Every commandment which I command you today you must be careful to observe, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land of which the LORD swore to your fathers. And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD…For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing; a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig copper…who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end…. (Deut. 8:1-3, 7-9, 16)
To those in the body of Christ who are willing and prepared, we’re about to enter into a time of fullness, restoration and harvest unprecedented in the history of the world. The world, itself, is in cataclysmic chaos, rampant unrighteousness, lawlessness and confusion, at least quantitatively, in such ways as have never been. The evil Babylonian/antichrist systems of politics and religiosity have formed, and are continuing to evolve into an alliance whose purpose is to “make war with the saints and overcome them” (Rev. 13:7), with its ultimate aim to make war with the Lamb in futility, and foolishly try to prevent Him from reclaiming the earth at His second coming. In the midst of all this, the Lord is raising up a body on this earth, touched to their core with the power of the cross unto death of self, and filled with His grace and glory. This new season of restoration is to prepare the earth for His coming, reap a harvest of righteousness and souls for His glory, and execute His judgments to prove beyond a shadow of doubt His infinite mercy to a world that has truly given itself to evil and hatred of all the is just, true and holy. We can either cave in to fear, as the first generation of Israelites did that came out of Egypt, or confidently move forward through the waters of death (the Jordan) and enter into this new season or warfare and victory for His glory.
The past season of approximately 20 years has truly been a season of the wilderness. It is impossible to experience His “promised land” without experiencing the wilderness, because it’s the wilderness dealings and experiences that train the heart and soul of the believer to be confined to His will alone. The new season means a new land, a new way of following and new and greater demonic powers to face. What worked in the past season WILL NOT work in the new. To enter this new season and see victories, a major work of repentance has to be accomplished, which all of the wilderness dealings are meant to affect. To move into this new season requires moving through a very narrow gate. This means being confined to His will and ways alone, and all the ways, designs and postulates of man must be removed. The church, during the first part of this season, is going to undergo massive reformation. It is an erstwhile venture to study the Lord’s rebukes, admonitions and promises to the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3 to understand what is about to be done in our midst. Purity, simplicity and a passion to fulfill His desire alone will be the marks of those who allow Him to search and try them….
The entire book of Deuteronomy is basically Moses recounting the Lord’s goodness, redemption, faithfulness, provision and discipline in their lives in the past wilderness season. He calls them to look back, not specifically on their sins and failures, but upon the Lord’s limitless mercy in their individual and corporate lives to prepare them to enter the new season. This is the first thing we need to do as we prepare to enter this new season, which I believe has already begun, and the seals of Revelation 6 are being opened. We need to stop, and take time to thank and praise Him for His grace and mercy of bringing us through the past season of wilderness dealings. This past season saw many “failures”, but that’s what it was designed to do – to show us what was REALLY in our hearts in order to bring them out and on to the cross. The victory in the past season is a victory of perseverance…to keep on moving and pressing into the Lord and His purposes in spite of all that’s being revealed and dealt with in our hearts, lives and relationships. This is cause for a great, swelling chorus of thanksgiving and praise – He did not forsake or disqualify us from anything He’s doing now. The Lord told me several months ago that the only thing that could disqualify us from moving into the new season is an unwillingness to let Him change our minds about what “ministry” and “church” truly is, and to focus on the past. I don’t mean to sound flippant or sacrilegious, but He told me that all the sins, failures, wrong responses and disappointments we’ve had to face and deal with, if it’s been truly confessed and forsaken…He said, “I’ve got this!” Meaning, to me, that the power of the blood and cross has thoroughly dealt with all of these things….
After Moses recounts the absolute goodness and faithfulness of the Lord to His people in the last season, he then declares His heart and purpose for them in the new season as an admonition and encouragement.
Hear, O Israel: You are to cross over the Jordan today, and go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourself, cities great and fortified up to heaven, a people great and tall, the descendants of the Anakim, whom you know, and of whom you heard it said, “Who can stand before the descendants of Anak (the descendants of the Nephilim [giants])?” Therefore understand today that the LORD your God is He who goes over before you as a consuming fire. He will destroy them and bring them down before you; so you shall drive them out and destroy them quickly, as the LORD has said to you. Do not think in your heart, after the LORD your God has cast them out before you, saying, “Because of my righteousness the LORD has brought me in to possess this land;” but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is driving them out from before you. It is not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart that you go in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD your God drives them out from before you, and that He may fulfill the word which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Therefore understand that the LORD your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stiff-necked people. (Deut. 9:1-6)
The first thing we need to do is look back in thanksgiving and praise for His care, discipline and patience with us in the wilderness journeys. Then the next thing that needs to take place is to agree with His definition of who we are and not what we, or anyone else, perceive us to be.
You and I are NOT defined by the past season’s sins, failures and weaknesses, OR the opinion of others! He declares to them who He is, who they are, and that nothing depends upon their goodness or lack thereof. It all depends upon Him making them what He destined them to be and their humble cooperation. He makes this clear in His admonition and encouragement to Joshua:
After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, it came to pass that the LORD spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, saying: “Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them– the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the River Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your territory. No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:1-9)
It is by sheer grace and humble yielding to Him and His word that the world will be changed, harvested and prepared for His return in this next season we are entering. There ARE tremendous battles ahead of us on the scale we’ve never experienced before. It will take a totally dependent body of believers, joined to the Head and to one another in vibrant covenant relationship, to be victorious and overcome. The shape and scope of ministry and organized church is about to radically change in order to see the prayer of the Son in John 17 answered and His glory put on
display throughout the nations.
One last point about entering the new season…. Praise must lead this movement forth. And not just any type of “praise”. It must be the sound of victory – “high” praise – that which exalts Him for who He is and His glorious victories. Judah led forth the encampment, so praise and thanksgiving must lead with a triumphant sound (Psalm 149:5-9). As we move forward in praise and thanksgiving of our gracious Savior, then we can begin to war with His word and prophecies He has released to us over the past seasons. Now that which was spoken in the past season as promised to keep us persevering, will now be ignited as a sword of the Spirit to deal with whatever satanic obstacles we meet. Because of making our lives living sacrifices of worship and prayer, the hidden wisdom and strategies of God will be released at just the right time to implement to bring great victory. This will also release great favor as we become a united body under one Head.