If you have been following along with these posts for the last few years, you will have noticed that I have communicated often referring to the 10year period we are walking out. Currently 2022 being in year 3 of a 3year grace period of time, where God is inviting and urging us to awaken and shift with Him dramatically, both personally and corporately. The door on that grace period is quickly closing. And I have previously referred to what follows as quite a rude awakening, particularly more so for those who have not prepared themselves with the Lord and hung on for dear life to the old ways over these past 3years. Until recently I had only a glimpse of what to expect and that it would be tough. Honestly, I think I didn't want to look too closely because a sweeter word would have been much more desirable for us all. However, if there has been any soundtrack in my spirit that the Lord plays on repeat these past years, it has been to help prepare His bride. To look more like her Christ, and to awaken and walk out this season well. In this case, a season that will circumstantially be one tougher corporately than most of us have ever experienced. But not without a greater glorious redemptive purpose of God woven throughout. I think we mostly all, as the church, expected an awakening like rainbow sprinkles falling from the sky. I'm exaggerating of course, but that's to say I think we expected the Lord to suddenly drop everything we ever desired into our laps without having to do much but wait until He felt like it. We put more stake in an awakening of the bride that oriented around blessed outcomes than our hearts would let us honestly acknowledge. The Lord said we had built ministries as altars for the fire of the Lord to fall upon as a stage for the next great awakening. But the Lord did not want us to be able to boast in anyone other than Himself. We had not considered that this time an awakened remnant would be produced through trail. These next 5-7 years of this decade will be incredibly refining and defining. I say 5-7 because I believe there are turning points in those last few years that will be significant before the completed turning of the season.
Recently my apostle friend and I were having one of our processing and sharpening chats with one another. While my friend was sharing something he had noticed in another nation years back, it struck me as Holy Spirit reminded me I have heard something very similar before in scripture and to go find it. It was in Judges 6, the contents of His word then opened up to reveal the coming years of the Lord. You will be familiar with it, it is the accounts of God redeeming Israel from themselves (His way), Gideon and the 300. We tend to focus on God calling Gideon and the might of the Lord to deliver them from their oppression. But we overlook how they found themselves oppressed in the first place. Judges 5:31 says "And the land was at rest for forty years". For forty years Israel experienced rest after the defeat of Sisera, but their prosperity and complacency led them to do "evil in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord gave (some versions say delivered) them into the hand of Midian for seven years" (Judges 6:1). The evil that Israel was guilty of is found in Judges 6:10 "and I said to you, "I am the Lord your God; you shall not fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you live." But you have not listened to and obeyed My voice.' " Their forty years of rest had led to the emerging of the next generation, they had feared or revered the idols of the Amorites before their God, and they had not listened and obeyed the Lord. The Lord is always thinking generationally when it comes to us, those present and those to come.
We do not often, if at all, consider that God may sovereignly deliver us from ourselves back into His redemptive purposes by way of giving us over to oppressive circumstances. The name Midian means strife. We deal with strife usually by casting blame elsewhere, this is what Israel did too. They had not considered that they were in fact the problem in God's eyes, rather they saw the Midianite's as their primary problem and that the Lord had abandoned them so to them it was His fault too. For seven years the Midianite's stole and destroyed their crops and stock, while Israel hid themselves in caves in the mountains. These years of strife left Israel greatly impoverished (v2-6). It was the great humiliation, their fruitless labouring and oppression that caused Israel to finally cry out to the Lord for help. This is the mercy of God, that He loves us enough not to leave us to our own devices for too long before He corrects us. He had not delivered them from the slavery and bondage of Egypt just to give themselves over to the bondage of worshipping demonic gods. The fact it took Israel so long to call out to the Lord shows how self dependant and other godly they had corporately become in heart.
