Session One ~ “Wake Up the Mighty Men”
Session Two ~ “Kingdom Authority”
Session Three ~ “Anointed for War”
Session Four ~ “More Than Conquerors”
These study notes copyright Cheryl McGrath and Great South Land Ministries, 2000. The notes may be freely reproduced without omission, addition or erasure and with copyright included.
WAKE UP THE MIGHTY MEN!
Scripture references New King James Version unless otherwise stated.
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government will be upon His shoulder, and His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His Kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward even forever. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this. Isaiah 9: 6 &7
. Literal Hebrew translations of key words in this verse:
“government” (Hebrew misrah), means “empire, kingdom”
“increase” (Hebrew marbiyth) means “multitude or offspring”
“zeal” (Hebrew qinah) means “jealousy”
“Hosts” (Hebrew tsaba) means a “mass of persons gathered for war”
God is right now in the process of establishing a kingdom. Of this kingdom there shall be no end. He has given His Son the Kingship of the kingdom, and He intends to rule and govern it through His people. But the Kingdom has a powerful enemy, with a powerful army. Are you aware that the kingdom is at war? Did you know every believer has received a call-up notice? Here it is:
You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No-one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier”. 2 Timothy 2: 3 & 4
Now, take a look at Revelation 19:11-14:
Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.
Sometimes we forget the Lion of Judah is a fierce and mighty warrior, and He intends to lead a warrior Bride. The church Jesus is coming back for is described in Song of Solomon 6:10 as “awesome as an army with banners, and further, “they all hold swords, being expert in war” (Solomon 3:8) .” Well, where is this mighty Warrior God the scriptures talk about? He’s waiting for His Bride to make herself ready!. In this first session and for the next three sessions we’ll be talking about the Church as the warrior bride of Christ, and what that means to us as individual Christians. Are you are willing to ride with Jesus?
During the war of 1812 between England and France, the Duke of Wellington sent a letter to the Foreign Office in London. This is what it said.
“Gentlemen, While marching from Portugal to a position which commands the approach to Madrid and the French forces, my officers have been diligently complying with your requests which have been sent by His Majesty’s ship from London.
We have counted our saddles, bridles, tents and poles, and all manner of sundry items for which His Majesty’s government holds me accountable. I have dispatched reports on the character, wit and spleen of every officer. Each item and every farthing has been accounted for, with two regrettable exceptions for which I beg your indulgence.
Unfortunately, the sum of one shilling and and ninepence remains unaccounted for in one infantry battalion’s petty cash, and there has been a hideous confusion as to the number of jars of raspberry jam issued to one cavalry regiment during a sandstorm in Western Spain. This reprehensible carelessness may be related to the pressure of circumstance, since we are at war with France, a fact which may come as a bit of a surprise to you gentlemen in Whitehall.
This brings me to my present purpose, which is to request clarification of my instructions from His Majesty’s government, so that I may better understand why I am dragging an army over these barren plains. I understand that it must be for one of two alternative duties as given below. I shall pursue either one with the best of my ability, but I cannot do both.
1) To train an army of uniformed British clerks in Spain for the benefit of the accountants and copy-boys in London, or
2) To see to it that the forces of Napoleon are driven out of Spain.
Your most obedient servant, Wellington.”
I want to ask the same question the Duke of Wellington asked, “What are we here for?” We need to get it settled in our hearts and minds that we are at war. Some Christians seem to have a problem with such a statement, but understand that whether we like it or not, war has been declared on US by Satan and his kingdom.
Please read 2 Samuel 23:8-17 This chapter tells us about some of David’s mighty men. (In Old Testament times, the mighty men were the most valiant warriors) Firstly there was Josheb-Bosshebeth, The Tahchmonite – Tachmonite means “shrewd and wise”. He was “chief among the captains”, literally translated “head of the highest of three ranks of generals” (“Hebrew shayliysh”). He was also called Adino the Eznite -which, translated, means “a sharp, strong, slender spear”. We can also read some of the exploits of Shammah and Eleazar in this passage.
However, the main part of this chapter I want to draw your attention to is verses 14 to 17: David was then in the stronghold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem. And David said with longing, “Oh that someone would give me a drink of the water from the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!” So the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines, drew water from the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate, and took it and brought it to David. Nevertheless he would not drink it, but poured it out to the Lord. And he said, “Far be it from me, O Lord, that I should do this! Is this not the blood of the men who went in jeopardy of their lives?” Therefore he would not drink it. These things were done by the three mighty men.
You see, God is establishing His kingdom, and Jesus is building a church to help Him rule this kingdom, and He is looking for mighty men and women after the order of David’s mighty men – those who are consumed with a reckless passion for His Son and His Kingdom. With a boldness to “break through” the enemy lines and take back that which has been stolen. Those with a burning zeal to see this kingdom established. Those that won’t shrink back. Those willing to lay down their lives.
We are told these men came to David during his time in the cave of Adullam, a time in David’s life when he was hiding in the wilderness (see also 1 Sam. 22:1). These men had a vision in their hearts of the coming kingdom, they knew David was the anointed king, and they had a place in his kingdom, they believed that the day of his power was coming. And they were willing to endure the days in the wilderness and constant skirmishes with the enemy for that which they saw ahead, by faith. Jesus endured the Cross for the joy that awaited Him (Heb.12:2) These men had counted the cost and were prepared to pay it. Paul said “I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ, and be found in Him, …..that I may know Him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” (Phil 3:10)
David as their commander knew the price they had been prepared to pay to bring Him their sacrificial offering – that’s why he poured the water out on the earth as a drink offering to the Lord. This had become to him no ordinary water because of what it had cost – he said it had become to him like the very blood of his men. It had cost three of his bravest warriors their natural human will to preserve their lives. David understood they were prepared to lay down their lives for him and his kingdom.
Now, with that in mind, let’s take a look at Luke 22:39-45,
Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him. When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw and He knelt down and prayed, saying “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow. .
You know, just as David understood the cost of that water, so too does Jesus know well the cost of what He asks of us, because He’s walked the path before us. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that what Jesus went through in Gethsemane was due to fear of the Cross – it was something much more profound. I believe He was fighting the major spiritual battle of His life on earth, and He was fighting for us. Look again at V. 44 “and being in agony” . Think about it for a minute. The Greek word used here is “agonia”, meaning literally a struggle, anguish, agony. The Oxford dictionary describes agony as “severe suffering, great sorrow or pain”.
This was spiritual warfare of the highest order. There was a battle raging in the heavenlies over the souls of the human race. And there was also a battle raging over the human will of Jesus. And Jesus stayed there in that place of submission and agony until the battle going on in His will over whether He would lay down His life was won: by the Spirit of God. He stayed there until His will became one with the Father’s.
I believe when David poured out the water from the well at Bethlehem it was a prophetic picture and forerunner of Jesus pouring out His blood that night at Gethsemane. It tells us in 2 Samuel 23:13 it was harvest time, doesn’t it? Just as water needs to soak into the earth to bring forth the natural harvest, so did the blood sweat and tears of Jesus fall and soak into the ground to bring forth a spiritual harvest of souls from the earth. The battle of Calvary was fought and won at Gethsemane. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. (Luke 22:44)
Jesus, our Commander in Chief, has fought with His enemy and ours, Satan, to the point of surrendering His life. He has earned the right to be called our Commander in Chief, the Lord of Hosts, God Almighty. The Bible tells us an angel came and strengthened Him – we can always expect angel activity when we are involved in spiritual warfare, because the battle is fought in the heavenlies. The Blood of the Son of God fell as a sacrifice to the ground for us as He waged, alone, the most intense battle against Satan ever seen in the heavenlies; and in pouring out His Blood He gained authority for all eternity over the enemy, on our behalf.
