The Anointing of the Holy Spirit
by T. Austin-Sparks

Chapter 2 - The Anointing For Purpose

We have the Book of Samuel open before us and we take up that one thought - that anointing relates to specific purpose and vocation, and that we are anointed unto - or for - that. So it is necessary for us, in order to understand the working of the anointing, to bring into view the purpose of David's life, and therefore, the purpose of his anointing.

Why David Was Raised Up

The purpose of David's life... We open the first book of Samuel and we see the state of things in the first chapter and onward. Here we have the spiritual condition of the Lord's people in general gathered up representatively in their spiritual head, Eli. Eli represents the general spiritual condition of the people of God. Eli is in a state of weakness. Weakness characterises him in every direction and every connection. He is unable, through weakness, to rightly govern, lead, or maintain the spiritual life of the people, and his personal state corresponds to their state, and their's to his. The people of God are in a state of spiritual weakness and impotence in the days of Eli.

Loss of Spiritual Vision

Eli is in a condition of almost entire, though not absolute, blindness. His eyes are dim. His vision had become very much shortened. His natural state of vision represented the spiritual state both of himself and of the people. It says: "And the word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision." There was this almost entire blindness, the shortened vision, the veil. Eli's hearing of the voice of the Lord was also in a state of ineffectiveness. His spiritual ear had lost its keenness. When Samuel came repeatedly to him about the voice, it was not until the thing had happened several times that Eli either jumped to it or drifted into it, that it might be the Lord, it must be the Lord. Eli was not hearing the voice of the Lord; Samuel was. And even when Samuel was hearing the voice of the Lord Eli was very slow in discerning that it was the voice of the Lord. The spiritual state of the people of God was just that, they were not hearing the voice of the Lord; they had not the ear to hear what the Spirit was saying.

There is such a great deal of difference between having ears to hear doctrine, teaching, and to have an inner ear which hears the Lord. The Lord never said to the Churches in Asia: "He that hath two ears to hear let him hear," He said: "He that hath an ear"; which is a different thing altogether; "let him hear what the Spirit saith." We cannot hear what the Spirit saith with outward ears. Only the inner organ hears what the Spirit saith. Eli was dull of hearing, and that was the spiritual state of God's people so far as the voice of the Spirit was concerned. Weakness, deafness, blindness and consequent disorder.

The Divine Order Upset

The Divine order amongst His people, the Divine order in the House of God was all upset. It says: "And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the Lord." Evidently the custom was for the lamp to go out then, but that was contrary to the Word of God. The Word of God stipulated definitely that that lamp should never go out. But here, as though it were the accepted thing - "And ere the lamp of God went out." We have not to look far for other and more terrible signs of disorder in the House of God; Eli's sons, for instance. And so the heavenly order was not being reflected in the midst of God's people. The heavenly system had no counterpart there. That which was in the thought of God had no representation amongst men spiritually. Contrast that with those great chapters in Chronicles where Solomon completes the temple and dedicates it, and see the state of things at the time of dedication. Oh, what a mighty change. What a difference. Death has given place to life; darkness to light, disorder to order, weakness to strength, shame to glory. There you have got David's life-purpose. David was brought in in relation to things as they were in the days of Eli in order to carry them to be what they were in the days of Solomon; and he was anointed for that. Make that contrast and then you have got the key to David's life.

Hannah - the Fruit of Godly Grief

We take up this book of Samuel again and we come upon Hannah. There are the conditions, we have outlined them. And then this woman comes before us and we are again to be impressed with the anguish of this woman's heart. The story is told and placed on record of what was going on in Hannah's heart, and it was not merely a natural thing. It is true that her husband had two wives, and the other wife had children and Hannah had none, and naturally could have none. That might be thought to be the ground of her distress, but, not so. If there was some natural element in it, that was not the whole ground. I have no doubt and no hesitation in saying that Hannah's concern and distress was not merely because of the natural state in her own personal life, but it was because of the Lord's testimony. How do you come to that conclusion? By this fact, that here is a woman who naturally could have no child, and then in answer to prayer, by an act of God, that great desire of her life is granted, and then it goes on to say that she weaned the child. Of Sarah, it says that "when the child was weaned," but it says of Hannah that "she weaned the child," - representing an eagerness - and handed him right over to the Lord, gave him to the House of God and left him there, which would be altogether set against any idea that this woman just wanted this child for her own gratification.

