Mike Bickle

B. Childress
March 05 2010 08:00A.M.

David was a lot like many Christians today.  He didn't just want to be a man of obedience and intimacy.  He wanted to
see the power of God released in his nation and in his personal life.  This pursuit pleases God.  The Bible says, "The
eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is
loyal to Him" (II Chronicles 16:9).  The Lord at this very moment is searching for men and women whose hearts can be
fully His.  He is looking for that capital Y-E-S in people's spirits.

Some mistakenly believe that they must be without weakness in order to contend for and receive God's power.  They
imagine some perfect, totally righteous person being endued with power of the Holy Spirit, but they never picture
themselves doing great works of power for God.  They know their own faults too well.  The good news from David's life,
which we touched on earlier, is that not only does God allow us to draw close to Him in intimacy in spite of our failings,
but He also encourages us to pursue His power even when we are weak.  David's life is a witness that weakness does
not disqualify us from experiencing God's power.

    "Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with
    you, even the sure mercies of David.  Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people a leader and
    commander to the people."   Isaiah 55:3-4

Isaiah tells us that God raised up David as a testimony that God's mercies are for those who cry out for them.  In this
passage, the Lord had made a covenant with the people that He would show them the same mercies He showed David.  
When we press in to God even in our weakness, God promises to relate to us in the same way that He related to David.  
This means that even in our weakness we can go hard after God and expect a breakthrough.  We don't have to
abandon our spiritual pursuit when we stumble.  With confidence we can press in to the power of God.  Yes, it's hard
sometimes.  We grow weary and faint in our pursuit of Jesus.  But we are never told to stop pursuing His power.

I have often drawn strength from the story of Gideon's army in pursuit of their enemies, the Midianite army.  They grew
weary in the pursuit.  Scripture says, "Gideon came to Jordan, and passed over, he, and the three hundred men that
were with him, faint, yet pursuing them" (Judges 8:4).  When we get weary and faint in our spiritual pursuit, we must
continue on because we will have a breakthrough in God's time!

David's Longing for a Dwelling Place for God

To be people after God's own heart, we must do as David did and vow to pursue God's power until it is established in
the earth.  

    "LORD, remember David, and all his afflictions: How he sware unto the LORD, and vowed unto the mighty God of
    Jacob; Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house, nor go up into my bed; I will not give sleep to mine
    eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids, Until I find out a place for the LORD, an habitation for the mighty God of
    Jacob."   Psalm 132:1-5

A dwelling place for God speaks of the place where God's power is openly manifest to bring freedom and victory to
multitudes.  A habitation speaks of longevity, more than the short visitations of revival our generation has often
experienced.  It was not enough for David to seek the Lord privately and experience the pleasures of gazing on His
beauty.  He wanted a demonstration of God's power in Israel for all the nations to see so they would fear the Lord.  So
intensely did this zeal burn within him that he swore to the Mighty One that he would not pursue his own personal
comfort until there was a habitation of the power of God in Israel.

Does this describe you?  Will you do whatever it takes to see a spiritual breakthrough in your city that results in a long-
term habitation of God?  David was willing to make sacrifices to see that habitation established.  You and I should also
yearn to see the habitation of God - a place where God lives and manifests His glory and power over the long term, not
just for short seasons of revival.

God wants to do it!  He wants to release His power and authority to us as He did to David.  Isaiah prophesied to Eliakim:

    "And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he
    shall shut, and none shall open."    Isaiah 22:22

Jesus quoted this prophecy and applied it to His church.  Jesus has the authority of David, and He will release it to His
servants in the church, as we see in Revelation:

    "And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, HE THAT
    OPENETH;"    Revelation 3:7-8

This is a promise for people after God's own heart.  When we seek Him and His power in obedience and intimacy, Jesus
releases the authority to open and shut doors in the Spirit.  This is how He interacts with you and me.  Jesus prophesied
that His disciples would experience an open heaven, speaking of opening a doorway of blessing in the Spirit.  Jesus
said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and
descending upon the Son of Man" (John 1:51).  We are invited to live under that open heaven!  When God finds a
corporate people wholeheartedly pursuing Him with the heart of David, He will open and shut doors in the spirit, and evil
things in the natural will dry up.  Positive doors of light and righteousness will be opened in the spirit, and righteous
things in the natural will flourish.  We are to be a people of power, opening and shutting doors according to the will and
power of the Lord.

Bearing the Reproach

I mentioned before, and  I want to discuss it more fully here, that there is an inevitable reproach and stigma that come
with pursuing the fullness of God.  People get easily troubled by the pathway into the power of God.  It involves prayer
with fasting.  It is a journey that's invasive, unbiased, not connected to political movements or cultural shifts.  It doesn't fit
into Western society in a comfortable way, but instead it presses in to the private places and makes unrelenting
demands on your soul.  David said, "Because for Your sake I have borne reproach; shame has covered my face.  I have
become a stranger to my brothers, and an alien to my mother's children; because zeal for Your house has eaten me up"
(Psalm 69:7-9).  David's own family members mocked him because of his passionate pursuit of God, which included
prayer with fasting.  They shook their heads and even wrote him off.  This estrangement was because of his zeal for the
house of God.  His heart was alive with the vision to see the house of God established.  He could not live the way he
used to live until there was a release of the manifest power and glory of God in the land (Psalm 132:1-5).

