THE PURPOSE

               And we know  that all things work together  for good to
               them  that  love  God,  to  them  who  are  the  called
               according to His purpose.

               Touching on our covenant  relationship with God in  the last
          chapter,   introduced  "The  Purpose"  of  Romans  8:28  and  the
          revelation  of another  mystery of  the  Holy Spirit as  He makes
          intercession for us.  Understanding "Purpose" would be impossible
          without first seeing  how Romans 8:28 relates to  the covenant in
          which we live as Bible Believers.

               The word "according"  found in our text -  "According to His
          purpose"  -  is found  over  three hundred  times  throughout the
          New Testament.  It is used twenty-nine different ways by the King
          James  translators:    (After, against,  toward,  touching, into,
          among, over, particularly, and respect),  to name a few.   Any of
          these words could  easily substitute and be quite  functional.  I
          prefer: "to them who are the called into His purpose" because of,
          as  we will see  shortly, its relationship  to prayer.   A simple
          interpretation of  "according" would  be: (to  them  who are  the
          called in agreement' or "those in harmony  with His purpose).  We
          who are the called are those living in agreement/harmony with His
          purpose -  will, and it is  thus for which the  Holy Spirit makes

               Paul,  under  the  inspiration of  the  Holy Spirit,  uses a
          rather unique Greek word for "purpose" in Romans 8:28.  It is the
          word for  "shewbread" or "showbread."  This particular Greek word
          is translated eleven times in  the New Testament.  Eight times it
          is  rendered "purpose," and  the remaining three  as "showbread."
          Before looking at some  of the passages where this  word is used,
          it would be  wise to have a  clear understanding of  just exactly
          what "showbread" was and how it was used.

               The  tabernacle was  a mobile  house of  worship.   God gave
          complete instructions to Moses with exact measurements, implement
          and furniture construction,  and how the priests  were to conduct
          themselves in and  around the  tabernacle.1   The tabernacle  was
          compartmentalized into  three areas  of worship;  each serving  a
          different ceremonial  function.   The  otter  court was  for  the
          offering  of public  sacrifices by  the  ministering priests  for
          Israel.  A laver for washing was also located in this outer court
          which the priests employed before entering the Holy Place.2
               The inner court, called the Holy  Place, housed three pieces
          of golden  furniture.  The  candlestick, a seven  bowl candelabra
          fueled with oil, was made of pure gold and was tended twice daily
          to insure  it burned  continuously.3  The  altar of  incense also
          was  placed in the inner  room of the  tabernacle and was located
          directly in front  of the ark of  the covenant; separated  by the
          thick vail.4   It was made of wood and covered  with gold but was
          smaller in dimensions  than the showbread table.5   I will return
          to the  table of showbread  which also  sat in  this inner  court
          momentarily.  The ark of the covenant, referred to as the  "mercy
          seat,"  was behind  the vail,6   and  was  likewise made  of wood
          overlaid with gold.7   It was the only article of furniture which
          was placed in  the "Most Holy Place,"8 and this  area was entered
          by the high priest only once  each year to atone for the  sins of
          the nation of Israel.
               Many compare  these three compartments - areas  of worship -
          to the body,  soul, and spirit of the boron again Believer.9  The
          outer court  is the body;  the place  where we meet  publicly and
          interface with the world.  The outer court  - the body - is where
          we confess our covenant with God and make known  His mighty works
          through our praise.
               The inner court - the Holy Place - is the soul and the place
          where we meet with God mentally and intellectually.  It is within
          this inner court we fellowship  with Him; offering our prayers of
          sweet smelling incense   and sharing intimately with  the help of
          the  Holy Spirit who  illuminates our  prayers  with His  perfect
          nature as God.  It is here we commune with our sovereign Lord.
               Finally there is the "Most Holy  Place."  This is where  God
          resides.  He holds the covenant and His word thus comes from this
          Holy of  Holies.  Keep in mind that  the tablets which were given
          to Moses  by God, upon  which the ten commandments  were written,
          were stored within the ark of  the covenant; the mercy seat.   No
          man passed  beyond the vail to the hidden place of worship except
          for the high priest and  then only once a year.  Our Lord Christ,
          however,  by His  vicarious death  upon the cross  and subsequent
          bodily resurrection, caused the vail  to be rent,10  from  top to
          bottom; exposing the  Most Holy Place for all  eternity for those
          confessing Him as Lord.