No woman with natural ideas about this thing would be so ready to part with the child. Having been looked down upon and despised, scoffed at by others because of her childlessness, and then when she has that which is an answer to that scoffing, which is her vindication, and which could just answer to the life-long desire of her heart, to at once hand that up; you cannot reconcile these things unless there is another factor, and that factor is, she was concerned about the spiritual state of the Lord's testimony, and she saw that in this son of hers, given by an act of God, there was a possibility of removing or changing the spiritual conditions which prevailed in her day. She had come into line with the interests of God through her travail, and she gave her son as soon as she could in the Lord's interests to change that bad state of things. Yes, her concern was for the Lord's testimony as much - and doubtless more - than it was for her own satisfaction and gratification and pleasure. There, then, her natural state is seen - we are speaking of spiritual principles all the time which lie in the background - a great heart-concern for God's testimony, God's interests, spiritual things amongst the Lord's people, and yet naturally no possibility of serving those interests. Strange, was it not? God triumphs where nature says "impossible."

Oh, you are reading deeper, some of you are understanding that the Lord may lay upon us a great burden for His interests, for His testimony. He may call us into fellowship with His own heart in its suffering and anguish about spiritual things amongst His people, and then we discover with all our agony, anguish, and travail, there is absolutely no possibility in us by nature of serving that thing one bit; that nature cannot come to help in that thing, that we by nature, are bereft of all powers to fulfil any ministry in that direction. There is comfort for some of us here, but on the other hand there is also warning. This thing applies in two ways. It applies in this way, that if the Lord's great purposes are really going to be served through us, then nature has to be brought to an end, and it has to be God coming in from the other side, all of God. That means humiliation for us. That means, our going down to a place where we are very conscious that we can do nothing, the Lord must do it all. On the other hand, the same thing applies in this way, that God does bring us to the place, or He may even constitute us on the principle that we realise how barren we are, utterly devoid of any resources which can avail to serve this great Divine end, and He does it in order that something might be done. Take the Word of God and you will see.

Take the women who were in Hannah's state and you will at once find that there is something there very significant. The fact that Sarah was in the same category, and the typical teaching of the life of Isaac representing the spiritual side of God from heaven breaking in in resurrection, and you see that that came through the utter inability of nature to provide anything. Now Hannah is in that realm and is constituted upon that very basis. You and I have bemoaned our natural uselessness. It may not be that we always knew it and saw it. It may be that we of old thought that we could do something, and we assayed to do it; we had some idea of our ability to do it. God knew how useless we were. The day came when He made us to see it, and we saw that for this work, whatever we might be amongst men on the earth, for this spiritual work we had nothing, we were as barren as we could be and then it was revealed; and we said: "What can be done?" And yet we had a greater concern than ever, we had a great burden for spiritual things; but now there is this great contradiction in our experience. Now when we are more anxious and concerned for the interests of God in His people than ever we were in our lives, now we are more conscious of our utter impotence. The two things are brought together in the Divine sovereignty. Nature cannot help in this; but when we come to the full realisation of that fact, we have come to the place where God can begin to do something in relation to existing spiritual conditions, and it will be of God. Yes, but this costs. And Hannah had to go through a time of being misunderstood by the official and professing religious leaders.

You see the two things. A great spiritual concern unto an agony for the Lord's people and the Lord's testimony. The deep realisation of utter barrenness to serve those interests, those ends, and yet a pouring out of the heart to God about this thing; not accepting it as closing down all possibility, but taking God into account; bringing God into the situation, and while nature says impossible, and the state of things cries back that you are useless in this matter, yet God is a factor, and believing God, with all natural uselessness and with all the state of things which calls for something, she pours out her heart to God. Her cry to heaven about this thing brings her into collision with the religious powers that be; and as she poured out her heart Eli in his blindness, in his dullness, his lack of sensitiveness to spiritual things, watched her and said: "This woman is drunk," and sought to drive her away: misunderstanding by the official religious class, the traditional order of things.

