Five Issues Every Leader Must Resolve

Judges 6:36-40 – 36  And Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said, 37  Behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said. 38  And it was so: for he rose up early on the morrow, and thrust the fleece together, and wringed the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water. 39  And Gideon said unto God, Let not thine anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once: let me prove, I pray thee, but this once with the fleece; let it now be dry only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew. 40  And God did so that night: for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground.

I want to recommend an excellent book entitled, “On Purpose Person” by Kevin McCarthy. I have followed the principles outlined in this book. If you will apply them to your life, I believe very strongly that they will work for you as well. Now, let’s look to the five issues that every leader must resolve if you want to be a winner.

The Issue Of Identity

In Judges, Israel failed God so many times that the Almighty repeatedly sold them into slavery. Judges chapter 6 is no exception. This time it was the Midianites, the Amalekites and all the children of the East. They invaded the Promised Land and encamped their armies in Canaan with the express purpose of impoverishing Israel. Although the promises of God were being fulfilled by Israel’s occupation of Palestine, they were not enjoying the experience. Abraham had more children than just Isaac. There was Midian, Ishmael and Amalek. All of these were joined in one concerted effort to take away their harvest. These renegade kids of Abraham and Esau decided to impoverish Israel by making them prisoners in the Promised Land. Under siege in their own land of promise, they were not permitted to enjoy the fruit of their labors. All Midian wanted to do is make the people of God miserable.

Satan has a definite strategy to defeat you. He doesn’t mind you possessing the land that God has given to you but he doesn’t want you to enjoy a single minute of it. He wants to bring your testimony down and utilizes definite strategies to do so. Let’s look at these strategies and see what we can do to overcome him, “For we are not ignorant of the devil’s devices.”

Midian means, “to complain.” Amalek means, “to worry” or, “to be wearied.” Satan has a method to his madness. He wants you upset about everything, complaining and worrying about what’s going to happen, so that you are of no value to the King. If these spirits gang up on you they will intimidate you and keep you from enjoying the Promised Land. If they go unchecked they will hinder the harvest of souls God wants to give to you. They will keep you hungry and desperate with no way to satisfy the hunger. You become a prisoner in your own promise. Israel hid themselves in caves and mountains with no freedom and definitely no joy. 

Israel was worn out and walked on by the enemy. Isaiah said that Israel’s foes talked down to them, . . . Which have said to thy soul, Bow down, that we may go over: and thou hast laid thy body as the ground, and as the street, to them that went over (Isaiah 51:23). Satan wants to use you as his doormat, to make your life so miserable that you can’t enjoy the promises of God.

This tragedy continued until God found one anointed person by the name of Gideon. Only a man who is willing to be clothed with anointing can do it. God clothed Gideon with Himself and He used him to deliver Israel. Before Gideon could accomplish this task he had to be prepared. The first reason for this is because Gideon was scared to death.

He was threshing wheat by the winepress. God sent an angel to him to call him a “Mighty man of valor.” Hiding by the winepress doesn’t sound very mighty to me. But God has the ability to call you what He wants you to be even before you become that. God didn’t see a coward; He saw a warrior. God didn’t see a shepherd boy when He saw David; He saw a King. The name, “Gideon” means “Warrior.” He was the son of “Joash” which means to be “Jehovah-fired.” You know what God is really looking for? A man that he can convince the enemy is already defeated. God wants leaders that are Jehovah fired up warriors and He wants you to realize your greatest potential.

Listen to what God is saying about you! You mighty anointed hero of the faith. Why was Gideon hiding? Why was he threshing wheat by a winepress, doing it by hand? So the enemy could not discover his efforts. If the enemy had caught him they would have overwhelmed him. He was not yet ready to take on his divine assignment.

Wheat is a type of the word. The wheat in seed form, winnowed by hand is God’s personal word to you. This word reveals who you really are through Him. The winepress is a type of spiritual joy and praise. It gives you the inspiration to find the sweetness and goodness out of something.

When you put these two things together you get a warrior praising God because of what the word declares he is through God. God saw some word and praise in Gideon. This is why he chose him.

Gideon immediately questioned God by asking, “Where are the miracles that our Father’s told us of?” Where are they? They are within you, right now. If God can find some word and praise in us He can perform the miracles again. The church needs deliverance and needs to be equipped for battle so the strategy of Satan to steal the harvest can be thwarted.

