I’m going to share with you here a particular and very personal dealing of the Lord from quite a few years back. May you have ears that can hear what is being said here that you not be stumbled by any of this. This really is a wonderful testimony of how God works to free us from the religiosity of living by do’s and don’ts to then bring us into the harness of the Lord. — D
Not yet knowing where we were going to go, I was heading out to pick up a brother one evening when thoughts about how God is farming His elect in remote places (the wilderness) came to my mind. In this regard, I had shared recently with someone an analogy about “growing grass” in remote places and of how this relates to a present day work of the Lord, when thoughts of a place called “Batavia Turf Farms” also came to my mind.
Now, “Batavia Turf Farms” is a rather remote farm away from the city of Rochester where they grow sod for lawns. Batavia is also known for the harness racing that goes on there. Anyway, though this seemed a little strange to me at the time, I had a witness that the Lord wanted James and I to go to the racetrack in Batavia that night.
Now, James had never been to the racetrack before, and I had not been there in very many years, so when James said “No” about going there, that seemed to be the right answer, but I still had a witness that we were supposed to go.
Anyway, we headed off into the city of Rochester to see what the Lord might have us do there. We drove around for about a half hour or so, then we went for a walk in a city park where we met a troubled young girl who was soliciting people for sex. We prayed for her and then we moved on. I felt not much of an anointing for anything that we were doing then, really. I felt that the joy of the Lord had left me, so I told James that I thought we should just head home.
On the way home the Lord spoke to me that James had never prayed about going to Batavia and that that was the Lord’s will for us that night. I didn’t feel led to say anything to James about that though. Then, half-way home, James said, “We were supposed to go to Batavia weren’t we?”
I said, “Yes.”
James then said, “If I give you ten bucks for gas, can we go now?”
I said, “Sure.”
So, we hopped on the highway and headed for the racetrack which was about a half hour away (I knew that we would probably miss the first race, but I had a strong sense that we were still ok and on the Lord’s time). Then, for the first time in about an hour, I felt a strong presence of the Lord. My joy also returned.
Well, we got to the track at the end of the first race (just as I thought that we would) and James immediately felt a quickening to a particular horse in the second race; a 20:1 long shot. So he bet on that horse to win, and sure enough, the horse came in first and James was paid forty bucks for his two dollar bet (I knew that the Lord was blessing James for finally submitting to the leading of the Holy Spirit.)
We then proceeded to bet on a couple of races without much success. I asked the Lord what was up with that, and He then quickened this to my spirit …
“David, you are not here to gamble as others do, but this is an exercise in listening for My still small voice and then obeying Me in what I tell you to do.”
I then proceeded to look at the program for the next race. The #1 horse in the line-up was a heavy favorite to win, but the Lord told me, “Place a bet on the #3 horse … he will win.”
So, I did as I was told. Just before the race started though, I looked on the board and the payoff (the odds) for the #1 horse looked pretty good, even though by the stats he seemed to be in a class far above all the other horses. I thought to myself, “I really should place a bet on him too.” The Lord then said to me…
“Don’t you do any such thing. You do only what I tell you to do.”
So … I stuck with what the Lord had shown me … #3 to win, and no wager on the #1 horse.
Don’t you know, out of the gate the favorite #1 horse trips and falls back into last place. The #3 horse? Well, he blows away from the whole pack and wins the race quite easily! I said, “Thank you Lord,” and I then went to collect my winnings (about $14 for a $2 bet).
When the next race came around, I felt a quickening to the #1 horse in the line-up. I then went to place a bet on him to win (as I felt led to do). My carnal mind then seemed to kick in again somehow though, and I felt that I should bet on the horse to place rather than win … “just to be safe” I thought.
Well, the horse won … just as the Lord had shown me that he would, but, because of my doubt and unbelief… the payoff wasn’t quite what it could have been.
Then came the start of the 6th of the 11 races. The # 7 horse in the line-up of that race was called “Take the profit.” I immediately sensed a very strong quickening to the name of that horse, but the Lord was not saying to bet on that horse. The Lord was saying…
“David, you are not here to gamble as carnal men do, you are here as an exercise in hearing Me and then obeying Me. I want you to take the profit that I have given to you … and go home … now.”
At that moment, I felt emotions like that of a bratty little kid expressing to his father, “But I don’t want to go home yet!” I mentioned to James though that the Lord was saying that we needed to take the little that we had won and go home. James then expressed pretty much the same carnal emotions that I had expressed.
So … what did we do? But of course … we stayed! … and I bet on “TAKE THE PROFIT” TO WIN!
As you can probably guess, “Take the profit” came in next to last. I then asked the Lord, “What happened Lord? Were we getting greedy?” Then, at that very moment, I was allowed to hear a word from a nearby conversation. I could hear only one word from that conversation, but I knew immediately that it was the Word of the Lord to us at that moment. The word was “greedy.” I told James about this, and we both acknowledge that it was the Lord’s Word to us … so we headed for home.
On the way home the Lord spoke this to my heart …
“David, to the pure in heart, all things are pure. Holiness is doing the will of the Father, no matter what that might be. When I send you somewhere, don’t ever speculate about what I am doing because My ways are not at all like the ways of men. This whole trip to the racetrack was an exercise in both liberty and obedience for you and James. I am working out of you both the religiosity of do’s and don’ts, David, yet at the same time, I am teaching you both about what it really means to be in the harness of the Lord.”