The people of God are the congregation of testimony. We worship and serve the God who intervenes in human history, and we are among those who testify to what He has done. We are to do this with our lives, with our families, and with our collective and corporate worship. We testify, and we are to testify in all that we do. This includes whatever sanctuary we might build. Is the testimony true? If there is no true testimony, there is no true sanctuary.
The ark of the covenant was called the ark of the testimony numerous times (e.g. Ex. 26:34). The two tables of the Ten Commandments were called the “tables of testimony” (Ex. 31:18). The tabernacle was called the “tabernacle of testimony” (Num. 1:53). Our task is always to testify to God’s testimony, responding to it faithfully. God says “I have acted here,” and we say “Yes, He did.” And remember that when we seek to build a testimony, there will be those who don’t want us to—like Sanballat and Nehemiah’s wall.
The philosophers Hume and Kant, in a frenzy of high conceit, helped to banish “testimony” from the modern world as a reliable source of knowledge. We want an idolatrous way of knowing that we think is indubitable. But we are finite, and so it has to be testimony or nothing. Jesus is Lord, so it is testify and live or languish and die.
What do we testify to? We testify to the presence of Jesus. The Lord your God is in the midst of you. Jesus is under your breastbone, and throughout the congregation. That is what we are talking about.
“The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing” (Zeph. 3:17).
Our testimony is based upon receiving God’s testimony. He testifies, and we either believe Him or we do not. Jesus came from Heaven and testified (John 3:31). “And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony. He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true” (John 3:32-33).
Not to believe Jesus is to call Him a liar. And here in 1 John we have this glorious statement:
“He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness [marturia] in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record [marturia] that God gave of his Son” (1 John 5:10).
So what then is true testimony? In order for us to have the right kind of testimony, we have to know that it is God’s testimony. If He has no testimony concerning us, then we can have no testimony concerning Him. We are echoing the story of what He has done, and when we tell the story of what He has done, He is continuing to do it. We tell our testimony faithfully when we are keeping His testimony (Ps. 119:88).
So let the stones cry out.