Total conquest

sword-790815_640Joshua 11:21: And Joshua came at that time and cut off the Anakim from the hill country, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab, and from all the hill country of Judah, and from all the hill country of Israel. Joshua devoted them to destruction with their cities. (ESV)

Joshua moved with swiftness and the nations were falling before him in packs. It was the Promised Land, the people were prepared, they had a charge from God, and there was no going back. They moved forward by the word of God. They did not allow fear to hold them back. They had no other option but to follow the word of God, to move forward and take the Promised Land, there was no going back, no backing down.

Their history was a big lesson on why not to reject the word of God. After about two years that God after coming from Egypt, God wanted them to start taking over the land. But after twelve spies were sent to bring a report of the Promised Land, and ten brought an evil report, Israel chose to agree with the evil report of the fearful spies and chose to rebel against the will of God (Numbers 13-14).

God wanted them to go into the Promised Land in fulfilment of his word to their father Abraham, but they had other ideas.

Eventually, the promise of God will come to pass but in another generation. God decided that set of people would not follow God willingly, he was going to allow them to pine away in the wilderness as they wander and die there.

And the children who are under twenty years at that time eventually inherited the Promised Land. Those who rejected the word of God wasted away in the wilderness.

The wilderness represents the place of limitation, and that generation allowed their latent fear to limit their vision and motion, and they died not fulfilling their ultimate potential.

But the Joshua generation was ready. They were not suffering from slavery hangover, not suffering from the fear of the unknown, they were in awe of the word of God knowing what happened to those who chose a different path than the one God outlines.

They refused to consider their own limitation, fully believing that since God was with them, no one can be against them. They stood firm in the face of opposition. They did not consider their lack of experience, their limited preparedness.

They had their eyes on the word of God and following the leadership of Joshua they piled victory upon victory. The fear of them filled the heart of the people all around. After they parted the river Jordan to move into the Promised Land, the people knew that this group of Israelites were unique, they had the power of God backing them up.

To mount a formidable resistance against them, their opposition set out to hire those who will curse them or they combine themselves together or shut the walls of the city against them, but in the end, Israel gained total conquest because they exhibited total trust in God.

They pressed on regardless of the size and ferocity of the opposition. They believed that greater is the one who is with him than he who is with their enemies. Their God has no limitation. Our God has no limitation. The bible says that in the beginning God created the heaven on the earth (Genesis 1:1-3). That gives the picture of the kind of God that we are talking about, not one limited in power, by time or in wisdom; and because of that he is able to give total conquest.

Limitless power

The children of Israel would not have the hope of having total conquest if they did not depend on the power of God.

But in the conquering of the land of Ai, the bible noted that they did not ask God to lead them, and seeing the town as smaller than Jericho which they recently conquered, Joshua sent a few men there (Joshua 7).

The result was damning! They were routed before the enemy, and were later told that they were defeated because God withdrew himself from the nation of Israel, because in the conquest of Jericho, someone committed a sin, against to God’s instruction.

Victory for them was not by military might but by the power of God. This was brought poignantly home in a story of the battle of the children of Israel against a certain enemy nation where Moses was asked to lift up a staff. When his hand grew weak and it fell down, and his hand was up they were winning (Exodus 17:1-14). The rod of Moses represented the power of God, and in that we see how what is done in secret impacts on what happens in the public. Jesus said that when we pray in secret, God will reward us openly (Matthew 6:6).

Not limited by time

Just as God is not limited in ability, he is not limited in time. Peter said it this way: a day with the Lord is like a thousand years and a thousand years like a day (2Peter 3:8). He created time. When God chose to become man, he chose to be limited by time and space, or maybe not. He told Nathanael that already knew him even though they had not met before.

Not limited in wisdom

The whole world runs on the wisdom of God. The changing season, the rotation of the earth, the balance of the gases in the atmosphere, the changing weather, the rising and falling of the sun, all manifest the wisdom of God. The bible says that the heaven declares the glory of the Lord (Psalm 19). The created are the handiwork of God and they manifest his wisdom.

Conclusion

The Joshua generation mostly kept in step with God. The connected with all powerful God, they were able to overcome the opposition, no matter how big and how subtle.