               The table of showbread was a simple box made of shittim wood
          and  over laid  with  gold.   It  measured  thirty-six inches  in
          length,  eighteen inches  in width,  and  twenty-seven inches  in
          height.11   Additionally, a "crown"  of gold bordered the  top of
          the box, about nine inches in height; the breath of a man's hand,
          to prevent the bread  from falling from  the table.12  The  bread
          was  to  be  before  the   Lord  always  and  was  replaced  each
          sabbath.13  It  was baked  with fine flower,  placed in two  rows
          upon the  table, and was eaten  by the levitical priests  as they
          ministered in the Holy Place.14

               The entire tabernacle was symbolic of that which was to come
          - Christ.  The woods  overlaid with gold represented the Holiness
          and deity of Christ who took upon Himself humanity.  The altar of
          incense spoke  of the prayers  of God's people.   The candlestick
          with  its seven lights  symbolized the illuminating  power of the
          Holy Spirit as  those prayers were  offered.  The mercy  seat, of
          course, depicted  God the  Father who  reigns as  Sovereign Lord.
          The tablets  of  stone within  the mercy  seat represented  God's
          eternal   unbreakable  Word.     The  blood  of   the  sacrifices
          represented the blood  of the Lamb of God which would be shed for
          the  sins  of  the world.    The  clothing  of the  priests,  the
          different  sacrificial offerings, the precious gyms, and even the
          various  colors; gold, silver, purple, scarlet, white, red, blue,
          employed  in construction  all spoke  of  various aspects  of the
          nature  and  character   of  God  the  Father,  Christ,  and  the
          Holy Spirit in relationship to man.
               The table of showbread was unique in its representation.  In
          Leviticus, it is called the "bread of God," and those who were in
          Levitical servitude  were known as those who handled God's bread.
          Bread spoke of that which  was common and necessary without which
          man could not live.  The "breaking of bread" spoke of friendship,
          fellowship,  intimacy,  and  most  importantly;  covenant.    The
          showbread  was to  be  perpetually  before the  Lord;  an act  of
          continuous fellowship  with the  Heavenly Father.   The  priests,
          however,  were the  only ones  allowed such  direct and  intimate
          fellowship  for they were the chosen representatives to negotiate
          covenant with God.
               One day Satan tempted our Lord by  trying to get Him to turn
          stones into bread.  King Jesus confessed, however, "man shall not
          live by  bread alone but by every word  which proceeds out of the
          mouth of  God."15  He  later succeeded in, not  only confounding,
          but angering the Jews, when he confessed "He was the bread of God
          which   came  down   from  Heaven."16      The  Jews   recognized
          immediately His claim  and, of course,  reacted adversely.    Our
          Lord was confessing Himself to be God's fellowship with man; that
          which  was  to  be  eaten, enjoyed,  and  would  provide  eternal
          provision.  Indeed, Jesus said exactly that:   "I am the bread of
          life:  he that  comes to  me shall  never  hunger."17   In short,
          Jesus  proclaimed to  be God's  bread;  the showbread,  which was
          perpetually  before the Lord that  man might fellowship with God.
          If we add  to this our Lord's  finished work upon the  cross, His
          shed blood,  the offering of His own  body, His sinless life, the
          renting of the vail in the temple revealing God to the world, and
          His bodily resurrection, we  would thus gain a deep  appreciation
          of Paul's usage of the word "showbread" in Romans 8:28.

