THE GIDEON COMPANY(Pt. 6)

THE GIDEON COMPANY (Pt. 6)
““Behold, I will put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I will know that You will deliver Israel through me, as You have spoken.””‭‭Judges‬ ‭6:37‬‭NASB‬‬

FLEECING THE ALMIGHTY?

Gideon has been called, consecrated, and clothed with the Holy Spirit. What more does he need? Apparently convincing! Before you raise too broad of a smile as to his lack of faith and assurance, let us consider the outcome of his request.  The LORD God answered his request!
Was God being “fleeced” by his servant? Or was He in anyway obligated to answer Gideon’s request? The answer is that God didn not  act out of “duty” like a heavenly “bell-hop” (or servant), making the fleece wet and the ground dry” and vice-versa. The LORD did not obligate Himself, in any way, to answer Gideon’s request.  But He did accommodate Gideon’s lack of courage. It seems that God was more interested in getting a victory over His enemies than chastising his servant for his reluctance in moving forward directly with God’s plan.
We all (from time to time) have “feeble knees” and “fainting spells” from lack of courage. In those times (if we sincerely mean to do the LORD’s will), we are often given the divine confirmation needed to move forward in Him. The apostle Paul wrote a letter of encouragement to his son in the faith, Timothy, who had a “timid” nature as a young leader. “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”(‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭1:6-7‬ ‭NIV).

“For though we live in the world,we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ”(2 Corinthians‬ ‭10:3-5‬ ‭NIV‬‬).

Apparently, Gideon needed all the assurance he could get for his momentary sagging faith and loss of courage. And the God of “Signs and Wonders” was pleased to give him the confirmation he needed. He assured him he was indeed God’s “mighty man of valor for the hour” versus ,as someone said, only a “man of paste and flour”! We are called to “Fight the good fight of FAITH[Caps. mine]”(1 Timothy 6:12a NIV).
FLEECE WET…FLEECE DRY
The fleece on the threshing floor is very suggestive of God’s way in true revival. The fleece is a symbol of the people of God. For we are called “the sheep of His pasture”.   And when we are prostrate and brought low before the LORD, He sends the refreshing dew of the Holy Spirit in order to revive us. Many of God’s saints have testified that when the night of spiritual conflict or as some have termed it the “dark night of the soul” has passed, they experienced renewed sense of God’s grace, power and vitality.  They understood, that the  “fleece”,as it were, of their soul had been brought low in God’s presence to receive heaven’s dew until it could be wrung out as Gideon demonstrates a “bowl full of water”; sustaining the weary, thirsty soul.  Our Lord Jesus taught, “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled”(Matthew 5:6).
God will later answer Gideon by reversing the order, causing “the ground to be wet and the fleece dry”. This speaks of the ways of God in true revival. God first “revives and renews” the people of God in order that He might give “the Dew of His saving grace” to a dying world. He has promised, “The remnant of Jacob will be in the midst of many peoples like dew from the Lord, like showers on the grass, which do not wait for anyone or depend on man”(Micah‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭NIV).
We need Revival is for the God’s people.   But it should always lead to an Awakening for those who are “dead in their trespasses and sin”(Ephesians 2:1 NASB). One must proceed the other.
(C) Copyright 2016, Walter Fletcher, Jr. All rights reserved. This article may be shared free of charge provided that it is not altered in anyway from its original content. Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

THE GIDEON COMPANY(Pt.5)

“Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the sons of the east assembled themselves; and they crossed over and camped in the valley of Jezreel. So the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon; and he blew a trumpet, and Israel was called together to follow him. “(‭‭Judges‬ ‭6:33‬).
VALLEY OF JEZREEL
God’s enemies had gathered in the valley of Jezreel to do what they had done for the past seven years. They had had their way with God’s people, pillaging and plundering their Land.
The strategy of the enemy never changes.  JESUS said, “The thief(representing the kingdom of darkness) comes to steal, kill and destroy. But I have come(representing the Kingdom of God) that they might have Life and that more abundantly”(John 10:9 -My Paraphrase). There is ultimately only two kingdoms in the world.  You cannot be a citizen of both. You must decide of “Which Kingdom do you belong?”
The place named “Jezreel” has a significant Biblical history. It was first conquered under Joseph’s ancestry and made a part of their inheritance. This was quite a feat in their day. Their opponents had the latest “modern day” weaponry…”iron chariots”.  But this did not deter God’s people. Their generation had come to believe (and demonstrate) that with the Arm of the LORD on their side they need not fear the carnal weapons of men. “Victory is of the LORD our God”,said the psalmist.
Jezreel was later established as the place where Ahab and Jezebaal’s ruled. But because of their leading God’s people into wickedness and idolatry, the LORD God would ultimately wipe out their heritage and leave no memorial to them nor their descendants in the LAND(See 2 Kings 9:30-37).
SOWN AGAIN
The Word of the LORD came to the prophet Hosea that God would use Jezreel as a place of chastisement but also as a place of promised future blessing. The Hebrew meaning of Jezreel is “He who sows or plants”. Recall that like the prophet Hosea’s wife,Gomer, God’s people had time and again gone astray in unfaithfulness. Therefore, God announces that He would “scatter them among the nations” whom they had run after like an “adulterous” lover. But God would not entirely forsake them. He would “hedge them about”, heal them and then “plant them” once again in their own land(See Hosea 1 & 2). It is a wonderful thing to know that “He who scatters” is also able to “gather and restore”. Only God can redeem and heal a life to fulfill its purpose.
BLOW THE TRUMPET
Back to our story of Gideon. While the enemy was gathering his troops, so too,God was gathering His army for their day of battle. He starts with new leadership.  For “new wine must be put into new wineskins”.  By the Holy Spirit,Gideon blows a trumpet rallying the troops.  Like Gideon, there must be a Spirit-led leadership corp. How will we recognize them?

(1) Spirit-Clothed. It was not Gideon’s brilliant human skills. Rather he was the human vessel that God’s Spirit adorned. Our Lord Jesus prepared His apostles in the same manner. ““And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”(Luke‬ ‭24:49‬ ‭NASB).‬‬ He knew they could not advance the kingdom of God on earth without the Holy Spirit’s enwrapping grace. The Holy Spirit’s enabling grace would not only cover them for their God-given task but would insulate and distinguish them with His character.
(2)Spirit-Called.   It is the business of the Holy Spirit to confirm that we have been called by God and not by men. We will unwittingly disqualify ourselves when we lean on our own fleshly nature and human reasoning rather than trusting the Holy Spirit’s confirming work.
(3) Spiritually-Equipped. The Holy Spirit “clothes Himself with Gideon and he blows a trumpet” calling Israel to the fight. This was a sound heard in the Land after seven long years of oppression. God’s time had come to deliver His people. Although Gideon may have felt small and insignificant, his action was huge in the Spirit-realm. Somehow things would not be the same. Remember, It is not(as the saying goes)”How big is the DOG in the fight? Rather it is, How big is the FIGHT in the dog that determines who wins.”
(C) Copyright 2016, Walter Fletcher, Jr. All rights reserved. This article may be shared free of charge provided that it is not altered in anyway from its original content. Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

THE GIDEON COMPANY(Pt.4)

A NEW REVELATION OF GOD
In Judges 6, Gideon is called by God to lead his people into battle against the enemy. He understands that this cannot be done in his own strength or self-reliance. He seeks  reassurance that this is in fact the “Angel of the LORD”. He brings back an offering, placing it upon a rock.   The Angel of the LORD touches the offering with His staff and it immediately is consumed! In place of this all-consuming fire,
Gideon receives a revelation of this Angel, “JAH-Shalom”; The LORD IS PEACE.  For all his fears, doubts and misgivings as to his qualifications for the daunting task of leading his people into battle he is given the peace of God as his assurance. We,too, must be assured (as do all who are called of God) that as someone said, “God doesn’t call the qualified rather He qualifies the called.” Our assurance as the apostle Paul will later declare, is that “The God of Peace will Himself crush Satan under your feet.”(Romans 16:20). “The battle is the LORD’S”. And when we show up, presenting ourselves to Him, the victory is half-won! With this, the psalmist agrees, “Through our God we shall do valiantly. It is He that shall trample down our enemies”.

