“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”.
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
ANATOMY OF A DELIVERER
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”.
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?
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
“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”.
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 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
“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?
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
“Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jedidah the daughter of Adaiah of Bozkath. And he did what was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in all the ways of his father David; he did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.”(2 Kings 22:1-2 NKJV).
I was flying to a Conference in Nashville, TN (“Home of Country Music “& “The Grand Ole Opry”). I happen to sit next to a woman who was heading back home to Nashville. We struck up an easy conversation regarding our Constitutional values and what that implied. How we who live in America should be proud to be given a unique Constitution and the individual responsibility as free citizens to uphold its sacred values. As we continued to converse, I noticed that she was occasionally nodding with approval of our on-going monologue. Finally (I took a breath!), and she jumped in and said, “You don’t realize this but I know this conversation is a divine appointment!” I sat silent and amazed, waiting to hear her explanation. She begins to tell me her name and how her mother gave it to her because it means “Gift of God”. She continued to explain the nature of her birth. The doctors told her mother, that something was wrong with the baby in her womb. “If the baby lives…the child will be a vegetable (Have no life function)!” She should “abort the child.”
What did her mother do? Her mother talked to God and dedicated this child in her womb to God, promising to raise this child for the Lord. That child was the woman I had been talking with. She, in addition to being a healthy child, went on to excel, educationally, going on to becoming a Medical doctor! She was now enjoying children and grandchildren of her own. And further still, if that wasn’t celebration enough…She had been recently asked to take a public servant role in civil government! Our conversation was pivotal; convincing her of God’s engineering this opportunity to serve within her District.
“The Hand That Rocks The Cradle Is The Hand That Rules The World”. So wrote the Poet, William Ross Wallace. He was writing to honor motherhood. He believed both in the nobility and the dignity of a mother’s role in influencing the future course of the world. Apparently the Founding Fathers believed this as well.
Our first President, George Washington, appointed as an original justice of our U.S. Supreme Court James Wilson to uphold this self-evident “right to life of the unborn” citizen of this new country called America. This truth, again, was brought home to me when I stood in front of the actual bench where that “right to life” of the innocent, unborn was struck down 43 years ago in my City. But reading our Nation’s history, we discover that the Founding Fathers of this Country did not waver over this issue. They did not see life as a pawn in the hands of men and women. No one will contest that as someone has rightly stated, ”A man and a woman can ‘make love’. But God alone gives life.” (See Psalm 139:14-16)
THE RECORDS OF HISTORY
History records that some of the greatest Generals and leaders of the world were very near to their mothers. They were both influenced and educated sitting at their mother’s knee. They were also trained in the ways of the Lord through the Scriptures and inspired to believe in their future importance in the world. I’m reminded of the words of the godly Catherine Booth, the wife of General William Booth and Co-founder of the Salvation Army. She was overheard, by one of her servants, admonishing young Catherine Jr. (While still in her Crib!). “Come now Catherine, don’t forget, you were not brought into this world for yourself…you were brought here for others.” Incidentally, all the Booth children followed in their parent’s footsteps…all eight served the Lord Jesus, faithfully, each one with their own unique and distinguished ministry. “Two cheers for God-fearing mothers!!”
© Copyright 2016, Walter Fletcher Jr. This article may be copied and shared free of charge provided that it is not sold or altered in any way from its original content. Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”(Hebrews 11:1 NKJV)
The group tour was over. We were late. The tour was of the famous St. John Church in Richmond, Virginia. But all was not lost! Due to our late arrival, I was given a rare privilege to ascend the steps of the sacred podium and have a photo taken, standing under the “sounding board”(Their “Microphone” in the day)! Here on this very spot Patrick Henry made his famous speech, calling this new Nation to freedom. It rang out from this Church building eventually to all the first 13 Colonies. From the oppression and abuses experienced at the hands of the then Britain Empire came the internal cry of the American people…“Enough!” From that internal cry came some of the most famous words from Patrick Henry, ”Give me liberty, or give me death!”
A HEALTHY SOCIETY
The underpinnings of any healthy society are not the bulwark of its economy, or its mighty edifices. Neither can it be determined to stand or endure by the size of its military might. Nor can it remain secure from the ebb and flow of cultural change by its accomplishments or previous investments thereto. It can only long endure if she values her rare and tender privileges of faith, family and freedom. The Founding Fathers understood this.