But while Jesus fought this most intense spiritual battle of all time, the disciples slept. It tells us in Matthew 26:37 that Jesus took with him to the place where He prayed 3 of His mighty men – Peter, James and John. And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed.
Back again in Luke 22:45: When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow. The disciples slept from sorrow, or grief (the original Greek word, lupe, also means heaviness and grief.) They were so weighed down and consumed by their own perspective they failed to see the bigger picture. They were called to be mighty men of the kingdom, yet they slept while the battle raged about them. Many of Jesus’ disciples are still doing the same thing.
So again I ask you to consider: “What are we here for?” Are we in danger of sleeping while the battle rages around us? Spiritual muscle is developed on the battlefield, not on the church pew.
Joel 3:9-10 says this: Proclaim this among the nations: Prepare for war! Wake up the mighty men. Let all the men of war draw near, let them come up. Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears,lLet the weak say “I am strong“.
At the beginning of World War Two, Winston Churchill sent a messenger to his military commander in Europe Lord Louis Mountbatten that said “You are to plan for the offensive. In your headquarters you will never think defensively.” In warfare there are only 4 possible attitudes we can take- offence, defence, negotiation, or desertion. And there’s only one of those the enemy fears. Can you guess which one it is?
And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. Matthew 11:12. To give a wider perspective, here is the same verse from the Amplified Version: And from the days of John the Baptist until the present time, the kingdom of heaven has endured violent assault, and violent men seize it by force (as a precious prize, a share in the heavenly kingdom is sought with most ardent zeal and intense exertion). Do you like that one? Doesn’t sound like sleeping disciples, does it?
A true warrior knows there are two crucial decisions that every active soldier has to face. The first is this: Is this cause worth me fighting and suffering for? The second is this: Is this cause worth laying down my life for? Once having those issues settled, at that point he changes from an an enlisted soldier into a warrior. And nothing will stop him from advancing, and nothing will separate him from his cause.
If you have ever had to really fight hard for something or on someone else’s behalf – perhaps an injustice done to someone close to you, you know how protective you feel about that situation. You know nothing can change your commitment or the way you feel about it. You will always respond to that cause – something inside you will always rise up to the fight if you see that thing or person for which you’ve fought threatened in any way. Now, if the Lord both fought for and laid down His life for you, how do you think He feels about you? He will never abandon or let anything come between Him and those for whom He has suffered, fought and overcome. There are many of you who’ve had to fight on behalf of something or someone no-one else would fight for. At some point you made a decision that this cause was worth fighting, perhaps dying, for. Did you realise the Lord was making a warrior out of you?
The Lord is about to make His church into an army of spiritual warriors like the earth has never seen . It will be an army of overcomers. In every place where Christ addresses His church in the first three chapters of Revelation, He addresses them as overcomers. (Check it out). And how do we overcome the enemy? Revelation 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.
The Lord wants to commission each and every one of His people as warriors in His Kingdom, but He also wants us to know and count the cost.. The cost is the laying down of our lives.
What’s it going to take for us to die to our flesh? I can’t tell you what it is for you, you can’t tell me what it is for me. Paul Cain a renowned and recognised prophet recently described dying to our flesh this way: “When you are content with any food, any climate, any society, and raiment and any interruption by the will of God, that is dying to self. When you are forgotten or neglected, or purposely set at naught and you don’t sting and hurt with the insult or the oversight, but your heart is happy at being counted worthy to suffer for Christ. When your good is evil spoken of and when your wishes are crossed, your advice disregarded, your opinion ridiculed and you refuse to let anger rise in your heart or even defend yourself; when you lovingly and patiently bear any disorder, any irregularities or any annoyance. When you stand face to face with waste, folly, extravagant spiritual insensibility and endure it as Jesus endured. When you never care to be referred to in conversation or to record your own good works; when you truly love to be unknown; when you can see your brother prosper and have his needs met and you can honestly rejoice with him in spirit and feel no envy, nor question God while your needs are far greater and in desperate circumstances. When you can receive correction and reproof from one of less stature than yourself and can humbly submit inwardly as well as outwardly, finding no rebellion or resentment rising up within your heart, that is dying to self.”
Are you dead yet? I’m certainly not.
Paul said in Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me”. There are two things that are very obvious about death by crucifixion – first, it’s costly to our flesh; second, it’s not fast, it’s a process. Paul said “I die daily,(1 Cor. 15:31). Jesus said “If any man will come after Me, let Him deny Himself and take up His cross daily and follow Me” (Luke 9:23)
So, it will cost us and it will be a process. But if we’re to become the mighty men and women of the kingdom Jesus wants us to be, it’s vital. Before we follow Him to the battlefields, there’s a place we have to stop along the way, and it’s the same place Jesus went to, – it’s the Cross. Do we still want to ride with Jesus?
The Cross is the place where Christ received stripes. And the Cross is also the place where the enlisted soldier receives his stripes, , i.e. he/sheis promoted to warrior status. So the Lord would have us first examine our hearts, – can we go to the Cross with Him, so that we can go to the battlefield with Him? Are we prepared pay the cost and to lay down our lives; can we embrace the Cross? If the answer is yes then simply tell Him: “Yes, Lord” if riding with you means going via the Cross, I choose to lay down my plans, my needs, my desires, my life and die to myself, that You might live through me.” And expect Him to take you at your word. SELAH
Cheryl McGrath, Great South Land Ministries, 2000
Scripture references NKJV unless otherwise stated.
In our first session we talked about becoming an effective warrior in the last days army of believers, which God will use to establish His Kingdom. In this session we are going to take a look at the issue of authority in the Kingdom of God, and how we as individual Christians are to understand and function in it. Firstly, though we will look at Joel 2:7 & 8. They run like mighty men, they climb the wall like men of war; every one marches in formation, and they do not break ranks. They do not push one another; every one marches in his own column. Though they lunge between the weapons, they are not cut down.
The whole passage of Joel 2: 1-11 is descriptive of a powerful and disciplined army which the prophet Joel saw in the Spirit. Historically, many believe this passage describes a real army which God was sending as judgment against Israel. Many scholars, however, also believe the passage prophetically describes the last days army of God. For our purposes in this study, we are concentrating specifically on verses 7 & 8, (given above). There are a number of things in these two verses which we need to understand in relation to Jesus’ Warrior Bride.
These soldiers run like mighty men and climb a wall like men of war – that is, they run to battle, not away from it. They run with strength and determination. If an obstacle comes up in front of them, it does not stop them advancing – they find a way over it.
Every one marches in formation – each one knows the place the Lord has assigned to him, and does not try to march in another’s assigned place.
They do not break ranks – they march as one, not as individuals. A key to their power is that they cannot be divided and isolated.
.These soldiers do not push one another – it is interesting that the literal translation of the Hebrew phrase, “push one another” used here, means “to oppress one’s brother“. The K.J.V. says “neither shall one thrust another”. Even though this is a disciplined army, it is not an army where individuals “lord it over” their brothers and sisters. Christ’s followers were first called “disciples” because they were known to be “disciplined ones”. Discipling and discipline has nothing to do with control or abuse. Neither will there be place in this army for that type of behaviour on any level. Recently I heard a seasoned man of God state “the only type of control permissible in the church is self-control”. I believe this is the type of discipline God is looking for in His church.
