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Being Drawn Back as a Bow

In August 2010, Pastor Gregory Bangura preached at All Nations Fellowship (Tulsa), and following up with what I have been processing with the Lord for a while regarding the seasons of my life, that Heaven processes me through, I continued with some thoughts that I made a few years ago.  Pastor Gregory’s illustration using a bow and an arrow specifically caused me more reflection. He emphasized the drawing back of the bow that is use to shoot an arrow; and also gave an illustration from the life of Joseph – being put in the hole(drawing back) by his brothers, sold into slavery (drawing back), put in to jail (drawing back); and then let go to rule and govern. I thought the following appropriate for this season of my life any maybe others too. 

 These are times in which Heaven is granting seasons of permission / favor as especially seen through our being “drawn back” as a bow to shoot an arrow or two or three or more.  Actually this has been Heaven’s desire for a long time but this favor has been passing right over us as we are crouched down in our foxhole’s. Our foxholes are often the slowness of transition from one season to another, lack of promotion, a layoff, a death, a set-back, or a desert (metaphorical or real) or two we have crossed or will cross. Father God is granting (renewed) seasons of permission granted / favor granted. Not just seasons in the past (meaning to you or me all is not lost), but seasons are coming (and some are right now) in which favor has been granted. These seasons come as battles and not battles which you (or I) are familiar such as “your past”, “your parents”, your education”, “your missed opportunities”, “your ex-spouse”, “your wounding’s from others”, “your weaknesses” or the “enemy – the evil one”.  This warfare - offensive attaches / battles are from heaven.  Because of our foxhole / trench “mindedness” paradigms, we have not been expecting them as times of favor -  these heavenly offensives.  Our previous season / life paradigms have us pretty in trenched; and some of us would not call Heaven to a battle even if we had been losing. Some of us even have a lifestyles trenched in loss. This paradigm represents our survivor faith – a defensive faith – a doer’s faith.  But I say that with these seasons coming in our lives, we are being granted successive windows of opportunities to have our life, and faith upgraded. We have been living in seasons in which it has been “safer” to live out of our foxholes. Some of us have been in our foxholes so long, we do not see this neighbor, sister, brother or friend down in their foxholes / trenches.  We as individuals and as communities of people do not go to war anymore - (your / our & my suffering has been so great from the vantage point of our foxhole; and we do not go to war any more. If the whole community was called over the wall (trench / foxhole) no one would hear the call. 

 So I was reminded of 2 Kings 13: 14-20, today also along with the story of Joseph and those bowing down to him.  Let’s see about Elisha, King Jehoash, the bow, the arrow and the window:

 Now Elisha was suffering from the illness from which he died. Jehoash king of Israel went down to see him and wept over him. "My father! My father!" he cried. "The chariots and horsemen of Israel!" Elisha said, "Get a bow and some arrows," and he did so. 16 "Take the bow in your hands," he said to the king of Israel. When he had taken it, Elisha put his hands on the king's hands. "Open the east window," he said, and he opened it. "Shoot!" Elisha said, and he shot. "The LORD's arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Aram!" Elisha declared. "You will completely destroy the Arameans at Aphek."

Then he said, "Take the arrows," and the king took them. Elisha told him, "Strike the ground." He struck it three times and stopped. 19 The man of God was angry with him and said, "You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroyed it. But now you will defeat it only three times." Elisha died and was buried.

 We should have heard and should have been living as though Heaven could be taken at its word.  Most of us are playing it safe. And others of us are not even getting out of the foxhole. Often we call home this place we are crouched in - our foxhole – decorated with flowers, the lawn is mowed and though it would be bad enough “clocking” in 9 to 5 with some of us actually 24x7 in our foxhole’s.  Yes this battle is coming straight at you and not from the front but the Lord, himself. Heaven is charging right over the top of you in to the face of your battleground. Yes in these seasons your greatest fear should be that you have not left the foxhole – the trenches of your life and followed the “helper of your soul”.  Your greatest fear – failure is to be left in the dust and a season of recovery will be ahead of you (always ahead of  you). Heaven is coming (new seasons) not to so you become a recovery addict but an overcomer.  The Lord has desired you on the frontlines of his Kingdom taking ground of for others and leading foxhole dweller’s over the top for a long time. Your greatest obstacle – not knowing “what to do” will start fading in the review mirror of your life because you start to become the someone your father (Heavenly Father) created you to be. Someone who knows how to live out of favor and knowing that permission is always granted unless held in check. Heaven at times (and sometimes lots of times) does not care a flip if you get out ahead because love covers a multitude of mistakes.

