A 'Sceptre' From the King

There is a wonderful episode in the life of the great missionary explorer, David Livingstone. He started hiking all over Africa back in 1840, ministering to the sick and preaching the Gospel wherever he went. He did that for 33 years until he died in 1873. 

One biographer tells about the time Livingstone tried to cross into the deepest, darkest part of the continent: Central Africa. He was hoping to reach the very heart of this dark place and make a breakthrough with the Gospel. 

But it was a dangerous endeavor; the land was filled with hostile tribes, engaged in vicious war with one another and none of them welcoming anyone from the outside. 

Blocking the path to his destination was an enormous territory, ruled by a very powerful tribal king. Livingstone had been told that he would never be allowed to pass through that territory without the good graces of this king; and that the only way to obtain that was by means of a gift exchange. 

But there was a unique procedure to this gift exchange. Livingstone, the visitor, was ordered to lay all of his personal belongings out on the ground so that the king could walk by and select one item for himself. The king would then present something to him in return. If the exchange of gifts satisfied the king, Livingstone would be free to go anywhere he pleased. 

Well, Livingstone unpacked his meager little collection of belongings and laid them out on the ground: his clothes, his books, his watch, and —oh yes—his most prized possession: a little female goat that he led around with him everywhere he went. To David Livingstone, that goat was literally "life" itself. Livingstone had long been suffering from serious digestive disorders and one thing he could not do was drink unboiled water. So whenever he couldn't boil the water, he drank goat's milk instead. It kept him healthy; kept him alive. And so, nervously, he staked the little goat there next to the other belongings on display. 

And—wouldn't you know?—the king chose the goat! Livingstone's heart sank! In return, the king proudly presented to Livingstone...are you ready for this?...an old wooden stick! Some kind of cane, with a few markings carved into it. 

Livingstone was devastated. He even described in his journal how he cried out to God that night in despair, complaining about the unfair exchange: his wonderful life-saving goat for that stupid old stick!

Several days later, as he was preparing to leave, Livingstone was packing his things and getting everything ready, when he picked up that stick and tried to offer it to one of his porters: "I don't need this," he explained. "I don't use a cane." 

"Oh, but you do need it," came the reply. "The king has given you his very own scepter. If you carry that with you, you will find entrance into every tribe and every village in this country. The king has honored you greatly with this." 

Sure enough! It proved true. Carrying that 'stick', David Livingstone was able to penetrate to the very heart of Central Africa, almost always finding a welcome everywhere he went. And after him would come wave after wave of successive evangelists who would bring hundreds of thousands to Christ!

You know? A 'scepter' can be a powerful thing. It represents the power and authority of a king! A 'scepter' can open doors, unlock strongholds, make aliens receptive, put enemies on notice! Isn't it awesome? 

Did you know, dear Christian, that you have been given a 'scepter' from the King? Oh, yes! When you gave your life to Jesus Christ, a 'scepter' was given to you! Scripture actually calls it 'the anointing' but isn't that what a 'scepter' really is? That "anointing" refers to the Holy Spirit! It is God's mark upon you; it's the 'proof' that He dwells within you. And, oh!—does it ever unlock the dark realms! 

We read about this in the First Epistle of John: "You have an anointing from the Holy One," John writes to his new believers, "and thus you will know everything." I Jn 5: 20

Wow! "You will know everything!" Really? How so? Oh, the Holy Spirit—that scepter from the King—is going to teach it all to you! John explains this just a few verses later: "The anointing which you have received from Him, abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you, but that same anointing teaches you concerning all things." I Jn 2: 27

Jesus spoke of this "scepter from the King". He called it "the Spirit of Truth that proceeds from the Father...who will guide you into all Truth and tell you all things."  Jn 15: 28; 16:13

Well, how can we be sure that we have this "scepter from the King"? Oh, Galatians 5 gives the ultimate proof! "For the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control."Gal 5:22-23

How about you? Do you have the scepter?

You know what's sad?—and I see it often too—when well-meaning Christians dismiss the Holy Spirit as if it weren't needed; just some old stick, perhaps, like Livingstone—you know?—"I don't use a cane".

No! No! This is your scepter, dear child of God! The Holy Spirit! He will open the doors and unlock the strongholds and lead the way with all the power and authority of your wonderful King! Take it, dear Christian! It's yours!   

Ask God to give it, if you have any doubt. He will never say 'no'!  See Luke 11:11-13!


See you Sunday                               RAS

You Who Know the Way
Smarter than Einstein