               Paul  was taken  by ship  to Rome  to appear  before Caesar.
          Acts 27 describes  his aquatic journey and subsequent ship wreck.
          The word "purpose" appears in Luke's account of this journey:
               And when  the south  wind blew  softly, supposing  that
               they had  obtained their purpose, loosing  thence, they
               sailed close by Crete.18
          This is  a most  unusual usage  of  the word  "showbread" but  if
          considered carefully, the  choice of wording  is inspiring.   The
          sailors  had supposed they had gained  favorable wind because the
          winds blew softly.   This time of  year in this ocean  region was
          often violent  and unpredictable.   Paul even warned them  not to
          sail but they ignored his Holy Spirit leading; sailing right into
          a violent storm, and lost, not only all their valuable cargo, but
          the ship as well.
               A   word   which   could   be   properly   substituted   for
          "purpose/showbread"  in  this  text  is  (approval)  or  (favor).
          "Supposing  that they had obtained approvaL..."  Their assumption
          was based upon soft winds which later proved nearly fatal.  They,
          in fact,  had actually  obtained "approval," or  "favor;" not  to
          depart, but  rather to stay, as  Paul prophesied.  They  chose to
          ignore the Word of God, and consequently suffered great loss.  
               In writing to Pastor Timothy, Paul said:
               But you have fully known  my doctrine, manner of life -
               conduct  -  purpose,   faith,  longsuffering,  charity,
               patience, persecutions, afflictions.19
          Here we discover  Paul's usage of "purpose" in  context with what
          he  is clearly  describing as  his  personal character.   If  the
          preceding nine verses  are examined, it is easily  seen that Paul
          was warning Christians of those  who will come against the church
          in  the  last  days  and  the  deceptive  "character"  they  will
          manifest.   He  even  named  "Jannes" and  "Jambres"  as two  who
          withstood  Moses  as  he  attempted  to  govern  the  nation   of
          Israel.20    To  all such,  Paul  contrasted  his  Scriptural and
          personal  character and  used "purpose/showbread"  to demonstrate
          the polarization of characters; his verses the world's.
               Finally, Paul again uses the word "purpose" in  a remarkably
          similar verse to Romans 8:28 in this same epistle to Timothy:
               Who has  saved us, and  called us with a  holy calling,
               not according  to our works,  but according to  His own
               purpose and grace, which was  given us in Christ  Jesus
               before the world began.21  
          This clearly  identifies the interpretation  of "purpose" because
          Paul is making direct reference to  the "nature" of God.  Indeed,
          it could thus be rendered:  "according to the nature and grace of
          God."  Since  Paul is making reference to the saving power of God
          the Father through  His eternal Son Jesus, there  can be no doubt
          to Paul's usage of "purpose" as that aspect of God's nature which
          saves to the uttermost.

               The word "His" in Romans 8:28 was supplied by the King James
          translators for clarification and appears in italics.  This was a
          wise  choice, since  we have  just seen  that Paul again  makes a
          similar statement in  his letter to Timothy.  It  is indeed God's
          "purpose," or "approval," or "character," or "nature" to work all
          things  together for good to them  that are in love covenant with
          Him.  In  short, it is  God's favor and grace  by which He  makes
          Himself available to us and He does so through prayer.  Comparing
          this with  the knowledge  that the showbread  was that  which was
          perpetually  before   the   Lord,   representative   of   eternal
          fellowship, we should now be  able to acknowledge the ministry of
          Holy partnership with  God's Spirit as  we sit and  sup with  Him
          through  prayer.    Let's  take  another  step  in examining  the
          "nature" - true character - of His "purpose/showbread."


               Quite  simply,  the  table  of  showbread  was  a  point  of
          perpetual contact with  God for the ministering priests.   It was
          at  this  table they  meant  with  the  Almighty and  shared  the
          covenant meal each and every time they ate.  As they  reached out
          to  partake of  the "Bread  of  God," they  were making  personal
          contact with Him  in behalf of all of Israel.   Additionally, the
          table was only twenty-seven inches high; necessitating a kneeling
          posture.  Such  humility and reverence  when one prays  certainly
          demonstrates reverence.
               We, too, need to maintain personal contact with our Heavenly
          Father  through  intimate  prayer.    Often  the  busy  Christian
          forsakes time  with the Lord  and thus the  relationship suffers.
          We need  always to  make contact  through prayer  and partnership
          with the Holy Spirit makes this possible.


