ANOINTED FOR WAR
Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us,
set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 2 Corinthians 1:21, 22 (N.I.V.)
We've been looking at the church as the army of God and the role of each one of us as believers in that army. We've talked about the Cross and the willingness of the soldier to lay down his life; we've looked at the issue of authority, and in this session we're going to be talking about some specific anointings in spiritual warfare.
This word "anointing" can bring up all kinds of mysterious and vague ideas in our minds. We hear it a lot, but it seems to have many different meanings. We don't have space in this study to explore the whole subject of "anointing", so we will just cover it very lightly here. So what is an anointing? Well, in a practical sense it means to rub or smear oil on a person or a thing. In the Old Testament the anointing was a symbol of God's power resting upon someone. Kings and priests were ceremonially anointed and set apart, usually by prophets. In literal terms the Hebrew word for anointing (shemen) conveyed the idea of "richness, fatness, fruitfulness". Isaiah 10:27 says "the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing". The yoke was the wooden implement put around an animal's neck and was a symbol of servitude and oppression. But the anointing brings freedom.
In the New Testament , the anointing is spoken of as a specific endowment or unction of the Holy Spirit. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me BECAUSE He has anointed Me..... Luke 4:18. The word "Messiah" actually means "Anointed One". 1 John 2:27 tells us "the anointing you have received from Him abides in you....the same anointing teaches you concerning all things....." It is interesting that the Amplified Bible translates the word "anointing" as "a sacred appointment". (1 John 2:27)
Every Christian has an anointing abiding within. We have been "rubbed" or "smeared" with the oil of the Holy Spirit. If we will learn to listen to it, that anointing will teach us "concerning all things". God's presence and power are resident in the anointing. If you see certain consistent spiritual fruit as the result of someone's area of ministry, you can safely say that person has a specific anointing from God to bear fruit in that area.
An anointing is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit resting upon a person to bring forth fruit in one or more specific areas. Even though there is only one Spirit, just as with the gifts of the Spirit, there are diversities of anointings. In spiritual warfare, there can be different anointings for different fields of conflict. Some may operate more powerfully in deliverance ministry than in strategic level warfare. Others may have a specific anointing to deal with the enemy on the occult level.
So in this study, we are looking at some specific anointings in the area of spiritual warfare. This is because as individuals we need to find and start functioning in our areas of anointing in the army of God, and because corporately the church needs to begin to acknowledge and release anointed people into their spheres of authority.
Two people we are going to look at in this study are Deborah and Gideon, who were both anointed to lead Israel in war at different times of history, but who each were specifically anointed to release the breakthrough needed for the hour.
When Ehud was dead, the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord. So the Lord sold them into the hand of Jaban king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. The commander of his army was Sisera, who dwelt in Harosheth Hagoyim. And the children of Israel cried out to the Lord, for Jabin had nine hundred chariots of iron, and for twenty years he had harshly oppressed the children of Israel. Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, was judging Israel at that time. And she would sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the mountains of Ephraim. And the children of Israel came up to her for judgment. Then she sent and called for Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali, and said to him "Has not the Lord God of Israel commanded, "Go and deploy troops at Mount Tabor; take with you ten thousand men of the sons of Naphtali and of the sons of Zebulun, and against you I will deploy Sisera, the commander of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his multitude at the River Kishon; and I will deliver him into your hand?" Judges 4:1-7
Deborah was one of only three people in the Old Testament who held the positions of prophet, judge and military leader (along with Moses and Samuel). Verse 5 tells us she sat between Ramah and Bethel. Ramah means "high place", the place where idolatry was practised. Bethel means "house of God". Deborah sat "in the gap" between these two extremes. I believe this to be symbolic of high level spiritual warfare and intercession. So already we can see that as well as the prophetic anointing, (she is called a "prophetess" V.4) there's an anointing for intercession on Deborah. In addition, there's an anointing of wisdom, counsel and discernment "And the children of Israel came up to her for judgment." (v.5) In Verse 6 Deborah is given a strategy for war and tactics for the battle by God. The Oxford Dictionary defines strategy as "the planning of a war or campaign", and tactics as the "method of arranging troops skilfully for a battle". There are many of God's people, men, women and children, on whom God is placing an anointing for military style leadership in His army, who will be given strategy and tactics for spiritual warfare and individual battles by the Spirit of God.