Each soldier marches in his own column (or path); that is, they do not change course, except as a unit, and they do not look back. This is an advancing army. Each one has his eyes fixed ahead and moves steadily towards the goal, along the path he has been given.
Finally, they lunge between the weapons and are not cut down or wounded – they are invincible, all the power of the enemy cannot stop their advance. They have learnt about the tactics and devices used by their enemy and have become skilled in deflecting them. for we are not ignorant of his devices…. 2 Cor. 2:11
When I am teaching this study face to face with a group of Christians, I usually stop at this point and ask them to take a good look at me. I then ask them to tell me what they see – honestly! We can’t do that little exercise on the internet, so I’ll try to give you a description. Basically I am a short (5 foot two inches – well, nearly), Australian housewife who grew up in the Western (working class) suburbs of Sydney and raised four children. By nature I am known to be quiet and reserved, with a softly spoken voice. There is absolutely nothing in the natural about me that would cause you to look twice if you passed me on any street. In fact, most people who meet me, have trouble remembering my name! I am absolutely the last person on earth any general in his right mind would choose for military service. Why am I sharing this information with you? Well, doesn’t it strike you as odd that someone like me should be called to teach and release the church in the area of “warfare”?
Praise the Lord for 1 Cor. 1:25-29: Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. So if the Lord, in His wisdom, chooses to make me a living personification of His Word, I am learning not to argue with Him!
You see,.effective spiritual warfare has nothing to do with aggression, physical appearance or stamina, but has everything to do with authority. It has nothing to do with how much we shout or how much noise we make when we pray – and I’m certainly not against shouting or making a lot of noise, there’s a time for that. Jesus knew how to shout when He was moved by the Spirit to do so: “Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” John 11:43. What I am saying is that those who walk in a true spiritual authority don’t have to prove anything – even their whispers are heard in the heavenlies.
Now we are going to look at some specific scripture passages:
Mark 1:21, 22: Then they went into Capernaum and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught. And they were astonished at His teaching for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
Mark 1:27: Then they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying “:What is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.”
Matthew 21:23 – Now when He came into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people confronted Him as He was teaching, and said “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority?” But Jesus answered and said to them “I also will ask you one thing, which if you tell Me, I likewise will tell you by what authority I do these things: The baptism of John, where was it from? From heaven or from men?”
The Greek word used for “authority” in each of these verses is “exousia”, meaning “delegated influence, power, force, right, strength or jurisdiction“. Think about that. The authority Jesus walked in was not assigned to Him by men, but it was recognised by men. In fact we see from Mark 1:22 that many of those who claimed to have
“official” authority, that is the scribes, and teachers, were not acknowledged by the people to have this same authority they saw in Jesus.
Furthermore, we are told in Mark 1:27, they were amazed and even questioned among themselves what it could all mean. Why were they amazed? Because Jesus was totally “unendorsed by leadership”. He didn’t carry the card, He didn’t wear the name tag, He didn’t have the title! “What new doctrine is this?” they asked. They were receiving a new revelation – that there was another source of authority other than the religious heirarchy! No wonder they were amazed – this Jesus walked in a “delegated influence” endorsed by the Father – and He didn’t need the approval of men to exercise it!
Jesus Himself bought into the whole argument when He asked the chief priests and elders where they thought John the Baptist’s authority had come from, heaven or men. His very direct question placed them between a rock and a hard place – they didn’t dare answer. He was also telling them that His authority came from the same place as John’s had – because they knew full well it hadn’t come from them.
Here are a couple of important things we need to know about spiritual authority:
1) It is for edification, not for destruction. For even if I should boast somewhat more about our authority, which the Lord gave us for edification and not for your destruction I shall not be ashamed …. 2 Cor. 10:8
2) Jesus has been given authority by the Father to exercise judgment, because He is the Son of Man, and because He judges righteously.
For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. John 5:26, 27;
…in righteousness He judges and makes war…” Rev. 19:11
Levels of Authority
Now there’s an authority level which all believers attain when they are born again:
And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. Ephesians 1:22
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-6.
So we need to understand from the outset that our authority as believers is in Christ alone and we engage in spiritual warfare from an understanding of that position. This is a basic authority that is inherent in every Christian, though many do not realise it.
However, there are also increasing degrees of authority in God’s kingdom. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Cor. 3:18
Here’s the same verse from the Amplified version: And all of us, as with unveiled face (because we) continued to behold (in the Word of God) as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another, for this comes from the Lord Who is the Spirit. Being transformed into the image of the Lord means we are taking on all of His nature, which includes His authority. And we are all at different stages of that process.
The Bible teaches that Satan’s kingdom is also subject to different levels of authority: Colossians 1:16 speaks of “thrones, dominions, principalities and powers”, and Ephesians 6:12 names “principalities, powers, rulers of darkness and spiritual hosts of wickedness”. Because the enemy’s kingdom is ranked in this way they recognise and have to respond to true authority.
In the Kingdom of God, there are specific authoritative anointings given by God to His servants for the work, or ministry, assigned to them. In Mark 13:34. Jesus described His Father’s Kingdom this way: It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. When a believer is called to a certain work for the Lord, he/ she is given authority to carry out that work effectively.
The Apostle Paul understood this principal well: We, however, will not boast beyond measure, but within the limits of the sphere which God appointed us – a sphere which especially includes you….. Not boasting of things beyond measure, that is, in other men’s labours, but having hope, that as your faith is increased, we shall be greatly enlarged by you in our sphere to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s sphere of accomplishment 2 Cor. 10:13, 15 &16. Paul was saying to the Corinthians that he would not overstep the limits of the boundaries God had assigned him. He recognised that he had authority to carry out the work God had given him to do, but did not have authority to carry out the work assigned to other men. However, as he carried out his work faithfully within the sphere of his authority, his hope was that his sphere of authority would be enlarged. When God calls you to a certain ministry or work within His Body, He equips you for that work. But we need to be aware of the boundaries of our field of authority in His Kingdom and not step into an authority area that has not been given to us, but to another. This can only be discerned through the Holy Spirit. And as we are faithful with a little we are given more by the Lord and the sphere of our delegated influence enlarges.
Levels of Authority through the Life of David
We can come to a greater understanding of spiritual authority by tracing David’s rise in authority through scripture. Firstly, though, let’s look at 1 Samuel 17:39: “David fastened his sword to his armour and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. And David said to Saul, “I cannot walk with these, for I have not tested them.” So David took them off.
We need to see here that David had come straight from the sheepfold – He only knew a certain level of authority that had been given him up to that point, and that’s what he moved in. He knew how to use a slingshot, but not the armoury of a King. He didn’t assume any more than he knew, even though at this point in his life he’d already been anointed for kingship. It’s the same in spiritual warfare – we can’t assume to go into battle with someone else’s anointing – you need to know your own level of authority at that particular time. The Bible reveals six levels of authority represented in David’s life:
1. With the Sheep – Therefore Saul sent messengers to Jesse, and said “Send me your son David, who is with the sheep. 1 Sam. 16:19 David’s early life was spent as a shepherd. In that solitary place of the sheepfold, he came to know His God so intimately and so personally that the foundations of his faith were set firmly for the rest of his life. David learnt two important things during his years with the sheep. First – he learnt to love the sheep. We know he loved them because he fought both lions and bears to protect his sheep (1 Samuel 17:34,35). He carried out to the best of his ability the work he had been given. Second, he learned obedience to his father – David had seven older brothers who had gone off to fight the Philistines, but David stayed with the sheep until his father released him to the battlefield with food for his brothers. God will test us to see if we really care for His sheep, that is, His people, before He gives us greater authority in His Body. God will also test us to see if we have learnt obedience to Him, our Father, before He expands our sphere of authority.