Let's pause for some numerical thoughts. 40years biblically, is often representative of the time it takes of a new generation to arise. It doesn't escape my attention that my life can act as a prophetic message, I am a representation for the generation that has grown up over the last 40years as I reach my 40th this year just before the Jewish new year. The generation I believe the Lord is now primarily moving on behalf of so fiercely to redeem their future, is for our children and grandchildren's generations. Yet the hinge will largely swing on the response of the Millennials and latter Gen Xer's. Gideon's humility and obedience to the Lord ultimately led to Midian being "subdued and humbled before the sons of Israel, and they no longer lifted their heads in pride. And the land was at rest for forty years in the days of Gideon", Judges 8:28. Gideon and the Lord secured the future of his sons (70 of them) and the nation of people for those 40years, until yet again it was time for a new generation to arise and they did not remember the Lord their God. The number 40 is also representative of trial, testing and preparation. We can be thankful that this 40 is a demarcation point rather than 40years of trials, rather it is 5-7years of a humbled deliverance will be "the long winter" (what I have heard the Spirit of the Lord call it). This Hebrew numeric decade of 5780's is known as the decade of the mouth. We have already seen just how much life or death from the mouths of many have erupted already these past few years. My advice is to humble our tongues, be highly vigilant in our restraint of our words to not pronounce death, curses, lies, trite theology without the Spirit of understanding and wisdom, or speak scripture with heart intent of manipulation. Much of which is rife yet unnoticed. This Hebrew calendar year 5782 interestingly has an extra 13th month, and hence called a 'pregnant year'. The question is, what then is the Lord birthing? Is the conception of our seed of the Spirit or of man? The following Hebrew calendar year 5783 is the year of the camel in the mouth as one description states, one I haven't thought too long about, but I do find it interesting that Judges 6:5 speaks of the numerous camels of the Midianite's which where a devastation to Israel.
Back to Gideon in Judges 6, specifically verse 11. We recall the Angel of the Lord appeared while Gideon was in the winepress, but we can overlook the fact that he was in there threshing wheat not crushing grapes. Like the verse says, he was doing so to save the wheat being taken by the Midianite's. That in itself would have been so humbling. Not only that but more difficult to separate out the chaff, the outer husks, to leave the edible wheat. I find this interesting imagery for what Israel was going through, a place of confinement (winepress) where God was at work on threshing out the separation of the chaff of their lives.
How does this relate to our here and now? While I am hearing some other prophets saying there is an emerging from a personal place of a wilderness season, which I believe is true and powerful for some, I believe the Lord is saying corporately/globally we are all entering into this 5-7year period of being given over to strife to deliver us from ourselves and that which we have revered and feared above the Lord, because of the great mercy of God and the shaping of following generations. A humbling that will thresh His remnant who will only be able to boast in the power of the Lord at their deliverance, securing a future generation strong in the Lord and an extended period of rest in the nations. During these long winter years we will hear the church and nations ask in their impoverishment "if the Lord was with us, then why has this all happened to us?" vs 13. Economically, labouring in vain will produce fruitless efforts, and many will find themselves in survival mindsets. But look for the Joseph prophets with strategies of wisdom to be sustained during this time. There is still the ability to thrive in this time because we live from being one with Father, Son and Spirit, our definition of thriving however may look different from how we have defined it in the past as our value systems are threshed.
How do we respond?
In humility of heart towards the Lord, and one another. To tear down our personal idols that have been exalted in inner places belonging to the Lord. To realise that we as the people of God cannot keep pointing the blame towards society and instead take responsibility and a posture of repentance where we have been complicit and complacent. We have a spiritual adversary, but he only has the authority we give him access to through the doors of our lives.
Become living altars of the peace of the Lord. The first thing Gideon did once he realised he had met with the Lord is to build an altar and named it The Lord is Peace.
Understand there is a time limit to all trials, and God always has a redemptive plan. Do not become fatalistic or give up, instead be "constantly rejoicing in hope [because of our confidence in Christ], steadfast and patient in distress, devoted to prayer [continually seeking wisdom, guidance, and strength]" Romans 12:12.
Put prowling fear in it's place. Job (3:25) in his distress claimed "For the thing which I greatly fear comes upon me". I have found myself praying over others and also having my kids pray over themselves: 'Fear is not my friend and will not own me, the thing that I had feared will not come upon me'.
Ask the Lord that we would understand the times and know what to do like the sons of Issachar. Not so that we may be superior in knowledge or spirituality, but so that collectively we may be in step with the Lord. "the sons of Issachar, men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do" 1 Chron 12:32.
Like the unnamed prophet in v8, prophets will speak the word of the Lord when the people cry out to God, addressing their transgressions and reminding them of the Lord's faithfulness.
Establish worship in the stronghold places and expose the powerlessness of idols.
I believe these years will cause us to become generous in our sharing of life and resources with one another as the early acts church set the example, "All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had." Acts 4:32.
We often neglect to notice how others are effected outside of our own little patch, but the Lord sees them, especially the unseen and overlooked and He is working on their behalf not only our own. We need to see as He sees. When He saw Gideon He called him a man of valour/bravery. God called him as He saw him, He spoke identity into him rather than call him based on his condition. I am challenged and I hope you will be too, to see just how wide, how high, how deep the love of God extends across the peoples of the earth. Let's have a big picture, God eyed perception and vision.