A NEW REVELATION OF SELF
Seeing God in a new light allows us (like Gideon) to see ourselves in a new light. Gideon, timidly, steps out in obedience to God’s call, overthrowing the altar of the false Baal god. His act of defiance against the enemy,creates a “chain reaction” in the realm of the Spirit. His father(and family) are the first to be freed from the spirit of stupor and oppression of Baal worship. His father declares, that if Baal can’t defend himself…he must not be worthy of our fear, nor our worship.  His family realizes the pure logic of this statement. Gideon is given a new name, “Jerubbaal, He who contends with Baal”. And he is repositioned to a new place of recognition and honor among his family. He, who considered himself the “least among the family”(in his own eyes), is promoted as head of his tribe.                                  

God loves taking the “zeros” in life and making them “heroes in life”. The Word is true for those who are in Christ Jesus, “We are more than conquerors through Him who loves us”(Romans 8).
When you stop listening to the voices that seek to keep you in bondage and defeat and begin  to say only what your Heavenly Father says about you, the “true-self” revelation trumps and triumphs over ALL the power of your enemies.
(C) Copyright 2016, Walter Fletcher Jr. All rights reserved. This article may be copied and shared provided that it is not sold nor altered in anyway from its original content. Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

THE GIDEON COMPANY(Pt.3)

“Do not depart from here, I pray, until I come to You and bring out my offering and set it before You.” And He said, “I will wait until you come back.””(‭‭Judges‬ ‭6:18‬ NKJV)

For Gideon, it was no light thing that he should receive a  heavenly visitation. He knew in some way that God had heard the cry for deliverance from His people. We must understand that true national revival always begins first with God’s people. In other words, it’s no point in hoping that  the moral or spiritual values of our culture will change until WE BECOME THE CHANGE we long to see.  How does Gideon begin the change?  By way of altars.
ALTAR OF DEDICATION
He first establishes a personal altar. He consecrates himself fully by bringing out that which is very costly(“Meat, bread…broth”-Judges 6:18-24). King David,as well, understood the cost of a sacrificial altar. As leader of Israel,he understood his personal responsibility in time of a national crisis, “I will not offer that which cost me nothing”(2 Samuel 24:24). He understood that “a service that counts is a service that costs”.
ALTAR DESTROYED
Gideon was instructed to “Pull down the altar of Baal”, in his father’s backyard(Judges 6:25-32). How often it is true, that the thing that is the “power base” for strongholds and iniquitous patterns within communities or regions are close to home.  If you want true revival you must understand that God will have no revival “gods”. Tear down the altars…Get rid the idols!

ALTARS OF REDEDICATION
Once Gideon had removed the offense from before the eyes of the LORD God, like the prophet Elijah (1 Kings 18), he rebuilds an altar to the true God of Israel. This results in the legal ground of their enemies being removed from their Land and God returning to lead them into victory.

We need to follow Gideon’s example: A time of Personal dedication, A time of Demolition of all idols followed by A time of REDEDICATION to God. Only this will bring deliverance in time of spiritual and moral defeat.

(C) Copyright 2016, Walter Fletcher Jr. All rights reserved. This article may be copied and shared provided that it is not sold nor altered in anyway from its original content. Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

THE GIDEON COMPANY(Pt.2)

ANATOMY OF A DELIVERER
(Judges 6:10-16)

