THE CALL of the NORTH (by permission; chp 8 from Ray Prinzings Book - Whispers of His Call)
"And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art, northward, southward, eastward, westward." [Genesis 13:14].
Although all four directions are spoken of here, emphasizing
the fact that ultimately the whole shall be encompassed-- the outreach being
so tremendous it is beyond our present imagination to grasp it. Suffice it for
now to observe that the sequence is such, as it has been given, that of first
priority we are to look NORTHWARD. Often, in our eagerness to receive great
things from God, we are prone to try and go in all directions at once, which
can easily bring about confusion-- whether we are about to ride off into the
sunset, or turn about to face the dawning of the new day, etc. Thus we need
the constant in working and guidance of the holy Spirit, that HE might direct
our steps ever onward "toward the mark for the prize of the high calling
of God in Christ Jesus." [Philippians 3:14].
When our eye is single to Him, to walk in the path He sets before us, "Thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left." [Isaiah 30:21]. HE will keep us from all the devious wanderings of by-paths, and hold us steady to the course of HIS PLAN for our lives, as we "Seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness." [Matthew 6:33].
(Might we also insert the thought: It is not that God always keeps up a running conversation with us as we walk along, but we will hear that WORD behind us, saying, "THIS IS THE WAY;" when we are about to turn to the right hand, or to the left, and thus stray from that STRAIGHT WAY before us. There are times when He speaks, there are times when He keeps silent, but we KNOW He is with us, and on those occasions when we are about to err from the way, He will gently gird us up to the RIGHT WAY. And we walk on in confidence, being assured that "The steps of a man are ordered (established) by the Lord: and He delighteth in his way." [Psalm 37:23]. This is our assurance in Him).
There are many separations that take place as we walk with God, but each one will prepare us for new revelation and an expanded vision. "And the Lord SAID unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him..." Lot was his nephew, part of his "brethren company." We praise God for the vast family of God, of which we are a part. There are those new babes which are just now beginning their walk and growth in Him. There are those young men which are strong, flexing their muscles as they overcome the wicked one. There are those of maturity who have a solid walk and commitment to Christ, who are not easily swayed by every wind of doctrine that blows. We readily acknowledge that these are all apart of the family of God. But when it comes to our personal walk-- God's hand upon our individual life, we cannot gather them all up in one vast crowd and take them along with us.
When God brings the various ones across our pathway, we gladly share of His love and grace together with them, on whatever level of development they are at that time, or according to our own understanding at that time. Yet we also must retain that PERSONAL COMMITMENT to God for His will for our life, so that when HE works a separation, we are willing to go on, knowing that all these others are HIS family, and He will lead them also according to His plan for their life. And for a time, often there are many separations from some of the "brethren" lest we become so involved in their affairs, we do not go on in God in our own personal growth and development.
Then there are also those separations from some that while they might have walked with us for a time, yet they were never of the same spirit and calling, so we read, "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us." [1 John 2:19].
It is to be noted that Lot was separated from Abram, more than Abram was separated from Lot. Lot was not able to share Abram's vision and calling, and because he was not "of him," he went out "from him." For there comes a time, when your commitment to your calling in God is solid and true, you will not have to cause the separations, they will simply go out from you, because they are not one with your calling and vision.
There had been that time in Abram's life when he was the one that had to "COME OUT." For, "The Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee." [Genesis 12:1]. And the COMING OUT was on Abram's part. So also God has worked this in many dimensions in those whom He has apprehended in this day. Yet when we have truly left all that behind, and are surrendered fully to walk on in "the way which they call heresy," to worship the God of our father's, "believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets." [Acts 24:14], when we are totally one with THIS WAY, we say, then we need go no more out, and those who cannot walk with us will go out from us.
"These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit." [Jude 19]. They who are sensual (soulical), desiring only to move in the realm of their emotions, with the will-worship of man, will not be satisfied to walk with those who desire only to be LED BY HIS SPIRIT. Since they "have not the Spirit," they do not understand your walk, and often become very upset that you do not have the emotional spree and flesh-appealing, sensual worship which they revel in. And so they will separate themselves from you.
After this separation had taken place for Abram, the Lord; said unto him, "LIFT UP NOW THINE EYES, AND LOOK ..." No doubt he had watched as Lot walked away from him, and no doubt there was sorrow in his heart, perhaps even a tear in his eye because of this separation. Such times are not easy. But we cannot long dwell on such happenings. It is time to LIFT UP our eyes, and to LOOK up, there is a higher view before us-- GOD'S VIEW of which we are to be partakers.
"For our conversation ( citizenship) is in heaven." [Philippians 3:20].
