Testament without testimony
The Church’s numeric growth in Africa and especially in Nigeria is alarming. Every right thinking man will believe that with the level of Christian presence, the church should have taken over the sphere of influence in the world. While it may be difficult to say the church is making no impact, but her level of impact has not been justified. What then is responsible for the insignificant impact of the Church in our generation? The gospel of “Testament without Testimony” is one among other factors.
The Ark of Testimony
It would be recalled that the “Ark of Covenant” was the symbol of God’s abiding presence with the Israelites. Anytime the “ark” is in the company of the covenant people, the glory of God is revealed. Whenever the “ark” is captured they feel empty, a state of Ichabod – the departed glory. The ark of God to the covenant people is so unique and important; without it they lose sight of God’s favour.
What then will distinguish us as the covenant people in our generation save the glory of God; the abiding presence of God, represented by the “Ark of Testimony?” The understanding of this truth will help the contemporary church to make more impact individually and collectively. Let’s examine the symbols in the ark briefly.
• The Tablets of Law – Testament (Exodus 25:16). In the ark of testimony lies the pair of tablets wherein the Ten Commandments given to the Israelites were written. This simply represents the terms of contract that the Lord initiated with the Israelites. It represents the word of God. It suggests that in the “Ark of Testimony”, there is the Word of God – The Testament. The ark of testimony will never represent God’s interest among men, if the Testament in it is found missing. Alas, there are lots of churches today where the Testament is missing; the word of God is scarce. Will God be available in such churches to glorify Himself? God is never intimidated with bogus grammars, ravaging prayers and pots of testimonies without the Testament. The church is making insignificant impact today because of the missing Testament.
• The Rod that Budded – Authority (Numbers 17:10). The second item cited in the ark of testimony is the rod of Aaron that budded. Considering the scenario that brought about the budding of the rod, it is battle for supremacy. (Why the battle for supremacy among contemporary ministers and their church brands is not the focus here, we need to mention that we must learn to stop the rat race for the manifestation of God’s glory among us in such a time like this.)
The Lord chose Aaron and placed the authority over him. This same rod was placed in the ark. Wherever the word of the king is, there is authority. The rod is the symbol of the church’s authority. Power and authority is part of our heritage in the Ark of Testimony. Wherever we see the abiding presence of God, there should be demonstration of His power. Some churches are still indifferent about the place of divine power/authority in Christian pilgrimage. The church today needs divine power and authority more than ever before to make notable impacts like the Apostles of old.
• The Pot of Manna – Testimony (Exodus 16:33). The third symbolic item in the ark of testimony is manna – “what is this”. Manna was the miraculous meal supplied by God to feed the Israelites in the wilderness. It was placed in the ark as a memorial to the coming generation. The pot of manna in the ark, therefore, is the testimony of God’s miraculous act among the Israelites; the evidence of God’s working covenant with the Israelites. We also need evidence of God’s power among us. The world around us will not believe our message, except there is performance. If we have the word and the authority without commensurate testimony, our impact in the world will be minimal. We have the word, we have the power but where is the testimony? Let the church pursue the evidence of His glory.
I counsel the church to value all the three factors essential for glorious impact in the world. Some have valued one at the expense of others, but that will not yield eternal result. Get the Testament, Authority and Testimony. We are wearied of testimony without testament and certainly tired of testament without testimony. Shalom.
Pastor Abimbola A. Ogundare, Peaceway Baptist Church, Ikotun, Lagos. 12/14 Audu Street, 2nd Junction Bus Stop, Governor Road, Ikotun, Lagos State.