New Wine for New Wineskins February 2010

By , February 4, 2010 1:05 pm

Let the Weak Speak

Let the Weak Speak

Part 18 – Caleb – Following the Cloud (1)

Remember – the purpose of this series is to release the potential that is within us to build successful ministries, kingdom businesses, and to be world changers who really make a difference in this world.  That will always involve change but we don’t need to panic because all of the change God requires from us is by way of exchange.  And so we simply come to the place of exchange – the Throne of Grace – where we have the opportunity to trade our weakness for his strength!

We are no longer wearing ourselves out chasing signs and wonders – we are signs and wonders and so we are destined to be the most exciting thing that is going on wherever we are!

Isaiah 8: 18

18 Here am I and the children whom the LORD has given me!
We are for signs and wonders in Israel
From the LORD of hosts,
Who dwells in Mount Zion.

Joel 3: 9 – 10

9 Proclaim this among the nations:
“Prepare for war!
Wake up the mighty men,
Let all the men of war draw near,
Let them come up.
10 Beat your plowshares into swords
And your pruning hooks into spears;
Let the weak say, ‘I am strong.’”

IT’S TIME TO LET THE WEAK SPEAK!  LET THE WEAK SAY, “I AM STRONG!”

We have been going through the Hebrews 11 “Hall of Faith” and looking at the lives of some of those listed there who although they were far from perfect were successful in overcoming the weaknesses of their flesh and fulfilling God’s purpose in their generation by faith!

Last time we looked at Joshua and saw that even though his name is not mentioned in Hebrews 11, what he achieved by faith is.  We saw through his life that it is essential that we take responsibility to lead and that it is vital that we know the God WHO IS!

It wouldn’t be fair to speak of Joshua without also looking at the life of Caleb who was the other half of the two out of twelve spies who brought back a good report from their reconnaissance trip into the promised land.  In fact, Caleb was actually the first to speak up and claim that they were well able to take the land!

Numbers 13: 30 – 31

30 And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it. 31 But the men that went up with him said, we are not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than us.

There was no doubt in Caleb’s mind that what God had promised he was also able to fulfil.  But what were the others saying?  “We are too weak – the people of the land are stronger than us!”  Appearances don’t matter to faith people because they don’t go by what they see – they go by what God says!

LET THE WEAK SAY, “I AM STRONG!”

Faith people don’t allow what they see on the x-ray or the balance sheet to deter them. These things are subject to change – they are not the end result.  Fearful people see problems in every opportunity but faith people see opportunity in every problem!

Only two out of twelve of the spies – who were all leaders – brought back a good report.  It is so important that you appoint the right leaders because they have influence over the people.  Unfortunately, people tend to follow the crowd and go with the majority and so the bad report was received over the good report and the people fell down under it!

Numbers 14: 1

1 And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night.

We should be thankful that the church is not a democracy because if it was then that would have been the end of the matter.  But Joshua and Caleb were not about to be moved from what God had said by the popular vote.

Numbers 14: 6 – 11

6 But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; 7 and they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying: “The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. 8 If the LORD delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, ‘a land which flows with milk and honey.’ 9 Only do not rebel against the LORD, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the LORD is with us. Do not fear them.”
10 And all the congregation said to stone them with stones. Now the glory of the LORD appeared in the tabernacle of meeting before all the children of Israel.
11 Then the LORD said to Moses: “How long will these people reject Me? And how long will they not believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them?

Nothing in the church should ever be decided by a vote!  That is not how God has designed his kingdom to function.  He said that we should live by faith which comes by hearing what he says regardless of what anyone else’s (including the majority’s) opinion might be.

In order for God’s purposes to be fulfilled it often requires someone to be willing to pull away from the opinion of the majority and follow God’s directions which are always forward and upward!  When there is a conflict between the law of man (whether secular or religious) and the word of God you have to choose where your allegiance lies!

Numbers 14: 21 – 24

21 but truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD— 22 because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice, 23 they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it. 24 But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it.

