At the beginning of the week we believed the Lord asked us to post this word from Sparkling Gems from the Greek (attached). As we’ve continued seeking we got a crystal clear confirmation yesterday afternoon. The Lord revealed that some are teaching this exact idea that Rick mentions and confronts here ~ the idea that Paul could have completely avoided the things he suffered as he fulfilled his calling if he had a greater revelation of faith. The Lord highlighted that some are “denying the cross” in the sense that they are misunderstanding/denying the truth that we are called to take up our cross and follow Him (laying down and losing our lives for Him in whatever way required). Some have been misled into rejecting every form of suffering as being the result of a lack of faith. We had heard some of these misunderstandings in past years, but had not heard them very recently, so this message was not on our radar screen at this particular time. But the Lord is saying that these teachings are indeed still circulating and causing confusion and harm. He wants us to understand the price that comes with choosing to truly follow and live for Him.
Due to the tremendous blessing of growing up in our Christian nation, we certainly haven’t all been subjected to the same degree of suffering as we see in Paul’s life (described below), but we believe the Lord has been repeatedly emphasizing to us that He wants to prepare all His people for whatever may come as we live out the last of the last days. Those who have not been prepared for the possibility of the kind of suffering for their faith in the Lord and the Truth of His Word that other believers have had to endure in other parts of the world and throughout history are much more likely to fall away and abandon the Lord and His Truth if faced with increased opposition. If we look throughout history, I think we would find that our Western experience thus far has been the exception and not the rule within Christianity, thanks to the price others paid who went before us.
As we’ve sought Him the last several months to lead us to what we need to know and understand for the coming time, He’s been showing us some things beyond what we would ever want to believe could be possible, things that we would have likely written off had He not surrounded us with the same message through multiple different unrelated sources at the same time in answer to our prayers. We’re not yet sure what He’s asking us to share about this and continue to seek Him for final clarity. But the word posted last year, Sobering Song from the Savior, keeps coming to mind in connection with these things.
Though we know things must eventually come to pass that are prophesied as part of the last days and the ultimate destruction of “Babylon,” the fact remains that the Lord is still urging His people to help avert certain things from occurring now in this nation through repentance (first in the church) and re-establishing our Christian foundations ~ that we will be part of a third great Awakening and unprecedented harvest for His Kingdom. He continues to give us this hope and faith, still taking us to the story of Gideon and confirming what He’s telling us in amazing ways (through our pastor and others). But as He emphasized to us at the beginning of April from that story, in order for this to happen, each one of us must find our place, take our stand in the place assigned to us, and carry out His plan. “They stood every man in his place round about the camp….” (Judges 7). For this reason, the message below from Rick is vital to help those who have been knocked off their post through the attacks of the enemy to get back in their place and continue until their assignments are complete.
Also from Judges 7 the Lord emphasized in the past months the concept that, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel boast about themselves against Me, saying, My own hand has delivered me.” From this He highlighted not only the truth that He is able to bring about this miraculous deliverance through the remnant that He is calling out and raising up, no matter how small, but He also highlighted the truth that He is still taking that remnant through the process of being stripped down and emptied out of all that is not of Him (as mentioned in past posts). There’s not just “too many” in the sense of numbers of people, there’s still “too much” of the people He has called. Just as in Gideon’s story, the Lord cut away and separated out those He knew could not fulfill His plan, He is continuing to perform this same process on His remnant individually and internally, cutting away and separating out all from each one of us all that is “excess” that cannot go with us into the fulfillment of His divine plan. This refers not only to the flesh, but anything that could have been deemed as being to our natural advantage, so that when His promises are fulfilled ALL will know that it was only God who could have brought it to pass. This final cutting, stripping, and emptying is a part of the final testing process He revealed at the beginning of this year. As our guest speakers (Glenn Henderson and his wife) confirmed at church a few weeks ago, God is putting His remnant back in the oven (aka ~ the fire) until we’re “done,” and He wants us “Well Done” as good and faithful servants. 😉 Help us Jesus!!
Lastly, He also pointed out the seeming “foolishness” of His ways and plan through the dream given to Gideon’s enemies.
When Gideon arrived, behold, a man was telling a dream to his comrade. And he said, Behold, I dreamed a dream, and behold, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian and came to the tent and struck it so that it fell, and turned it upside down so that the tent lay flat.14 And his comrade replied, This is nothing else but the sword of Gideon son of Joash, a man of Israel. Into his hand God has given Midian and all the host.15 When Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped and returned to the camp of Israel and said, Arise, for the Lord has given into your hand the host of Midian.
I love the seeming absurdity of God’s ways, that an army could be defeated by a mere loaf of bread rolling into the camp! We can gain more insight by looking at the type of bread God used in this imagery. According to some, barley can represent something deemed to be “less than” in the eyes of the world. The footnote in the Amplified states:
“Alluding to the insignificance of Gideon and his family, or perhaps his whole troop. Barley then, as it is still, was distinguished from “fine flour.” “To hear himself but a Barley-cake, troubled him not. It matters not how base we be thought, so [long as] we be victorious” (Bishop Joseph Hall, cited by The Cambridge Bible).”
And indeed, this confirmed the message God has been reminding us of that He delights in using the people and plans the world despises, disregards, and disqualifies in order that He will get ALL the glory!
For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.26 Brothers and sisters, 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. 27 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. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. I Corinthians 1:25-29
As I continued to research the spiritual meaning of barley in Scripture, I was in awe when I saw that others have shown that it symbolizes “good (not only inwardly, but demonstrated externally ~ moral good) and truth”!!!!! This again confirms that it will be through the church’s repentance and return to God’s standard of truth, tearing down all altars to “false gods” and “idols,” and re-establishing the altar of the Lord in our own hearts, lives, and in the nation, that will bring the victory. If God’s people will rise up as the salt and light He has called us to be, with His standard of good and truth, He can bring about the victory we need ~ no matter how small and seemingly insignificant the remnant may be (again upholding the truth in love, always remembering our true battle is not against flesh and blood – Ephesians 6, II Corinthians 10:3-6).
to be continued…