agape, anointing, carnal, fear, flesh, God's love, Humility, joy, judging others, Liberty, love, Loving God, loving our enemies, Meekness, peace, reason, T. Austin-Sparks, the fear of God, The Fear of the Lord, The Light of His Countenance, Touching the Anointing
This topic is none of those about which I like to write. Nonetheless, I have seen a few times that touching someone who has been anointed by God, which means, speaking ill of them or even attacking them personally, will have (sometimes immediate) consequences in the life of the offender. If we are attacked and do not avenge ourselves in any fleshly way but (empowered by God) love our enemies by being silent and rather bless them instead, God comes in with His corrective justice. When I for the first time in my life observed God’s dealings with a Christian who appropriated something from another Christian to himself, something that was obviously a gift from God, I was truly shocked. It made me tremble with the fear of God! Meanwhile I witnessed God’s intervention more often and I honestly admit that His doing always leaves me speechless.
We read in Paul’s letter to the Romans,
“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.
Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Rom 12:14-21 ESV – emphasis in color added)
I do not want to go into more details here but I rather ‘give the floor’ to T. Austin Sparks who enjoined to caution as to how we should treat other children of God. On the positive side, there is a big blessing awaiting us if we humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God in the fear of Him Who loves us all just the same.
“To Moses, the meekest of men, the anointed servant of the Lord, they say, “You take too much on yourself. You are not the only one through whom the Lord speaks. We are as much the children of God as you are!” That is how they speak, and they fear not to put their hand upon that which is anointed. It is not that Moses is anything, but it is the anointing. It is something anointed of God and they were guilty of the sin of spiritual assumption; it was due to a lack of meekness. The Lord came out in terrible judgment, showing for all time that when the Lord anoints anyone or anything, that anointing is not something that constitutes that person a special office or officer. The anointing is the Lord, the Lord Himself. The Lord is on that, the Lord Himself is in that, the Lord is there, and when you touch that, you touch the Lord; you touch that in word, you touch the Lord, you touch that in deed, you touch the Lord. “He reproved kings for their sakes, saying, Touch not Mine anointed ones, and do My prophets no harm” (Psa. 105:14-15).
“If you and I ever have the slightest reason to conclude that the Lord is anywhere or with any person or with anything or with any people, we touch that to our peril if it is touching it other than in the fear of the Lord. It is a tremendous check. We read that little bit from 1 Samuel. Yes, David was anointed, David was God’s chosen one, but Saul had been anointed and Saul was not yet dead. Saul was not yet set aside finally, although potentially. David got an opportunity and cut off the skirt of Saul’s garment and then it says, “David’s heart smote him”. David’s heart smote him. We in New Testament times in whom the Spirit dwells would say, “The Lord rebuked me, smote me in my heart, in my spirit”. Again and again this comes up – exactly what happens in the case of the bringing up of the ark. When Uzzah died before the Lord, what was the reason? It was a lack of the fear of the Lord of the right kind. It was an assumption. It was a putting forth of a hand to touch holy things. That is terrible. The evil of not fearing, you see. It comes from an insufficient apprehension of the sacredness of what is of God.
But this fear is a holy fear. Let no one think for a moment that this fear of the Lord is death, bondage, stultification and repression. Not at all. Wherever you find this fear of the Lord you find joy, love, peace and liberty. People are not afraid of the Lord. But they are careful not to grieve the Lord. They do not take liberties with the Lord. They do not think of spiritual liberty as spiritual licence. They do not cast off restraint, they do not ride rough-shod over all sacred things, calling it liberty. No, there is holy fear which restrains and in restraining keeps things pure and keeps things clear and makes a straight way for the Lord. The true fear of the Lord is not dread. It is a very blessed and precious thing.
“When the Lord looks to us, well, there is everything we want. All that we want is in the light of His countenance. If the Lord looks upon us, it is like the sun looking out with all the beneficent rays of warmth and light and energy. “To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and that trembles at My word” (Isa. 66:2). Do you want, do I want, spiritual increase in understanding, in knowledge, in revelation? Do we want spiritual increase in strength from the Lord? Do we want fulness? Let me say that this is going to come to the humble man, the weak, meek one in the eyes of the Lord, the one who trembles at His word, who does not assume.
“Oh, let us ask the Lord that there may be found in us that true holy fear which is love, not the fear which is contrary to love, but the true holy fear which is love. The Lord will be able to go on and lead us into all His fulness if He has that quality in us, that in us which simply means that we honour Him, we recognise Him, we trust Him, we have perfect confidence in Him, and that we are very reticent either by word of criticism, or judgment, or by any other way, to put a hand upon what is sacred to the Lord, even a child of God. If it is a child of God, then the Lord is in that one and we must be very careful. That is what it means, and this matter of the blessing of the Lord which makes rich, this matter of the light of His countenance, is a very practical matter. It may all hang upon some matter of our attitude towards another child of God. The whole of the fulness of Christ may be held up and suspended for us because of some injurious way in which we talk about what is precious to God, if we criticise it, judge it, think that we can improve it. The Lord may stand back.” (1)
What also comes to mind is how Paul described one of the enemies of the gospel in his second letter to Timothy. Paul wrote,
“Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message. At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them!
But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.” (2 Tim 4:14-17 ESV – emphasis in color added)
Dear brothers and sisters, let us be cautious to not judge/condemn other Christians if we do not understand where they might be coming from. There is a time to judge in the sense of discerning the spirits, not with our reason alone, but with a judgment that comes directly from the Holy Spirit within, without our reason being involved yet. It is often only after He has warned us against a false spirit that God later explains where the spirit hides, what kind of spirit it is, and how to avoid it.
Let us take care.
All images © Susanne Schuberth 2022