And oh, when some people of God really do become tremendously exercised about His interests, where they look out upon the state of things amongst the professing people of God, when they are hurt by the blindness, dullness, weakness and disorder and find themselves incapable of accepting that state of things as according to God's mind, and their whole being revolts against such a regime of spiritual death and disorder, that brings them at once into collision with the religious powers that be, and they are thought to be fanatical, eccentric, extreme, extraordinary, singular, and they suffer. It is not at the hands of the world they are suffering. The world is always ready to appreciate downright earnestness, but religious people are not always prepared to appreciate it. The official system of things does not want its condition upset, broken into; and therefore misunderstands and misinterprets all genuine exercise about the Lord's interests. And such an instrument, a vessel, brought into fellowship with God's heart, has to pass through a time of having all its genuine, true, heart exercise before God interpreted as the motions of an unbalanced mind, or something like that. You are reading deeper than I am saying, but this thing just speaks to our hearts. Well, that is Hannah.

Samuel - the Power of Prayer

Now out of that Samuel comes. Samuel comes out of that exercise, that travail, that concern. Samuel comes in spite of that misunderstanding and he is the link between things as they are and things as God intends and desires them to be. Samuel becomes the link between the bad state and God's better state. Samuel marks a transition from one regime to another. The book of Samuel is the book of transition and Samuel is the link.

What does Samuel represent in spiritual principle? If we know that, we know what the link is, what that thing is which marks transition from a bad state to a good one, and it does not require a profound study of Samuel's life to get to the predominant significance of it. Samuel represents the place and power of prayer in a day of transition. You can say of Samuel, if you like, his life is prayer. Read Psalm 99: "and Samuel among them that call upon his name". Read Jer. 15:1: "Then said the Lord unto me, Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my mind could not be toward this people: cast them out from my sight, and let them go forth." A tremendous statement. Of all the names of mighty men, Moses and Samuel are thus distinguished. We know how Moses stood between the people of God and interceded so that it even looked, interpreted naturally, as though Moses changed the mind of God, as though through his intercession Divine intentions were changed and God repented Him. Moses stood in the breach, and by his intercession moved heaven. And Samuel is linked with Moses, as much as to say that these two men are the last word in power with God in intercession and prayer.

So Samuel comes out as the principle of prayer in a day of transition. That is the link between a bad state and a good one, things as they are and things as He intends them to be. Transition is marked by that mighty prayer. Out of Hannah's travail is brought this transition instrument of prayer. Mark the life of Samuel and see how he called upon the Lord. "Cease not to pray to the Lord for us," said Israel to him one day. That was a testimony. That was saying, in other words, Samuel's life was a life of intercession for Israel and they said: "Do not stop it, we owe everything to your praying to the Lord for us." So Samuel comes out as the principle of prayer, but remember, in order to have power with God in prayer we have to learn to know the voice of the Lord in our own hearts. Samuel's early years were years of learning to know the voice of the Lord. Even when Eli was not recognising that voice, Samuel was being taught to recognise the voice of the Lord; and to be able to speak to God with power we have to have that spiritual intelligence which knows when the Spirit speaks to us. We have to know the Lord's voice in order to be able to speak to the Lord. That is important. It is a basic necessity to a life of prevailing prayer. It is not just a life of pouring out to God petitions and requests, but a life of intelligence, speaking to God because God has spoken within. We speak back to God because God speaks in us. All that brings us to David.