"Set your affection (mind) on things above." [Colossians 3:2].
There is but one direction for our looking-- UP. It signifies "away from ourselves, and unto CHRIST." Because He is ABOVE ALL, we use the term of looking UP. UP bespeaks of a new dimension in the realm of the Spirit. This is beautifully expressed in the old hymn:
"I'm pressing on the upward way,
New heights I'm gaining every day,
Still praying as I on-ward bound,
'Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.'
Lord, lift me up and let me stand,
By faith, on heaven's tableland,
A higher plane than I have found,
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground."
We find a real identification also with the prayer of the
Psalmist, "Let Thy loving-kindness and Thy truth continually preserve me.
For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold
upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine
head; therefore my heart faileth (forsaketh) me." [Psalm 40:11-12]. I am
sure we all have such moments, when we are far more conscious of our lacks,
our weaknesses, our failures-- until, in ourselves, we are not able to look
up. We cry out, "Lord, I am so worthless, so ashamed, so nothing."
Then the Spirit softly whispers to us the truth of 1 John 3:20, "For if
our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things."
Full well, "He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust." [Psalm 103:14]. He knows how we feel, the times of unbelief, the fears, the doubts, the frustrations. You can freely acknowledge your need to the Lord, but you do not have to go to Him bearing a load of condemnation. "God sent not His son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved." [John 3:17]. And when our own heart condemns us, we need to remember that GOD IS GREATER THAN OUR HEART, AND HE DOES NOT CONDEMN. He knoweth all things-- our weaknesses, and how HE can BECOME OUR STRENGTH.
If we are anything, it is BECAUSE OF HIM. "By the grace of God I am what I am." [1 Corinthians 15:10]. So to Him be all glory and praise!
While the Psalmist felt, yes, experienced the depths of his frailty, till betimes he was unable to look up, and he cried unto God for mercy and help. It must be pointed out that he also knew where to turn to in those moments of deep consciousness of his need. So we read in another place, "In the morning will I direct my prayer unto Thee, and will look up." [Psalm 5:3].
The Interlinear reads, "I will present my self to You in the morning, and I will look up."
Jeremiah writes, "It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. THEY ARE NEW EVERY MORNING: great is Thy faithfulness." [Lamentations 3:22-23].
How marvelous! Mercies new every morning! And so with renewed confidence we can present ourselves to Him in the morning-- and because of His mercies we can LOOK UP.
It is true, we are to "Pray without ceasing." [1 Thessalonians 5:17], and there is an ETERNAL HEART-CRY within, reaching out for His reality, and we do become a living prayer before Him-- all of our being an intercession for the fullness of His redemption. But there is also this specific IN THE MORNING setting ourselves aside to seek Him, present ourselves to Him, and then HE DOES HELP US TO LOOK UP. It gives us a better prospect for the day, a renewed vision of the higher priorities, and renews our commitment to walk out this call which He has placed upon us. New mercies every morning to refresh and confirm every morning, that by HIS GRACE we might be "able to stand firmly or make progress on the dangerous heights of testing and trouble; as HE sets me securely upon my high places." [Psalm 18:33, Amplified].
There is another point to consider in God's word to Abram, for not only was he instructed to LOOK up, but it was qualified as "FROM THE PLACE WHERE THOU ART." Right in the midst of today's circumstance. We do not have to go and search out some special "hallowed corner" to reach out and touch God. One does not first try to become spiritual, and then look up, it is right where we are, right now, in the midst of whatever the situation is, or the condition we are in, there is the place we make the direction GOD-WARD!
The first direction that is mentioned is NORTHWARD. A proper perspective here will take care of all the rest of the directions-- i.e. southward, eastward, westward.
In Deuteronomy 2, we read of Israel, having come out of Egypt, took their journey into the wilderness by the way of the Red Sea, and in due time came to, and compassed mount Seir many days. Then one day "The Lord spake unto me (Moses), saying, Ye have compassed this mountain long enough: TURN YOU NORTHWARD." [verses 2-3].
What mount? Seir. The name means: Rough, hairy. And it was said of Esau that he was rough and hairy. "Mount Seir was given to Esau for a possession," [Deut. 2:5], and again, "Thus Esau dwelt in mount Seir: Esau is Edom." [Genesis 36:8]. Israel had compassed this area long enough, it was time to move onward. Do remember, the day will come when, "Saviours shall come up mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the Lord's." [Obadiah 21]. But this is not the time, the day to judge mount Esau. This is the time to turn northward and head towards MOUNT ZION, and the reality of the NEW COVENANT. Once we have been brought into His fullness, of HIS SPIRIT, then we will be more qualified to turn our attention towards this realm of the flesh, and deal with it.
