12 Sep 2016 – WASTING
Yesterday, Louise asked about wasting – and that’s a spirit I don’t address all that much. I think I am alone in attributing the action of wasting to a separate spirit, other than Python. So please be discerning with this information.
Python tries to constrict and squeeze your circumstances; make them thin, narrow, restricted.
Rachab on the other hand tries to broaden your circumstances; make them wide, open, unrestricted.
Sound good? Sound freeing? Nah! Rachab (anagram of cherub in Hebrew, which should give you some hints about it) wants to spread you so thin you’re exhausted. Wants all the doors to be open so you don’t know which to choose. Wants everyone to be asking you to be involved in things that aren’t really you’re calling, so you are drained. Wants you to invest time, money, emotion, energy and effort into what will ultimately prove to be rubbish.
Now the greatness of God is that He can even redeem these wasteful choices.
And of course these spirits, Python and Rachab, can work together. There are many ways they can do this but my personal favourite (because I fell for it so many times) is for Python to frustrate you so much with a blocked path that you sit back and say, “God must be teaching me patience.” And thereafter you do nothing. But wait. Maybe occasionally drop a subtle hint to those who are responsible for blocking the path and could clear it for you.
It took me years to realise God had already taught me patience and that Rachab was, as Isaiah said, a spirit of “do-nothing”. I had thought I was waiting on God to change the situation. Quite the contrary. I had simply moved from Python’s camp to Rachab’s.
[NOTE: if you want to look up more about Rachab in the Bible, try spelling it “Rahab”. In order not to get confused with Rahab of Jericho, I use the legitimate alternative spelling with a C in it.]
23 Aug 23 2018 – EGYPT
Egypt is called Rahab the Do-Nothing in Isaiah 30:7. (I spell it “Rachab” – which is a legitimate alternative – just so as not to confuse it with the inn-keeper of Jericho.)
This defines the spirit behind Egypt – the spirit of doing nothing, of wasting, of being spread out and spread too thin to be effective, of being puffed up with pride.
Rachab is one of the main spirits we find waiting for us on the threshold into our calling. It can tempt us in so many different ways – perhaps to doing nothing or even to the opposite extreme, doing everything and never delegating; or of being too proud to ask for help; or of simply being arrogant.
If we’ve been assailed by the spirit of constriction and overcome it, sometimes our reaction on encountering the “freedom” that Rachab appears to offer is to embrace it whole-heartedly.
But God calls us out of this too. Out of Egypt, He constantly calls us.
20 Mar 2017 – CHOOSING A SACRFICE
When we approach the threshold into our calling, we become suddenly aware that a sacrifice is required of us. Blood is an age-old requirement for coming into reconciliation and covenant, so our sense that an offering is needed shows that we’ve correctly discerned the spiritual dynamic of the threshold.
Who asks this sacrifice of us?
Sometimes it’s one of the fallen cherubim – Python, the spirit of constriction or Rachab, the spirit of wasting.
But it may also be one of God’s holy cherubim.
Some of us back away at this point and decide the price is too high. Others of us do what is needed – we choose a sacrifice. The three I’ve noticed most often are:
(1) someone else – our spouse, our children, our partner, our colleagues
(2) ourselves – we self-sabotage at a crucial moment and allow someone else to gain the office – the calling – meant for us
(3) the honour of God
The truth, however, is that none of these are necessary. Because, yes, a sacrifice is required – but, no, it is not required of you. Jesus is the all-sufficient sacrifice even for crossing over the threshold into your calling.
And if you keep doing (1) or (2) or (3) on a regular basis, then your head might believe in the all-sufficiency of Jesus but your heart sure doesn’t.
2 Jan 2019 – FRUIT NOT GIFTS
Jesus didn’t ever say, “By their gifts, you will know them,” when He was talking about how to identify a disciple of His. He said, “By their fruit…”
That means by the evidence in our lives of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
In many people’s eyes, the gifts of the Spirit are so much more important than the fruit of the Spirit they are willing to overlook abuse from a leader because they’ve elevated the gifting to such high status.