How not to wear yourself out as a leader

farm-554545_1280Exodus 18:18: You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone. (ESV)

Moses was wearing himself out attending to the untold thousands of the children of Israel who came to him to judge between one and another. It was a one-man show, it was a solo performance, and his father-in-law came to his rescue, coming with suggestions on how things can be done differently to enhance efficiency (Exodus 18). The main part of that idea is delegation. We know that Moses was the one to whom God appeared to but there are others who can be instructed in the ways of God to stand as supporting judges, and only the most serious issues should be brought to Moses.

The following are the saline truths for all leaders to imbibe so that they do not wear out.

  1. Teach the people

The number one thing that Jethro mentioned was the need to instruct the people in the ways of God. Teaching was number one role of a Leader. That affords the opportunity to cast vision in order to guide the people. With that, Moses will stop being a crisis manager, running from pillar to post. Teaching pre-empts the problems that may arise and how the people can live to ensure that many problematic issues do not arise.

Be a leader who anticipates problems before they emerge and does something about them. Let not counselling be the primary thing you do, let it be teaching, which should be on a continuous basis. We see Paul saying that he was repeating what the people had said already because it is good for them (Philippians 3:1). He wrote: rejoice in the lord always and again I say rejoice. He repeats his words for emphasis (Philippians 4:4).

In teaching the people they get to know what is expected from them, they are trained in the right way. If people do not know the direction we are going, it will be crisis after crisis. Without law there cannot be sin; without vision there is no restraint, without restraint it is error without limit.

Paul wrote about punishing every disobedience when our obedience is complete (2Corinthians 10:6). There can be no obedience if there is nothing to obey.

The first things we need to obey is the gospel, to become believers in Jesus (2Thessalonians 1:8). Your church should be populated by those with genuine salvation responding to the teaching that they should be born again.

The task Jesus gave the apostles while he was exiting the stage was to preach the gospel, not to counsel people in good behaviours, but to preach the gospel and that the believers should he taught all Jesus has taught them and that is no joke (Matthew 28:18-20).

In the book of Acts, they put that to work and the apostles went from house to house. The bible says that the people continued in the apostles’ teaching, prayer, etc. (Acts 2:42). They were constantly being trained in the way of God and prepared to face any challenges.

  1. Prayer must be priority, no fire brigade approach

Just as spiritual instruction is a priority, prayer should also be. While teaching takes care of the issues of the heart (issues within us), prayer takes care of the issues of the spirit (issues outside us).

Jesus, quoting the Old Testament said: my father’s house shall be called the house of prayer for all nations (Matthew 21:13). The church is meant to impact all nations, and the way he wants to do things is to ensure that everyone prays. He said we should pray so that we will not fall into temptation.

Prayer is spiritual preparation, it is to gain the vision of heaven to lead the people in the race on the earth. With prayer, we get resources from heaven.

Paul prayed for the church in Ephesus that the eyes of their understanding be enlightened (Ephesians 1:15-21). Paul might preach until he is blue in the face but without the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God activated in the place of prayer, it will all be in futility.

He mentioned prayer right at the first chapter of that book. It holds priority and he mentioned it also in the last chapter. The first chapter prayer is about them, the last chapter about the devil.

And there is one in chapter three about having the love of God entrench in us. When that happens, we will cease having personality clashes; because then the people will love each other with all genuineness.

The point we are discussing here corresponds to the advice of Jethro that Moses take the matters of the people before God, the first one (teaching) is about bringing God’s matter to the people.

  1. Delegate, Delegate, Delegate

To delegate means to assign people to tasks. Moses was managing millions with their different needs, their individual uniqueness, and if he tried to go it alone he was going to wear himself out fast.

There was no questioning Moses’ passion for God, and for the people to get things right, but he needed help for the work.

There was a time that God took from the spirit on Moses and had scores of leaders in the camp. What Jethro was recommending was something systematic, for Moses to appoint different levels of leadership handling different spheres/levels of people-groups and hierarchy of leadership who have been trained for the task and then deployed.

Jethro was personally concerned that Moses was overburdening himself. Everyone else was viewing Moses as some superman, a special breed but Jethro, who was his father-in-law, saw him differently. He knew him for forty years and had a perspective on Moses that was different.

We need people with a full view of our humanity to hold us accountable to the need for balance in our daily regime. The children of Israel might not have talked until Moses crashed physically. But Jethro spoke from the angle of love and understanding.