We are well admonished by the Word, "Therefore judge nothing before the time..." [1 Corinthians 4:5]. Christendom has been far too hasty to pass sentence upon every man, and every situation. Often later we find we have judged something which God was USING and WORKING OUT in a marvelous way, but at the time we knew it not. Proverbs 11:12 tells us, "A man of understanding holdeth his peace," No hasty jumping to conclusions, but a waiting to see what GOD'S PURPOSE is, in that matter, and we hold steady in Him. We shall not be swift to pronounce judgments upon our Esau brethren, but leave them with God, for His appointed hour of correction and restoration.
In the record of the twelve manifestations of the glory of the Lord, as spoken of in Ezekiel, chapter one, we read in verses 3-4, "The Word of the Lord came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest ... and the hand of the Lord was there upon him. And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north..."
Some very interesting observations can be made concerning this WHIRLWIND that comes out of the NORTH. It is referred to again in Jeremiah 23:18-20. "For who hath stood in the counsel of the Lord, and hath perceived and heard His Word? who hath marked His Word, and heard it? Behold, a WHIRLWIND of the Lord is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked. The anger of the Lord shall not return, until He have executed, and till He have performed the thoughts of His heart; in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly."
Few there are indeed who have "stood in the counsel of the Lord," to hear, to receive, to mark out, to embrace HIS WORD, an understanding of His plan of the ages, and to have a glimpse into the wonder and glory of this high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Tremendous revelations received by so few! And for whatever degree of enlightenment we have received, be it line upon line, and precept upon precept, may we bow low to worship before Him, and walk softly that He might fulfill in us of His purpose.
But there is something else which comes OUT OF THE NORTH which is vitally needed in this day, and it is a WHIRLWIND. It is a manifestation of the anger of the Lord, the ENERGY-FORCE OF GOD set in motion to purge and purify, to correct and cleanse that which has become so polluted, perverted, corrupted. The doctrine of dualism which has been substituted for the GOSPEL, as people are told of some supposed eternal conflict between God and Satan, and utter blasphemy that it is-- they actually teach that God is defeated in His plan of redemption, that He cannot save the whole world, but that He must somehow co-exist with evil, as sin and corruption, and the sinner live for eternity in hell.
Thank God for this "ANGER OF THE LORD," and how it shall not return until it has accomplished all that God has sent it forth to do -- a cleansing so complete, He is able to say, "Behold, I make all things new." [Revelation 21:5]. And in the "latter days" this shall be considered, yes, understood, much more perfectly. Then shall the truth be uncovered once more, that He "WILL have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth." For Jesus Christ truly "Gave Himself a ransom for ALL, to be testified (witnessed to) in due time." [1 Timothy 2:4,6].
Yes, the vision and CALL OF THE NORTH has become so distorted and perverted by the carnal mind of man, that we stand in desperate need for this WHIRLWIND to come and do its working, until we can once again, "Write the vision, and MAKE IT PLAIN upon tables, that he may run that readeth it." [Habakkuk 2:2]. No more a confused and distorted vision, but clear and plain, until one may literally read it with understanding, and run unto Him who is both the Author and the Finisher of our faith.
Ezekiel writes of that occasion when "The Spirit lifted me up between the earth and the heaven, and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem, to the door of the inner gate that LOOKETH TOWARD THE NORTH; where was the seat of the image of jealousy, which provoketh to jealousy." [Ezekiel 8:3].
Idolatry itself is personified here as an idol. And it is taking place right where man was to gain his perspective, where the view was toward the north. His concept of spirituality, of his walk with God, of what was now required of him to be pleasing unto God, of the vision that was to be a motivating factor in his life -blocking the view of the true and holy, was this image of jealousy. Furthermore, so strong was its position, it provoked men to more idolatry -- as they looked, saw, and lived out this idolatry.
One vivid example of being so provoked, motivated to idolatry, is seen in 2 Kings 16:10-15, when King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet with the king of Assyria, and saw there this heathen king's altar, it so captivated his fancy, that he sent for his own priest to make one just like it. Then "He brought the brasen altar; which was before the Lord, from the forefront of the house, from between the altar and the house of the Lord, and put it on the north side." [Verse 14]. What a volume of symbolism is found here, but we will limit ourselves to a few brief thoughts.
The "brasen altar" that originally was in the forefront of the house of the Lord, bespoke of that true in working-judgment, as the worshiper came, examined himself before the Lord, was cleansed, before there proceeded the offering of the sacrifice and worship. King Ahaz moved this, and placed it ON THE NORTH SIDE. Little did he realize that in due time there would be a WHIRLWIND (Divine judgment) that would come OUT OF THE NORTH, and there would be an accounting for all of this perverted worship, which he had substituted for the truth, when he placed his replica of the heathen altar right in the front of the house of the Lord.
