“Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). Jesus…Grow Roots
The Builders Anointing
Nehemiah was anointed to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and worked with the people to complete this assignment. Despite the walls being in disrepair, many of the people would have seen it, but did not have the wisdom or tenacity to get the work done. Many people would have given up, if faced with the resistance and intimidation that Nehemiah did. “But when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabs and the Ammonites and the Ashdodites heard that the repairing of the walls of Jerusalem was going forward and that the breaches were beginning to be closed, they were very angry” (Nehemiah 4:7). Nehemiah withstood taunting, threats and plots to harm him during the rebuilding. At one point, he had to station men at the wall with their tools and weapons to protect them against the enemy.
Zerubabel was anointed to rebuild the temple of Jerusalem. He also experienced resistance and adversaries intimidated the people and wrote to the king, who ordered the work to cease. After the King died, the work continued with ongoing opposition. “At the same time Tattenai the governor of the province Beyond the River and Shethar-bozenai and their associates came to them and spoke to them thus: “Who gave you a decree to build this house and to finish this structure”” (Ezra 5:3)? Zerubbabel and the elders continued the work of rebuilding, despite the Governor sending letters to the king to try to stop the work. The temple was completed and dedicated so that the people could return to worship.
There are other bible characters who God appointed to build, such as Noah, who built the ark. His mission would have seemed impossible and possibly ridiculous, since he built it on dry land. Nevertheless, he followed God’s specification, completed the work and saved his family and creation. Solomon was instructed by God to built the original temple in Jerusalem. His father had the desire to build the temple, but God instructed David to leave that task for his son. “He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever” (2 Samuel 7:13). The building in Jerusalem always happened during seasons of rest from warfare and return from captivity.
We need seasons of rest to rebuild, as it is difficult to build during seasons of intense warfare. We need direction from God and instructions concerning building. Not everyone is anointed to build, as God would not permit David to build him a temple. God however appointed Solomon to build him a temple of worship. What Nehemiah and Zerubbabel had in common were tenacity and resilience. They had to overcome great opposition and patiently endured in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem and the temple. God also provided resources for building. He gave Solomon great wealth and caused Nehemiah to find favour with the King, who gave him the resources to build the wall. Zerubbabel also found favour with Cyrus and he gave him the resources the build the temple.
Your Warfare Is Ended!
Isaiah spoke a word of comfort to Isreal. Their warfare had ended, their sins were forgiven and they would be restored. The people had received retribution for their sins and the sins of their parents and it was now time for them to have rest. There were other times in the bible when rest was declared over God’s children. “And the Lord gave them rest on every side just as he had sworn to their fathers. Not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for the Lord had given all their enemies into their hands” (Joshua 21:44). This season followed years of intense warfare as the children of Isreal advanced towards the promise land. There were many giants in the land who tried to withstand them.
God kept his covenant promise to Abraham and the word he gave to Moses and Joshua concerning his children. “No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you” (Joshua 1:5). The Lord gave the people rest, once they had taken possession of the land of promise. As long as there were giants occupying the land of promise, the people did not have rest. They drove out the giants little by little and then the people allocated the land and settled on the land. “Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses” (Joshua 1:3).
God also gave David and his people rest, after years of intense warfare and fighting. “Now when the king lived in his house and the Lord had given him rest from all his surrounding enemies” (2 Samuel 7:1). God gave David rest after he took the ark of God and settled it in Isreal. The people praised and worshipped God and gave offerings before the ark of the Lord. “And when David had finished offering the burnt offerings and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts”(2 Samuel 6:18).
We are soldiers in the army of God and there are seasons when we will experience intense warfare. There are also seasons of rest, after we have driven out the giants and taken possession of what God has promised. We have to take our God given authority, ask God for the strategies to take possession of what has been promised to us and dislocate any giant standing in the way of what belongs to us. Once we take possession, we consecrate ourselves to God in worship and thanksgiving and enter into our season of rest. “And when David had finished offering the burnt offerings and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts” (2 Samuel 6:18).
You are Born to Have Dominion, Despite the Opposition; If You Obey
“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, …You are Born to Have Dominion, Despite the Opposition; If You Obey
Command the Gates
There are several references to gates in scripture and David spoke of God breaking the gates of brass and cutting asunder the bars of iron. This was in Psalm 107 when he spoke about God’s salvation of Isreal. They had wandered in the wilderness and were hungry and thirsty. They cried out to God in their distress and he heard them, delivered them and gave them a dwelling place. Some of God’s people dwelt in darkness and distress, when they rebelled against God. They cried out to God in their distress and he heard them and brought them out of the shadows of death.