               The table of  showbread is the Old Testament  counterpart of
          New Testament communion,  I.E. The Lord's table.   It is symbolic
          of the shed blood - the wine or grape juice - and the bread - His
          body.   Our Lord  established this  communion, of  course, before
          going  to  the cross  and  commanded  it  be practiced  until  He
          returns.   It speaks of intimacy,  as did the table of showbread,
          only now the born again Believer needs no representation to stand
          before God in his behalf; Jesus is that High Priest.
               We  have  three  zones, areas,  of  personal  communication.
          First there is the social zone; the radius of several feet.  This
          zone  is passive contact  with those about  us with  which we may
          pass, for  example, on the street.   The second zone is personal.
          We experience  this zone  when discoursing,  whether standing  or
          sitting, with someone  in close proximity.  Finally  there is the
          intimate zone; one  of personal contact.  This  is the fellowship
          which we share with our Heavenly Father at the table of showbread
          - the table of communion.
               The  dictionary defines  "to commune"  as:  (The sharing  of
          mutual interests,  thoughts, and  possessions).   Such  certainly
          falls  into the  area of exchange  when cutting,  confirming, and
          completing  covenant.  The communion table we share with our Lord
          in  today's New Testament day  is representative of  the covenant
          meal we share when we pray.


               As we have already seen in  this study, the two words "makes
          intercession" is used  twice by Paul in Romans 8:26 and (27).  In
          verse  (26), it simply  means the Holy Spirit  makes, or creates,
          prayers for  us.  He does so,  not only because we  do not always
          know how  to pray,  but because  it is  His nature.   The  second
          reference to "makes  intercession" in verse (27)  is rendered (to
          confer).  Again referring to a dictionary definition, we find "to
          confer"  means:   (to  converse, to  compare views,  to consult).
          Such is our fellowship with God as we pray.  Most have little, if
          any,  problem  accepting prayer  as  conversing  with  God.    We
          likewise accept prayer as spiritual consultation.  Most, however,
          find it  impossible to  believe that  prayer involves  (comparing
          views,  sharing interests,  or the  exchange of  views).   If you
          believe  that  God  is only  interested  in  telling, commanding,
          proclaiming, chastising, or reprimanding; you will find spiritual
          intimacy absolutely impossible.  God is interested in His own and
          prayer - sitting at the table  of showbread - and having covenant
          communion with Him, involves exchanging our thoughts for His.


               When the priests shared the covenant showbread in  the inner
          court;  the  Holy  Place,  they,  as an  act  of  submission  and
          humility, were conforming to the will of God.  If they did not do
          so,  they would  not  be  fulfilling  their  responsibilities  as
          ministering  mediators for  the children  of Israel.   It  is not
          accidental  that Paul  makes reference  to the  "will of  God" in
          Romans 8:27:  "because the Holy Spirit makes intercession for the
          saints  according to  the will  of  God."   He, the  Holy Spirit,
          brings us  by partnership   utilization, to  the table  of prayer
          that we might conform to the will - covenant - of God.
               "To  what are we  conforming?"  Besides  conforming to God's
          will, we are, as  we will see in our next  chapter, conforming to
          the  image of His Son Jesus.   This conformity is accomplished by
          sharing  fellowship  with   God  through  prayer.     Again,  the
          Holy Spirit is our "Help" to cause such intimacy to occur.


               The table of showbread was also a "confirmation" table.  The
          ministering  priests took the bread of  God and consumed it as an
          act of confirming the covenant.   This simple act of faithfulness
          demonstrated personal  belief  and recognition  of God.   Not  to
          partake would  indicate a lack  of faith that God  indeed desired
          intimacy with His own people.
               Another aspect of the showbread and its consumption, reveals
          God's desire  to be  "friends" with  His own.   Here  we need  to
          recall  the covenant  which God  made with Abraham.   As  God the
          Father made covenant  with Abraham, He promised him a son.  This,
          of course, was  impossible, humanly speaking, since  both Abraham
          and  Sarah were  beyond child  baring years.   Nevertheless,  the
          Scriptures confirm that Abraham believed  God and it was  counted
          to  him  for righteousness.22    We, likewise,  are  incapable of
          spiritual  birth without  sovereign intervention.23   The  Father
          also provided us with a "Son" - His  only begotten Son - in order
          that  His  covenant might  be  confirmed.   Because  of Abraham's
          belief and  acceptance of covenant  with God, he became  known as
          the  "friend  of  God."24    Eating at  the  table  of  showbread
          confirms  friendship  with our  Heavenly  Father as  well  as our
          belief in Him as our covenant Lord.


