Gather 70

The children of Israel in the Old Testament were dependent upon Moses to hear from God and tell them what they should do. They needed and preferred a “go between.”

Historically, God raises up leaders who enter into our bondage and extract us from the grip of the enemy whether it be Pharaoh, addiction or sexual perversion of some type.

Usually that leader will have some identity with the captives. This was certainly the case with Moses, a Hebrew who had lived in the Egyptian culture. He had known affluence and had experienced rejection.

God’s children had cried and groaned while in Egypt and God supernaturally delivered them through Moses’ leadership. Now, on their journey to their destiny, the Promised Land, they continued to whine and murmur in the wilderness when faced with trials. Their stubborn willfulness came under the discipline of the Lord. After all He was transforming them from a mob into a nation. Providing deliverance is one thing. It can happen instantaneously! Changing character is a far more formidable challenge. It takes process.

 

Rabble-Rousers and Euphoric Recall

At one point in Numbers 11:4-6, rabble-rousers unsettled the temperamental children of Israel by complaining about the food. Their “cravings” for the good old days back in Egypt spread like a spiritual infection.

More than temporal needs being met; they struggled with deeper issues of resisting God’s purpose, not completely trusting in Him. But they only knew Him through His servant Moses who singularly felt the pressure of this.

The malcontents painted a false, yet favorable picture of their horrible past. They fantasized about the so-called free food in Egypt while forgetting their previous plight of slavery. They actually longed for the artificial comfort of imprisonment. Insanity?

Recovering people call this “euphoric recall.” Erroneously remembering their past fed their present discontent and they constantly complained.

They discouraged others from going forward. Something God dislikes, to put it mildly.

 

The Goodness AND Severity of God

Father God loves His children beyond description. He also has the capacity to correct them through severe discipline. Given the current social climate, it seems inappropriate to bring this up.

Currently we present God as a grandfatherly figure Who is only loving and gracious. Our “modern” god never gets angry. Anyone who suggests this possibility, we accuse as being judgmental and condemnatory. Yet there is that disturbing verse written for our admonition in Romans 11:22 Therefore, consider the goodness and severity of God…

 

Love and Correction

I for one am thankful for Godly discipline because it presupposes His covenant love. Whom He loves, He corrects. In some peculiar way God’s discipline bonds us to Him. I hesitate even bringing this up, but…

Proverbs 13:24 says, A refusal to correct is a refusal to love; love your children by disciplining them. (that is a very mild paraphrase from The Message)

Parents often misunderstand Godly correction. Because of examples of abuse presented in the media, even loving, good parents question what the Bible says. As the old saying goes, “abuse is no excuse for no use.” As Christians we must decide whether to follow Biblical teaching or modern psychology.

God’s Word is the ultimate authority on such matters.

 

Recovery as Correction

What does this have to do with recovery? Everything! Once again, there is a good reason why it is called the Department of Corrections here in America.

Our Heavenly Father is loving and kind, but also deals with us as with children. Hebrews 12:8 (NLT) If God doesn’t discipline you, as He does all of His children, it means you are illegitimate and are not really His children at all! King James Version puts it more forcefully, “then you are bastards!”

 

Acting Like a Bastard

How can I say this gently? At the depths of my sinful, backslidden condition, I knew I was saved. I even knew that God’s favor rested on me from my youth. I knew I was called into ministry, but I knew my willful worldliness was making Him angry.

Over and over He graciously provided opportunities for me to repent and return home, but I spurned His loving appeals. God is good, longsuffering, patient and merciful, but…

At some point in 1991 the fear of God hit me like a ton of bricks! He loved me so much He could “take me out” if He decided too. At that point I wised up! I had presumed upon His grace long enough. I humbled myself and repented.

Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

I remember calling my pastor early one morning during those days of rebellion. I was whimpering like a baby about all my troubles. I had diarrhea of the mouth! After a long diatribe blaming everyone but myself, my loving pastor said, “Gary, you are acting like a bastard!”

This man had called me his spiritual son, now he was calling me a “bastard!” No, he said I was acting like one.

Only covenant love dares to speak the truth in love. It can be risky.

God loved the children of Israel so much, but they were acting like…the other nations, who did not know the Lord as Father God.

 

Special Anointing for Service

Moses was exhausted from ministering to God’s stubborn people. He took his burden to the Lord in serious prayer. At that point God directed him to gather 70 men who would partake of the Spirit Who was upon him. They would share the ministerial responsibility with him.

The Spirit of God did come upon all of them and they prophesied. The breadth of God’s purpose was broader than one person. Numbers 11:25 Remember Jesus encouraging His disciples to pray for laborers?

Even two who were not at the meeting received this same special anointing for service. There are some who will respond though they are currently outside our present purview. Jesus said, I have sheep that you know not of…

Joshua, Moses’ understudy, was jealous for his leader’s role and objected! He wanted to “protect” his mentor. Really?

Perhaps at this point his own private agenda was being threatened? Perhaps he thought the distribution of responsibility and the decentralization of Moses’ authority would weaken his own potential role? I like young Joshua, but maybe God was purging his ambitious motives.

Whatever his motive, Moses famously responded, I wish all God’s people were prophets; that God would put His Spirit upon everyone! Numbers 11:29

 

Gather 70

This is my prayer for Discovery Family Ministries. God has delivered us from demonic slavery. He has challenged us with character development through tests for the purpose of growing us up into mature saints. He has anointed us with the same Spirit Who rested upon Jesus Christ and now He calls upon us to take responsibility for leading God’s people into their Promised Land.

The number 70 is used in the Bible to represent perfect testing. It is a governmental number identified with the Jewish Sanhedrin. Jesus gathered and sent out His 70. Luke 10:1

At this point in the journey of DFM I am praying for 70 people whom God chooses that will respond to share this calling.

The original vision setting captives free and bringing them into their God-given potential has not diminished. We are seeing a mixed multitude being converted into a spiritual nation. We are citizen of the Kingdom of God and sojourners here.

When I naturally question how can these things be? God reassuringly asks me, “Is My hand too short that it cannot save?”

Discovery Family Ministries is not about our ministry for God, it is about His ministry through us.

We are in a great position to enter into a new season of ministry, but we are asking the Lord to show us the 70. We believe for 70 people who will faithfully pray for DFM. We believe for 70 who will stand with us financially. We believe for 70 men and women who will share leadership in this great spiritual enterprise. Show us the 70!