Isaiah wrote about God’s anointing and mandate over Cyrus concerning the Jews.“Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut” (Isaiah 45:1). Isaiah spoke of God opening gates of kingdoms and cities to give Cyrus dominance. God was making a way for Cyrus to have conquest over kingdoms and territories. “I will go before you and level the exalted places, I will break in pieces the doors of bronze and cut through the bars of iron” (Isaiah 45:2). God was also giving him treasures of darkness and hoards of riches in secret places.
He was exalting Cyrus for the sake of his own people, to honour his covenants to Abraham and Isaac. Although Cyrus was not the seed of Abraham, nor did he share in the covenant of Isreal, God would equip him and use his kingdom to channel resources for the restoration of the Jews. “Thus says the Lord: “The wealth of Egypt and the merchandise of Cush, and the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over to you and be yours; they shall follow you; they shall come over in chains and bow down to you. They will plead with you, saying: ‘Surely God is in you, and there is no other, no god besides him’”” (Isaiah 45:14). God spoke of the dominion of his people over regions, territories, wealth and resources. He did this to exalt his name and for his glory among the nations.
We speak to the gates of bronze, iron, sliver and gold and we command a shaking. “The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the Lord of hosts” (Haggai 2:8). We speak to the gates and command them to be open and release every promise of God for his children. We speak to the gates of the seas and nations and command it to give up its wealth (Isaiah 60:5). We speak to gates of the nations to release lost souls for the kingdom of God. “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; And be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; And the King of glory shall come in” (Psalm 24:7).
Will You Survive the Shaking?
Paul spoke in Hebrews 12 about running the Christian race. He said that we need to lay aside all the weights of sin, that would hold us back and look to Jesus who will help us to finish the race. He spoke of the suffering of Christ as our example. Although we suffer for the gospel, most of us will never suffer to the point of shedding our blood. We should not despise the chastisement of the Lord. “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, And scourgeth every son whom he receiveth” (Hebrews 12:6). When we endure God’s chastening, then we are his children, just like earthly fathers chastise their children. Most people don’t like to be disciplined, but it helps us in the long run. Paul urged us to live at peace with others and to avoid bitterness.
“lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright” (Hebrews 12:16). Esau’s trading of his birthright set the scene for his brother, Jacob to steal his father’s blessing. Jacob ruled over Esau and lived in the covenant blessing of Abraham. Paul also recalled Mount Sion where Isreal gathered and were afraid after hearing the voice of the Lord. “See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven” (Hebrews 12:25). The voice of God shook the earth and he has promised once again, to shake the earth and heaven.
This final shaking will remove the things that are shaken, and only those things that cannot be shaken will remain. There was recently an earthquake in the world, which claimed many lives. People spoke after the earthquake about poor construction of some buildings, which crumbled during the quake. It seems that they were suggesting that buildings which had a stronger foundation, survived. Earthquakes are some of the most dangerous natural disasters, that affect the earth and lead to destruction. The shaking which Paul and other prophets spoke of, is not an earthquake or a volcano. There will be a final shaking before this heaven and earth passes away.
Until then, God will at times shake the world to shift systems, cultures, economies and even the body of Christ. These shakings are to bring about change, transformation and revival. God will first shake the church, because we cannot continue with business as usual. There is an end time harvest which needs to be gathered and lukewarmness will be shaken out of the church. World systems and political structures will change. Organisations will see a major transformation and a shift in leadership structures. Only those who are planted firmly in Christ will withstand the shaking.
“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock” (Matthew 7:24).
In 1 Samuel 30, we read of a time when David and his men returned from doing battle with the Philistines. To their surprise, their camp had been raided by Amalekites and their wives, children and possessions taken and the camp was burnt. As a precursor to this incident, in chapter 27, David fled to the Philistines as a way to escape from Saul. “Then David said in his heart, “Now I shall perish one day by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than that I should escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will despair of seeking me any longer within the borders of Israel, and I shall escape out of his hand” (1 Samuel 27:1). His strategy worked, because once Saul heard that he was in Gath, he stopped pursuing him.
David lived with his family along with six hundred men and their families who followed him. He and his men lived in Ziglag and would go out and raid other regions and take their goods. When the King of the Philistine asked David where he had raided, he would convince him that he had raided his own people in Isreal. What he did was to take out everyone among the regions that he raided, so that no one lived to inform the King. Eventually, the Philistines went to war against Saul and they refused to take David. They were afraid that he may turn against them and support Saul and his army.
David and his men went back to their camp in Ziglag and found that their families had been taken. He was distressed because the men were bitter and wanted to stone him. He sought God, strengthened himself and God told him to pursue the army to recover what they stole. They went after the army and recaptured their families and possessions along with the army’s possessions. Despite this victory, some of David’s men were so tired that they could not complete the mission with him. This created some division as the men who fought, did not want to share the spoils with them. “Who would listen to you in this matter? For as his share is who goes down into the battle, so shall his share be who stays by the baggage. They shall share alike” (1 Samuel 30:24).
