“The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor…[Therefore] Go in this might of yours…do not I send you?”
In the book of Judges chapters 6-8 we find a story of man named Gideon. He was charged with taking down the stronghold, the altar of Baál, an idol god of worldly power whose kingdom had been established among his tribe and kinsmen of Israel.
His first act was to destroy the altar, both physically and spiritually. He set a sign to the world and Baál that his kingdom was being waged war upon. No longer would it be as it was. Strongholds were coming down. Mind sets were being reformed in the image of the one true God. Gideon was charged with waking the people and saying, No more!
It wasn’t just Gideon the Lord called to overturn the kingdom, though. All of Israel was called to help wage war on the kingdom Baál had been allowed to build. The charge to tear down its structures was given to all, but the Lord said,
“Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return home” (Judges 7:3).
Only 22,000 from the entire nation of Israel agreed to stay of their own free will. The ones who were fearful and trembling were allowed to go back to the comforts and safety of home.
It was then the Lord tested the desire and willingness of those left to commit to the cause.
“Many are called but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:4).
As much as one desires to follow the Lord and his plans to bring His kingdom to birth, the Lord still requires discipline and obedience from those He has called. That sign of obedience manifests unconsciously in our actions, even every day ones like how to drink water from a river. When we walk with the Lord and renew our minds with His, we literally put on his nature and it becomes ingrained within us.
“Everyone that laps the water like a dog, you shall let go; everyone that kneels down to drink you shall keep” (Judges 7:5).
Of the 22,000 who willingly joined Gideon’s army, only 300 remained having passed the Lord’s testing. It wasn’t that the others didn’t love the Lord just as much or even desire any less to follow Him, remember they had chosen to stay against fear and trembling when many, many others left. They just had not yet reached the full maturity of receiving His nature at the time of His calling, so the Lord sends them home with their tails wagging between their legs, No of course not, He sends them back to their tents to continue the mission in training and preparing for the overthrow that was about to occur. They continue to walk with the Lord and prepare for the next form of testing, making themselves ready for the next call of the Lord.
Gideon was going about his daily work when the Lord called him. But he had led a life of pursuing after the Lord and was prepared to answer. In fact, because he knew God’s nature, Gideon himself tests the Lord in order to confirm it was indeed an angel of the Lord which spoke to him!
“If now I have found favor with thee, then show me a sign that it is thou who speakest with me” (Judges 6:17).
The Lord willingly complies. As the Lord tests us, we, who having his nature, are called to test the spirits that we may know we are doing the work of the Lord and not of other spirits or the workings of our own spirit.
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).
Perhaps if men had done this sooner, a false spirit like Baál would not have been able to deceive them into believing he was God. Gideon may have been wise enough to understand God’s nature, but even so, he still had fears himself that the Lord would patiently address, allowing Gideon to ask for signs and confirmations along the way to assure himself of his alignment with God’s will, even using dreams of others to confirm he was on the right path.
“But if you fear to go down, go down…and you shall hear what they say, and afterward your hands shall be strengthened…” (Judges 7:10-11).
“When Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped; and returned to Israel, saying ‘Arise’…” (Judges 7:15).
Like Gideon, we are each called by the Lord for a specific purpose, a plan to help bring the Kingdom of God into the earth, and like Gideon we ought to be ready when He does call, knowing His nature completely that we might answer that call and seek Him as we do, confirming we are doing His will and not our own and aligning our steps with His. We must be willing to step through our fears, even as He so mercifully offers us encouragement and assurance of our walk with Him through dreams, and signs and wonders. All this, so that we might worship Him and rejoice in His plans to deliver us from the hands of the enemy, as His angels shout over us, “Arise; for the Lord has given the host of [your enemies] into your hand.”
There is a battle cry coming from the heavens even now. The Lord is calling forth His next 300 mighty men and women to help reclaim the land they once possessed, the land that was rightfully taken from the enemy long ago and belongs to the kingdom of God. We each are being called to bring the sword to our families, work place, and individual mission fields to dissolve fears and break chains of oppression, to dispel lies and reveal Truth, to empower and encourage each other for the hope that is before us; to reclaim Eden in our lands.
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn “ ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household’” (Matthew 10:34-36).
It is not a sword which pierces through flesh, “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12), but a sword of Truth that separates flesh from spirit and calls the sons and daughters of God to reveal Heaven on Earth by manifesting the nature of God.
Now, in this present age, the Lord is calling His people forth, asking them to push past fear and trembling, asking them to lay aside their old ways and putting on the mind of Christ Jesus, be transformed and receive His nature in them that they might declare to the people around them, and indeed the world the glory of God’s kingdom in and through them.
“For all of creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God” (Romans 8:19).
Will you be one of His Next 300? Indeed, our prayer is for the entire nation, not just one but all the nations of the earth. Instead of 300 could we dare to believe for 300,000? How about 3 Million? Only the Lord knows just how many He will be able to choose, but like another story of hope and preparation, we can make our choice to be ready, like the 10 virgins waiting for their Groom to come. We can prepare ourselves, storing up His oil of grace to keep our lamps fueled, shining our lights in the darkness, dreaming of the life to come when we are married to the Love of our life. And, on that glorious day, we will have our eyes wide opened and see Eden fully revealed.
So, whether you are found chosen to be one of the Next 300, or even its leader, and especially, if you are asked to return to your tent, remember that it is the Lord who calls you and it is the Lord who will equip you and strengthen you to do the plans He has prepared for you to help bring His kingdom here!
Remember this truth always and guard it in your heart, “He who calls you is faithful, and he will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24).
*Repost from an earlier blog I authored October 4, 2015. The Lord is still searching the globe for His Mighty Men and Women of Faith. Will you answer His call and cry out, “Here I am Lord! Send me!”