During a time of prayer with several others on 02.04.2003, I believe God was speaking about the following for ‘the Church in Perth.’
The text I was first drawn to is in Genesis 26:12-22, this is a story of how the Philistines seek to oppose the blessing of God upon the life of Isaac. The reason given is that they “envied him” (verse 14). After a series of incidents where they fight with Isaac’s servants and fill up his wells of spring water, he is finally able to sink a well successfully. He names the place Reheboth, which means fruitfulness (verse 22). From here on he seems protected from his enemies, multiplies and digs repeatedly without hindrance. The blessing of God is recognised even by past enemies (verses 26-33). It seemed that the Lord wanted to make a point about envy and the release of the blessing of God in our lives from this passage.
Envy is a powerful evil motive for opposing the favour of God in scripture. Saul envies David’s successes in battle and seeks to kill him because the presence of the Spirit is with him (1 Sam 6:6- 16). Pilate recognizes that “it was out of envy that they (the leaders of the religious institution of Judaism) had handed him (Jesus) over” to be crucified (Matt 27:18). The Sadducees, “filled with jealousy”, oppose the apostles by force as an attempt to cut off the supply of miracles in Jerusalem (Acts 5:12-18). Stephen is attacked by an enraged mob because “they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke.” (Acts 6:10). Paul is persecuted by the Jews at Pisidian Antioch and Thessalonica because of his influence on the Gentiles (Acts 13:45; 17:5). In each case, the naturally more powerful person or group, in terms of position and institution, fights against the anointing of God in a chosen instrument. None of this is eventually successful.
Intimidation and control have always been employed by existing political and religious power blocs to try and stop a move of God. Here are a few random examples. John Hus, the “morning star” of the Protestant Reformation, was burnt at the stake. Luther’s life, under excommunication, was only spared because of princely backing. The Wesley’s, Charles Simeon and other leaders of the Evangelical Awakening in the U.K. were verbally and physically harassed on many occasions, including life-threatening situations. A well known Evangelical preacher early in the twentieth century called the emerging Pentecostal movement “the last great vomit of Satan.”
In the present time, I sense that there are many quiet believers in this city, “little ones” (Matt 10:42; Mark 9:42), upon whom God’s favour rests but who are being intimidated and controlled by other Christians in places of power and influence. Whilst most of this is unconscious, the profile and confidence of these extroverted super-confident personalities is nevertheless blocking up the grace-filled free flow of the Spirit. God is going to change this situation.
Just, as in the Isaac story, wells filled with dirt flow with polluted water, much of what is flowing out of the church in the city today is a mixture of flesh and Spirit. The time is coming when the water of the Spirit that flows out of the heart of believers will be pure and clean (Ezek 47:1-12; John 7:37-39; Rev 22:1-2). This anointing will bring life wherever it goes; the true kingdom actions of forgiveness, healing, deliverance will come, not only with unmistakable power but a holy quality from God.
Such a reversal will occur as the children of God learn to hear the voice of the shepherd for themselves (John 10:3,16,27). When they begin to live true to the fact “the anointing you received from the holy one abides in you, and so you do not need anyone to teach you. But a this anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie…” (1 John 2:27) they will increasingly take their instructions directly from Christ.
The day when human mediators dominate the scene of the contemporary church, drawing out a climate of (usually failed) imitation, is coming to an end. A new day is dawning, even if this will not be without a struggle. Let us press in to know the Lord, he is surely coming to bless us and release vast fruitfulness (Hos 6:3).