Attending to everybody only swells the ego, and at the end of the day, the people and Moses will l be dissatisfied and frustrated.

Actually, 24hours in a day is not enough to truly deal with all the cases of the children of Israel. That is why there was the need for Moses to dedicate his time to building others. Paul told Timothy that rather than trying to do it alone, he would teach faithful men who will be able to teach others the things he learnt from Paul (2Timothy 2:2).

Revelation

countryside-801837_640Genesis 35:7: and there he built an altar and called the place El-bethel, because there God had revealed himself to him when he fled from his brother. (ESV)

We need God to reveal himself to us. Paul said that it pleased God who separated him from his mother’s womb to reveal his Son in him (Galatians 1:15-16).

Along his way he was accosted by Jesus who manifested to him supernaturally (Acts 9). That was exceptional. He had a great task to perform and for that he needed big revelation at that time. Sometimes later he said that for the abundance of revelation, a messenger of Satan was sent to buffet him, and he prayed and Jesus in another revelation showed him how to handle the situation (2Corinthians 12:6-10).

The revelation of God delivers wisdom, knowledge and understanding to us.

Wisdom

Wisdom has to do with what to do to get the right result. By revelation, God told Moses how to get the children of Israel away from bondage in Egypt, which he had tried to achieve by the arm of flesh. In the end, it was clear that it is better to move by revelation than by trial and error.

At the age of forty, Moses beat up and killed an Egyptian who was fighting an Hebrew. He thought that the people should recognise him as deliverer, not recognising that he needed God to introduce him to the people and that did not happen until forty years later.

When wisdom is derived from revelation, we understand the timing of God, and we have the resources to gain the right result. In a battle that King Jehoshaphat was supposed to fight, he was told that he does not have to fight, but he will win the battle, with that he set up musicians and choir. Victory was delivered to him by revelation cum divine intervention (2Chronicles 20).

When the children of Israel wanted to take the land of Jericho which as surrounded by mighty walls, by revelation they were told to march around the wall for seven days. There was nothing logical about that, but at the end, with only a shout, the wall of Jericho fell down flat (Joshua 6).

We can gain wisdom by revelation, knowing whom to meet, who to connect to help us achieve our objectives. It was through revelation wisdom that a widow could give something to Elijah for her to be sustained in famine. It was by revelation wisdom that a wife of a dead prophet by following the instruction of Elisha saved her two sons from slavery (2Kings 4:1-7).

We see David seeking direction from God in all things and he was victorious in the different battles by the revelation he has from God. Saul wanted such a thing but God denied him and he lost his life.

Elisha was consulted by two kings when their armies were about to die on the battlefield before they even did anything because there was no water to drink. When the hand of the Lord came upon Elisha, he spoke of their victory, that the enemy will be defeated before them (2Kings 3:7-27). They were told that they should dig pits and that without seeing rain or wind the pits will be filled with water so the army will not die of thirst.

Though Elisha hated one of the kings, by the word of God through his mouth deliverance was wrought, by revelation wisdom. It was through the revelation delivered to Elisha that the king of Israel could avoid the traps of the kings of Syria. He escaped by taking the right steps and it was as if he had no enemy.

Knowledge

Revelation has inherent in it the idea of unveiling of what is not previously known. The book of the Revelation in the bible bears witness to this.

Paul had a revelation of Jesus when he was on his way to Damascus fuming against the church, and Jesus appeared to him and asked: who are you Lord? (Sometimes to know, we need to ask.) And Jesus said that: I am Jesus whom you are persecuting (Acts 9). From that moment, he had the knowledge of Jesus.

Revelation delivers knowledge. On Mount Sinai, God by revelation delivered his tenets to the children of Israel. There they heard God’s voice from heaven and by revelation they had delivered to them the Ten Commandments which was written by the finger of God (Exodus 20).

We need revelation to come into the knowledge of God. The knowledge of angels comes via their manifestations. Mary knew that she was chosen to bear the Messiah when angel Gabriel appeared to her (Luke 1).

The bible is full of the revelation of what will happen in the future. Jeremiah spoke of the length of time Judah will be in captivity. He said it was 70 years, and based on that knowledge, down the road, Daniel prayed for that to happen and it happened (Daniel 9).