COURAGE
It was no fun and games for God’s people.  Their sins had found them out. The Midianites and their unholy alliance had moved in once again to pillage & devastate the Land. God had once again got Israel’s attention.   God’s people begin to cry out to the true God.  God responded by sender his messenger, a prophet who calls them to return to the LORD God. Meanwhile, there is an unseen figure “hiding over in the winepress…beating out wheat”;saving it for God’s people. So,too, today God has a people who are pushing past their fears and timidity and are taking daring action in this hour. In time of darkness and the enemy’s encroachment they are arising to the challenge. History records there have always been those nameless,faceless ones making selfless sacrifices to release people from seeming, certain defeat.  They often bring people through to great and unprecedented victory!  Jean D’Arc,Washington, Lincoln, Churchill and Patton to name a few.  Many more,like Gideon, may be in hiding but they have not been idle. What have they been doing? In their hiddenness, they have been “beating out the wheat” of God’s Word. The psalmist declared, “Thy Word have I hidden in my heart that I might sin  against Thee”(Psalm 119:11).  Someone noted from this text:  The psalmist hid “The best treasure,in the best place, for the best reason”.
CONTROVERSY
Perhaps the courageous act of Gideon, defiantly preserving food to sustain his people, who had gone underground from their enemies drew heaven’s attention. The angel of the LORD visits Gideon (apparently in a human disguise) assuring him that God was with him.  Gideon responds in true humility and yet frustration. “If the LORD God is with US then, Why has all this happen to us?” And “Where is the God of Miracles (Who Delivered Us from the Hands of our Enemies in times past)?”  He shows that inspite of their dyer circumstances, he still believed in a God of miraculous intervention. He understood that the LORD God-Almighty is the Everlasting, Unchanging One; He Who delivered His people in the past is able to do so presently.   If we can believe, we will see the same God that moves mountains and defeats our enemies.  The Good Book says, “The LORD is a Man of War” and is ready to enter into our battle today when He hears our sincere cry. Again the writer to the Hebrew Believers says, “Jesus Christ the SAME yesterday, TODAY and forever”(Hebrews 13:8).  Do we believe it today?

COMMISSION
The angel of the LORD gives Gideon the insight:  God gives those who are available the privilege of participating in His victories in the earth.  He loves to call those things that are not as though they were. “The LORD is with thee, thou Mighty man of Valor”Judges 6:12)! Whenever God wants to deal with that which opposes His Kingdom in the earth, He uses people like you and me.  The apostle Paul declared, ““For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong”(‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭1:26-27‬ ‭NASB‬‬). God loves increasing His strength in our weakness in order that all glory is His in victory.  This was Gideon’s Commission, “Go in this thy strength…Have I not sent thee?”(Judges 6: 14).  The LORD God’s commission has not changed for those who will hear and obey.  D.L. Moody, that great Revivalist & Evangelist, who had no former degrees of training behind his name (He only had a 7th grade education). And yet it is estimated that over 100,000 were personally led into the Kingdom through his witness.  When asked, “What was his secret?”  He explained, “The Gospel commands the sinner to “Come!” and the believer to ‘Go!”.   How’s your obedience?

 

(C) Copyright 2016, Walter fletcher all rights reserved.  This article may be copied and shared free of charge provided that it is not sold nor altered from its original content.  Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

 

THE GIDEON COMPANY (Pt. 1)

“When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan.”(Proverbs 29:2 NIV).

The Book of Judges is a very curious Book of the Bible. It can best be summarized as the story of reoccurring Cycles of Defeat, Bondage and Rescue by God’s chosen deliverer. One of the lengthiest recorded periods is found in Judges Chapters 6-8. It is recorded after Israel, God’s people, had enjoyed forty years of peace and prosperity under God (Judges 5:31).  The number forty in the Bible often speaks of a generation. So we see that a whole generation, while they faithfully obeyed the LORD (His Word and His Ways) experienced peace and freedom in the Land. God would reiterate this to His people through the prophet Isaiah, “If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the Land”(Isaiah 1:19). But apparently, they forgot and strayed to their own devices.

AMALGAMATION OF THE WICKED

The Book of Judges, Chapter 6, opens with this tragic statement, “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”(Judges 6:1-2a).  This affected them to such an extent that they went underground; “hiding in dens and caves and mountain strongholds”. They had been ensnared by the evil of Idolatry. Thus their enemies were given “legal ground” to persecute and oppress them, which was not what the LORD had ordained for his people (Read Judges 6:2-6).  The reality should be, “The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion”(Proverbs 28:1 NIV).  What a reversal of events.

The Midianites, the Amalakites, and the sons of the East were an amalgamation of the wicked. They hated God and His people.  But,please understand, the Israelites were not (ultimately) defeated by their surrounding enemies. They themselves were the true cause of their defeat. They began to worship “the gods of the Amorites”(Judges 6:10).  