People of faith are not moved by what they see in the natural and so they ultimately get to see what others can’t see because of the obstacles.  Does that make sense?  For example, someone looks at x-rays and sees cancer that has spread all over their body and so they fall down under what they can see, and very soon afterwards they are dead.  Someone else, however, looks at similar x-rays and looks beyond what they can see to the promise of God that declares that he is the LORD who heals all our diseases, and so rather than falling down under what they have seen they choose to stand on the word of God. And so, very soon they get to see what the first person never saw – the promise of healing fulfilled in their lives!

Remember what Jesus said.

Matthew 26: 41

41 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

God’s testimony concerning Caleb was that he had a different spirit.  He had a willing spirit!  He had a spirit that was uncluttered and unpolluted by unbelief.  He had a spirit in which vision could be planted and brought to fruition.  He had a spirit that could contain vision that would impact the next generation and beyond.  God said that Caleb’s seed would possess and inherit the land.

LET THE WEAK SAY, “I AM STRONG!”

Why did God choose Joshua over Caleb as the leader to succeed Moses? The bottom line is that there can only be one main leader in a local church.  Although there should be a team there must ultimately be one person who is responsible to receive vision and direction from God and who then passes it on to the people.  This can give birth to many smaller visions that can then be a part of the fulfilment of the main vision.  More than one big vision will always result in di-vision!  If your jigsaw puzzle has the wrong picture on the box it can be very confusing!

I believe that although there can only be one main leader it is essential that there are those among the people who are also assuming leadership roles in that they are a strong and positive influence in support of the vision that God has given.

Some folks – and I believe Joshua was one – are better at coming aside and hearing what God is saying directly.  Others – and I believe this applied to Caleb – are better at hearing what God has said through someone else and then running with it.  God knows who is best suited to which role and so that is why he places us in the Body where he chooses.

It is important that the main leader spends at least as much time with God as he does with people.  Jesus would go out alone early in the morning and sometimes stay out all night in fellowship with the Father.  It is also important that there are those like Caleb who can be in the crowd and yet not affected by the crowd – who are more inclined to apply positive peer pressure than they are susceptible to negative peer pressure! Remember – peer pressure is fear pressure.  If you are going to be immune to peer pressure you can’t be afraid of being different!

Caleb had caught the vision of God’s purpose!  He knew that if he just kept following the cloud instead of the crowd that he would see the fulfilment of God’s purpose – no matter how long it took!  As far as Caleb was concerned God said it, he believed it, and that settled it!

Caleb’s vision was grounded in the last generation through Moses, active in his own generation in supporting Joshua, and looking forward in serving and investing in the success of the next generation.

We need that same spirit that Caleb had – a different spirit.  We need the same spirit that will enable us to cross over to the other side with the next generation.  So many people get stuck in what God has done in them and neglect the bigger picture that will lead them to leave an inheritance for the next generation and a mantle that is worth picking up!  Remember Elijah and Elisha – you have to keep the next generation close if they are going to pick up the mantle!

Caleb was willing to resist the negative peer pressure from his own generation as they continually spoke out of their unbelief in murmuring, grumbling, and complaining and was obviously active in bringing a positive example to the next generation.  He must have been a sign and a wonder to them and the most exciting thing that was going on!   All they got from the others were funerals! Remember – faith is infectious!  Excitement is contagious!

The message never changes, the method is always the same, the mantle is not negotiable, but the way that we package the message, method, and mantle must be suited to the generation for whom we have been given responsibility!  If our own generation want to wander around in a wilderness circuit until they die of “same old-itis” that is their choice, but we have been given responsibility for the next generation!  One of the signs of the end-time is the turning of the fathers to the children and the children to the fathers!

Malachi 4: 5 – 6

5 “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.
6 And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers,
lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.”

I used to say that we should find out what God is doing in our generation and throw ourselves into it.  Basically, I used to say that because I heard someone else say it and I thought it sounded good at the time.  Imagine if Joshua and Caleb had done that!  I now believe that we need to identify what God is doing in the next generation and give all of our energy and enthusiasm to investing in and serving that!

