The Lord desires us to minister to Him by drawing near to Him, spend time before the Lord and pray more, and wait for His will to be revealed to us and infused into us, so that we may minister not only to His house but to the Lord Himself.
In Ezek. 44 the Lord makes a distinction between two categories of His serving ones: the Levites (who serve God by ministering to His house and offering sacrifices for the people) and the priestly Levites, the sons of Zadok (who minister to the Lord).
There are many things that need to be taken care of when serving God, but what God desires is not for us to do many things but to minister to Him, to draw near to Him and to serve Him.
In God’s eyes there’s not only the ministry to the house, that is, ministering to the house of God, but also the better ministry – the ministry to the Lord, ministering to the Lord Himself.
God’s goal is that He would have men who belong absolutely to Him, who spend time with Him in His presence and minister to Him. His goal is not for us to do many things for Him but to be one with Him, spend much private and intimate time with Him, be infused with His desires and intentions, and minister to Him.
Of course, to minister to the Lord doesn’t mean that we put aside or neglect the house of God; ministering to the Lord doesn’t make us a “special class of people” who are separated or disassociated from other people.
Rather, those who minister to the Lord will also preach the gospel to save sinners, help the saints make progress in their Christian life, and shepherd the saints, but their goal is to be for the Lord, and their focus is the Lord Himself.
Our goal has to be the Lord Himself, and our focus is not the work but Christ and gaining Him to the uttermost. The Lord is the preeminent One; in serving Him in His house we need to give Him the preeminence and focus on Him.
We need to give the Lord the first place in our heart, and whatever we do will be a ministering to Him. Our goal is the Lord Himself; our goal is not to merely do things for the Lord or in His name, but pursue Christ, enjoy Christ, be filled with Christ, and be saturated with Christ.
Whatever we do in the Lord’s service should be not for the sake of taking care of things but for the Lord’s sake; it should be for the Lord’s satisfaction, His heart’s desire, His happiness, His goal, His pleasure, and His glory.
Rejecting our Natural Preference and Drawing Near to God to Spend time with Him
When we serve the Lord, we need to draw near to Him in prayer and minister to Him. We need to be determined to gain the honor of being well-pleasing to the Lord by being absolutely under His control, direction, and governing, and by caring uniquely for His aims and goals.
To minister to the Lord is to be under His direction and control, and to fulfill His requirements, satisfy His desire, and complete what He intends. This is to be for the Lord’s happiness, joy, goal, heart’s desire, satisfaction, pleasure, and glory.
However, there may be some areas in the Lord’s work that are appealing and attractive to our flesh, because they are solely for the pleasure and glory of our self.
For example, a sister may like to visit others and talk about the Lord, go out and preach the gospel to save sinners, and do many practical things in the church life, but she may not like to be a mother with children and a wife at home.
A brother who likes to speak much may prefer to be sent out by himself to preach the gospel in the villages or to visit people and shepherd them, but he may not want to get into his private room and spend time with the Lord in His word.
There are areas of working for the Lord that are attractive and pleasing to the flesh, and we may prefer to do these things rather than what it is assigned for us to do.
We need to be reminded that the work is the Lord’s, and our goal should be the Lord Himself; we should not serve God according to our preference and desire for our pleasure and glory, but we should do everything for His satisfaction, with Him as the goal, for the fulfillment of His desire.
Spending time with the Lord in private may not be that exciting or interesting as preaching the gospel or visiting the saints, but it is the place where the Lord wants us to be. We need to reject our natural preference in serving the Lord, in ministering to the Lord, and draw near to God to spend much time with Him in private.
Lord, we are determined to gain the honor of being well-pleasing to You by being absolutely under Your control, direction, and governing. We want to care uniquely for Your aims and goals. Save us from serving You with our natural zeal, according to our natural preference, or for the satisfaction of the desire of the flesh. Lord Jesus, may whatever we do in the Lord’s service be for the Lord’s sake, for His satisfaction, His heart’s desire, His happiness, His goal, His pleasure, and His glory!
Ministering to the Lord by Drawing Near to Him and Spending Time with Him in Prayer
After the Lord fed the 5000, it would have been easy for Him to remain there, enjoy the success, and “have some testimonies” of how good the Lord is and how He cares for all our needs.
But the Lord sent the crowds away immediately, and He compelled His disciples to get into a boat and cross on the other side, while He Himself went up on a mountain privately to pray. Why did He do this? It is so that He may spend more private and intimate time with the Father.