This is a great story of restoration and recovery, as God helped David and his men to retake what they lost. We have to consider if the original losses could have been avoided, if the camp was not left unguarded? David and his men were busy raiding other territories, while they left their own territory unguarded. All the men went to war and left the women and children alone and unprotected. We can relate this to our homes and families. Many times we go out to do battle in ministry and in the marketplace. We cannot go to war and leave our homes unguarded. If we do, then the devil will take opportunity to come in and steal our possessions.
“lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices” (II Corinthians 2:11).
A Time of Shaking
Haggai prophesied at a time when the Jews were in captivity in Babylon. He spoke to Zerubbabel who was the Governor of Judah and to the remnant of the Jews. “‘Who is left among you who saw this house in its former glory? How do you see it now? Is it not as nothing in your eyes” (Haggai 2:3)? Yet Haggai encouraged them to be strong because the Lord of host was with them. God confirmed that the covenant he made with the people when they left Egypt, would still come to pass. He promised to shake the heavens, the earth, the sea and land. He would shake the nations so that all the treasures would come in and fill his house with glory. “The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the Lord of hosts” (Haggai 2:8).
Haggai declared that God would restore the glory of the latter house, far greater than the former and he would give them peace. God promised a blessing for his people who were once defiled and Zerubbabel was declared as a signet or the designated authority for the people. God promised to overthrow the strength of kingdoms and nations and overthrow their defence systems. Zerubbabel was given the authority and power to rebuild the temple which would restore worship in Jerusalem. Joel also prophesied about a great and terrible day of the Lord, when the armies of God would go forward and destroy everything in their path. “The earth quakes before them; the heavens tremble. The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining” (Joel 2:10).
Joel called for repentance with fasting and weeping. He asked the people to rend their hearts and return to the Lord who is gracious, merciful, slow to anger and full of love. God often sent his prophets to warn his people about impending destruction. A people crying out to God in repentance for their land and people to be healed. “Who knows whether he will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, a grain offering and a drink offering for the Lord your God” (Joel 2:14)? The Lord has a promise of restoration for his people who are willing to cry out in repentance. There will also be an outpouring of the presence of God upon all people and sons and daughters will prophesy, old men will dream and young men will have visions.
The world is being shaken by atrocities including wars and natural disasters. “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places” (Matthew 24:7). Yet there is a remnant people whom God has spared and a generation who will arise to give him praise. This shaking will level the crooked places and make the paths straight. Mountains will be brought low and valleys will be exalted. Principalities will see and know who are the righteous, who serve their God and everyone will see the difference. God is providing hidden riches in secret places for his people to meet the needs of the church. Treasures will come in to restore the glory of the latter house, in order to usher in the end time harvest of souls.
Obedience for Domination
“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the …Obedience for Domination
Pulling Down Strongholds
A stronghold is a fortified place or a shelter, which is typically built for survival from outside sources of attack. The word stronghold has both positive and negative connotations. As a positive reference, it relates to God being our deliverer and a defence from satan. “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold” (Psalms 18:2). In this Psalm, David acknowledged God as his saviour from death and destruction. God responded to his cries for help and came down in his splendour and might to save him. David ran to God for shelter and found safety and protection.
The strongholds that Paul referred to destroying, are those established and reinforced by the devil. These are spiritual strongholds which are habitual patterns of thoughts, beliefs and ideas that are entrenched in people’s minds. “We are destroying sophisticated arguments and every exalted and proud thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought and purpose captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). In this verse, Paul was detailing the spiritual prayer and warfare strategy that we need to counter strongholds. He said that although we are in the flesh, our war is not against flesh and blood.
Strongholds originate in the mind as a desire or a lustful fantasy. “Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death” (James 1:15). Although strongholds start in the mind, they feed sinful habits that people struggle to get free from. Many people have negative habits, thought patterns and behaviours that they struggle to control. Many people have tried for years to live right and to be set free from some besetting sins. This can cause frustration and hopelessness in people who struggle with no success to do good. Paul understood this struggle firsthand as expressed in this scripture. “I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me” (Romans 7:21).
The good news is that there is a way of escape. Habitual thought patterns, behaviours or sins that seem difficult to break are strongholds. The weapons against strongholds include persistent prayer, fasting to undue the burden of sin and to let the oppressed go free (Isaiah 58:6). There is hope and there is nothing that is impossible with God. Jesus told his disciples that if they had faith, they could command a mountain to be rooted up and thrown into the see. One main requirement that we need to ensure that our prayers are answered, is to forgive anyone who has hurt us, so that God can forgive us. “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:24).