Rainbows and Prisms.
I am not one prone to visions, a number of people I know, including my Gill are – but recently I had a picture of God’s pure white light being refracted through the three-in-one clear prism of His person to show the many rainbow colours of His nature. These many colours could also show the many-membered corporate Body of Christ – they certainly speak of the Christ nature – as did Joseph’s coat of many colours.
But we should be cautious in our interpretation of visions and sure of their provenance before committing to a definitive interpretation. We need to be aware of how scripture can use the same image in different ways. The lion is used not only as a picture of our LORD’s kingly nature, but also as a picture of Satan – so we must be very aware of the context and the detail of the picture being revealed. We are often shown these opposites, I believe, to teach us discernment and to seek the Holy Spirit's guidance in this as in all matters.
As I thought about this I remembered that colours are created in two different ways. If the spectrum colours are light mixed together, the result is pure white. But if we mix the spectrum in paint, the colours [if they are pure] make black. To me this spoke of the difference being the flesh and spirit realms, and of the difference between when man strives in his own strength and when God‘s strength is allowed to prevail. We must also beware of the counterfeit. It can look good, but is it the genuine article? Are we the ‘body of Christ’ walking in His many-coloured light – ‘gathered as one man’, [that ‘one man’ being Christ, of course], or are we making a passable representation of it in our own earthy natures, in our own strength?
It is only when God has done the internal work [in each and all of us] can we be named fit and ready to be used by Him when we are 'out there'.

Salvation Army
I came to faith relatively recently – within the last 15 years or so – although I now realise that I have always been drawn to the things of the spirit. I recall that my grandparents’ [on my mother’s side of the family] belief was that this life was a time or testing and trial in preparation for eternal life. This all sounded very grim and unappealing when I was 12 years old, but now – some 47 years later – I can see where they were coming from. They were at one time very active in the Salvation Army. And I believe that The LORD is making it clear to each of us in Christ-seeking communities that we are in a time of testing and trial certainly, but that the testing, the trials are the training and the proving of the saints.
God is building an army of over-comers, who can brush aside The Deceiver’s attempts at division, who are honed towards perfection in Christ and who will be able to fight on The LORD’s side. Then will every prayer find its’ mark. The lame shall walk and the blind shall see – and the great harvest will be brought in.

Giants to be Overcome
But first we must be made ready… this is from 2 Samuel 5, reading from verse 17.
17 But when the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines came up to seek David; and David heard of it, and went down to the hold.
18 The Philistines also came and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim.
19 And David enquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go up to the Philistines? wilt thou deliver them into mine hand? And the LORD said unto David, Go up: for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into thine hand.
20 And David came to Baalperazim, and David smote them there, and said, The LORD hath broken forth upon mine enemies before me, as the breach of waters. Therefore he called the name of that place Baalperazim.
21 And there they left their images, and David and his men burned them.
22 And the Philistines came up yet again, and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim.
23 And when David enquired of the LORD, he said, Thou shalt not go up; but fetch a compass behind them, and come upon them over against the mulberry trees.
24 And let it be, when thou hearest the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees, that then thou shalt bestir thyself: for then shall the LORD go out before thee, to smite the host of the Philistines.
25 And David did so, as the LORD had commanded him; and smote the Philistines from Geba until thou come to Gazer.
I just love that expression ‘a going in the tops of the mulberry trees’. I love the poetry of it – and it is one of those marvellous expressions [and the Authorised Version is full of them] that make you say “what on earth does that mean?”

Well, C H Spurgeon said this about it:
'There are times “when thou hearest the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees.” You have a peculiar power in prayer; the Spirit of God gives you joy and gladness; the Scripture is open to you; the promises are applied; you walk in the light of God’s countenance; you have peculiar freedom and liberty in devotion, and more closeness of communion with Christ than was your wont. Now, at such joyous periods when you hear the “sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees,” is the time to bestir yourself; now is the time to get rid of any evil habit, while God the Spirit helps your infirmities. Seek help of God, that you may be more earnest in duty when made more strong in faith; that you may be more constant in prayer when you have more liberty at the throne; that you may be more holy in your conversation whilst you live more closely with Christ.’
Now is the time to bestir yourself’.