He didn’t let people know where He was going or what He was doing, otherwise they would have followed Him.
We need to learn from the Lord’s pattern to be up on the mountain with Him in prayer, privately. We need to draw near to the Lord, spend much time with Him in prayer, and shut the door to our room to spend private time with Him in secret.
Having fellowship with other saints, going through the morning revival with our companions, and praying with our vital companions cannot replace our intimate and private time with the Lord. We need to leave the crowds – leave our family, our friends, and even the saints – to go on a higher level on a high mountain.
We need to draw near to the Lord, spend time privately with the Father in prayer, and be with the Lord intimately and secretly. No one can minister to the Lord without drawing near to Him or approaching Him in prayer.
We need to be bold enough to come before the Lord, sit before Him, and wait for His word, His speaking, and His desire. Spiritual power comes not from preaching the gospel or teaching the truth; real spiritual power is the power of praying.
How much we pray indicates how much inner strength we really possess. If we want to minister to the Lord in the Holy of Holies, we must spend time before the Lord and pray more, so that we may be ushered into His presence and draw near to Him.
When we come to the Lord, we should simply open to Him and stand before Him, seeking His will. If we spend private time with the Lord to draw near to Him again and again, we will be saved from the sin of disobedience (not obeying the Lord’s command) and from the sin of being presumptuous (doing what the Lord didn’t tell us to do).
To pray is to stand before God (Ezek. 44:15), and seek His will before Him, so that we may be saved from the sin of presumption (Psa. 19:13). May we be those who spend much time in prayer secretly with the Father so that we may minister to the Lord and not only have many outward works without the inner reality.
Lord Jesus, we want to draw near to You and approach You in prayer. Save us from merely doing works for God in front of men without secretly spending much time in prayer with the Father. Lord, may we learn to separate ourselves from others and spend private and intimate time with the Father in prayer every day. Amen, Lord, draw us every day! Cause us to be spiritually strong by spending much time in prayer with You to wait for Your will, be infused with Your desire, and be saved from the sins of rebellion and presumption!
Ministering to the Lord by Presenting Christ in His Person and Work to Him
The sons of Zadok were to stand before Jehovah and minister to Him by presenting to Him the fat and the blood (Ezek. 44:15). First of all, we need to spend time with the Father secretly, privately, intimately, and spiritually; this is to stand before God.
Then, we need to present to the Father the wonderful person of Christ with His redemptive work. The fat of the offerings typify the preciousness of the person of Christ, which ascends to the Father for His satisfaction; the Father delights only in Christ, His beloved.
The blood signifies the redemptive work of Christ. In our service to God we must present both Christ and His redemptive work to the Father; the blood is for God’s holiness and righteousness, and the fat is for God’s glory.
When we spend time with the Father in the Holy of Holies, in our spirit, His holiness, righteousness, and glory fills the Holy of Holies.
Here we have nothing else to offer to the Father but His beloved Son, Christ, who is the only One who satisfies the Father in His glory, and His redemptive work, which satisfies the Father’s righteousness and holiness. The blood deals with sin, and the fat satisfies God’s heart.
For this, we need to know death and resurrection. When the Lord was on the cross, He poured out His life unto death by shedding His blood (Isa. 53:12).
When His blood was poured on the cross, everything of the soul life and the self was poured out. Hallelujah, now we can be self-less and deny the self because Christ poured out our self when He poured out His soul life.
Father, we love You and we love to spend time with You in secret to offer Your Beloved Son and His redemptive work to You for Your satisfaction. Thank You Father for Your Son Jesus Christ who satisfies You, makes You happy, and makes us happy also. Thank You Father for the redemptive work of Christ on the cross. Based on Christ’s redemption with the shedding of the blood, we can now come forward to You, draw near to You, and spend time with You in Your presence. Father, we love You!
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, Collected Works of Watchman Nee, vol. 11, “Ministering to the House or to God?” 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:
# Now the holiest place of all / Right within my spirit is; / Here the Lord in me abides, / And my spirit joins with His. / To my spirit I’d return, / For ‘tis here the Lord I’ll meet; / O how marvellous it is! / He’s within, in me complete. (Hymns #769)
# Take time to behold Him, / The world rushes on; / Spend much time in secret / With Jesus alone. / By looking to Jesus / Like Him thou shalt be; / Thy friends, in thy conduct, / His likeness shall see. (Hymns #643)
# The risen Christ to God we bring, / And Christ ascended offering, / God’s satisfaction answering, / We thus exhibit Christ. (Hymns #864)
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