We need not illustrate at length how this has been repeated again and again-- men substituting their own programs, and calling it worship to the Lord. Gone is the standard for holiness. Gone is the way of the cross and the crucifixion of self. Fun, food, and fellowship on a very earthly level have become the order of the day. And those who looked for a vision of some deeper reality, coming into this confusion, were only provoked by the image of jealousy-- and went out to start another idolatrous work of their own, hoping per chance they could find more satisfaction in their own self-efforts. When we place it between us, and the north, our own form of worship, we have again set up an image of jealousy.
As if it was not enough to have the "image of jealousy" blocking the view towards the north-- so that when people looked for the GREATER REALITY all they saw was this idolatry of man-- Ezekiel writes on (8:14), "Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the Lord's house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz (Adonis). " Right at the doorway, the gate, which would lead toward the north, he saw those who were weeping, longing, going a-whoring after another-- a substitute for the True, an anti (instead of) Christ.
We shall try to make this as brief as possible, yet perhaps for those who have not studied along these lines, the next paragraph will fill in a few more areas of understanding.
We read that Ham begat Cush, and Cush begat Nimrod, and "he began to be a mighty one in the earth." [Genesis 10:8]. Significant that the name NIMROD means "LET US REBEL." The Jewish Encyclopedia records, "Nimrod was he who made all the people rebellious against God."
The King James Version reads, "He was a mighty hunter before the Lord." But this word "before" is actually a Hebrew word here, if correctly translated, means: AGAINST. And in being against the Lord, he had actually set himself up BEFORE God, in front of God-- for people to see him instead of God. He became a king-priest in Babylon. After his death, his wife, queen Semiramis, claimed he was now the Sun-god. Then she went on to bear an illegitimate son and named him "Tammuz." From whence came the emphasis of mother and child, which carries over in religion to this day. Furthermore, the claim was that this child was miraculously of the Sun-god. Some cultures used the name Ishtar (Easter) for Semiramis. Easter was the name of the pagan goddess of spring. Then according to the ancient legends, Tammuz was slain, went into the underworld, but through the weeping of his "mother," Ishtar, Easter, he was mystically revived. So in Ezekiel's day, he saw them "weeping for Tammuz" as they commemorated this legendary occasion, as they followed in the ways of the heathen, to celebrate with the heathen's festivities. And "they worshiped the sun toward the east." [verse 16].
When the deep of our heart is yearning for the reality of God, and we hear the Deep of God calling to our spirit to woo us on, and we start out, as it were, through the north gate to go unto Him, and right there before you is AN IMAGE OF JEALOUSY, of whatever the traditional religious systems were that were placed in your path. Until they are removed, your vision is always confused and clouded concerning the true reality of the north. You interpret the CALL through these religious abominations. For some the over-emphasis is on "mother and child," until this image is substituted for the reality of our relationship with our God. Indeed, it is surprising the magnitude of the ramifications of religious Babylon that we all, as individuals, need to have purged out of us, that we might have the pure light of the truth.
When from deep within us, our spirit reaches out to embrace reality, I pray that God will remove all the Assyrian form of altars copied by religious institutions, so that we have a true prayer straight to His throne, and a pure answer returning to our hearts, without any taintings of this horrible abomination of man, and without any of the traditions and creeds which have been adapted from the heathen.
Gladly do we turn away from the negatives as seen in Christendom today, to read of that glorious vision of the true. "Then he brought me back the way of the gate of the outward sanctuary which looketh toward the east; and it was shut. Then said the Lord unto me, This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it; because the Lord, the God of Israel, hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut.-- Then he brought me the way of the north gate before the house; and I looked, and, behold, the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord: and I fell upon my face." [Ezekiel 44:1-2, 4].
How often have we looked toward the east, symbol of the new day, and earnestly prayed for a new move of God, an out-shining of the Spirit, and been blessed with a visitation of His mercies. But then a man would come along, move the true altar of holiness, substitute their own altars of form, pleasure, entertainment, etc. and then proceed to cloud the vision of the north with their traditions and creeds filled with the doctrines of the world. And the glory of God would depart, we were left with the rituals without life and power to transform. The revival had gone dead. Cycle after cycle we have seen God's blessing come, and man defile and corrupt, and the glory of God depart. But, HE has promised a day when HE would enter into HIS TEMPLE, and dwell there, closing the door tight shut so no flesh of man can follow in behind Him and corrupt. And HE will dwell within us to be our life and glory.