Understanding

Revelation can also impact understanding. When the psalmist prayed: open my eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of your law, he seeks revelation into the word of God to aid his understanding (Psalm 119:18).

The writings of Paul are full of the revelation that he has come into and when he speaks, he impacts understanding. He said that what he taught was not because he sat down for any him a being to lecture, but he receive them by revelation (Galatians 1:10-12).

He prayed for the church in Ephesus that God will open the eyes of their understanding that they may know some things; that they may come into revelation understanding of certain things, e.g. the riches of God’s glory etc.

Prophecy impacts understanding, the bible says that the revelation of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy (Revelation 19:10). When prophecy goes forth it is supposed to impact understanding which will result in exhortation, comfort and edification (1Corinthians 14:1-4). When revelation impacts understanding, then we changed, it is light flooding our consciousness with heaven’s truth.

Job came into the understanding of God after his terrible ordeal. At the end he said to God: I have heard of you by the hearing of the ears, but now my eyes see you, and I repent in dust and ashes (Job 42:1-5).

Isaiah came into a greater understanding of himself when in the year that king Uzziah died, he saw the Lord and had the revelation of God’s holiness, and he declared that he is a man of unclean lips, living in the midst of those with unclean lips. By revelation, he had the understating of the Lord, of himself and his environment (Isaiah 6:1-10).

Demonstration

butterfly-752456_6401Corinthians 2:4: and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, (ESV)

To really learn, we need a demonstration. To know God really, Jesus had to come down as God for us to see God. Jesus is the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 2:9). He manifested God on earth.

God made man to be like him but with sin, that possibility was lost, and Jesus came to present him to us, helping us to transition from the wrong knowledge of God to his true knowledge, as we are retrained to be like God.

In the Garden of Eden, the loss that was suffered was because of a wrong understanding. The devil fed Eve on the false information about who God is, that he cannot be trusted, that God wants to repress them, deprive them of moving to their full potentials. But it was all a lie (Genesis 3).

So just as the wrong understating leads to spiritual death, the right understanding leads to spiritual life. While the wrong understanding led to the breakdown of relationship between God and man, the right understanding leads to life from the death.

Jesus said those who believe in him, who have the right understanding about him, and set out to live by that, has passed from death to life, just as the wrong understand leads to death (John 5:24).

We can have wrong understanding about many things, but if we have the right understand of God we are fine. Conversely, we may have the right understanding about many things but with the wrong understanding of Jesus, it makes no difference what we know, what we understand.

We may know a lot of people, but if we do not know God, it is really not that relevant. We may be rich in many things, but if we are not rich towards God then all is lost. The story of both Lazarus and the rich fool bring this to focus. You may obey all other instructions, but if you do not obey God, then it is all a waste.

So the coming of Jesus is to demonstrate who God is to us, to make him plain. God spoke from heaven saying: this is my beloved son hear him (Luke 9:35). It could not be clearer than that. Jesus represents the father, demonstrates the will and the power of the father to us who will be sons of God after him.

John wrote that those who believe in Jesus will be called sons of God (John 1:12) meant to demonstrate God. So Jesus demonstrates what it means to be son of God, in devotion to the father, closeness to him, speaking about him, obeying him.

The son has the mandate to bend to the will of the father. That was where Adam faltered and he was disqualified from fully bearing the name: Son of God. The devil is scared of anyone bearing the name son of God because that person is above him in the spiritual hierarchy.

To demonstrate something is to make it manifestly real. Our lives should demonstrate the power, purpose and passion for God.

To demonstrate something means to take it from the hiding place to be seen by all men. Jesus said that a city set on a hill cannot be hid, neither do one light a candle and put it under a bushel (Matthew 5:14).

Paul talked about the importance of the demonstration of the spirit and power so that the faith of the people will not rest on the wisdom of men but the power of God (1Corinthians 2:1-5).

The power angle of God opens to us a window into his person than just the wisdom angle. Wisdom deals with the mind while power deals with the acts.

The demonstration of the power of God in Egypt and the palace of Pharaoh was a supremacy battle. Even at that, it was when the firstborn of Egypt died that Pharaoh let go. God sent again and again: let my people go that they may serve me. And it was the demonstration of power to the enemy that he bowed. Mere talk would have achieved nothing.

