Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Carving Out a Path through the Thicket of the Jordan

We have been hard-peddled a soft gospel, and the resulting thinly held convictions and effeminate strength even to carry those threadbare and scant convictions out, has left us unable to withstand the onslaught of the enemy and dispel the gloomy cloud of deep darkness which hangs over the peoples.  “If you have run with footmen and they have tired you out, then how can you compete with horses?  If you fall down in a land of peace, how will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?

“We must through MUCH TRIBULATION enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).  We must through Jesus Christ, and sharing in His experience of death, burial, and resurrection, enter spiritual life and the privileges associated with that life.  There is no other way to get there except through this sharp and narrow way; yes it is frightful to realize it will flay the meat of our flesh off its skeletal support, that it will indeed kill us as we are presently constituted, but if we do, and once we do, it is over, and we walk in newness of life not tormented any longer by the insistent suggestion of sin and depravity.  Cain was told by God to not allow sin to master him, not because it was impossible for him to do so even after sin had entered the world and stained him (God told him he needed to master it, to control his naughty impulses even then), but because it would be (in the end), as he later learned after killing his brother Abel, too heavy to bear.

The word “tribulation” according to Dr. James Strong (and in accordance with his numbering system in his exhaustive concordance of the Bible), is “from H6887; NARROW; (as a noun) a TIGHT place (usually figuratively, that is, TROUBLE); also a PEBBLE (as in H6864); (transitively) an OPPONENT (as crowding): - adversary, afflicted (-tion), anguish, close, distress, enemy, flint, foe, narrow, small, sorrow, strait, tribulation, trouble.”  Also H6887 is “to cramp,” and H6864 is “a stone as if pressed hard or to a point.”  So, I find it interesting when looking at these few words in the definition of tribulation: NARROW, TIGHT, TROUBLE, PEBBLE, AND OPPONENT, and I can’t help but think of David and Goliath.  All of Israel is standing around in TROUBLE cowering at the challenge and taunt of this giant uncircumcised Philistine (those rootless migratory rollers in dust and wallowers in self [to roll the body about indolently or clumsily in mud; to spend time experiencing or enjoying something without making any effort to change your situation, feelings, etc.]), and along comes this insignificant shepherd boy with a PEBBLE after all of Israel is NARROWED to this TIGHT situation and circumstance wherein David was crowded or cramped into meeting his OPPONENT and Philistine champion Goliath (to be exiled, denuded in a disgraceful sense; preemptive excommunication) on the battlefield of life.

Our chosen king is a man head and shoulders above the rest, but God’s chosen king is a humble and ruddy shepherd boy.  And it is always God’s way to narrow us down, tighten us up, and crowd us into oppositional trouble, not to completely denude us of dignity, to expose our nakedness, and to bring us to open shame like that which must happen to anyone who becomes too big and Goliath-like.  No, it is rather to harness power like a dynamo, like the quantum physics idea of using negative energy or mass bent backwards in the space-time continuum, the implosion of our star that pulls the light of our being back into a supernatural dimension where God is fixed and from where He makes life from the dead happen.  It is from this anti-platform of humility that David slung his stone into the forehead of the giant yesterday, and it is from where we today, by PULLING BACK, do focus power and energize direct intent like the back-pull-motion of a bow needed to launch an arrow, a pointer towards the bull’s eye impact of any giant forehead obstacle we encounter.

A permanent position of power and influence is an inverse power, beginning in death to self, rather than in life to self, starting in insignificant and small David and ending in significant ironically smaller still King David.  Flesh only gets tribulated because it is too big, and if we are sorrowful and hurting about it, it is only because we are not as spiritually mature as we thought we were.  Webster’s 1828 version dictionary defines “TRIBULA'TION,” as “n. [L. tribulo, to thrash, to beat.] Severe affliction; distresses of life; vexations. In Scripture, it often denotes the troubles and distresses which proceed from persecution,” i. e., “When tribulation or persecution ARISETH BECAUSE OF THE WORD, HE IS OFFENDED” (Matthew 13:21).  The verse preceding this one explains the one who gets offended (and falls away [at least on some level]), has no FIRM ROOT in himself.  In other words, he never married himself in REAL belief to it; he is superficial, and values his own mind about things above the whole truth of the word of God.  This is epidemic today!    

But for those who are determined to endure to the end of the onslaught of enduring sound doctrine, of having the kernel of Truth grow up and outward into a tree of righteousness, displacing the old and dead Adamic nature tree of the knowledge of good and evil in them, I say this:  I believe the sword of the Lord in our hands today is shaped like a machete, both a sharp and blunt force implement suited for carving out a path through the thick and over-tangled forest of deception and resistance.  God’s ultimate aim is to enlarge us, but his method to accomplish that aim is to narrow us DOWN AND OUT through the eye of the needle (Jesus Christ the Narrow Gate), to make us small enough to pass into the wide and verdant plain of true spiritual dimension.  Indeed, as Charles Spurgeon put it:

“We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).