One main reason for their lack of joy was due to the fact that God allowed this to happen. Israel had forsaken God and served other gods and the unfortunate result of their impropriety was enslavement. The enemy refused them the right to their own harvest. They positioned their armies to insure the Jews were imprisoned in their own land—under siege in the Promised Land.

For fear of the reprisals of their sworn enemies they hid in caves, in dens and in the mountains. Even Gideon, for fear of the enemy, was threshing wheat by the winepress—a place no one expected God’s people to be during harvest time. However, an angel from God facilitated Israel’s revival by presenting himself to Gideon and speaking a special word into his life, “The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.”

Immediately the issue of Gideon’s identity and heritage is raised both in his mind and in the opinion of heaven. Heaven has an opinion of who and what we are. How can God see us as mighty even before any acts of supernatural power are done? Its simple, “The LORD is with thee.”

Although we are not immediately aware of His ever abiding presence by a conscious understanding of His nearness, one of the benefits of serving God is His promise that He will never leave nor forsake us. None of us can adequately act on our principles unless we have gained the moral courage that comes from a healthy self-image. We must learn who we really are. Gideon had questions about his heritage.

When he asked the angel, Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites (Judges 6:13), he wanted to know why these things were happening and where were the miracles that could change their present circumstance. These were honest questions that deserved an answer. God answered him by saying, “Go, in this thy might.”

No miracle will be released until we get some go in our spirit. Go teach a bible study. Go to prayer meeting even when you don’t feel like it. Go preach the gospel to every creature. We must commit to going in our own strength without even a hint of supernatural intervention. All Gideon needed was a reminder that if God is sending you and He is with you, you only have to go and He will take care of the rest.

After God changed Gideon’s view of himself, then the mighty warrior offered a present unto the Lord which called fire out the rock. The main reason people are not on fire is because they have a wrong view of themselves. They perceive God as Almighty and probably don’t question for a moment His sovereign power, but when it comes to their personal involvement in the kingdom they can’t see themselves getting the job done. Now God has responded to Gideon in such a way that he must acknowledge the possibility that God is calling him to accept the responsibility of engaging the enemy for their deliverance.

The issue of self-identity can only be settled when you are motivated to act on what you already have and what you already know. If you are waiting for the magical moment when you are totally prepared and completely equipped, it will never happen. No such moment exists in the kingdom. You must realize that what you have right now is enough to at least get started. Then God will lead you through the remaining process to purify your spirit and give you the leadership capability that will win the day.

The Issue of Divine Order

The second issue that must be resolved is that of divine order. Not only must you know the way God’s sees you, it is also important that you know the order that God demands of his warriors—the dedication, the discipline necessary to win the battle.

Gideon felt the need to cast down the idol gods that had been set up in his father’s backyard. Once he did this it became apparent that not too many people in his small village appreciated his zealous behavior. However, they were stayed when Gideon’s father brought to their attention the fact that if Baal was god he could contend for his own altar and didn’t need the violent reaction of the villagers.

Notice that Gideon’s response to God’s word of affirmation was to build an altar. It was an altar of peace that recognized that the only true rest we can find is in knowing what God thinks of us as His warriors. God’s opinion towards you is more favorable than you might think. Also understand that after Gideon built his first altar calling God, “Jehovahshalom,”

He did so because God spared him. This is the altar of reconciliation that honors God in your life for His marvelous salvation. But remember that God required yet another altar to be built in Judges 6:26.26  And build an altar unto the LORD thy God upon the top of this rock, in the ordered place, and take the second bullock, and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the grove which thou shalt cut down. 27  Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did as the LORD had said unto him: and so it was, because he feared his father’s household, and the men of the city, that he could not do it by day, that he did it by night. 28  And when the men of the city arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was cast down, and the grove was cut down that was by it, and the second bullock was offered upon the altar that was built.

This altar was in direct obedience toy God and the place was ordered by the Lord. It was the same rock where Gideon presented his gift to God and the fire came out of the rock. Now Gideon is doing more than just being thankful for being spared. He is now accepting God’s divine order into his life. Most people have no problem with the first altar but they do with the second altar because it demands that certain idols be removed.