There is that word again – ‘now’. And we all know when that is. For me, ‘now’ is ‘later on’; ‘in a minute’; ‘when I’m ready’; ‘after I finish this mug of coffee’ – anytime but ‘right now’. That is one of the big battles I have – so Gill tells me. It is one of the huge ones – a giant to be overcome.
And that is part of the training to be gone through to be brought to a fighting strength. I have said it before – ‘It’s an inside job’. An internal work of God in each of us.
Part of the training. It is my 50 press-ups and a run round the park before breakfast – and as those of you who know me can see from my less than sylph-like figure this is still very much a work in progress.
David faced the Philistines in the valley of Rephaim. Rephaim means ‘giants’ and they were in a deep place – and the Philistines are a type of our flesh [their name means ‘rollers in ashes and dust’.] And David, we know is used to facing giants. What we have here is David being brought back to face Goliath again. The LORD does that – He brings you back to face your giants again – just as a Sergeant-Major would put you through a difficult mission more than once, to gauge how your training is progressing – and to let you see how you have come on.
It is a fitness test. Can we face our giants? If we cannot face our giants, how can we be trusted to lead others to face theirs? The LORD does not want an army of spiritual infants – so He has sent the Holy Spirit as our guide and mentor to grow us up. We have gone on from the milk to eat strong meat.
Heb 5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age [perfect], even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. {of full age: or, perfect} {use: or, an habit, or, perfection}

Paying Attention
And I believe that the main message for me is just that. Nancy at the Living Stones Fellowship in Kilmartin reminded me of one of their 'watchwords' which was ‘listen (to God)’.
Listening is something we do on the inside – it is an action akin to ‘waiting’. Listening is only a part of the hearing process. ‘Listening’ is the ‘paying attention’ part of ‘hearing’. And I don’t know about you, but I find it impossible to listen to you and hear myself talking at the same time. We all need to be quiet before Him – to learn from Him – so that our loving Father can teach us in the way we must go – and so that in our asking we do not ask amiss.
Our Father wants to bind us into a strong company – to take our place in the battalions that He is assembling for Armageddon.
In verses 21 and 22 we learn that David burned the Philistines’ idols, their ‘images’ – just as we must destroy any idols that our flesh is trying to bring to us – but despite the Philistines’ defeat at Baalperazim – ruling over the breach – they came back again for a further assault.
We cannot relax into complacency, we must be constantly vigilant – watchmen on the high towers – ready to see the enemy regroup for the next stage in the campaign. We can win the battle – but we are in a war – and it is a bloody, violent, no prisoners, no quarter war at that.
We – without Jesus – are weak and vulnerable in our arrogant posturing, and Satan knows it. We are easily drawn into dissent among ourselves, gossiping, complaining – and complaining about those The LORD has placed us with is unbelief. We must be strong in The LORD, brushing aside any slights, real or imagined with a spirit of forgiveness. Hold to the vision. Stand in The LORD.
Ps 26:5 I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked Remember that the wicked are not only out there. They are inside of us also. They are each of us when we forget whose we are. We are not our own – we belong to God – and we are called to sit [or rest] with Him, not in our own natures. God can touch no unclean thing. Wickedness is not in Him, so any wickedness is instantly destroyed by His presence.
Proverbs 15:9 The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the LORD: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness.
Isaiah 11:4 But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.

The sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees
But we have been called of God – and we have answered that call. That means that we are in the programme – we are now accountable. We are in a relationship – an intimate relationship. As it says in Song of Solomon:
So 1:2 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine.
And we need to be in such a close relationship, for He is trusting us with the fulfilment of the Divine Plan. I need to be in communication with Him – listening for Him, hearing His voice, leaning on His breast and feeling the beating of His heart in my very being. This David had learned to do – to be guided by the Holy Spirit – to be so close to The LORD, that the communication was as natural as breathing.
23 And when David enquired of the LORD, he said, Thou shalt not go up; but fetch a compass behind them, and come upon them over against the mulberry trees.
David’s campaign was not his own, but his trust was in God, and so He sought The LORD for His way.
24 And let it be, when thou hearest the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees, that then thou shalt bestir thyself: for then shall the LORD go out before thee, to smite the host of the Philistines.
And we see the result. The LORD is on our side in the battle against the flesh, and ‘against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.’
When thou hearest the sound of a going [the NKJV says ‘marching’] in the tops [the ‘shaking’] of the mulberry trees…then thou shalt bestir thyself.’ We can imagine the heavenly wind of the Spirit stirring up – sorry that is ‘shaken’ not ‘stirred’ – shaking the leaves in the trees and that rustling sound coming to our ears as the sound of many marching to victory. And the ‘going’ also represents a pipe feeding a lamp with oil [it fuels the flame], setting our spirits aglow with the uplifting power of The LORD, bringing confidence and reassurance that our LORD will triumph. That the overcoming of our flesh, that the perfecting of the saints, that the manifestation of the Sons of God – which is what The LORD is bringing forth in this hour – is a sure and certain outcome. Hallelujah!
And those mulberry trees? Well, I get so excited about this. They are also shown as Balsam trees – either image has spiritual power in the interpretation. Balsam trees are also known as the Balm of Gilead and ‘the balm’, ‘the messiah’, appeared in Gilead in the person of Jesus Christ. The connection is strengthened as these trees were a symbol for weeping and lamenting, [because the tree drips sap when cut] just as Jesus grieved…
Isa 53:4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
And that weeping is the spirit of repentance – something that brings us closer to The LORD, a condition that is essential in our restoration to that place of honour and glory.
So, governed by that repentant spirit [that we allow to grow as a tree within us] we are shaken, sharpened and decisively confirmed in faith by the sound of the army of God marching in the Heavenly realms. The LORD is going before us – and He also is our rereward – securing the victory against the old enemy within – our own flesh nature!

A covering of silk
But there is yet more. Mulberries are multiple fruits – like raspberries – and thus speak of the cluster, of corporateness, of the fruit that derives from being part of the company. Mulberry leaves are eaten by silkworms, and in fact silkworms are specialist eaters and consume only mulberry leaves. So – in the production of silk – we can see that the mulberry trees are a type of the covering of God – as indeed proved to be the case in David’s fight against the Philistines.
And silk is a unique material. It has great strength, and yet makes a smooth and comfortable garment for wearing, a garment that ‘hides the nakedness, but reveals the man’. We are ‘gathered as one man’ – and ‘the man’ is Jesus. Garments speak of our attitudes and behaviour – ‘put on a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness’. His covering of silk on us reveals – not our form – but His! Hallelujah!
In silk there is another manifestation of corporateness, for it takes many silkworms to produce one small thread of silk.
25 And David did so, as the LORD had commanded him; and smote the Philistines from Geba until thou come to Gazer.’
Which is a Bible way of saying they were all knocked to kingdom come – right out of the park…actually, from ‘the hill’ to ‘complete destruction.’ That is victory indeed – and it comes from having a heart after God – in Hebrew ‘a folding’, like the covering. A strengthening [like silk], that comes from the weaving process – a folding and interconnecting of the threads. It takes the mixture and the blending of it in the gathering – the filtering through the whole that gives ‘heart’ – character – produces courage to step out in faith and trust in The LORD with all thy heart. Hallelujah!
Remember our watch-word; ‘Listen!' ‘And let it be, when thou hearest the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees, that then thou shalt bestir thyself.’ 
Praise God.

I want to close with a little story. At a fellowship we were sharing our ‘defining moments’, and I could not think of one at the time. As usual with me, I get my act together when the show is over, so I am seizing this opportunity to rectify things now.
My ‘defining moment’, was the moment of my birth. Not being ‘born again’, but my actual natural birth. Like most of us I have no recollection of the occasion, but I assume it went pretty much to plan.
However, my mother says that I entered the world with my hand over my face in an ‘Oh no, what have they done to me?’ moment. It ‘defined’ my life. And I have been like that for most of my life – fearful, shy, etc, etc. Until that is, I realised that the baptism in the Holy Spirit had actually ‘taken’. And the power of the Holy Spirit began to work in me ‘banishing all my fears’, creating in me ‘a new heart’, and bringing me to a place of trusting more and more each day in The LORD.
Seeing The LORD in the gathering, and in individuals. In so many ways I am renewed and set free. I am not at the end of the road yet (not by a long chalk), but I ‘hear the sound of the going in the tops of the mulberry trees’ – and I bestir myself.



Popular Posts