               The levitical priests were committed to serving both God and
          Israel  as  mediators.   They  demonstrated  their  commitment by
          lighting the lamps,  replacing and eating the  showbread, burning
          the incense, and offering sacrifice.  Commitment is first verbal;
          then verified  by action.  In short, faithfulness.  Coming to the
          table of prayer - showbread - today shows our faithfulness to God
          as  the one  who keeps  His covenant  with His  people.   Without
          commitment, there can  be no covenant relationship.   Without the
          priests  coming  faithfully   to  the  table  of   showbread  set
          continually before the Lord, God would be unable to move in their

               My  Dad's oldest brother was born  in 1901 and lived with us
          the  last few years of  his life.  Since  my grandfather - my Dad
          and  uncle's father - died when  my uncle was but  a teen, he, my
          uncle,  felt  obligated to drop from  school in order to  take on
          the responsibility of tending their  Kansas farm and raising  the
          family.  Such afforded him  great opportunity for learning and he
          quickly became a jack of all trades.
               I recall  he told  me, after retiring,  that he  installed a
          fence  around most  of his  single acre  of property.   He simply
          sighted  on an  object in  the distance  and from  that point  of
          reference, began sinking  fence posts.  Such line  of sight skill
          had been  obtained from plowing  fields with nothing more  than a
          distant tree for reference.
               Following the installation of his  fence, a  young  neighbor
          began  admiring the improved attractiveness my uncle's fence gave
          his home  and  decided to  do the  same.   He  purchased all  the
          necessary materials and  began sinking fence posts.   His lack of
          experience,  however, provided  a fence  uneven,  lop sided,  and
          crooked.   After recognizing failure, and  seeing my uncle seated
          on his front porch, he strolled across the road and congratulated
          my  uncle for doing  such a nice  job on his fence.   He finally,
          somewhat sheepishly,  asked if  my uncle  would mind  helping him
          redo his fence since, he, the neighbor, had done such a poor job.
          My uncle, of course,  obliged.
               The  Christian needs  a  point  of  reference,  a  point  of
          contact, in their relationshipwith God.  The table of showbread -
           prayer - is the  contact.  Like my uncle  sighting on a tree  in
          the distance, we,  too, sight on a  tree - the cross  of Calvary.
          Often, however, circumstances make it  difficult, even impossible
          to sight properly.  The Holy Spirit, on the other hand, never has
          any problem sighting - making contact - with the Heavenly Father.
          Simply  beginning  to  pray  allows  the  Holy Spirit  to  engage
          covenant with God in our behalf.
               Prayer  is where, and when, we experience spiritual intimacy
          with our Lord as we share the covenant meal.  I am convinced that
          most of us  do not take  time to share,  commune,  with our  Lord
          because  it means  "intimacy."    Such  requires  time,  personal
          association, closeness, and  friendship.   Intimacy implies  that
          which is private and innermost.   Although most confess that such
          is  exactly what  they seek  in their  relationship with  God, it
          cannot be so; for if it were,  they would commune with God.   The
          problem is  fear!  We simply are afraid that God is going to find
          something within  us which He does not like.  The Holy Spirit has
          been sent  to guide  and parallel  our intimacy  with God but  He
          cannot do so,  of course, unless  we begin to  commune - eat  the
          showbread - with God.  Fear is not of  God and should be ignored.
          Once seated at the prayer table, the  Holy Spirit can immediately
          begin to intercede in our behalf.
               As  my  uncle's  neighbor  needed  help,  so  we,  those  in
          fellowship with God, need someone to  help; "for we know not what
          we should pray for as we ought."  The Holy Spirit offer such help
          as we sit at the communion  table with our Lord and confers  with
          Him concerning His will for our lives.  Confess how you  feel it,
          see  it, perceive it, wish it.   As you do  so, you will discover
          the  mystery of  the Holy Spirit  at work  in your  behalf  as He
          "makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God."
          Then listen.
               Often  we think  we  can do  it  alone, without  assistance,
          because to do otherwise is a sign of weakness.   Such is the case
          as we kneel at the table of showbread.  It is a sign of humility,
          submission, and dependency.  Such an attitude is exactly what our
          Lord is seeking as we sup with Him.  To place ourselves in such a
          position is a sign of conformity to His will and Word.  In short,
          it is obedience.   There is a side benefit to such submission; we
          are able  to thus  resist the Devil,  and he  must flee  from our
               As  my uncle's neighbor confessed his inability to duplicate
          my uncle's fence  installation, he was also  asking, and showing,
          friendship.   Literally, he  was showing  willingness to  confirm
          what  he could  not do  alone and because  of friendship  with my
          uncle, he requested  help.  Thus, sitting down to a covenant meal
          of  showbread with  God our  Father is  confirmation  of personal
          friendship  with the only one  able to help us.   It means we are
          willing to live by covenant.
               Finally,  the fence itself  demonstrates commitment; It sets
          boundaries.  This  is exactly what prayer does for us.  We begin,
          through prayer,  to set boundaries  in our relationship  with God
          for  the purpose  of keeping  certain things  in and  out.   This
          provides security as well as offering permission for God to begin
          working in our life.  In another words, it allows  God an area in
          which to work.  Without such commitment, the Sower simply must go
          everywhere  broadcasting the seed with no prier soil preparation.
          Prayer affords God opportunity toprepare the ground for planting.