2. Armourbearer – So David came to Saul and stood before him. And he loved him greatly, and he became his armourbearer. 1 Sam. 16:21. You may be called to be a leader; you may be anointed to do mighty things in the Kingdom of God as David was, but the Lord will test you under leadership until He’s satisfied that you understand the principals of submission and authority that He has set in His Kingdom. Sometimes, as in David’s case, the leadership God chooses to test us with is not without fault or error. However, God’s greater purpose in such a situation is to mould our character into the image of His Son.
3. Over the men of war. – So David went out wherever Saul sent him, and behaved wisely. And Saul set him over the men of war, and he was accepted in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul’s servants. 1 Sam 18:5 Next, David is given a military commission; he advances from personal armour bearer to the king, to captain over hundreds . (In the Israelite army there were varying degrees of rank which included captains over hundreds and captains over thousands.) By this time David was learning wisdom (he behaved wisely); his anointing for leadership was being recognised by both his leaders and the people and he was being sent out on important assignments. With an elevation in authority and rank comes an elevation in responsibility.
4. Captain over a Thousand – Therefore Saul removed him from his presence, and made him his captain over a thousand; and he went out and came in before the people.
1 Sam. 18:13 Here David is given even greater freedom and authority; he becomes Captain over a Thousand with permission to both go out and come in at his own discretion, to make his own decisions. His arena of authority and responsibility is increased with greater trust. Though we may discern Saul’s motives as evil, we need to recognise that these promotions in levels of authority came sovereignly from God to David, not from Saul.
Then comes a greater time of testing for David as he enters his wilderness experience. The man anointed to be King over Israel, running for his life, fleeing and hiding from King Saul who seeks to kill him. What a deep time of reflection and trial it must have been for David. But God is shaping and testing this man’s character. There are more things God wants to do in him before He will allow Him to rule over His people as King.
It’s a time when David begins to realise there must be more to his life than warfare, and he begins to seek out wisdom and understanding. He turns to Samuel the prophet for counsel. So David fled and escaped and went to Samuel at Ramah, and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and stayed in Naioth. 1 Samuel 19:18 Now, we know that David already has the calling, we know he already has the anointing, but this verse reveals that David discovered that wasn’t enough. I believe David was drawn to Samuel, (representing the prophetic), at this particular time in order that Samuel might impart deeper understanding of the ways of God to David. You might even say David attended his own School of the Spirit!
This is a time of breaking in David’s life. Persecuted and driven to the wilderness because of the anointing on his life, it’s a time when he begins to identify with and provide shelter for the brokenhearted and troubled. And everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him. So he became captain over them. And there were about four hundred men with him. 1 Sam. 22:2. Captain over four hundred? Hey, but this man had lived in the King’s palace and been captain over thousands! Anointed and called to be ruler over Israel, yet hiding in caves in the desert and surrounded by a group of outcasts!
I wonder if I’m hitting any nerves with any of you! Let there be no misunderstanding – for everyone who aspires to greater authority and levels of influence in the Kingdom of God, be aware that you will be led by God through your own wilderness experience and one of the purposes will be to break your heart for those who are hurting and wounded. You cannot speak powerfully into the lives of His people from a position of unbrokeness.
Another very important thing God was teaching David in the wilderness, was that there is an “appointed time”. On two occasions he had the opportunity to kill Saul, seize the throne and put an end to his own suffering, but on both occasions in great anguish of heart he resisted the temptation. (1 Sam. 24; 26). There are seasons and appointed times in our lives decreed by God: Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings, He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. Daniel 2:21 We know David came to understand this principal, because he cried out “My times are in your hand.” Psalm 31:15 Don’t pre-empt the Spirit, because you will not be ready for what you think you are ready for. Learn to wait on Him, no matter what the outward circumstances are, and what you know your calling or anointing to be, If it’s not the Spirit’s timing – stand and wait.
5. King Over Judah – Then the men of Judah came and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah…. 2 Sam. 2:4. The next level we see for David is his anointing as King over Judah. At this time the nation of Israel was divided into the Kingdom of Israel in the north and the Kingdom of Judah in the south. So at last David was King, but of only half the nation. David’s calling was as King over all of Israel.
6. King Over Israel – Therefore all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord. And they anointed David king over Israel. 2 Sam. 5:1-3. Finally, seven and a half years later, David is appointed King over Israel as God had promised, uniting both the kingdoms. We need to understand that between “anointing” and “appointing” God will take us through a training process. For some it may be years, for others it may be much shorter. I believe that the time between anointing and appointing is becoming accelerated in these last days, but we can still hold up the process, even negate it. Friends, God is faithful to fulfil all He has promised, but if we don’t recognise what He is doing in our lives and submit to His training and discipline, we can lengthen the process considerably.
Now did you notice that in both cases when David was made king, first over Judah and then over the entire nation of Israel, he was anointed by the people. – he did not pre-empt or promote himself to the title of king, even though the position was rightfully his. God had sent the Prophet Samuel to anoint David as King many years before, but he had waited on God for the appointed time and until the people recognised and acknowledged him. I believe there is coming a maturity to the Body of Christ when the Body will recognise and acknowledge true spiritual authority and government as already called and appointed by God, not by men.
Authentic Authority and Assumed Authority
The Pharisees asked Jesus “by what authority are you doing these things and who gave you this authority?” (Matthew 21:23.) They had a legal right to ask that question of him, and so does the enemy have a legal right to ask us that question of us.
Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying “We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches. Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so. And the evil spirit answered and said “Jesus I know, Paul I know; but who are you?’ Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded” …and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.” Acts 19: 13-17.
The seven sons of Sceva found out that assumed authority just won’t cut it when dealing with powers of darkness. They took upon themselves an authority that was not theirs. Christians can do the same – some of us have reduced the holy Name of Jesus Christ to little more than a magic formula. We know there is authority in the Name of Jesus, so we try to use it like some password, or like our PIN numbers. It’s a “quick fix” mentality that says if we push the right buttons we’ll get the results we want. We need to learn how to magnify His Name, not minimise it. You can’t use the Name of Jesus with power if you don’t fear that Name yourself.. Words alone, no matter how religious, have no intrinsic power.
Our authority to use Jesus’ Name is directly related to our relationship with Him. Spiritual warfare is not a game, and Satan and his troops will not yield to assumed authority. If we want to move in authority over the enemy, we’d better be walking in a truthful and close relationship with Jesus, or sooner or later we’re going to be exposed and humiliated like the sons of Sceva. Too often we quote “resist the Devil and he will flee from you”, but friends the whole of that verse in James 4:7 is Submit to God, resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. So, we need to be under the authority of Jesus to move in His authority.
How do you grow to greater levels of authority? By overcoming. Every time you persevere through a situation thrown up at you by the enemy, and enforce the victory won by Jesus at the cross, your level of spiritual authority is increased and enlarged, and the Kingdom of God is extended. Whatever circumstances you may be battling right now, I can promise you if you persevere and overcome, you will come out of your experience with a level of authority in that particular area that will send the enemy running.