There are acts of God and the ways of God. We do not have to choose between the two since Jesus is both. He is the wisdom and the power of God (1Corinthians 1:24).

He brings together seemingly contradictory attributes. He is the Lion and the Lamb (John 1:29), the Alpha and the Omega (Revelation), the beginning and the ending. He is the God who is man, and the man who is God. He brings together heaven and earth, Jews and gentiles in one body, granting us access to God through one spirit (Ephesians 2:13-18).

“Demonstration” is about expression of divine ability. Peter wrote that God’s power has given us everything for life and godliness through the knowledge of him who calls us by his own glory and goodness (2Peter 1:3). And by the precious promises he has made us partakers of his divine nature (2Peter 1:4).

By his words, we get to be like him, act the way he does. The glory of God is about demonstration of divine acts. When Jesus turned water into wine, it was described as Jesus manifesting his glory (John 2:1-11). When he stood before a man blind from his mother’s womb who was then forty years old, and the disciples asked for the reason the man was born in that condition, he said: it is not because he or his parents sinned but so that the glory of God will be manifested (John 9). And that was what happened as the man who was blind from birth got brand new eyes for 20-20 vision where he had none before.

The demonstration of the power of God in Egypt and the palace of Pharaoh were about a supremacy battle. Even at that, it was when the first-born of Egypt died that pharaoh let go. God sent against and against: let my people go that they may serve me, and until there was the demonstration of power that the enemy did not bow.

When Jesus stood before the grave of Lazarus and was about to raise him from the dead, Jesus told Martha: did I not tell that if you believe you will see the glory of God (John 11)? And at the end of the day that was what happened as Lazarus was raised from the dead after being in the grave for four days. That is a demonstration of the glory of God in a supernatural act.

Watchman

binoculars-436959_640Isaiah 21:11: The oracle concerning Dumah. One is calling to me from Seir, “Watchman, what time of the night? Watchman, what time of the night?”

The watchman has certain role to play. In the focus verse, certain questions were being asked that the watchman should know about. That means that the watchman is a man of unusual insight, understanding and vision. A watchman is known by the ability to see beyond the natural, beyond the obvious.

God told Ezekiel that he is making him a watchman, which means he will have insight into the future and he will be sent to people to warn them against going on routes that will lead to destruction (Ezekiel 3:17), when it comes to their behaviours.

The bible says there is a way that seems right to Man, but the end is destruction (Proverbs 16:25). The higher insight is the divine one. It keeps us safe and the watchman gets to be the voice of God.

The watchman role is attached to the prophetic gift. It is being able to peer beyond the veil of time and natural sight.

Jesus manifested as a watchman on the earth, he is the greatest of all watchmen because he is God. All true watchmen derive their function from him.

John wrote: no one has seen God at any time, but the only begotten of the father who is in the bosom of the father he has declared him (John 1:18). He has the ultimate insight into who the Father is.

He is the word of God. Someone in the bible prayed: open my eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of your law, your word (Psalm 119:18). With that, we can see from God’s point of view about the situations in which we find ourselves. When we see the word as we should, we also see ourselves as we should because the word is mirror (James 1:23-25). If we do not see ourselves correctly and want to be watchmen for others, it will be like seeing the speck in the eyes of others when you have a plank in your own eyes (Matthew 7:3-5). The watchman applies the word, first to himself, then to others (1Timothy 4:16).

A watchman does not only know what will happen, but also what God wants to get done and so is able to get the people ready to fall in line with the plan of God.

Moses came to rescue the children of Israel from the house of bondage by the word of God to him (Exodus 3). God told him I have now come down having heard the cries of the people the children of Israel. Later on, the bible says that by a prophet, God led the people of Israel from Egypt and through a prophet he preserved them (Hosea 12:13). Moses was watchman for the nation of Israel at that time. He connected the whole nation to the desire and demand of God for them because he was enabled to know them.

They followed God’s timing, walked on God’s path; and were guaranteed the very presence of God, they were granted safe journey. When they rejected the word of God through Moses, they suffered for it.

Jesus said he must work the work of him who sent him while it is day because the night comes when no man can work (John 9:1-5). The day is when the sight is active. That shows that we need divine insight, the light of God, to do his work.