We must not close without mentioning that David comes in through Samuel. David comes in through this prayer link. The instrument of recovery and of the fullness of the testimony comes in through travail in Hannah; through that reaching out to God in spite of all natural disqualifications and uselessness; and through that prayer-life of Samuel David comes in and he is anointed for what? - in relation to all that, to bring the testimony to fullness and to finality. The end of David's life and work is the ark of the Lord at rest in the House of God, constructed entirely according to the Divine dictate. David comes in for that. He is anointed in relation to the testimony of the Lord in its fullness and finality. That is the end which marks his life. The subsequent purpose of David's life and anointing was the fullness and purpose of the testimony of the Lord.

Anointing is unto the Whole Testimony

For what are we anointed? To be preachers, evangelists, teachers? Individually anointed to be any one of those, or anything in itself? Never! We may be anointed to fulfil our ministry along any one of those specific lines, but always related to the whole testimony. If an evangelist uses his gift from God of evangelism as something in itself, be sure that life will be limited. It will stop somewhere, and at the point where that life and that work stops, there will enter something which speaks of that life having missed its fullness and that ministry having failed of the whole purpose of God. That is the tragedy of having an organised system of evangelism which recognises evangelists as something in a watertight compartment and does not carry the work of the evangelist on to the work of the teacher, the pastor, "for the perfecting of the saints." What applies there applies in every other direction of the anointing. It is the whole testimony, not fragmentary. Anointing is one, is relative, is entire, is connected with the fullness and finality of the testimony of Jesus.

There will be much gathered into David's anointing, as we shall see; many who come into association with him as the anointed one, and derive their ministry as it were from his anointing, but it will all be related to one thing. Our individual anointing in Christ is not that we should be constituted something in ourselves, but that the full testimony of the Lord Jesus should be realised through every anointed member. The whole testimony is in view.

I think in the Old Testament there is nothing to compare with David's life for revealing the whole purpose of the anointing. There are other wonderful illustrations of it, but when you get to the end of David's life you have brought in the House of God in magnificent splendour, greatness, fullness, completeness and glory as you have it nowhere else in the old dispensation. This time was always referred to as the pivot, the summit of Israel's glory. David is always looked back upon as the very highest peak of Israel's history. Why? Because of that which marked his life. It was the House of God constituted wholly according to God's mind, with the ark of the testimony there at rest having reached finality. He was anointed to that; and it is only the Old Testament figure of the Lord Jesus as the Anointed One, and we coming into His anointing for the purpose of a universal display of His glory. That is the object of anointing - the full testimony of Jesus. Anointing is related to the testimony in fullness.

I have no doubt but that today you are able to see a parallel, to a very large degree, between spiritual conditions as they are amongst the Lord's people generally and as they were in the days of Eli. The more spiritually alive we become the more we recognise how things are falling short of God's full thought, and recovery is the order of the day: but it is along the Hannah, Samuel, David line, if there is to be a recovery of the full testimony of Jesus. Not in some earthly system of organisation or material representation, but a vessel which contains the testimony of Jesus in fullness. If that is to be, this is the way and the way of the anointing is for that. The testimony may only be represented by a small vessel at the end, but it will be in spiritual fullness, which is spiritual greatness.

I want to close with that strong note. The anointing is for that. Have we the anointing? Have we the Spirit? Why, beloved, if that is so, the Holy Spirit has anointed us within unto that very thing. Think of it. God has committed Himself to that end. God is with us for that purpose. To have the whole testimony of Jesus recovered. That is our hope and assurance. How shall it be? Hannah, and the "impossible." How shall it be? Nature cannot help. We cannot do it. All the time nature comes back at us, much as we may groan and travail, nature comes back and says: "You are out of it, you cannot do anything." But that makes room for God, and the anointing comes in there. I glory in this that the anointing came in through Hannah and Samuel. It cannot be done by us. The anointing has come for that purpose and there are no limits to the possibility of the anointing because it is another way of saying that God committed Himself to that. How did the Lord Jesus go through to the full accomplishment of His testimony? By the anointing, "...who through the eternal Spirit offered himself. "...God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him." God has committed Himself. And unto the Body of Christ, the Church which is His Body, and to those members when they come into a right relationship with Himself, God has committed Himself for the fullness of the testimony.

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