Fire and Praise - Page 2

God then took me to another section of the story.

Judges 7:9-22

That same night the Lord said to Gideon, Arise, go down against their camp, for I have given it into your hand.

But if you fear to go down, go with Purah your servant down to the camp

And you shall hear what they say, and afterward your hands shall be strengthened to go down against the camp. Then he went down with Purah his servant to the outposts of the camp of the armed men.

And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the sons of the east lay along the valley like locusts for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand on the seashore for multitude.

When Gideon arrived, behold, a man was telling a dream to his comrade. And he said, Behold, I dreamed a dream, and behold, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian and came to the tent and struck it so that it fell, and turned it upside down so that the tent lay flat.

And his comrade replied, This is nothing else but the sword of Gideon son of Joash, a man of Israel. Into his hand God has given Midian and all the host.

When Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped and returned to the camp of Israel and said, Arise, for the Lord has given into your hand the host of Midian.

And he divided the 300 men into three companies, and he put into the hands of all of them trumpets and empty pitchers, with torches inside the pitchers.

And he said to them, Look at me, then do likewise. When I come to the edge of their camp, do as I do.

When I blow the trumpet, I and all who are with me, then you blow the trumpets also on every side of all the camp and shout, For the Lord and for Gideon!

So Gideon and the 100 men who were with him came to the outskirts of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, when the guards had just been changed, and they blew the trumpets and smashed the pitchers that were in their hands.

And the three companies blew the trumpets and shattered the pitchers, holding the torches in their left hands, and in their right hands the trumpets to blow [leaving no chance to use swords], and they cried, The sword for the Lord and Gideon!

They stood every man in his place round about the camp, and all the [Midianite] army ran---they cried out and fled.

When [Gideon’s men] blew the 300 trumpets, the Lord set every [Midianite’s] sword against his comrade and against all the army, and the army fled as far as Beth-shittah toward Zererah, as far as the border of Abel-me-holah by Tabbath. (Emphasis added)

I felt I heard God say, I want to raise up a company of people who are willing to lay down the way they think things should be done, the rational way of doing things, the natural solutions (their swords), and are willing to give me their hearts (earthen vessels) and say, “God, fill me with fire. God, purify me. Put the torch inside of me and burn out what is not of You.” They will fill their hands with fire and praise, leaving no room to take up the sword again, and will go forward saying, “Now, where is the God of Elijah?”

Don’t you know that I can work in ways you cannot imagine? I can put the dream in the enemy’s mind and provide him with the interpretation, prophesying his own destruction.

I started drawing every day, sometimes for three and four hours, with a sense of urgency. The entire time I kept praying, “Okay, God, I don’t know how to draw this. You will have to show me.” And He would. However far I was supposed to go each day, He would teach me how to do it. It was a stretch for me because I would literally be drawing towards blank areas that I did not have a clue how I was going to do what was going to go inside. I even told friends at our Friday night singles group, Encounter: “I feel like I am in art school.”

Dark Corners and Swords

After drawing in the stones on the left side of the picture and the torch handle, I heard God say, “Dark corners.” I started doing the dark shadows that encompass the outer reaches of the picture. The days I worked on this part of the picture were sobering ones for me. He revealed to me that part of asking for fire was going to involve letting Him shine light in the dark corners of my life and reveal things to me that need to change. It was also during this time that the realization hit me that the sword is not in the picture. I realized that all of my life I have lived by the sword of how I think things should be done while the horn of praise and the fire of God were neatly put away in a corner of my life, unused. It was a time of new commitment and repentance.

On a lighter note, it was during this time that I was talking to a friend from church about the picture and he felt he had a word for me. He said, “I feel like God is saying, ‘I have many pictures for you and they will impact people.’”

Willing to Shatter

I always open my Bible and lay it open before I start to pray, never at any particular place, just so it is there and ready should God tell me to look up something in particular. One Friday, after working on the shadows and coming around the right side of the picture, I was asking God what He wanted me to do next. I heard Him say, Look at where your Bible is opened to. I looked down and this is what I saw.

Isaiah 58:1

Cry aloud, spare not. Lift up your voice like a trumpet…

Oh, I’m supposed to work on the trumpet!

I scanned the rest of the chapter very lightly and saw it was about something the Lord had against Israel but did not think the rest was important. I continued with my prayer time and worked on the drawing but something did not feel right. I was not certain what it was until I went to Encounter that night. During worship God said quite sternly, You did not respect what I gave you.

Strangely, I knew it had something to do with Isaiah 58. I got out my Bible right then and knelt down to read it.

Isaiah 58:1-12 AMP

Cry aloud, spare not. Lift up your voice like a trumpet and declare to My people their transgression and to the house of Jacob their sins!

Yet they seek, inquire for, and require Me daily and delight to know My ways, as a nation that did righteousness and forsook not the ordinance of their God. They ask of Me righteous judgments, they delight to draw near to God.

Why have we fasted, they say, and You do not see it? Why have we afflicted ourselves, and You take no knowledge [of it]? Behold [O Israel] on the day of your fast, you find profit in your business, and you extort from your hired servants a full amount of labor.

[The facts are that] you fast only for strife and debate and to smite with the fist of wickedness. Fasting as you do today will not cause your voice to be heard on high.

Is such a fast as yours what I have chosen, a day for a man to humble himself with sorrow in his soul? Is it only to bow down his head like a bulrush and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast and an acceptable day to the Lord?

[Rather] is not this the fast that I have chosen; to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every [enslaving] yoke?

Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house---when you see the naked, that you cover him, and that you hide not yourself from [the needs of] your own flesh and blood?

Then shall your light break forth like the morning, and your healing (your restoration and the power of a new life) shall spring forth speedily; your righteousness shall go before you [conducting you to peace and prosperity], and the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.