This is because it is not the work of God if it is not directed by him. That is why Jesus said that certain people will call to him on the last day that they have done many things in his name, but he will tell them: depart from me you workers of iniquity, I know you not (Matthew 7:21-23).

Whatever they did was a manifestation of self-will, and not God’s will. The watchman is careful about the will of God since he moves, and leads others to move, according to what God is showing.

The watchman needs his eyes, and David prayed that God should open his eyes. Elisha was a watchman at a time in Israel, and gave so much insight about the plans of the enemy that he became more important to that enemy than the king, and was number one on their most wanted list (2Kings 6:8-18).

He frustrated their plans time and again. By the sheer force of his role as the watchman, he kept the nation safe. He was Israel’s edge against a more formidable army, and no weapon fashioned against Israel prospered. He was watchman indeed. He saw traps before they are even set and helps the people of Israel to escape. He was the eyes and ears of Israel in the camp of the enemy. Before he died, one king called him my father my father the chariots of Israel and the horsemen thereof. He was a one-man army. That was how important spiritual sight, the watchman is (2Kings 13:14).

Some sons of Issachar were once described in the bible as those who understood the times knowing what Israel should do to get the right results (1Chronicles 12:32). They helped others with their insight, helping them navigate through difficult situations.

And Daniel wrote that those who are wise will instruct many (Daniel 11:33). The teaching process is about impartation of insight, i.e. the right sight, the right understanding, to others.

Jesus came from heaven to impart the right understanding of God to us. He came to call us to repent and embrace the kingdom of God; to repent because of the coming of the kingdom of God; repent, because of the need for us to align to the ways and knowledge of God (Mark 1:15).

We do not stumble into ways of God by wishful thinking, we need to be taught. The bible says:  we will hear a voice behind us saying: this is the way walk in it (Isaiah 30:21). Without this kind of guidance, we are susceptible to deception, to come to the wrong conclusion, to embrace lies which look like truth.

Jesus does not just tell us the truth, he is the truth. That distinction is important because if Jesus merely told the truth, people who say things similar to what Jesus said might pass for truth speakers and deceive people. But since Jesus is the truth that means he is the only custodian of the truth. If the truth you are espousing is not his truth then it is no truth, you are not seeing well.

You can depend on him no matter what. If it is not him, then it is nothing. If it is not coming from him, then it is deception. The bible says: to the law and to the testimony if they do not speak according to this word it means there is no light in them (Isaiah 8:20).

When God called Jeremiah to the prophetic office he asked him: what do you see? To which he answered: I see the branch of an almond tree (Jeremiah 1:11-12). And God said to him: you see rightly. So, because you see something does not means it is right thing, because you have come to certain conclusions does not make them right conclusions. There are delusions and illusions.

John said that we should test all spirits and confirm if they are from God (1John 4:1). Because demonic spirits comes with deceptive agenda, create false revelations for the gullible to swallow, create false impression for the spiritually weak to embrace. This is the call to be strengthened in the area of spiritual sight, become true watchmen.

Building and breaking strongholds

chess-140340_640Psalm 48:3: God, in her palaces, Has made Himself known as a stronghold. (NASB)

A stronghold is an impregnable structure built to keep the enemy out. It works two ways, depending on whose side you are on. You can have positive stronghold in your life that keeps the enemy out, or you may need to break the negative stronghold the enemy is using to keep you out of his territory or your rightful territory.

There are two things you can do with a stronghold: you can build it when it is to your advantage to do that, or break it down when it is keeping you from getting to your inheritance.

Building strongholds

We need to be positively active about building strongholds in our life, which can be in two ways. Knowledge and faith are the two strongholds you should build, and one feeds on the other. Paul said that we should be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might, which respectively correspond to knowledge and faith (Ephesians 6:10).

Stronghold of knowledge

It was because Jesus had the stronghold of knowledge in him that he was able to stand against the enemy when he came against him with the flood of a threefold temptation (Luke 4:1-13). The Bible said that wisdom and knowledge is the stability of our times (Isaiah 33:6).

The stronghold of knowledge is linked to reading. But true knowledge is beyond what is read, there need to be spiritual enlightenment.