God has promised in His word that all the resources of His Kingdom are at our disposal. Isaiah 40:29 tells us He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. So if you’re sitting there right now painfully aware of your weakness, your inadequacy, your failure, that’s you that’s talking about, isn’t it? Because it’s never going to be your strength, your ability, your knowledge, or even your anointing that gets you through. We’re to be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. God loves to display His wisdom, it’s different to man’s wisdom. It says in Ephesians 3:10 that God intends to use His church to make His wisdom known to the principalities and powers. To the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places. Hallelujah, that’s US! That’s our call, friends! (You can stop at this point and do a little praise dance with me if you like 🙂
Remember 1 Corinthians 1: 26-29: “Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise, by human standards; not many were influential, not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things, and the things that are not, to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.”
David, a lowly shepherd boy, the least in his family, who became Israel’s greatest leader;
Esther, a despised Jewish peasant girl who became queen of one of the greatest kingdoms history has known, and was used to save her nation from annihilation;
Peter, a crude, impetuous Galilean fishermen, who became a leader amongst leaders in the first century church;
Jesus Christ, born in an animal stable, raised in Galilee, the most despised area of His country, executed in shame and humiliation as a criminal: Son of God, Saviour, Lord of Lords and King of Kings.
So if you’re feeling a bit foolish, weak and despised – you’re in awesome company, and you’re a candidate for all the authority, power and wisdom of God to flow through you. God wants to show off through you! So find your position in His army, rise up in His authority and move out into the work He has assigned to you!
Cheryl McGrath, Great South Land Ministries, 2000
ANOINTED FOR WAR
Scripture references New King James Version unless otherwise stated.
Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us,
set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 2 Corinthians 1:21, 22 (N.I.V.)
We’ve been looking at the church as the army of God and the role of each one of us as believers in that army. We’ve talked about the Cross and the willingness of the soldier to lay down his life; we’ve looked at the issue of authority, and in this session we’re going to be talking about some specific anointings in spiritual warfare.
This word “anointing” can bring up all kinds of mysterious and vague ideas in our minds. We hear it a lot, but it seems to have many different meanings. We don’t have space in this study to explore the whole subject of “anointing”, so we will just cover it very lightly here. So what is an anointing? Well, in a practical sense it means to rub or smear oil on a person or a thing. In the Old Testament the anointing was a symbol of God’s power resting upon someone. Kings and priests were ceremonially anointed and set apart, usually by prophets. In literal terms the Hebrew word for anointing (shemen) conveyed the idea of “richness, fatness, fruitfulness”. Isaiah 10:27 says “the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing”. The yoke was the wooden implement put around an animal’s neck and was a symbol of servitude and oppression. But the anointing brings freedom.
In the New Testament , the anointing is spoken of as a specific endowment or unction of the Holy Spirit. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me BECAUSE He has anointed Me….. Luke 4:18. The word “Messiah” actually means “Anointed One”. 1 John 2:27 tells us “the anointing you have received from Him abides in you….the same anointing teaches you concerning all things…..” It is interesting that the Amplified Bible translates the word “anointing” as “a sacred appointment”. (1 John 2:27)
Every Christian has an anointing abiding within. We have been “rubbed” or “smeared” with the oil of the Holy Spirit. If we will learn to listen to it, that anointing will teach us “concerning all things”. God’s presence and power are resident in the anointing. If you see certain consistent spiritual fruit as the result of someone’s area of ministry, you can safely say that person has a specific anointing from God to bear fruit in that area.
An anointing is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit resting upon a person to bring forth fruit in one or more specific areas. Even though there is only one Spirit, just as with the gifts of the Spirit, there are diversities of anointings. In spiritual warfare, there can be different anointings for different fields of conflict. Some may operate more powerfully in deliverance ministry than in strategic level warfare. Others may have a specific anointing to deal with the enemy on the occult level.
So in this study, we are looking at some specific anointings in the area of spiritual warfare. This is because as individuals we need to find and start functioning in our areas of anointing in the army of God, and because corporately the church needs to begin to acknowledge and release anointed people into their spheres of authority.
Two people we are going to look at in this study are Deborah and Gideon, who were both anointed to lead Israel in war at different times of history, but who each were specifically anointed to release the breakthrough needed for the hour.
When Ehud was dead, the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord. So the Lord sold them into the hand of Jaban king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. The commander of his army was Sisera, who dwelt in Harosheth Hagoyim. And the children of Israel cried out to the Lord, for Jabin had nine hundred chariots of iron, and for twenty years he had harshly oppressed the children of Israel. Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, was judging Israel at that time. And she would sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the mountains of Ephraim. And the children of Israel came up to her for judgment. Then she sent and called for Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali, and said to him “Has not the Lord God of Israel commanded, “Go and deploy troops at Mount Tabor; take with you ten thousand men of the sons of Naphtali and of the sons of Zebulun, and against you I will deploy Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude at the River Kishon; and I will deliver him into your hand?” Judges 4:1-7
Deborah was one of only three people in the Old Testament who held the positions of prophet, judge and military leader (along with Moses and Samuel). Verse 5 tells us she sat between Ramah and Bethel. Ramah means “high place”, the place where idolatry was practised. Bethel means “house of God”. Deborah sat “in the gap” between these two extremes. I believe this to be symbolic of high level spiritual warfare and intercession. So already we can see that as well as the prophetic anointing, (she is called a “prophetess” V.4) there’s an anointing for intercession on Deborah. In addition, there’s an anointing of wisdom, counsel and discernment “And the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.” (v.5) In Verse 6 Deborah is given a strategy for war and tactics for the battle by God. The Oxford Dictionary defines strategy as “the planning of a war or campaign”, and tactics as the “method of arranging troops skilfully for a battle”. There are many of God’s people, men, women and children, on whom God is placing an anointing for military style leadership in His army, who will be given strategy and tactics for spiritual warfare and individual battles by the Spirit of God.
It is not my purpose here to go into the rest of the story of the battle, but the end result is that the Israelites are victorious and defeat the enemy army and Sisera is killed. Deborah, along with her general, Barak, then sings a prophetic song inspired by the Holy Spirit. You can read the whole song in Judges 5. To continue our study, we are going to take a look at some of the passages in the Song of Deborah. Firstly, Judges 5:6-8. In the days of Shamgar, son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the highways were deserted, and the travellers walked along the byways. Village life ceased, it ceased in Israel. Until I, Deborah, arose, arose a mother in Israel. They chose new gods; there was war in the gates; not a shield or spear was seen among forty thousand in Israel. This is a description of the state of the nation of Israel just prior to the war with Canaan. In many ways, this is also descriptive of where much of the church has been until recently. Notice the highways are deserted – the people of God were assigned to the “byways”, hiding on the back roads for fear of the enemy who dominated the major highways. Village life had ceased. In those days many people lived in small villages outside the walls of the cities. This is telling us that the people were afraid to venture outside the fortified walls of their cities and towns. The villages had disappeared. Because of marauding raids from the enemy the people had fled inside the walls. Sadly, some churches have become like fortified cities, where the whole focus has become defensive, to keep the enemy out, and to keep the believers safe. The problem is that the rest of the world is still out there with him. We’ve built walls with our structures and systems that keep us apart from the very ones we are meant to be reaching with the Gospel, out there at the enemy’s mercy. They had chosen to follow other gods and God had allowed war to come to them (see Judges 4:2, so the Lord sold them into the hands of Jabin, King of Canaan). The people were not prepared for war and did not know how to use their weapons (not a shield or spear was seen). Many in the church today are awakening to the call to war, but we need God to raise up leaders like Deborah, apostolic “mothers and fathers in Israel”, who are anointed to receive strategies and battle tactics from the Holy Spirit in order to lead the church in effective warfare.
