This is Part 2 of a two-part series. Find Part 1 here.
And he said to Him, "O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father's house."
Then the Lord said to him, "But I will be with you, and you will strike the Midianites as one man" (Judg. 6:15-16).
The next step is critical. We must destroy altars of old. We must differentiate between God-given mantles and God-opposed altars. God absolutely will grace us with the water from the wells that our fathers and their fathers dug years ago. There are mantles and rich, godly traditions that have eternal value. However, there are unholy altars that have become normal in the church today that must be torn down. Traditions of man, selfish ambition, the pursuit of notoriety, becoming drunk on money and pride must be crushed. Annihilated.
When the men of the city got up early in the morning, the altar of Baal was torn down, the Asherah pole beside it was cut down, and the second bull had been offered on the new altar that had been built.
They said to each other, "Who has done this?"
When they had inquired and asked, they responded, "Gideon son of Joash has done this."
Then the men of the city said to Joash, "Bring out your son so that he may die, for he tore down the altar of Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it."
Joash then said to all who stood against him, "Would you plead for Baal? Would you save him? Whoever fights for him will be killed by morning. If Baal is a god, let him fight for himself, for someone has torn down his altar." Therefore on that day he called him Jerub-Baal, saying, "Let Baal fight him, for he tore down the altar of Baal" (Judg. 6:28-32).
Are you ready to be renamed? Are you an emerging Jerub-Baal? When we tear down ungodly altars, we step into a promotion in the spirit. We will be known as one who has stared evil in the eye and is unafraid at the threat of demonic backlash.
When we have proven ourselves to possess the obedience and fearlessness necessary to stand against the prevailing religious culture of the day by tearing down altars that so many hold so dear, we will be ready to advance in the mission—by allowing most people to leave.
The People in Your Church May Be Hindering Your Mission
Remember, we are called to leave the sand, to leave the shallows and to lead into the deep. Most people will not remain when you allow God to shift your church into a "deeper water" ministry. Your mission requires the right laborers be with you and those who are resistant to be let go. It doesn't mean we don't love them. It means we understand those who leave will pale in comparison with those will be set free through our obedience.
The Lord said to Gideon, "You have too many people with you for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel glorify themselves over Me, saying, 'Our own power saved us.' So now, call out so the people can hear, 'Whoever is afraid or anxious may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.' " So twenty-two thousand from among the people turned back, and ten thousand were left (Judg. 7:2-3).
Pastor, when you cast this renewed vision of going into the deep, most in your church will, most likely, be afraid of such a venture. It will not be what they signed up for. They wanted you to occasionally wave at them as they soaked up the sun on their beach blankets. They wanted you to splash with them if they ever decided to test the shallows.
This new, awakened leader will be an irritant to them. Most will leave. That's OK. The mission is for all who are fearless and surrendered to Jesus. The choice is theirs. If Gideon would have refused this filtering process, the entire camp would have been decimated. The enemy is ready to decimate our churches too. We need Jerub-Baal to emerge and lead with the mysterious, illogical wisdom of the Holy Spirit.
But the Lord said to Gideon, "There are still too many people. Bring them down to the water, and I will test them for you there. When I say to you, 'This one will go with you,' he will go with you. Everyone about whom I will say, 'This one will not go with you,' will not go" (Judg. 7:4).
The number of those who lapped, putting their hands to their mouths, was three hundred. The rest of the people had knelt to drink water.
The Lord said to Gideon, "With three hundred men who lapped to drink, I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. All the rest of the people should go home (Judg. 7:6-7).
God knew who was needed to get the job done. Three hundred out of 32,000, less than one percent, were called as the church, the ekklesia, a governmental people with determined unity and a fearless disposition, to rout the enemy.
An Unconventional Call
The result of applying the Gideon principle for church growth will most probably result in an extreme decrease in numbers but a supernatural increase in power.
An unconventional man, Gideon, was called.
An unconventional army, only 300 in number, was gathered.
An unconventional method, banging jars and shouting, was used.
The result was glorious victory.
The three combat units blew the horns and broke the jars. They held the torches in their left hands and the horns for blowing in their right hands. They called out, "A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!" Every man stood in his place all around the camp, but the men in the camp ran, shouted, and fled.
When they blew the three hundred horns, the Lord turned every man's sword against his fellow man throughout the camp. The Midianite camp fled to Beth Shittah in the direction of Zererah, up to the border of Abel Meholah, near Tabbath (Judg. 7:20-22).
Accusation Will Come
I'll conclude this article with a key point that could easily have been ignored.
"Then the men of Ephraim said to him, 'What have you done to us by not calling us to go and wage war against Midian?' They argued heatedly with him" (Judg. 8:1).
When God calls you to destroy religious altars and to advance mostly alone in your region, you will absolutely be accused by other pastors and leaders. Who are you, after all, to presume you know what should be done in the city?
Your answer? You are Jerub-Baal.
While I appreciate it when pastors in a city meet together and attempt to unify and support one another, it's rare for them to truly promote revival in a region. The reason? They presume their efforts to affirm one another and support one another are the goal. It's satisfying Somehow, unifying around this low-level commitment feels spiritual. It's nice, but it can be threatening to the greater mission. When God calls you to tear down altars they have built or that their fathers have built, then what? When God calls you to advance in the city without them (due to their own choice), with a small army of radicals, how will they respond? Many will accuse.
This doesn't mean, by any means, that we go rogue and function in an independent, rebellious spirit. God will crush that fast. He resists the proud. God will, however, awaken key people to do what few others will, and what most will flatly reject. This Jerub-Baal leader will threaten religious structures. Their humble surrender and bold resolve to obey their God at every turn will threaten those who have their religious culture carefully defined.
Who are you? What is your identity? You are a mighty man of valor. God is inviting you as a Jerub-Baal. He will rally an army around you to assault the enemy and to advance the kingdom of God. Those who leave, and those leaders who aren't consulted, will most certainly accuse you.
That's okay. Go in this spirit of Jerub-Baal and see God move in some of the most remarkable signs, wonders and miracles the world has ever known. You are invited, mighty man of valor, to be an instrument in God's hands in a dark and desperate world. This hour is yours.
John Burton has been developing and leading ministries for over 25 years and is a sought out teacher, prophetic messenger and revivalist. John has authored 10 books, is a regular contributor to Charisma magazine, has appeared on Christian television and radio and directed one of the primary internships at the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City. A large and growing library of audio and video teachings, articles, books and other resources can be found on his website at burton.tv. John, his wife, Amy, and their five children live in Branson, Missouri.
John Burton has been developing and leading ministries for over 25 years and is a sought out teacher, prophetic messenger and revivalist. John has authored ten books, is a regular contributor to Charisma Magazine, has appeared on Christian television and radio and directed one of the primary internships at the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City. A large and growing library of audio and video teachings, articles, books and other resources can be found on his website at www.burton.tv. John, his wife Amy and their five children live in Branson, Missouri.
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