Aileen reflects on pressing on towards spiritual Mount Zion and seeking to win Christ. There is an unquenchable fire in our bones, an insatiable thirst which cannot be satisfied until we see Him face to face.
By Aileen Khoo
I remember vividly how I came to read The Journey of Israel by Dr Brian Bailey. It had stayed untouched on my shelf for five years, due to its rather unappealing book cover. It wasn’t until I contracted chicken pox and was given two weeks of medical leave that I searched for a book to occupy my time. It was a divine appointment God had set up, and I was drawn to the book which I ended up devouring for the next two weeks after just a few pages.
This book is exceptional if you desire to gain an understanding of the spiritual journey a believer goes on. We need to study the journey of the children of Israel from Egypt to the Promised Land, and eventually to Mount Zion.
This historical journey undertaken thousands of years ago is a type of our spiritual journey as believers from earth to heaven, and from newborn babes in Christ to mature fathers and mothers in the faith. It serves as a roadmap, a signpost, an ancient landmark (Proverbs 22:28), to show us where we have come from, where we are presently, and where we are going towards. The Apostle Paul also recorded in the Holy Scripture the journey of the children of Israel from Egypt to Zion to serve as an example or pattern for believers. First Corinthians 10:11 tells us that “… all these things happened to them as examples, and they are written for our admonition...”
One important truth I seek to live out with all my heart is to obey Him whenever He speaks, especially when He puts His finger on areas in my life that displeases Him.
One important truth I seek to live out with all my heart is to obey Him whenever He speaks, especially when He puts His finger on areas in my life that displeases Him. I remember years back, there was a particular season in my life where there was a constant ‘purging’ of motives, thoughts, and intents of my heart. I had recently entered full-time ministry and was actively serving as a Cell and ministry leader, but all the while during those months, it seemed as if an invisible voice was constantly correcting and aligning my ways. I had thought that I was doing everything right, but during one Sunday service, a spiritual mentor confronted me with these words, “you have the form of godliness but denying its power!” In other words, it meant I had a form of religiosity on the outside but was grossly lacking the essence of the Spirit on the inside.
I had a form of religiosity on the outside but was grossly lacking the essence of the Spirit on the inside.
My first response was one of confusion, which then turned into offence and anger. How could anyone say that, I thought. I had been serving the Lord with all my heart and had even given up a career in a large multi-national company (MNC) to serve the Lord in full-time ministry. I could not shake off the remark. As I was wallowing in my hurt, a thundering voice spoke right into my spirit, “Read Hebrews 12.” I opened my bible and began reading the scriptures until I came to verses 5 and 6, “And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, not be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.” It was a moment of reckoning. I realised that I had known but had forgotten that God chastens His son (and daughters). Hebrews 12:7 - “for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?”
God had been purging and convicting me of areas in my life which if undealt with, would have resulted in a stunted spiritual growth. When I was a young believer, I had constantly asked the Lord not to keep me the same, but to change me from the inside out, so that I may glorify Him. I knew there were many areas that needed change, but when God answered my prayer, I could not recognise it. By the great mercy and grace of God, He spoke that day, and I quickly repented.
The Lord loves us so much, He would deal with anything that hinders us from reaching full maturity and perfection in Christ.
One of the important truths we must understand is this, God limits a day for us to obey Him. If we choose to harden our hearts when He speaks to us, there will come a time when God no longer speaks and confirms us in our way (Romans 1:28). Pharaoh refused to let the Children of Israel go, and the Bible says he hardened his heart. After several times, we read in Scripture that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart because he chose a hardened heart. The Word of God says, “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of trial in the wilderness, where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, and saw My works for forty years.” (Hebrews 3:7-8). God limits a day for us to obey Him.
The Lord once showed me a vision of an hourglass. He turned it on the side which was full, and as the sand began to flow downwards, He spoke into my spirit, “There is a time limit to My grace.” I knew exactly what He meant. At that point, the Lord had been speaking to me about a particular issue in my life that He required full obedience of, but I had been wavering. When I saw the vision of the hourglass, the fear of God came into my heart. I knew that if I did not obey Him that day, my life would end up in a shipwreck. The Lord loves us so much, He would deal with anything that hinders us from reaching full maturity and perfection in Christ.
The call of God is never just to a ministry or to an inheritance, but to a Person – the Lord Jesus Christ.
The vision of Zion is about winning Christ. Dr Bailey wrote this, “The call of God is never just to a ministry or to an inheritance, but to a Person – the Lord Jesus Christ.” As I reflect on the past 27 years since I came to know the Lord, His goodness and mercy overwhelms me. He took an angry, frustrated teenager, who had become disillusioned with the meaning of life, and turned her life around with purpose and calling. Understanding the spiritual significance of the Journey of Israel has helped me overcome the various trials and even emotional hardships as I traversed the wildernesses in my life; that I don’t emerge bitter but better.
Even the gains and blessings in life cannot replace the hunger and thirst in my heart to know Him more. We will never be satisfied by the successes of ministry or any outward fame. Even if our salvation experience and baptism of the Holy Spirit had been glorious, or even if past encounters with God had left us weeping at the altar, still, there is an insatiable thirst to keep going up the mountain of the Lord. We need to see the King.
There is an unquenchable fire in our bones, an insatiable thirst which cannot be satisfied until we see Him face to face. We want to win Christ. That is being born in Zion. I want to be born in Zion. Do you?
The Journey of Israel by Dr Brian Bailey is available for purchase at Faithworks Bookstore.