A Pastor's Calling Part II Sources of Frustration For The Flock
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Do you as a shepherd know what frustrates your sheep? Do you know where they hurt? Do you know how in prayer to tackle the enemy and free your sheep from the things that have them bound? Do you know how to identify a wolf? The following two enemies have been hard at work inside the church, hurting sheep. Do you see them at work in anyone you know?
1. The Spirit of Jezebel
Jezebel is bold and intimidating, self-willed and confident (like Hitler in tights). What Ahab can't do to get the minister's "vineyard" (symbolic of his home and/or his church), Jezebel does. Through flattery and false accusation she sets the man of God up for a fall (see I Kings 21:1-15).
Jezebel is the ultra-feminist, the "me first" spirit of rebellion. She is the queen of pride, of "I know best." She is the mother of legalists (Pharisees), who strive to be made righteous through the flesh (Romans 3:20; Galatians 2:16). Sometimes subtle and sometimes bold (Judges 14:15-17; 16:15-17; Proverbs 7:10-12), she drives wedges between spouses and ruins happy homes (see Revelation 2:20-23).
Giving mothers-in-law a bad name. Babysitters too.
Queen of the sob story, she seeks out the insecure, to draw them into her "poor me" spider web dipped in human tea and sympathy.
Emotional manipulation (crocodile tears), mixed with lots of guilt, is a favorite tool of hers. So are dark sayings, gossip and the evil report. They're negative, depressing, and full of witchcraft (see II Kings 9:22 and I Samuel 15:23).
Jezebel is an expert at making good guys look like bad guys and bad guys look like good guys (as she did with Naboth).
She'll glue you to the phone and keep you there - for hours, if you let her.
Divorce and broken homes are just a couple of her fruits. As is her daughter, Athaliah.
2. The Spirit of Athaliah
Athaliah is the fruit of Jezebel's womb. She is the pain that comes from being emotionally manipulated and/or abused by Jezebel (see II Kings chapter 11). Jezebel is the thief that steals people's time, money and sense of worth in Christ. But Athaliah is the one that finishes them off.
Athaliah is discouragement personified. She is suicide. She is abortion. She is infertility. She is disease. She is infirmity. She is pain, both physical and emotional, magnified to overwhelming.
The moment the true King is lifted up, she cries "Treason! Don't worship Him. Sing my tune instead. Magnify the problem with me, and let us exalt its name together!" (II Kings 11:14)
Athaliah makes people sad. She is the mother of all Sadducees (who don't believe in resurrection - or any other miracle, for that matter - see Acts 23:8).
Here are three steps to defeating both Jezebel and Athaliah (you may think of more):
1. Keep the most precious, intimate truths of Jesus hidden from those who through doubt, unbelief, or mockery would kill your faith in Him (see II Kings 11:1; Matthew 2:14-16; Matthew 7:6). Perhaps you've had a physical healing. Don't share it with anyone, Christian or non-Christian, whom you know doesn't believe in those things (Mark 8:22-26). If you do, they might attack the "Christ child" being formed within you and kill a portion of your precious faith. To the best of your ability, share your miracle only with those you trust to honor and protect it.
2. Exalt the name of Jesus over every problem. In praise and worship, draw upon His wisdom and compassion. As Elijah's Word brought down Jezebel (see I Kings 21:23) and Jehoiada's instructions brought down Athaliah (see II Kings 11:15), so does the Word of God enable you to get the victory over those evil spirits. In His presence you can learn to discern the difference between human sympathy (which leads a man astray) and God's compassion which takes away all pain.
3. Expect the persecution and the pain both to increase. For the miracles that Jesus did enraged the Pharisees and inflamed the Sadducees (as see throughout the gospels and the book of Acts). In them we see Jezebel and Athaliah hard at work to kill the word of God and the miracles thereof.
4. At the right moment, put Jezebel and Athaliah to death with God's Word. As Elijah's Word brought down Jezebel (see I Kings 21:23 and II Kings 9:36-37) and Jehoiada's instructions (II Kings 11:4-8, 15) brought down Athaliah, so does the Word of God enable you to get the victory over those evil spirits. Concerning Jezebel, the moment Jehu asked "Who's on my side?" the eunuchs (unproductive souls whom she had robbed of their strength and fruitfulness) threw her to her death (see II Kings 9:32-34). Her death fulfilled Elijah's prophecy. As for Athaliah, the moment she cried "Treason!" the men of God took her outside the assembly and put her to death with the sword (symbolic of God's Word - Hebrews 4:12).
Here we see a picture of effective deliverance ministry: Praise, worship, and a casting out of devils by the word of God, thus returning power and authority to God's people. The main point, however, is that Jesus is the one who gives victory. The way to attain this victory is to keep our eyes on Him (Hebrews 12:2).
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