Deborah goes on in her song to acknowledge different tribes who came to fight. This also is an aspect of the anointing on the Deborahs God is raising up – the ability to recognise and discern specific giftings in the Body of Christ and to encourage, and nurture them. Even among the tribes of Israel there were a variety of anointings, and the Bible indicates that these were recognised between one tribe and another. However, even though there were twelve tribes in Israel, THERE WAS ONLY ONE KINGDOM. When the tribes of Israel were summoned together for warfare, they knew who the enemy was, and it wasn’t each other. We are told in Verse 15 that the princes of Issachar, were with Deborah. The tribe of Issachar, who had a prophetic and intercessory anointing, stood in warfare with her. The tribe of Benjamin (v. 4) had a reputation amongst the tribes for fierceness in battle, likewise Naphtali for bravery and stamina (v.18), and Zebulun was known for producing scribes, or keepers of the Word: (And from Zebulun they that handle the pen of the writer. V.14 KJV). Then there was the tribe of Reuben – who had a reputation for being weak, undisciplined, & unreliable. The tribes of Reuben, Gilead, Dan and Asher apparently did not come to assist in the battle. We are told that among the divisions of Reuben there were great resolves of heart but that Reuben stayed among the sheepfolds: Among the divisions of Reuben there were great resolves of heart. Why did you sit among the sheepfolds, to hear the pipings for the flocks? The divisions of Reuben have great searchings of heart. Judges 5:15,16 Well, doesn’t it all sound a bit like the Kingdom of God? It doesn’t matter what tribe (denomination) you belong to, unity isn’t found in sameness, but in recognising and valuing the diversity of God’s Kingdom. It’s in being able to acknowledge that there are both strengths and weaknesses in the different tribes. It’s in recognising specific anointings amongst God’s people, and in being willing to learn from one another, as well as cover each other’s weaknesses. It’s in allowing each other to be different but identifying as one kingdom fighting a common enemy.
They fought from the heavens, the stars from their courses fought against Sisera. The torrent of Kishon swept them away, that ancient torrent, the torrent of Kishon, O my soul march on in strength. Then the horses’ hooves pounded, the galloping, galloping of his steeds. Judges 5:20-22 These verses speak of angelic hosts (the stars) fighting on behalf of Israel in the heavenlies (stars in the Old Testament are often symbolic of angels). God caused a flood from the River Kishon, to sweep away Sisera’s 900 chariots of iron. The horses hooves beat loudly because of the galloping of fleeing riders. Curse Meroz, said the angel of the Lord, Curse its inhabitants bitterly, because they did not come to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty. Judges 5:23. Meroz was a town in Galilee whose inhabitants apparently refused to respond to the call to war. We need to understand that Jesus has put the authority to act into the hands of His church, and when His church acts, under the unction of the Holy Spirit, Heaven endorses. In Ephesians 6:10-20, a passage which talks about the armour of God, we are exhorted to “take… the Sword of the Spirit… Ephesians 6:17. That implies will and action. Having a weapon and having the will to use a weapon are not the same thing. A call to war has gone out to the people of God, and, like the tribes of Israel, we have a choice. Like Reuben, we can stay in the safety of the sheepfold, making endless resolves in our hearts but never actually doing anything about them; or we can be like Issachar, who the Bible tells us were men who “understood the times and knew what Israel should do.”1 Chronicles 12:32
So, what was Deborah’s anointing? She was called a “mother in Israel”. That is an apostolic anointing which recognises, nurtures and releases the anointings and giftings in others. She had an intercessory anointing, and a prophetic anointing. She was a wise judge, gifted in leadership and discernment and she was also a strategist. Today, I believe God is releasing in the Body of Christ a Deborah anointing upon many of His people.
Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord. So the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian for seven years, and the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel. Because of the Midianites, the children of Israel made for themselves the dens, the caves, and the strongholds which are in the mountains. So it was, whenever Israel had sown, Midianites would come up; also Amalekites and the people of the East would come up against them. They would encamp against them and destroy the produce of the earth as far as Gaza and leave no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep nor ox nor donkey. For they would come up with their livestock and their tents, coming in as numerous as locusts; both they and their camels were without number; and they would enter the land to destroy it. So Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites, and the children of Israel cried out to the Lord…. Judges 6:1-5 Now the Angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth tree which was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, ‘The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valour!” Gideon said to Him “O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, “Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?” But now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.” Then the Lord turned to him and said “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?” So he said to Him, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house. And the Lord said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.” Judges 6:11-16
Now I want you to picture the scene. Here we have a young man, threshing his family’s wheat. For years he’s heard the stories from his grandfather and his father and his uncles that have been told and retold through the generations. They would probably sit around the camp fires at night, up there in the dens and caves where they were hiding, and Gideon and his mates would repeat the stories of the elders amongst themselves. “Did you hear the one about where God parted the Red Sea and all the Egyptian army was drowned? Hey, wouldn’t it have been great to see Pharoah’s face?” “Yeah, and what about the one where the people were thirsty and Moses struck the rock and water came out? What about that one!” Then there’d be a short silence. “Hey, have you ever seen water come from a rock?” “Er….no, never”. “Me either.” You can only get so much mileage out of stories from the past, even when they’re true.
You see, Gideon was representative of a generation that was tired of hearing about what God had done in the past, and who were hungry to see God’s power demonstrated for themselves. It wasn’t enough any more to hear the stories the fathers told. The reality for him was that his people were hiding in dens and caves in the mountains just trying to survive. The reality for him was that his family were impoverished because the harvest was continually destroyed and stolen by the enemy. Why was Gideon threshing wheat in the winepress, instead of out in the open on the threshing floor? Because he was hiding! He’d heard all the stories, but they didn’t ease the frustration of having to hide the wheat in the winepress just so he and his family could eat that year. You can just imagine the kind of threshing that wheat was getting, can’t you? And in the midst of all this the Angel of the Lord appears and says “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valour!” So out of the frustration of all the years of growing up and surviving under these depressing, fruitless, circumstances Gideon virtually says “You’ve got to be kidding – He’s with us? Then where is He, and where are His miracles?”
What the Lord was doing was stirring Him up. He knew there was a valiant warrior hidden in Gideon. I don’t know how many of you are aware of it, but there’s a Gideon generation in our midst right now, and they’ve been hidden away in the wilderness by God, and He’s getting ready to release them. Many of them are our young people, but it’s all those who are tired of being hearers of the word, and hungry to be doers of the word. They’re tired of surviving in strongholds while the enemy plunders and steals. They’re being stirred up, they being called out, they’re getting ready to march on the enemy, and they are going to be used in such a demonstration of God’s power that the world has not seen since the days of the early church. Verse 14 then tells us: Then the Lord turned to him… The word “turned” here literally means faced him – the Lord looked at him face to face. This generation that is going to arise will be a generation that has known the Lord face to face, intimately, and upon whom the Lord has turned His Face. Friends, when the Lord turns His Face upon you, He turns His favour upon you.
And He says Go in this might of yours (the NIV says “the strength you have”) …V.14. What might is He talking about? Gideon’s a farmer, not a warrior, and a scared farmer at that – he’s hiding in the winepress for goodness sake! What is it that the Lord is seeing in Gideon as He looks him in the face? May I suggest it’s his weakness? Behold my clan in the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” V.15. And the Lord said “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midainites as one man.” V.16In other words, “That’s just what I want Gideon, someone who knows he can’t do what I’m asking. I’m going to show you how you and I together make a majority.” Please understand, the highest places in this army the Lord is raising up are reserved for the weakest in His house. He can’t use people who are full of their own strength. He can only use those who have come face to face with their own weakness. Because they are the ones who will draw from His might; they are the ones He means when He says “Let the weak say I am strong” They will know their only strength is His strength, because they will have been led by the Holy Spirit through a place where they have had their own weakness revealed to them, and in their brokenness have cried out to God: “without You I can do nothing!”