 

This king needed to overcome four times not three. What was the King thinking on the day, morning of the fourth battle? Sure he had already been is three battles (these battles had losses) but he had three victories. But three had not mattered the enemy was coming a fourth time. Stuff is going to come at you (me to) a fourth time too. I want to be a fourth time warrior and commander for my Heavenly Lord and King.

 A person (Graham Cooke), I respect has said about this verse:

The bow represents the power of the Holy Spirit in your (my) life. The arrows represent the specific word of God to you (me & the community I run with too) personally. Your hand represents you taking responsibility to let God move. Elisha’s hand represents the hand of God upon you at this time. The window is a season of opportunity. The east represents the dawning of a new day when everything changes. The word "shoot" represents your obedience to believe God and to cooperate with Him at this time. The arrow of the Lord’s deliverance represents freedom to become what God wants you to be. The arrow of deliverance from Syria or Aramea literally is your freedom from enemy activity.

 First remember Heaven has a lot at stake – you. Heaven is weeping over us in that so great a price has been paid for your adoption, freedom and new citizenship. Heaven is sickened over our lack of living out of permission granted, favor. Heaven’s frontline recruiting offices have been empty for days in that all the potential recruits are stuck in their foxholes just waiting for the hole to look, smell, taste and a be better on a better day. A foxhole will only ever be a foxhole. You are a prince and princess destined for favor not a foxhole. Secondly, heaven has so much of this area, our nation and the world marked as “taken ground” but that’s all it is marked on a map and no troupes for the offensive.  Depression is holding its ground. Joblessness is taking more ground each day. Hunger is living off of greater amounts of fear and rage each day. Mercy takers are creating fortresses of judgment. Smaller and smaller pockets of love, kindness, peace and rest are to be found.

 The Lord says, I am coming at you (you say at me?), He says I am coming straight through you to that which has been in front of you - the enemy's battle against you, your family, your community, your church. It has you immobile, in fear, dead in the water, down in the trenches, worried... The Lord says, I am creating an all on frontal attack on the enemy. I have come to take the offense(s) of the enemy away in successive seasons. The Lord's desire is to create warriors for his next season - a harvest, a reaping, and a work while the window is open – these seasons.

 Hey say pickup your bow, look to the East, let the man of God place his hand on your hand. Look out the windows (these seasons of opportunity), and shoot an arrow at your offenses, another at your pain, another at trouble, another at your cowering and another at that the battle lines the enemy has drawn up. Now strike the ground for the Lord's favor.

 You have given up on yourself, your family, your community, your church and even the approaching enemy -- the battle lines. God the Father is giving you a season(s) to see your enemy in the window (Heaven’s opportunities – seasons - for movement and overcoming).

 It is the Lord who is initiating this attack, though you have to pick up the word of the Lord. AS with the bow being pulled you have to be pressed to be leveraged into position for this attach.  Set back is not failure but as one has said the drawing back of the bow is for increased power and insuring the right target is hit.   A lot of movement (sometimes backwards) in these seasons (windows) is really of the Lord (his allowing). If you had not lost a job, you would not have ever changed jobs. If the car had not broken down you would have never stopped for help or received help (just riding around on something waiting to be broke down).

 You are faint hearted towards “any word of God”, “move of God”; any “thus says the Lord” regarding this place of offense. You might strike the grown once, twice or even three times. But if you even knew that the Lord is giving you favor, strength, courage, and spiritual insight to strike five or six times, what would you do? See four times is even missed because you are behind the attacker; Father God has become your attacker. You are on the offensive not the defense (your foxhole, place of cowering).

 He is showing us that he is taking on the enemy through these fights, battles. He is calling us up out of the trenches. We must be willing to get up and turn in to the battle. We will see that the lord is already before us. He is not only calling us up out of the trenches for ourselves but each other, our family, our community, our fellowship. Do you hear the battle cry? We thought that it was only between us and the enemy. God is showing it is between Him and the Looser. The enemy said you were the looser. Strike, Says the Lord, Shoot Says the Lord. Let what He's doing Fly - one, twice, three times. You are becoming "Thus says the Lord - regarding Me, My Family, My Community, My Church, My Town, or the World. A host of overcomer’s. They (We) are coming over the walls in to the battle lines the Lord has drawn. This is the Father's Embrace, a rally.

 God is going to show us that if the enemy raises his head against one of us. A battle will be taken to him by the Lord with all of us in tow. If one of us is touched, Heaven will see all of us there in his face. If the enemy comes after our family, he will see us all in his face with our family. If the enemy comes after our church, he will see all of us in his face for this community of the elect. If he comes after our community, he will see us in his face for our whole community.

 I say to you "Strike" while the Iron is Hot. Shoot while the enemy is in view. You think it is about you. He says it’s about a whole company / host, divisions that he is taking over the wall. From the dungeon to paradise.

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