“God's people have their trials. It was never designed by God, when He chose His people, that they should be an untried people. They were chosen in the furnace of affliction; they were never chosen to worldly peace and earthly joy. Freedom from sickness and the pains of mortality was never promised them; but when their Lord drew up the charter of privileges, He included chastisements amongst the things to which they should inevitably be heirs. Trials are a part of our lot; they were predestinated for us in Christ's last legacy. So surely as the stars are fashioned by his hands, and their orbits fixed by Him, so surely are our trials allotted to us: He has ordained their season and their place, their intensity and the effect they shall have upon us. Good men must never expect to escape troubles; if they do, they will be disappointed, for none of their predecessors have been without them. Mark the patience of Job; remember Abraham, for he had his trials, and by his faith under them, he became the ‘Father of the faithful.’ Note well the biographies of all the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, and you shall discover none of those whom God made vessels of mercy, who were not made to pass through the fire of affliction. It is ordained of old that the cross of trouble should be engraved on every vessel of mercy, as the royal mark whereby the King’s vessels of honour are distinguished. But although tribulation is thus the path of God's children, they have the comfort of knowing that their Master has traversed it before them; they have His presence and sympathy to cheer them, His grace to support them, and His example to teach them how to endure; and when they reach ‘the kingdom,’ it will more than make amends for the ‘much tribulation’ through which they passed to enter it.”

Also, a guy named Jesse Boyer, in his blog (LostSeed), wrote these words under the title “How will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?”  He wrote:

“I wasn’t planning on writing this here but I will now because I think it will bless someone. This is not for the flesh to understand so get your mind on the Spirit. I was having a difficult month in January with my mental status. I wrote my letter to God and then I wrote God's response to me down. He told me: I will restore order to your life. You need not be afraid of changes. A few days later He said: I am training you to face your enemy and you shall overcome. [..] You are developing confidence in my promises. I told you the other day I am making you a warrior but you didn't write it down. And a day later, Beloved, I am that gentle whisper inside calming you. Take heed to my voice, do not let the thunder and hail steal your focus!
The following months were quite difficult at times but I started re-reading what God told me and swinging the sword of the Spirit and confessing victory. In the past it felt like I had a paper sword, but with this new revelation of authority my belief in my words makes that Sword quite heavy. I've been dealing with some warfare in my spirit and totally overcoming by the Word of God because I no longer doubt in my heart. It's easy to talk big but it's difficult to face our own mountains and command them to move.

The Father wants you to understand and use your Authority to overcome all power of the evil one. The victory is won, we have to step into it. Whatever we are facing our flesh will often says, “Well you don't understand MY problems, Well that's just the way it is”. But we can’t have victory thinking by the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds (2 Cor 10:4).

When I get attacked it's at the time I'm the weakest and don't feel like I can win. But if you falter in times of trouble how small is your strength. Hey, I don't have it all together and the Holy Spirit is still teaching me. You can't exercise authority of someone who isn't above you. I can't give out speeding tickets because I'm not a police man, but if I was one I could. Get under Gods government and provision! Spend some time with the Lord outside and in your prayer closet, He will show you wonderful things because our thoughts are not His thoughts, nor our ways His ways.
The flesh and the Spirit are in conflict with each other. Jesus Christ didn't die for nothing, and His promises aren't there for nothing, the Word of God is living and active. The gifts and power of the Holy Spirit are here today. Our identity comes from God.”

I agree with this brother, and since it aligned perfectly with what I was writing about, CARVING OUT A PATH THROUGH THE THICKET OF THE JORDAN, I shared it in its entirety.  In summation, what is the thicket of the Jordan?  The Jordan River is a muddy river and the lowest river on the face of the earth; it is the water line in the sand between a parched and lifeless wilderness subsistence, and a well-watered and fruitful paradise existence.  The thicket of the Jordan is like the hair of death, like a rooted tumbleweed or a cursed thorn and thistle patch of entanglement.  To be baptized in the lowest river on earth best symbolized the thoroughness of death to self to the core of natural life.  Many through self-effort entangle themselves at the brink of both death and life at the margin of baptism, but ultimately fail to enter in.  But if you awake to Holy Ghost power, and cease striving and know He is God, He will give you the strength to carve out a path through your frustrations.  Then, in obedience to the call of God’s Spirit, you enter the murky baptism and God cleaves a path through death into life and translates you from frustration to faith, to a faith that WILL eventually possess all the Promised Land.