“Before I formed you in the belly,
I knew you."
#eshetchayil #ishchayil #chayil #kingdomorientation #kingdomidentity
The words “Cancel Fear This Year” have resounded in my spirit throughout 2019! This mandate prompted my consistent refusal to live in fear or defeat. Although ignited to rise above obstacles and motivated to live victoriously, I was also aware that the Lord was preparing me in advance for contrary situations that would dictate a completely different behavior! After marinating in the book of Judges, I felt compelled to write this entry about another Old Testament valiant man’s (ish chayil) personal struggle with fear.
Israel’s Kingdom Identity was born out of their covenant instituted by YHWH on Mt. Sinai in Exodus, “I will be your God, and you will be my people!” They were not to worship any other gods, and God would be directly involved in the details of their existence, daily. They would worship Him alone, with their whole spirit, soul, mind and body. In turn, He would provide for, protect and bless them. They would also exemplify the intimacy the Creator God desired with every other person.
Judges 6 opens with Israel having broken covenant with YHWH, resulting in their devastating predicament with the Midianites, who would destroy their crops, livestock and all their property. The Bible says, “They left no sustenance in Israel,” indicating that even Israel’s future was in jeopardy. In great misery, the Israelites made for themselves mountain dens or caves to hide in.
Living in stark fear was inconsistent with Israel’s Kingdom Identity as described above. Instead of living in the peace and prosperity YHWH’s covenant provided, they were dominated by the dictates of fear! Instead of being God’s covenant example they were relying on their own measly efforts for survival! Greatly impoverished, they cried to the Lord for help!
Whenever God’s people cry for help, God sends a deliverer, however this time, He first sends a prophet exclaiming why all this had happened, and reminds them of how God rescued them from Egyptian bondage.
The Angel of the Lord sat under an oak tree. Gideon was beating out wheat (dry) in the winepress (wet), to hide it from the Midianites. Notice the resulting dysfunction and impact of living in fear, as Gideon is now in the habit of performing a dry activity in a very wet place. The Angel said, “The Lord is with you mighty warrior (ish chayil)!” Didn’t the Angel see Gideon hiding? If so, why would the Angel call this scaredy cat a “man of valor?”
Fear consistently disrupts our alignment with divine purpose, while the Lord consistently works to remind us of who we really are (Kingdom Identity).
Gideon’s altered perception due to life’s circumstances causes him to attempt to convince the Angel that God is no longer around, and that he is not, in any way, a deliverer. Yet, the Lord repeatedly comforts, and declares His divine plan and presence. Gideon then seeks proof through fleecing.
Bad times and negative experiences are incapable of altering the will of God! God meant what He said!
First on the King’s agenda is family! Gideon is charged with the dangerous task of destroying idol worship at home. He was to build God an altar and worship there. In essence, Gideon was to restore the honor of his father’s house, leading to his new name, Jerubbaal (let Baal contend against him).
While the enemy hordes gathered, “The Spirit of the Lord took possession of Gideon; and he sounded the trumpet, and his fellow warriors were called out by tribes to follow him” (6:34). The Hebrew says it this way: “The Spirit of the Lord clothed Himself with, put on, dressed Himself with, or wore Gideon; and he sounded the trumpet…” Can you imagine God putting Gideon on like we would put on a jacket or shirt? Here's the thing! Though Gideon would be present in this great battle, it would be GOD'S BATTLE! God put Gideon on and would fight through him! This narrative concludes with Israel’s deliverance, as a result of GOD'S POWER THROUGH Gideon.
So we defy the bondage of fear and defeat! We cancel the harassment of Fear with the TRUTH that the Lord fights for us! We gain the victory through His divinely activated power! In THIS instance, we refuse to be self-sufficient! May we never forget the Power-Source!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we commit to your service as vessels of deliverance, and to the restoration of Your honor in both our natural and spiritual families! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
canceler of darkness