) and put them in the Tent of Meeting before the Testimony, saying, “The rod of the man whom I choose shall bud” (see Num. 17:5).
These rods were all leafless, rootless, dry, and simply dead, so whichever one budded was the one chosen by God. Here we see that resurrection is the basis of God’s selection, and that the basis of service is apart from our natural life.
The budding rod signifies our experience of Christ in His resurrection as our acceptance by God for authority in the God-given ministry.
The principle of our service to God lies in the budding rod: God returned all the eleven rods to the leaders, but He kept Aaron’s rod inside the ark as a memorial; this means that resurrection is an eternal principle in our service to God (Num. 17:9-10).
What is the principle of the budding rod? It is the principle of resurrection, of experiencing Christ in His resurrection, even experiencing His resurrection life in our daily living. What is resurrection? Resurrection means that everything is of God and not of us.
Resurrection means that God alone is able – and that we are not able. Resurrection means that everything is done by God – and not by ourselves. If we know resurrection, we will give up hope in ourselves, for we know that we cannot make it – but God in us can make it.
But if we still have our natural strength and serve God out of our own effort, zeal, and strength, the power of resurrection has no ground to be manifested in us. As long as Sarah could conceive a child, Isaac would not come (see Gen. 18:10-15; 21:1-3; 6-7).
As soon as Sarah realized it is impossible, even though the Lord promised it (for she was close to 90 years of age), the power of resurrection could come in.
Sarah laughed twice: first she laughed in herself when she heard the Lord saying that in one year she will have a child – for she thought that this is impossible with man; second, she laughed when she had Isaac, for she realized that this is possible with God.
What we can do belongs to the natural realm, and what is impossible for us to do belongs to the realm of resurrection. A man must come to the end of himself before he will be convinced of his utter uselessness (Matt. 19:26; Mark 10:27; Luke 18:27).
If we don’t realize our own inability, if we still think we can do many things for God and we are capable of great works for Him, we can’t experience God’s ability.
Resurrection means that God has given us something that we didn’t have in ourselves; we can’t do it or make it in ourselves, and the Lord will do it in us. Resurrection means that we cannot make it and that God is the One who has done everything (see 2 Cor. 12:8-9; 4:7).
If there’s any manifestation of God’s authority through us, we should tell the Lord, You are the One who has done it – it is none of my business, and it is not of me!
Lord Jesus, we want to experience You in Your resurrection as our acceptance by God for authority in the God-given ministry. Oh Lord, in ourselves we cannot do it, we cannot make it, and we cannot be it; we are dead and natural, and we are not for Your purpose. May our service to God be apart from the natural life – may it be in resurrection. May we allow You to come in and do everything in us, for us, and through us. May everything we do in our service to God be of God and with God. May the power of Your resurrection be manifested in us.
Enjoying the Operation of the Law of Life to be Conformed to the Image of Christ
The tablets of the covenant – which are the tablets of the law in the ark of the covenant – signify the law of the divine life, which is the spontaneous power, the automatic function, the innate ability, and the divine capacity of the divine life (see Jer. 31:33; Heb. 8:10; cf. Rom. 8:10, 6, 11; 10:12-13).
Through regeneration we have received the divine life; this life has an innate ability, a divine capacity, an automatic function – this is the law of life. This divine capacity can do everything in us for the carrying out of God’s economy.
If we switch on the law of life and allow it to operate in us, we can know God personally and intimately, we can live God, and we can constituted with God in His life and nature so that we may become His increase to be His fullness for His eternal expression (Eph. 1:22-23; 3:19-21).
There is a law of the divine life in our spirit – the Triune God embodied in Christ and realized as the Spirit is an automatic function in us.
When this law is switched on, God dispenses Himself into our being, so that our spirit is life (Rom. 8:10), our mind becomes life (Rom. 8:6), and even our mortal body is saturated with the divine life through God’s Spirit who indwells us (Rom. 8:11).
The capacity of the inner law of life constitutes us to be the members of the Body of Christ with all kinds of functions (Eph. 4:11, 16). While the divine life grows in us, the law of life functions to shape us, to conform us to the image of Christ as the firstborn Son of God (Rom. 8:2, 29).
The law of life in us operates to conform us to the image of Christ, the firstborn Son of God. Our conformation is our maturity in the divine life through which we participate in God’s divinity in full, and we are solidified in the possession of His divine element.
On the one hand, we are being transformed (we are metabolically changed in our natural life to be reconstituted with the divine element), on the other, we are matured (we are filled with the divine life that changes us), and finally, we are conformed to the image of the firstborn Son of God!
The divine life in us with its law saves us to the uttermost and conforms us to the image of Christ.
We are saved in Christ’s life from any self-likeness, from vain glory, outward show, ambition for leadership, self-confidence, self-righteousness, self-justification, self-vindication, self-exaltation, being opinionated, murmurings, reasonings, gossip, and rivalry.
The law of life doesn’t primarily function in the negative sense of telling us what to do and what not to do; rather, as the divine life grows, the law of life functions in the positive sense of shaping us to the image of Christ, that is, conforming us to the image of the firstborn Son of God.
Through the function of the law of life in us, we all will become mature sons of God, and God will have His universal expression!
Lord Jesus, we want to enjoy the operation of the law of life so that we may be conformed to the image of Christ. Amen, Lord, may the spontaneous power and divine capacity of the divine life in us operate in our being all the time to saturate our entire being with the divine life and conform us to the image of Christ! Keep us open to You, Lord, and to this inner operation of the law of life, until we become mature sons of God, and until God will gain His corporate expression!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message by Ed Marks for this week, and portions from, Life-study of Hebrews, msgs. 61-62, 64-65, 69 (by Witness Lee), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, Crystallization-study of Ezekiel (2), msg. 9 (week 21 in the HWMR), Ministering to the Lord to Enjoy Him as the Hidden Manna, the Budding Rod, and the Law of Life.
- Hymns on this topic:
# When the resurrection life / Is made real in pow’r to me, / As the rod with sprouting buds, / I will then accepted be. (Hymns #769)
# Minding just the spirit, we the cross will know, / And His resurrection pow’r thru us will flow; / Minding just the spirit, Christ will live thru me, / And His life within will reach maturity. (Hymns #593)
# Thy law of life in heart and mind / My conduct regulates; / The wealth of Thy reality / My being saturates. (Hymns #539)