Then it is significant that in order to enter the house of the Lord, we read that "he brought me the way of the north gate before the house." There were none there still "weeping for Tammuz" for all of that had been cleansed away. There was an entrance available, and it was the NORTH GATE. Judgment will have begun at the house of God, it will have removed the image of jealousy, and made a PURE WAY-- a way of holiness. And all who come through this north gate, beholding the glory of the Lord, will fall upon their face to worship Him. Worshiping in spirit and in truth, no flesh shall rise up in His presence. HE alone will be glorified.
Now it is recorded of one who said, "I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High." [Isaiah 14:13-14].
This was the same spirit that motivated Nimrod, who set himself "before" the Lord, to usurp a position which he was not qualified to fill. Self will never qualify to fill the lofty heights, sharing with the Father of His throne. This tremendous forward thrust of the "I WILL" is the pervertedness of the call of the north. The position is there, but never attained through I WILL.
Jesus declared, "Since the good news (the Gospel) of the kingdom of God is being preached, and every one strives violently to go in-- would force his own way, rather than God's way into it." [Luke 16:16, Amplified].
The vision of the position and glory of the NORTH is known, and has been down through the ages, but there also have always been those who would FORCE THEIR OWN WAY, rather than taking God's way. They would try to ascend through every expression of I WILL. But Jesus clearly set the example for us, that there is but one way-- total surrender of self, to pray from every avenue of our being, "NOT MY WILL, BUT THINE, BE DONE." And it will be fulfilled in those who are truly His OVERCOMERS. They have taken the way of the Cross, and by it overcome every trait of self-will, every lust of the flesh, and in being TOTALLY OVERCOME BY CHRIST, they become "overcomers IN HIM."
Paul writes of "the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead." (Philippians 3:10-11]. The Greek text is much more emphatic, and could be paraphrased as, "If I might come down low enough..." to be able to come up in His resurrection. No self-exaltation ascendency there, just that deep inner humility, coming down, that HE might lift us up in due time. Truly, our ascension is made by going down. "He stretcheth out the north over the empty place." [Job 26:7]. Perhaps we can draw an application from this also. It is because HE is totally emptying us of our "self" that He can then fill us with HIMSELF, and bring us into the glory of the regions of the north.
"Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of His holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion IN THE SIDES OF THE NORTH, the city of the great King." [Psalm 48:1-2].
The very place, position, which the one filled with "I WILL" that we read about in Isaiah 14, is now spoken of here as being the region of ZION. Then John the beloved wrote, "I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Zion, and with Him an hundred and forty four thousand, having His Father's name written in their foreheads-- which were redeemed from the earth. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God." [Revelations 14:1, 3-5].
So many qualifications, we cannot touch upon them all right now, but there is one which relates back to our earlier thoughts -"not defiled with women." These are they who have not mixed themselves up with the adulterous women who are "weeping for Tammuz." They are cleansed and delivered from the snare of the harlot religious systems of the day. They are virgins, pure, with a virginity of Spirit-- becoming ONE SPIRIT IN HIM, and not defiled with the spirit of religious Babylon.
Very significant that in looking toward the east for the dawn of the new day, the left side is toward the north. Dwelling in the secret place of the Most High, under the shadow of the Almighty, in the CLEFT OF THE ROCK, into the wound of His side, our prospect (view) is toward the north. When the Spirit of God has brought us to this place in Him, purged, cleansed, and hidden in Him-- we shall hear the CALL OF THE NORTH, "Come up hither," as He draws us to Himself, to share His throne, to be apart of that congregation "IN THE SIDES OF THE NORTH," which is also identified as mount Zion, and that company which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. We cannot aspire to ascend in our own self-efforts of "I WILL," but truly, as we follow Him in the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable to His death, we shall also find that He has led us into the high mount of Zion, in the north. "Turn you northward" thus takes on an ever-deepening meaning for those who hear the call of God, "Let us go on to perfection." [Hebrews 6:1]. amen.
Turn you northward, comes the call.
Come up higher, yielding all.
Leave the lowland of the flesh,
Earthly passions that enmesh.
Separation is a must,
Dwell no longer in the dust.
From the place where now thou art
Change directions of thy heart.
Now look up, He says to thee,
New horizons beckon free.
Not by self dare thou ascend,
Nor "I will" of value spend.
Only as He works in thee
Process of His Calvary.
No more idols, carnal creed,
From traditions thou art freed.
Suff'ring, death, then to arise
In righteousness, receive the prize.
Of a place by Him to stand,
On mount Zion's tableland.
One in Him, by fulness blest,
Union that bespeaks of rest.
From the north I hear the call,
Gladly now surrender all.