Yet as I’ve worked with increasing numbers of people to help them over the thresholds into their calling, it isn’t the gifts that bring the breakthrough. It’s always the fruit.
The ungodly powers who guard thresholds – spirits like Python and Leviathan, Rachab and Ziz – are completely indifferent to your gifts. But the fruit… that’s a different matter entirely. With a basket of fruit in your hands as you approach the threshold, you might as well be toting a bag of spiritual grenades.
23 Apr 2017 – PRIDE
This evening marks the start of the day commemorating the fall of the city of Jericho.
So perhaps it’s appropriate to look at the Rachab, spirit of wasting, which is also the ruling spirit in the story of the battle of Jericho. Rachab’s main tactic to block us from crossing the threshold is wasting – either through delay or through spreading us thin, so we are no longer effective in any one area.
And of course, it wants to tempt us into pride – because then it doesn’t need to devote its full attention to us. It knows that God keeps His word and that His word says: “Pride goes before a fall.” So it wants us to put ourselves in a position where God will besiege us, rather than it.
How do you deal with this spirit? You don’t.
You don’t bind it, you don’t accuse it, you don’t revile it or curse it. (See what Peter says in 2 Peter 2:10 about the connection between pride and heaping abuse on celestial beings like this.)
You ask God to besiege it.
God laid siege to Jericho – it wasn’t really the Israelites. So too we must rely, not on ourselves, but on God – and wait on His timing.
6 Dec 2018 – FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT NOT FAITH
When we come up to the threshold into our calling, why do so many of us falter and stumble? Why do we fall headlong into the traps set by the enemy instead of stepping adroitly around them? Why does our paraclete seem to be awol when we shout, “Cover me!” as warfare rages around us?
The fact is: we’ve got used to relying on our coping mechanisms.
Often we aren’t even aware that we’re not going to God for the specific, personalised, bespoke strategy that fits our unique circumstances – instead of following the Lord’s battle plan, we’re using the tried-and-true methods that worked in the past. Sometimes those methods didn’t work for us but we’ve heard they worked for others, so we try them in faith.
But faith doesn’t overcome Python, the spirit of constriction. Love does.
Faith doesn’t overcome Ziz, the spirit of forgetting. Joy does.
Faith doesn’t overcome Leviathan, the spirit of retaliation. Peace does.
Faith doesn’t overcome Rachab, the spirit of wasting. Patience does.
Get the picture? An increase in faith is not the answer to every battle in life. The only Person who knows the strategy that will work for you is the Captain of the Hosts and your battle-companion, the Paraclete. Consult with them.
28 Nov 2016 – BUT GOD MAKES A WAY
God’s instructions to the Israelites in Exodus 14:2 seem, millennia later, to be just a set of road directions: “…turn back and camp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea; you shall camp in front of Baal-zephon, opposite it, by the sea.”
Far more is here than just a map! In a single verse, we have an allusions to four spirits of the threshold: in order, Leviathan (Pi-hahiroth), Migdol (memory/forgetting), sea (Rachab), Baal-zephon (Python). And that takes no account of the pursuing armies of Egypt.
When there is no way forward on a threshold, when every avenue of progress is sewn up and booby-trapped by the enemy, God can make a way by opening up that which has never been opened before.
But it’s no coincidence that Numbers 33:7 tells us this fine detail: “They journeyed from Etham and turned back to Pi-hahiroth, which faces Baal-zephon, and they camped before Migdol.”
Etham is a placename most closely related to “the time of the present”, perhaps “the appointed day”.
God has a way through. Sometimes we know, through prophecy or His word what that way through will look like. But when we try to take it in our timing, not His, we wind up retaken as captives by the pursuing armies or smashed against the threshold stones.