Paul prayed for the eye of our understanding to be enlightenment (Ephesians 1:15-19). Another man wrote that God should open his eyes to behold wondrous things out of his law (Psalm 119:18). Paul did not claim that his knowledge of the truth was because he was well read, he said God was pleased to reveal his Son in him (Galatian 1:11-16). He said that the reason he is able to write is because of the grace that God has given to him. He had the mission of building stronghold of knowledge in the people he ministered to.

Stronghold of faith

Paul said that he does not want the faith of the people to be based on the wisdom of men but the power of God, which means another stronghold he wants to build in the people is faith (1Corinthians 2:1-5).

The Bible says that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). The word of God in Psalm 91 is about what it means to have the stronghold of protection. The Bible says the name of the Lord is a strong tower and the righteous run into it and they are saved (Proverbs 18:10). There is a stronghold of provision, with Paul declaring to the Philippians that his God shall supply all their needs (Philippians 4:19).

The stronghold of faith is focused on healing, provision, and protection. John said to Gaius: I pray that you prosper and be in health as your soul prospers (3John 1:2). And the Bible says that money is a defence and wisdom is a defence (Ecclesiastes 7:12), which corresponds to the two kings of strongholds we should build- faith (which leads to provision) and knowledge (which leads to wisdom).

When David confronted Goliath, he moved in a strong flow of faith. The odds could not be more stacked against him (1Samuel 17). But he did not notice that as he was moved by the Holy Spirit. He built his stronghold of faith with the experiences he had with God in the secret place, and was able to destroy the stronghold of Goliath who was an existential threat to the nation of Israel.

Jude wrote of the need for us to build up (as in a stronghold) ourselves upon our most holy faith praying in the Holy Spirit (Jude 1:20).

The stronghold of faith is linked to prayer. So if you want to build a stronghold of faith you are to take the route of prayer. Elijah was a man who walked in great faith, calling down fire from heaven, raising the dead, going to heaven in a chariot of fire. And he was a man of prayer.

When certain people wanted to arrest him, he activated his stronghold of faith and called down fire to consume the people. They were gone, and he stood. The stronghold of faith made him safe while others were consumed (2Kings 1:1-16).

Without faith, it is impossible to please God because those who comes to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him. That is partly about prayer (Hebrews 11:6).

Breaking strongholds

Jesus came to break the strongholds of the devil and has sent you to do the same. Just as there are two ways to look at the strongholds to be built, we also need to see the strongholds that need to be torn down in two ways: “sin which leads to sickness,” and “lies which leads to darkness.”

Sin and sickness

When Jesus came it was to destroy the works of the devil, which was specifically identified sin (1John 3:8). But we know that sickness is an expression of sin. Jesus healed a man and told him, go and sin no more lest something worse come upon you. So by dealing with sin Jesus dealt with sickness.

He told some people to go and sin no more. And that is not an advice, it was empowerment, it was breaking the stronghold of sin. If the stronghold of sin can be broken then we are well on our way to fullness of life in Jesus.

The enemy has come to steal kill and steal and the foundation of that is sin, but Jesus has come to give us life and abundance life and the foundation is righteousness, for us to reign in life (John 10:10, Romans 5:17). Jesus bore our sickness and carried away our sickness. He removed that burden from us freeing us to be all we can be in God.

Lies and darkness

While we need to replace the stronghold sin and sickness with the stronghold of faith, the stronghold of knowledge replaces lies in our lives. The Holy Spirit is the one who is the spirit of counsel, understanding and knowledge (Isaiah 11:1-3). And Jesus unleashed him to work in the life of people.

Paul wrote about the light of the gospel shining in our heart (2Corinthians 4:6). And Jesus said we should go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation to them to gain salvation to lead us into truth and light.

Portions

Joshua 19:51: These are the inheritances that Eleazar the priest and Joshua the son of Nun and the heads of the fathers’ houses of the tribes of the people of Israel distributed by lot at Shiloh before the LORD, at the entrance of the tent of meeting. So they finished dividing the land. (ESV)

washing-404481_640The bible says: what do you have that you were not given and if you were given why then do you boast (1Corinthians 4:7)? Realising that whatever we have is from God should be a cause for humility.

King Saul did not exhibit such trait. Maybe he thought that because he was taller than all Israelites it was his natural right to be king. His eyes was removed from God as his source to himself. He was preoccupied with his own self-importance.