As we read on in the story we find that Gideon is told to tear down the altar to Baal that has been set up by the people of his city. (v. 25) One of the major aspects of this Gideon type anointing is the strength to tear down enemy strongholds. After this the Spirit of the Lord comes on Gideon and he gathers neighbouring tribes round about him and they go out and set up a camp opposite the Midianites’ camp. But God has Gideon send many of them home, lest Israel should claim glory for itself (Judges 7:2). Even then there are too many for God’s purposes, so God orders them down to the river. So he brought the people down to the water, and the Lord said to Gideon “Everyone who laps from the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall set apart by himself; likewise everyone who gets down on his knees to drink.” And the number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was three hundred men; but all the rest of the people got down on their knees to drink water. Then the Lord said to Gideon, “By the three hundred men who lapped I will save you, and deliver the Midianites into your hand. Let all the other people go, every man to his place.” Judges 7:5-7
Well, just what is God doing here? I believe that some of the people were so crushed in spirit from all their years of hiding from the enemy that they focused solely on their thirst, forgetting why they were there. These ones who got down on their knees and put their faces in the river left themselves defenceless and wide open to enemy attack. Those who used their hands to bring the water to their mouth were still refreshed, but were also able to look around and keep watch for the enemy. They were the ones who hadn’t forgotten why they were there. There’s a lesson for us here. Many of us have been enjoying ourselves in “the river” for the last few years, and rightly so, for we have been in desperate need of refreshing. But there’s still a war going on for the souls of everyone out there who are not in the river. Don’t get so focused on the river that you forget why you are here. The river is great – but we’re not meant to take up residence there. It has a purpose – to refresh us, renew us and strengthen us, but we’re here take the land!
Finally, the Lord gives Gideon a battle strategy and tells him to go down by night with his servant into the enemy camp. Now the Midianites and Amalekites, all the people of the east, were lying in the valley as numerous as locusts; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the seashore in multitude. And when Gideon had come, there was a man telling a dream to his companion. He said, “I have had a dream: To my surprise, a loaf of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian; it came to a tent and struck it so that it fell and overturned and the tent collapsed. Then his companion answered and said, “This is nothing else but the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel! Into his hand God has delivered Midian and the whole camp.” And so it was, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, that he worshiped. He returned to the camp of Israel, and said “Arise, for the Lord has delivered the camp of Midian into your hand.” Judges 7:12-15 There is an actual anointing available in spiritual warfare to go behind enemy lines without being uncovered, and to discern the plans and strategies of the enemy.
Some of you reading this may already be operating in that kind of anointing. In this type of strategic warfare, you are able to see into the enemy’s camp and discern, through the Spirit, their plans. However, be aware that you go in behind the Captain, Jesus, and in His might, not your own. You are able see the enemy’s plan from the vantage point of being seated in Heavenly places in Jesus, and your part is to do what Gideon’s men were told to do: “Look at me and do likewise, watch, and……., you shall do as I do.” (Judges 7:17). In spiritual warfare, we have only one Commander – Jesus. We must watch the Commander only, and do what we see Him doing. If you get your focus on the enemy, pretty soon you’ll be taking your orders from him. The enemy is not the focus – our Commander is our focus. And He alone chooses the times and terms of battle. Some intercessors will be able to identify with what I’m talking about here, but some blow their trumpets way too soon. The key to flowing in this kind of anointing is to come into a place where you’ve waited on the Lord for the particular strategy He wants to use in each instance. So when He shows you what the enemy’s up to, don’t start jumping up and down and making a lot of noise; don’t blow your cover or move out in your own strength. Wait on the Holy Spirit for your battle strategy, and pray it out in faith. Don’t pray out your fears because you’ve seen what’s going on. You’ve only got half of it – get the Lord’s heart and pray that out. We must fight from a position of faith in what God’s going to do.
The anointing of Gideon is an anointing for leadership, but not based on a person’s history or position in the church. It’s an anointing for discernment and strategy, a prophetic anointing that even discerns the plans of the enemy, and an anointing for tearing down strongholds. May the Lord raise up many Gideons in the coming days as the battles intensify, who will receive their orders directly from the Captain of the Host and who will be entirely dependent on the Spirit of God for their battle strategy. Whole camps of the enemy will flee even at the mention of their names! Who are you in God’s army? What is your position? What is your place? You may be a Deborah, a Gideon, a Barak or a Jael; you may be a trumpet blower or a torch bearer. You don’t have to prove who you are to anyone else – the Lord knows who you are. And the great thing is, the pay’s the same. Whether you’re a general or a trumpet blower or one who cooks the food for the troops, Jesus said the pay’s the same (see Matthew 20:1-16). The important thing is to find your place, receive your anointing, and take up your position. Gideon thought he was the weakest and least important in his clan, but God said He was a mighty warrior. Ask the Lord to show you who He says YOU are. Then leave the rest to Him.
Cheryl McGrath, Great South Land Ministries Australia, 2000
MORE THAN CONQUERORS
Scripture references New King James Version unless otherwise stated.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter”. Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”Romans 8:35-37
We have travelled from the Cross of Christ in Session One, through to a deeper understanding of Kingdom authority and some specific anointings in spiritual warfare. In our final session of this four-part Warrior Bride series, we are going to learn what it means to be “more than conquerors.” We are going to learn about the very highest form of warfare.
After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, it came to pass that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses assistant, saying: “Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them – the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the River Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your territory. No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I wll not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Joshua 1:1-6
The Israelites, led by Moses, had come out of Egypt, and had wandered in the wilderness forty years. Forty years earlier they had stood at the brink of entering Canaan, their Promised Land, but had complained and rebelled against God due to unbelief and fear (Numbers 14). Moses had sent twelve spies into Canaan and all except two had come back saying “we can’t do this, we can’t go over there – there are giants in the land”. Of the twelve, only Joshua and Caleb had come back with a good report. They said “yes, there are giants in the land, but also milk and honey, if we cross over God will fight for us.” But the people had refused to cross over and wanted to return to Egypt. As judgment against them God had declared that all those over twenty years of age, would never enter the Promised Land, and He had assigned them to forty years of wandering in the wilderness until that generation had all died off, Moses included.
Now Moses and the older generation had died, and it was Joshua’s turn to lead. Joshua was fully aware of Moses’ death, and yet here was God telling him: Moses My servant,t is dead. (Joshua 1:2). God seems to be making a point here: Joshua, Moses is gone! You’re the man now, you’re no longer the apprentice, you’re the leader! And I want you to lead this people into their inheritance. Now therefore arise ! (Hebrew “quwm” means literally, “stand up, stir up”) He’s saying come on, wake, up, get moving Joshua!
This was a new day and a fresh start – they were to come OUT OF the wilderness and INTO the inheritance. I believe that today we have entered into a time when God is raising up a people with the spirit and mantle of Joshua upon them to take hold of, possess and occupy their full inheritance in Christ.