A couple of years ago the LORD showed me that I couldn’t wait around for our son David and expect him to come back into what we are doing in our generation.  Instead it is important to cross over to the other side and get involved in what is happening in his generation!

What was the most significant thing that Elijah did in his ministry?  He passed on the mantle to Elisha that kept what he had started moving in a forward direction and led to the overthrow of the reign and influence of Jezebel who was determined to silence the prophetic voice that would keep the people of God moving forward and upward.

It doesn’t take long for something to become an idol if it remains static and you hang around it long enough for it to become familiar.  You know it is an idol when someone mentions moving it or changing it and you manifest all over them!

The reason that God designed his people to always be a traveling people is so that they never fall into meaningless religious ritual – regardless of how “charismatic” the ritual might be.

Numbers 9: 15 – 23

15 Now on the day that the tabernacle was raised up, the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the Testimony; from evening until morning it was above the tabernacle like the appearance of fire. 16 So it was always: the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night. 17 Whenever the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle, after that the children of Israel would journey; and in the place where the cloud settled, there the children of Israel would pitch their tents. 18 At the command of the LORD the children of Israel would journey, and at the command of the LORD they would camp; as long as the cloud stayed above the tabernacle they remained encamped. 19 Even when the cloud continued long, many days above the tabernacle, the children of Israel kept the charge of the LORD and did not journey. 20 So it was, when the cloud was above the tabernacle a few days: according to the command of the LORD they would remain encamped, and according to the command of the LORD they would journey. 21 So it was, when the cloud remained only from evening until morning: when the cloud was taken up in the morning, then they would journey; whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud was taken up, they would journey. 22 Whether it was two days, a month, or a year that the cloud remained above the tabernacle, the children of Israel would remain encamped and not journey; but when it was taken up, they would journey. 23 At the command of the LORD they remained encamped, and at the command of the LORD they journeyed; they kept the charge of the LORD, at the command of the LORD by the hand of Moses.

Caleb knew that if he kept following the cloud that eventually it would lead him to the place of his inheritance.

It is the same for us!  As we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit we cannot fail to come into the fullness of his plans for us.

Romans 8: 14

14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

Ephesians 1: 13 – 14

13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

Remember – we have been set free! But our freedom must have purpose!

Psalm 103: 1 – 5

1 Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. 2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: 3 Who forgives all your iniquities; who heals all your diseases; 4 Who redeems your life from destruction; who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies; 5 Who satisfies your mouth with good things; so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Blessing the LORD with all that is within us is our purpose!  Forgiveness, healing, deliverance, prosperity, and staying youthful are the benefits and the two should never be confused!  The majority of the people who were delivered out of Egypt were focused on the benefits – (“Where is this land flowing with milk and honey?”) – and so they missed their purpose and the benefits.  Caleb maintained his focus and so he fulfilled his purpose and enjoyed the benefits!  Jesus put it this way:

Matthew 6: 33

33 Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Caleb said, “Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.”  The truth was that they were potentially well able, but in reality they were disabled in their own minds by their history.  Even though they had seen and experienced so many signs and wonders they were still bound in their minds and by how they saw themselves.

Remember – that is what this series is all about – releasing the potential that is within us to be everything that God has designed and destined us to be!

LET THE WEAK SAY, “I AM STRONG!”

We need to finally understand that it doesn’t matter how many signs and wonders you see or experience because until you believe that YOU ARE a sign and a wonder you will never possess the land that is your inheritance!

Are you a follower of the crowd?  Do you tend to go with the majority?  Or are you a follower of the cloud with a fresh testimony of God’s goodness and faithfulness as you walk out his word every day as a sign and a wonder and the most exciting thing that is going on?

LET THE WEAK SAY, “I AM STRONG!”

One Response to “New Wine for New Wineskins February 2010”

  1. kirsty says:

    Amazing word! thnk you. 🙂

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