He defeated the enemy with the Spirit of God coming upon him and he thought he had arrived. He started behaving irrationally, making irrational decisions. He thought that since he was given the portion of being king in Israel, he can do whatever he likes.

Samson had a portion as a deliverer in Israel, but he allowed his passion for women to take it away from him as he died in his prime.

But Paul determined he was going to keep his body under so that after preaching to others (1Corinthians 9:27), making a lot of effort, sacrificing his life, he would not lose his reward, be a cast away.

Ultimately the Lord is our portion (Numbers 18:20). While the rest of the nation of Israel were given portions in the Promised Land, the Levites did not have any land, the Lord was their portion.

And for us as royal priesthood (1Peter 2:9), the Lord is also our portion. He is our inheritance. The bible says that if anyone will boast it should be that he knows God (Jeremiah 9:24). As we continue to grow in the spirit, grow in service, and increase in knowledge and grace (2Peter 3:18), our portion in the Lord expands, and the expansion can be infinite because God is without limit.

God has made man to be in his image, sharing his capacity, his multi-dimensional essence (Ephesians 3:10). In that case we have the capacity to grow in different areas.

We need to take deliberate measures to grow. It is not enough to desire growth, we need to take steps in that direction. We should never think we have arrived at any time. Paul said: this one thing I do, forgetting the things that are behind I stretch towards for the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:12-14).

At this time he had done some mighty things, taken many territories for God, but he set out to not occupy himself with the past but to continue to stretch forward to the future. He wants to lay hold of that for which Christ laid hold of him.

When it comes to portions, in the analysis of Jesus, it is all about servanthood. He said that the greatest, the one with the greatest portion, is the one who is the servant of all (Matthew 23:11). Jesus is the greatest because he served us all my agreeing to die the ignoble death on the cross. The more you serve the greater your portion.

The leader should properly delineate roles because conflict arises when there are unspoken expectation, demands not clearly delineated.

God as the ultimate leader takes it time to explain the roles he wants us to function in. John the Baptist was very clear about his role. He was supposed to baptise the people of Israel with water (Mark 1:8); that was his portion, on which he focused. He was not called to baptise in the Holy Spirit, which was Jesus’ role.

Paul was very clear about his role. He said that Christ has called me to preach the gospel and not to baptise. And he was focused on it. That was his portion. He recognised that the apostleship of the gentiles was committed to him, while that of the Jews was committed to Peter (Galatians 2:7-8).

Do you know what has been committed to you? If not, you may be living an aimless life. Because there is nothing that gives focus more than when in pursuit of an assignment from God.

Jesus was focused on his assignment/portion on earth so much so that he was not afraid of death. When some people told him to hide himself because Herod, noted for brutality was looking for him, he said: “go tell that fox, today and tomorrow I cast out demons and performs cures, and the third day I will be perfected. I am not going to die outside of Jerusalem (Luke 13:31-33).” His sense of destiny and his timing was that strong.

The time you have appeared in history is also your portion. Therefore you are a steward of your time, gifts and opportunities.

When Jesus met a Samaritan woman by a well and communicated to her the truth about himself, he later on told the disciples that he had a food to eat that they do not know about, “my food is to do the will of God and to fulfil his work (John 4:34).” In another place he said: I must work the work of him who sent me while it is day the night comes when no one can work (John 9:4). The night is when we leave this world.

He defined himself by his purpose, his portion, and at the end of his life he said: it is finished (John 19:30). Paul used a similar phrase near the end of his life. He said: I have finished my course, I have kept the faith (2Timothy 4:7).

After the death of Moses, God gave Joshua the role of leading the Israel into the Promised Land. He asked Moses to lay his hands on him to transfer his authority and wisdom to him.

That was necessary because the plan of God for Moses and for which he had anointed him was to lead the children of Israel from Egypt to Canaan, but because of Moses’ sin there was a slight change of plan.

God said his portion will be made smaller, he will no longer lead the children of Israel over the Jordan. But since he had been anointed for it, he needed to transfer the anointing for that to Joshua, to take over some of the role he was given (Deuteronomy 34:9). Similarly when Elijah was going to prematurely go off the scene, God asked him to anoint Elijah prophet in his stead to take over his role, his portion, in Israel (1Kings 19:15-16).