Then Israel sang this song: “Spring up, O well, sing to it! The princes dig the well, the nobles of the people dig it, by the direction of the lawgiver, with their staves. Numbers 21:17-18
Staves is a curious Hebrew word that occurs in the Old Testament (OT). The specific Hebrew word translated staves in Numbers 21:18 only occurs here in the entire Bible. In other translations this word is translated staffs. Staves appears in other parts of the OT scriptures (Ex 25:27, 30:4, 37:27) however in those passages it is a different hebrew word than is used here.
When digging a well protecting the integrity of the well is important. This is even true in modern times. Drilling companies invest alot of money to develop protective casing for the wells they dig. These casings help to protect the well walls from collapsing & probably from contamination too. This protective casing can be referred to as a stave.
In a desert wilderness, a well is essential to survival. A well meant water and water was the key to remaining alive. No life no water. As in the natural so goes the spiritual.
The Ark of the Covenant was a type of well. As the throne of God on earth it became the ultimate well. As long as Yahweh’s presence remained on that gold covered achacia box – it was the physical representation of his Holy power/glory. Holy power is the type of power that created the universe. If you are looking for a reference point for the intensity of Holy power, its probably more intense than nuclear power, its not “impersonal” and it may be up to 7X more intense than nuclear power? (Isa 30:26) So you might imagine this ferocious source of Holy power presented a transportation/human interface dilemma? How do we interact with it/Him safely? This dilemma was profoundly accentuated to King David as he by consensus tried to transport the Ark into Jerusalem. This ark was Holy and it couldn’t be transported any old way man pleased. It had to be done according to God’s pattern. The incredible thing is God wanted it to be transported. God wanted to be in the midst of His people. He wants his people to have access to the fullness of his strength. In order to transport the ark there has to be a reverent heart posture & surrender to the prescribed pattern of God. It had to be done his way & gladly. The prescribed method for carrying this well of eternal glory on the earth, the interface were staves. (Ex 25:27, 30:4, 37:27) It was the responsibility of the Kohathite division of the Levitical priests to carry the ark on their shoulders using staves, no carts (Num 4:4). Infact all of the sacred furniture of the Tent of Meeting was transported using staves. God’s intent in creating humanity was to carry His glory. When this sacred pattern was honored with the right heart attitude, the well of glory could be transported on the shoulders of his priesthood. In the new covenant this kicks up to another dimension. The mystery revealed by the cross, resurrection & ascension/pentecost is “Christ in you the hope of glory!” Now the Lord indwells the hearts of his priesthood. In an act of even deeper intimacy God no longer rides on top of the shoulders of his priesthood, now he chooses to abide within redeemed human hearts.
Humans are not just flesh and blood they are spirit too. Sometimes we forget this, our culture has at times even tried to minimize or deny the spiritual dimension of mans identity. When we deny this reality we really suffer.
In the same way that we must protect the integrity of a natural well by casing it with staves, for us to contain the glory of the living God we must protect the integrity of our inner man with key staves.
The three non-negotiable staves that must be in place before the Lord will release the fullness of his glory flow through our hearts and lives are; conscience; identity & vision(destiny). When these are in proper alignment we experience a different dimension in the release of God’s glory in our lives. It has been called his fullness. (Eph 3:14-19)
God’s design & desire is to bless us as his children. But he will not violate our will. He offers us life or death, blessing or curse. He goes on I want you to choose life! (Deut 30:15-20) and by implication blessing. The enemy of our souls desires to curse us.
Sometimes we hear “curse” and we think “Harry Potter!” Well long before we empower demonic principalities, a curse is simply; ascribing worthlessness to a human heart. A blessing on the other hand is ascribing value to a human heart. At is core this is the root difference between a blessing and a curse. The enemy wants to curse our conscience, curse our identity & curse our destiny. When he succeeds in doing this he leaves a vacuum for self and other things where God’s presence should be. God on the other hand wants our conscience, identity & destiny to be blessed. God also tells us the choice of whether we walk in blessing or curse is in our hands (Deut 30:15-20)
So the process begins with conscience. Conscience is what helps us determine the difference between good & evil. The discernment of good and evil is the basis of Christian maturity. The enemy desires to impede our maturity so he attempts to pervert our understanding of good & evil. “Woe to those who call good evil and evil good” Isa 5:20. Twisting good & evil is not a new strategy for the devil. However in every generation he appeals to our human pride repackaging ancient deceptions in modern sophistication. The result is each generation like many generations before tend to abandon the “outdated” ancient paths for the “new way”. Our conscience will be in one of six places; good(1 Tim 1:5,19), pure (2 Tim 1:3; 1 Tim 3:8-9), weak (1 Cor 8:7-12), defiled (1 Cor 8:7; Titus 1:15), evil/guilty(Heb 10:22), seared(1 Tim 1:5,19).
Now what is incredible about the conscience is if we repent & turn from our wickedness our conscience can also be cleansed. (Heb 9:7-14).
how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? Heb 9:14
To set this process of cleansing in motion, we must be willing to come into alignment with Jesus(repent). It is essential that we allow him to begin to teach us good(righteousness) & evil(lawlessness) as He sees it. When we ask him to cleanse our conscience, we set the first stave and the internal integrity of the well of our heart begins to be restored. When the three staves of conscience, identity and destiny are restored – we can be filled with Jesus’ fullness.
Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
9 You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.” Heb 1:8-9