Faith must always be the foundation for freedom. The psalmist declared, “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the LORD our God”(Psalm 20:7 NKJV). Again while the prophet, Habakkuk, was being faithful, standing upon his posted watch, he was eyewitness to the downfall of his Nation. While being overrun by the Chaldeans, he hears Words from God to stabilize his heart and intended to bring hope in the midst of the confusion and devastation around him. “But the just (or righteous) will live by his faith”(Habakkuk 2:4b).
What makes for humanity or being human is the capacity to choose who or what we will worship. What we worship will determine not merely who we are but what we are becoming. Choices have consequences. This is why when we worship what God warns us NOT to worship; we become ensnared (and in the end enslaved) by its enchanting power. “The idols of the nations are silver and gold, the works of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they do not speak; Eyes they have, but they do not see; they have ears, but they do not hear; nor is there any breath in their mouths. Those who make them are like them; so is everyone who trusts in them”(Psalm 135:15-18 NKJV).
Faith is essential to being human. But what is faith? And why is faith important to being human? From The American Heritage College Dictionary (3rd edition), Faith is: ”Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, an idea, or a thing”…Further, the synonym Faithful means “Loyal, true, constant, fast, steadfast, staunch.” Equally important we must understand that those who have no faith in anything or anyone are not just “to be pitied” but feared. A person without faith is dangerous to themselves and others. Indeed in time of a moral crisis or emergency they will not act out of “stability or loyalty” nor can they be counted on to act out of true values where there are none. Why? Because they have no “True North Star”, stable values, as a compass with which to guide them. The one thing you want to really know if you are waging a war against an enemy, bent on your destruction, is “Whose in the foxhole with me fighting this battle?”
OUR GUIDING STAR
Our concerns (Even fears) for where our Country is headed are rightly founded. The drift of our society from the things that were laid by the Founding Fathers in the bedrock of the American Constitution is alarming! The tragedy is that we have little (or none) historic knowledge of what was given and therefore have no sense of what has made us a great and a free republic. It starts with Faith of Our Founding Fathers (Not perfect men but courageous men).
I believe history will judge this generation by what it does with this moment calling us back to true faith. A.W. Tozer’s definition of faith is a good one to ponder….“Faith is the gaze of a soul upon a saving God”.
© Copyright 2016, Walter Fletcher Jr. All rights reserved. This article may be copied and shared free of charge, provide that it is not altered or sold. Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com
“Stand fast in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage”(Galatians 5:1 NKJV).
Recently, I returned from a trip to Nashville,TN. I wanted to bring home a gift for my wife, who was not able to travel with me. I found a beautiful little decorative heart which had been hand-painted with an image of the American flag and the words “Faith, Family and Freedom”. I knew my wife would love this simple but beautiful expression of my love and thinking of her while away. When I surprised her with it, She loved it! She put it in a prominent place for display. The more I considered the emblem of the heart, the more I became acutely aware of it’s message. It was truly a reminder of the things (of the heart) that have made this Nation great.
The Founding Fathers of this Nation understood that “a threefold cord cannot be easily broken”(Ecclesiastes 4:12). “Faith, Family and Freedom” are the enduring braided strands of a healthy society. Like a three-legged stool, remove any one of the legs, the stool cannot stand nor bare the weight for which it is asked to support. Equally, when the Founding Fathers gave this “American experiment” three branches for an Independent government: A Legislative branch, An Executive branch and a Judicial Branch,it was in order to maintain the checks and balances necessary for the freedoms for all its citizens.
We are in a time when as someone said, “From time to time we must refresh the cup of liberty”. Meaning that the notion of freedom and a free people must not be taken for granted. Freedom is not free. The cost of liberty is that it must be maintained and sustained with voluntary and willing sacrifices. This is what has made this Nation great throughout its few hundred years of history. We have time and again risen to the occasion, in spite of great crisis and challenges. We, as a Nation, have been able overcome the odds that many wondered that we could(or would) endure.
I believe if we join, as our fore-fathers have declared, foundationally, “IN GOD WE TRUST” and “refresh our cup of liberty”, returning to our spiritual and moral values which have made us a great nation….Its not too late to fulfill our destiny. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Be not entangled again in a yoke of bondage.”(Galatians 5:1).
(C) Copyright 2016, Walter Fletcher Jr. All rights reserved. This article may be copied and shared without charge provided that it is not sold nor altered in anyway from its original content. Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com