It is not my purpose here to go into the rest of the story of the battle, but the end result is that the Israelites are victorious and defeat the enemy army and Sisera is killed. Deborah, along with her general, Barak, then sings a prophetic song inspired by the Holy Spirit. You can read the whole song in Judges 5. To continue our study, we are going to take a look at some of the passages in the Song of Deborah. Firstly, Judges 5:6-8. In the days of Shamgar, son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the highways were deserted, and the travellers walked along the byways. Village life ceased, it ceased in Israel. Until I, Deborah, arose, arose a mother in Israel. They chose new gods; there was war in the gates; not a shield or spear was seen among forty thousand in Israel. This is a description of the state of the nation of Israel just prior to the war with Canaan. In many ways, this is also descriptive of where much of the church has been until recently. Notice the highways are deserted - the people of God were assigned to the "byways", hiding on the back roads for fear of the enemy who dominated the major highways. Village life had ceased. In those days many people lived in small villages outside the walls of the cities. This is telling us that the people were afraid to venture outside the fortified walls of their cities and towns. The villages had disappeared. Because of marauding raids from the enemy the people had fled inside the walls. Sadly, some churches have become like fortified cities, where the whole focus has become defensive, to keep the enemy out, and to keep the believers safe. The problem is that the rest of the world is still out there with him. We've built walls with our structures and systems that keep us apart from the very ones we are meant to be reaching with the Gospel, out there at the enemy's mercy. They had chosen to follow other gods and God had allowed war to come to them (see Judges 4:2, so the Lord sold them into the hands of Jabin, King of Canaan). The people were not prepared for war and did not know how to use their weapons (not a shield or spear was seen). Many in the church today are awakening to the call to war, but we need God to raise up leaders like Deborah, apostolic "mothers and fathers in Israel", who are anointed to receive strategies and battle tactics from the Holy Spirit in order to lead the church in effective warfare.
Deborah goes on in her song to acknowledge different tribes who came to fight. This also is an aspect of the anointing on the Deborahs God is raising up - the ability to recognise and discern specific giftings in the Body of Christ and to encourage, and nurture them. Even among the tribes of Israel there were a variety of anointings, and the Bible indicates that these were recognised between one tribe and another. However, even though there were twelve tribes in Israel, THERE WAS ONLY ONE KINGDOM. When the tribes of Israel were summoned together for warfare, they knew who the enemy was, and it wasn't each other. We are told in Verse 15 that the princes of Issachar, were with Deborah. The tribe of Issachar, who had a prophetic and intercessory anointing, stood in warfare with her. The tribe of Benjamin (v. 4) had a reputation amongst the tribes for fierceness in battle, likewise Naphtali for bravery and stamina (v.18), and Zebulun was known for producing scribes, or keepers of the Word: (And from Zebulun they that handle the pen of the writer. V.14 KJV). Then there was the tribe of Reuben - who had a reputation for being weak, undisciplined, & unreliable. The tribes of Reuben, Gilead, Dan and Asher apparently did not come to assist in the battle. We are told that among the divisions of Reuben there were great resolves of heart but that Reuben stayed among the sheepfolds: Among the divisions of Reuben there were great resolves of heart. Why did you sit among the sheepfolds, to hear the pipings for the flocks? The divisions of Reuben have great searchings of heart. Judges 5:15,16 Well, doesn't it all sound a bit like the Kingdom of God? It doesn't matter what tribe (denomination) you belong to, unity isn't found in sameness, but in recognising and valuing the diversity of God's Kingdom. It's in being able to acknowledge that there are both strengths and weaknesses in the different tribes. It's in recognising specific anointings amongst God's people, and in being willing to learn from one another, as well as cover each other's weaknesses. It's in allowing each other to be different but identifying as one kingdom fighting a common enemy.
They fought from the heavens, the stars from their courses fought against Sisera. The torrent of Kishon swept them away, that ancient torrent, the torrent of Kishon, O my soul march on in strength. Then the horses' hooves pounded, the galloping, galloping of his steeds. Judges 5:20-22 These verses speak of angelic hosts (the stars) fighting on behalf of Israel in the heavenlies (stars in the Old Testament are often symbolic of angels). God caused a flood from the River Kishon, to sweep away Sisera's 900 chariots of iron. The horses hooves beat loudly because of the galloping of fleeing riders. Curse Meroz, said the angel of the Lord, Curse its inhabitants bitterly, because they did not come to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty. Judges 5:23. Meroz was a town in Galilee whose inhabitants apparently refused to respond to the call to war. We need to understand that Jesus has put the authority to act into the hands of His church, and when His church acts, under the unction of the Holy Spirit, Heaven endorses. In Ephesians 6:10-20, a passage which talks about the armour of God, we are exhorted to "take... the Sword of the Spirit... Ephesians 6:17. That implies will and action. Having a weapon and having the will to use a weapon are not the same thing. A call to war has gone out to the people of God, and, like the tribes of Israel, we have a choice. Like Reuben, we can stay in the safety of the sheepfold, making endless resolves in our hearts but never actually doing anything about them; or we can be like Issachar, who the Bible tells us were men who "understood the times and knew what Israel should do."1 Chronicles 12:32
So, what was Deborah's anointing? She was called a "mother in Israel". That is an apostolic anointing which recognises, nurtures and releases the anointings and giftings in others. She had an intercessory anointing, and a prophetic anointing. She was a wise judge, gifted in leadership and discernment and she was also a strategist. Today, I believe God is releasing in the Body of Christ a Deborah anointing upon many of His people.