Wherever you have idolatry, it results in a culture of immorality and the murder of the innocent. The commentary is made clear concerning the effect of Israel’s idolatry. “So Israel was brought very low”(Judges 6:6a NAS).  They had “sown to the wind and now were reaping the whirlwinds”.

ISRAEL’S CRY

But all was not lost. God would use what was meant for evil by the enemy and turn it for good.  Israel’s humiliation at the hand of their enemies caused them to humble themselves before the LORD God.  “Israel cried to the LORD”(Judges 6:6b NAS). This got God’s attention.

GOD’S REPLY

God’s answers their cry to heaven. “The LORD sent a prophet”(Judges 6:8). The prophet was more than a “Proclaimer of Truth”. He was also a “Pointer of the Way”, back to God.  All the true prophets were what A.W. Tozer called “God’s moral emergency men”. They appeared (often) out of the hidden place to be revealed in the public place. They were somewhat like the “Town Crier” of old who shouted the time of the day, only the prophet announced what TIME it was, spiritually speaking.  If God’s people would humble themselves and listen to God’s announcement, it would avert ultimate disaster.

REVELATION OF CHRIST

In every crisis, CHRIST waits to be REVEALED.   The apostle John wrote of God’s way of introducing our Deliverer,“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.” (John 1:6-9 NKJV)

Beloved, this is that type of hour in History.  As the prophet Isaiah entreats, “Seek the LORD while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.”(Isaiah 55:6-7 NKJV).

© Copyright 2016, Walter Fletcher Jr. All rights reserved. This article may be copied and shared free of charge, provided that it is not sold nor altered in any way from its original content. Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

 

 

THE CALL OF LIBERTY(Pt. 4)

“For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another”(Galatians 5:13 NKJV).

I recently purchased a “coffee table” size edition of The Constitution Of The United States Of America. It is beautifully inscribed and illustrated by the master calligrapher Sam Fink.(*) Inside I found a wonderful art rendition of a Backbone. And underneath it reads, “This is a Backbone. Man cannot stand erect without one. Neither can a country. The backbone of the United States of America is her Constitution.”
This got my attention. I am a Sculptor. Having taken a Workshop on Sculpting Anatomy from a Master Sculptor I learned a fundamental principle: “When sculpting…If your anatomy is right, your sculpture will be right. But if your anatomy is wrong… your piece will be wrong.”
THE BACKBONE OF AMERICA
Our Constitution is the “Backbone” that causes us to “Stand erect”.   So what, we must ask ourselves, were we in trusted through our American Constitution in 1787?
“In 1787…
We were given the right to practice the religion of our choice.
We were given the right to say what we wanted without persecution.
It was written that our house and property were secure from unreasonable search and seizure.
We were given the right to a public trial.
Fifty-five men we will never know sat in a sweltering room and fought for us.
We were given our rights as citizens of the United States.”(*ibid)

PEGGED LEG MORRIS
Gouverneur Morris of Pennsylvania, one of the signers of the Constitution, wrote the preamble.  He lost a leg as a young man in an accident and walked for the rest of his life with a wooden pegged leg.  But the lost of a leg never slowed him down in life! 
He, along with the other Signers, pledged his life & fortune, not only for his family and generation.  But for the families and generations that were to come. Although he did not lose his leg on the floor of the Convention, he was willing to lose “life and limb” in defending the cause of Liberty. He understood that through the process of creating the Constitution for the American people…It would be “The Backbone” of a free Nation, by which “We the People” today may stand.

Unfortunately, because we haven’t read (or have forgotten) our Constitutional rights(And history) we have become “Sitting ducks”(even”Lame ducks”) for the enemies of Freedom. We are warned by the prophet Hosea, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”(Hosea 4:6). We must educate ourselves again as to our great privileges and responsibilities as citizens.   There is a CALL and COST to Liberty.

(*The Constitution of The United states Of America,Inscribed and Illustrated by Sam Fink,  Copyright (c) 2006,Used by permission, Welcome Enterprises,Inc.,6 West 18th Street, NY,NY 10011; http://www.welcomebooks.com).

(C) Copyright 2016, Walter Fletcher Jr. All rights are reserved. This article may be copied and shared free of charge, provided that is not altered or changed in anyway. Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

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