    "For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon
    me.  When I wept, and chastened my soul with fasting, that was to my reproach.  I made sackcloth also my
    garment; and I became a proverb to them.  They that sit in the gate speak against me; and I was the song of the
    drunkards."   Psalm 69:9-12

People in Israel, the very redeemed people of God, were upset with David because of his love for God.  They looked for
any mistake he might make so they could discredit his zeal.  Why?  Because they felt convicted by his lifestyle.  They
wanted to find fault with him so they would be off the hook.  They probably said things like, "David, are you trying to tell
me I'm supposed to live like you're living?"  David would respond, "No, I am not even talking to you.  I need more of
God."  Without his saying a word, they felt judged as carnal and ungodly.

The definition of a fanatic is someone who loves Jesus more than you do.  Fiery lifestyles disrupt religious people.  
Religious systems and people resist abandonment because it threatens their stability and power.  There are few radical
believers in the Western church today, and yet people who drink from the well of Western values are greatly offended
by these passionate, sold-out believers.  It unnerves them.  They feel judged by the lifestyle.  They don't like the "in-
your-face" prophetic statement that an abandoned lifestyle makes.  Like David's family, they want to write you off so
they can soothe their consciences and settle down into business as usual without disruptions.

This conflict is only going to increase in the years to come.  Fearless, wholehearted believers will be in the majority
before the Lord returns.  But on the way there, in the years that lie ahead, there will be great unsettledness in the body
of Christ as radical fasting-and-praying believers upset the status quo.  These people are no better than anyone else;
they don't form a new spiritual elite  (They will be hungrier but not better!).  But they will cause all kinds of turbulence for
a few decades as they go after their goal with great zeal even in their weakness.  Others will feel judged.  People will
transfer their anger and bitterness toward God to these believers.

When David arose with consuming zeal, people who were mad at God took it out on David.  This got worse when David
prayed and fasted.  "When I wept and chastened my soul with fasting, that became my reproach" (verse 10).  The
leaders and elders spoke against him, and even the drunkards mocked him and sang songs about him (verse 12).

When prayer and fasting are added to zeal for God's house, those around you will go from irritation to outright anger.  
They will say things like, "Oh, so now you're the one who is really close to God, right?"  This reaction from family and
friends may shock you the way it shocked David.

John the Baptist experienced the same reproach.  People said even worse things about him than they did about David.  
Jesus described him as one who "came neither eating nor drinking."  In other words, He came in the grace of fasting,
and the people said, "He has a demon" (Matthew 11:18).  When John's ministry was originally launched, for a short
season the nation of Israel rejoiced in it (John 5:35).  Yet their enthusiasm faded and died like a flower in the heat of the
sun.  Soon they said he was demonized and dangerous to the community.  Yet Jesus called John the greatest man ever
born of a woman (Matthew 11:11).

So be warned: contending for the power of God with intimacy is disruptive.  You will be confronted and criticized for your
lifestyle.  Beloved, the people of God in our culture and in this time of history will not all applaud your consuming zeal for
Jesus.  A fiery life provokes fire in return - even friendly fire from family and acquaintances.  They will come up with
theological, emotional, and relational arguments to write you off.  You will feel the stigma placed on you, and you will
bear the reproach that David and John the Baptist bore.  A lifestyle of one thing and contending for God's power is like
drawing a line in the sand.  It says God has higher levels than we live in now.  It is a statement that demands a
response.  Be prepared so that when it comes, you don't quit.  It is important to stay steady with humility as you contend
for apostolic faith and a breakthrough of the Holy Spirit in your city and your life.

On the other hand some people welcome this revelation.  When a stagnant and spiritually dull person touches passion
in the life of another, it awakens or hardens him or her.  Paul spoke of this principle in II Corinthians 2:16 as being life to
life, or death to death.  An unbeliever can touch a man or a woman with this kind of passion, be awakened out of
spiritual slumber, and become a fiery new convert.  He or she moves from death to life.  A lethargic pastor can touch the
passion in a young person and be awakened, moving from life to life.  Someone who has been in the body of Christ for
forty years might touch this zeal in someone else's heart and experience godly jealousy to move forward in God.  It's an
amazing thing.  Vibrant lives that burn with righteousness are an amazing thing.  Vibrant lives that burn with
righteousness are never neutral.  They affect lives around them, either sparking the same holy flame or inspiring anger
and rebuke.

But that's the battle we are called to.  As we become people of one thing, it is not enough to be obedient and discover
God's emotions.  We must also contend for a manifest dwelling of God in the earth.  His power is worth it, and He will
release it in due time as we persevere in intimacy through the inevitable reproach.

The life of David gives us a beautiful road map for becoming people after God's heart.  That road map unfolds as we
see the five prophetic seasons of David's life - and the five prophetic seasons of our own journey to maturity.


AFTER GOD'S OWN HEART, by Mike Bickle, Copyright 2009, Charisma House.