               Romans  8:28 is certainly  a mystery if  interpreted without
          the knowledge of the table of showbread.   If, on the other hand,
          we   acknowledge  the  holy   partnership  we  have   with  God's
          Holy Spirit  when we  set at  bread, then  we can "know  that all
          things work together" for our  benefit, since we are the "called"
          of God.  Furthermore,  seated at the table of showbread  with our
          Lord reveals covenant friendship; we  are those that "love God" -
          have established  friendship through covenant.   The  Holy Spirit
          confirms this  relationship each time  we sup  with our  Heavenly
          Father in  covenant prayer.26   True satisfaction  can be  gained
          when  we pray,  therefore, because  the  Holy Spirit insures  our
          prayers harmonize with His purpose  - showbread - which nourishes
          and fills  us that we might never hunger  again.  One must choose
          to sit and dine  with Him, however, if intimate  fellowship is to
          be experienced.  Thus, learn to pray in the Spirit.

               FOOTNOTES FOR CHAPTER 8

               1 Exod. 25-Exod. 40
               2 Exod. 40:7
               3 Exod. 25:31-39
               4 Exod. 40:5
               5 Exod. 30:1-10
               6 Exod. 40:2-3
               7 Exod. 25:10-22
               8 Exod. 40:2-3
               9 I Thess. 5:23
               10 Matt. 27:51
               11 Exod. 25:23
               12 Exod. 25:24-25
               13 Exod. 25:30
               14 Lev. 24:6-9
               15 Matt. 4:4
               16 John 6:32-33
               17 John 6:35
               18 Acts 27:13
               19 II Tim. 3:10-11
               20 II Tim. 3:8
               21 II Tim. 1:9
               22 Gen. 15:6 & Rom. 4:3
               23 John 3:3-8
               24 Jam. 2:23
               25 Jam. 4:7-8
               26 Rom. 8:16-17

                            End Of Chapter 8

                            PRAYING IN THE SPIRIT


                                 PHIL SCOVELL

                             Copyright 1989/2004

                               By Phil Scovell

                             All Rights Reserved

          Reproduction of the book  entitled "Liquid Purple" is granted  by
          the copyright holder, Phil Scovell,  if such reproduction is done
          in the  spirit in which it  was given.  It may  not be reproduced
          and sold  for financial gain  without written  permission of  the
          copyright  holder: Phil  Scovell.    Electronic  formats  may  be
          distributed freely  but this  copyright notice  must remain  with
          each  copy and  the  text cannot  be  altered in  any  way.   For
          convenience, this copyright notification may be placed at the end
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          sections  of the  book entitled  "Liquid Purple" is  separated in
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          distribution,  this copyright notice must appear somewhere within
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                             CONTACT INFORMATION

          Phil Scovell
          840 South Sheridan Boulevard
          Denver, Colorado  80226-8017
          Voice:  303-507-5175
          Web:  WWW.RedWhiteAndBlue.ORG
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