The New Testament has a lot to say about the church’s inheritance. It’s an inheritance received by faith (Hebrew 11:8) and it’s an eternal inheritance (Hebrews 9:15). It’s an inheritance that is incorruptible, undefiled, unable to fade away, and reserved in Heaven (1Peter 1:4). Our inheritance is our reward (Colossians 3:24) and it has been sealed by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:14). Indeed, “eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Cor. 2:9
So what differentiated the Moses generation, the generation that died in the wilderness, from the Joshua generation who crossed over the Jordan and took possession of their inheritance? After all, they had both experienced miracles like the crossing of the Red Sea and the water from the rock. They had both known God’s provision, by eating the manna, the heavenly food God had sent each day to sustain them. They had both known God’s Presence, through the pillar of fire by night and the cloud of glory by day.
The difference was that the Moses generation was a surviving and maintaining generation. They had begun their journey by coming out of Egypt in radical obedience to God, but had gotten used to the wilderness. You see, the wilderness is not a bad place to be, it’s only a bad place to stay. The wilderness is part of God’s plan for us, it’s a place of training and growing – that’s a good place. But what good is preparation that is never tested? What good are plans that never eventuate? What good is a vision that is never birthed? For the Moses generation, the wilderness had become a comfortable place. Not only had they become comfortable, they had never really left Egypt behind. They were always looking back.
And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them: “If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness! Why has the Lord brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” Number 14:2-4 The Moses generation still had a slave mentality. They’d come out of Egypt, but Egypt hadn’t come out of them.
Many people seem to believe that God had kept the Israelites in the wilderness for forty more years because of their idolatry in worshiping a golden calf when Moses was on the mountain receiving the ten commandments (Exodus 32). However, God’s judgment on them for this sin was a plague (Exodus 32:35). Hebrews chapter three makes it clear that the Israelites were actually consigned to the wilderness for those forty years due to the sins of unbelief and hardness of heart (see Hebrews 3:7-19).
The wilderness is better than Egypt, but it’s not the inheritance, it’s not the Promised Land. God, in His transforming of us into the image of His Son, will take us through wilderness experiences, but if you choose to stay in the wilderness you’ll die in the wilderness. And so all those over the age of 20, those who had known the slavery of Egypt, apart from Joshua and Caleb, never came into their inheritance. They only saw it from a distance, from the other side of the Jordan River.
What, then, set Joshua and Caleb apart in God’s eyes? Why were they allowed to enter the Promised Land?The answer can be found inNumbers 32:11-12: Because they have not followed me wholeheartedly, not one of the men twenty years old or more who came up out of Egypt will see the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; not one except Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua son of Nun, for they followed the Lord wholeheartedly. (N.I.V.) The difference between the Joshua generation and the Moses generation was not one of age – its was one of WHOLEHEARTEDNESS.
At the time Joshua became leader he was around eighty years old, and Caleb was eighty five years old when he came into his inheritance (see Joshua 14:10). You see, it’s not about how old or young you are. The Kingdom of God needs both the enthusiasm, zeal and exuberance of the youth and the wisdom, experience and maturity of age. But it is about a wholehearted commitment to what God wants to do.
Now, let us return to Joshua. We have already seen that Joshua was a man of faith and vision. At this time in his life Joshua was already a seasoned warrior and a veteran of many battles. He was no stranger to warfare; he was no novice. For many years he had been Moses’ apprentice and right-hand man. He had personally led the Israelites into battle and victory against the Amalekites, one of the fiercest and most barbaric tribes around. (Exodus 17:13) He was acknowledged by the Israelites as a great leader and he is known even in secular history as a cunning and brilliant military strategist. But there was something God still wanted to teach Joshua, because Joshua was destined to be more than a conqueror.
And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him. “Are You for us or for our adversaries?” So He said “No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does My Lord say to His servant?” Then the Commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” And Joshua did so. (Joshua 5:13-15)
Now here is Joshua, by Jericho. We can imagine him looking up at those formidable walls and wondering, “How do we take this city, what methods should we use; are there weaknesses in the wall?” And behold, a Man stood opposite him with His Sword drawn in His hand. Well, Joshua did what any brave soldier would do. Fearlessly he asks “Are you for us or for our enemies?” So He said “No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come”. .
Now there are varying opinions about who this stranger actually was, but I believe it to be an Old Testament appearance of Jesus Himself. I have two reasons for being persuaded of this. Firstly, this stranger readily accepted Joshua’s worship. The scriptures show It was not usual for created angelic beings to accept the worship of men. Secondly, in Exodus 23:20 God had promised the Israelites: Behold, I send an Angel before you to keep you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared. Beware of Him and obey His voice; do not provoke Him, for He will not pardon your transgressions, for My Name is in Him. In my belief, both these passages refer to Jesus.
And so it is at this point that all Joshua’s experience up to that time fails him. He had thought he was the commander! Wisely, he realises he’s not the one in control and he falls on his face in worship.
Even still, he still hasn’t fully understood what’s going on here. “What does my Lord say to His servant?” he says. In other words: “What are my orders? What is the battle plan for us to take this city of Jericho? How do we scale these walls?” But instead of the orders he’s waiting for, the Commander of the Lord’s army seems to have something else on His mind, and He says Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy. Then it says, And Joshua did so.
Before Joshua would be allowed to take Jericho, he needed to have an encounter with God’s holiness. Notice the order here, before God gives him the battle plan, he calls him to worship. It’s as if He’s saying to Joshua: No Joshua, you still don’t understand, you see I’m not on your side, you’re on my side. And you need to experience my holiness and allow my holiness to shape you and change you, before we go to war. Learn to worship – then I’ll give you the strategy for this battle – then we go to war!
And the order hasn’t changed. I have a lot of contact with intercessors and intercession groups through my ministry, and one of the things that disturbs me consistently, is the number of immature spiritual “warriors” who seem to have a need to prove their spiritual “prowess”.They are often unhealed Christians who carry a lot of undealt with wounds. No friends, our major ministry is to Jesus – that comes first. Warfare will flow out of our worship, as long as we give our ministry to Him a priority.
And that’s always the order for the people of God. Before Moses went to confront Pharoah, he encountered God at the burning bush; before Paul was allowed to go to the gentiles with the gospel, he encountered God on the Damascus road. David was a worshiper before he was a warrior, spending long hours in intimate communion with God among the sheepfolds. It was even the order for Jesus. The gospel of Luke tells us that just prior to Jesus’ confrontation with Satan in the wilderness, He had been praying:
When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well pleased.” Luke 3:21,22
Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. Luke 4:1,2 (a)
So, you see, there will be two major characteristics of God’s last days army. They will be wholehearted in their warfare, but they will also be wholehearted in their worship. They will be both warriors and worshipers.
Joshua left that place by Jericho that day a changed man. Yes, he left with the strategy to take Jericho, (Joshua 6:1-6), but something much deeper had taken place. The man who had been looking forward to conquering had himself been broken and conquered.
God is calling His people to arise and possess the inheritance He has promised His church. He’s bringing His church out of Egypt and moulding her into a formidable and disciplined army, wholehearted in their commitment to defeat the powers of darkness on every front. They will be a people of vision and faith, a people who understand the Kingdom’s principles of authority, and a people who carry anointings for breakthrough.
But more than this they will be a people of holiness. They will be a people who have learned, as Joshua did, that the highest calling of the warrior is not to war, but to worship. Let us be MORE than conquerors alone, let us be priests and kings who find their greatest delight in ministering to the One who has conquered all for us. His Name is Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God! His Name is Jesus!
Cheryl McGrath and Great South Land Ministries, 2000
Copyright Cheryl McGrath, Great South Land Ministries, 2000. his article may be copied and distributed freely only with copyright information intact. Permission is needed for reproducing this article or any part of it on a website.