Knowing that this is going to cause a problem, Gideon decided to do this at night rather than during the day. Under the cover of darkness Gideon and his band of ten men did exactly what was needed. When Gideon’s household awakened and discovered that their idol was cast down they immediately began an inquiry as to who did this. Their reaction was an angry one – they demanded that Joash send out his son to die. Not everyone appreciates your desire to restore the church to Apostolic power.

The Issue of Faith

The third issue that must be resolved in a leader’s life is the faith issue. God basically gave Gideon three signs that caused him to believe. The first two signs dealt with the fleece. Gideon was disturbed about whether or not he could be used to defeat the children of the east. He wanted to build peoples lives and make them winners.

So, before Gideon went into the battle with the assembled army, he asked for a sign from God of the success of his undertaking.  He said to God, If thou art saving Israel through my hand, as Thou hast said, behold, I lay this fleece of wool upon the floor; if there shall be dew upon the fleece only, and dryness upon all the earth (round about), I know (by this) that Thou wilt save. The fleece was the wool that had been shorn off a sheep.

The sign which Gideon asked for, therefore, was that God would cause the dew to fall only upon a shorn fleece, which he would spread the previous night upon the floor, that is to say, upon some open ground, and that the ground all round might not be moistened by the dew.

In verse 38 God granted the sign. And so it came to pass; the next morning, Gideon pressed the fleece together and squeezed the dew out of the fleece a vessel full of water. The dew had fallen on the fleece and the earth all around had remained dry. Once the fleece had been squeezed, the water filled an entire bowl.

In order for faith to work in our lives with power, and in order for us to rebuild other peoples lives we must make ourselves available to God, expose our hearts to His glory and soak in His spirit. Then God puts the squeeze on us. He takes our heart and wrings it out until every last drop of His power is emptied into the vessel of another.

But as this sign was not quite a certain one, since wool generally attracts the dew, even when other objects remain dry. Gideon ventured to solicit the grace of God to grant him another sign with the fleece – namely, that the fleece might remain dry, and the ground all round be wet with dew. And God granted him this request also.

Gideon’s prayer for a sign did not arise from want of faith in the divine assurance of a victory, but sprang from the weakness of the flesh, which crippled the strength of the spirit’s faith, and often makes the servants of God so anxious and despondent, that God has to come to the relief of their weakness by the manifestation of His miraculous power. Gideon knew himself and his own strength, and was well aware that his human strength was not sufficient for the conquest of the foe. But as the Lord had promised him His aid, he wished to make sure of that aid through the desired sign.

This is a perfect example of God pouring out His Spirit on all of us and giving us His blessings, only to wring them out of us again in ministry to others. When we are squeezed by trial and testing, the glory that oozes from our dedication is the source of blessing for the church. Sometimes when you feel dry it may not be that you are void of purpose and power. Look around and you might just find that what God has just finished wringing out of you is the blessing that was needed on the lives of others.

From all these things, the fact that he had seen and heard the angel of Jehovah, and that he had been taught by fire out of the rock, by the disappearance of the angel, by the vision of the night, and by the words addressed to him there, Gideon did indeed believe that God both could and would deliver Israel through his instrumentality; but this faith was not placed above or away from the conflict of the flesh by which it was tested. And it is not strange that it rose to its greatest height when the work of deliverance was about to be performed. Wherefore, Gideon with his faith sought for a sign from God against the more vehement struggle of the flesh, in order that his faith might be the more confirmed, and might resist the opposing flesh with the great force. And this petition for a sign was combined with prayers for the strengthening of his faith.

And “the simple fact that such a man could obtain the most daring victory was to be a special glorification of God” (O. V. Gerlach). The sign itself was to manifest the strength of the divine assistance to his weakness of faith. Dew in the scriptures is a symbol of the beneficent power of God, which quickens, revives, and invigorates the objects of nature, when they have been parched by the burning heat of the sun’s rays.

The first sign was to be a pledge to him of the visible and tangible blessing of the Lord upon His people, the proof that He would grant them power over their mighty foes by which Israel was then oppressed.

The woolen fleece represented the nation of Israel in its condition at that time, when God had given power to the foe that was devastating its land, and had withdrawn His blessing from them. The moistening of the fleece with the dew of heaven whilst the land all round continued dry, was a sign that the Lord God would once more give strength to His people from on high, and withdraw it from the nations of the earth.

Hence the second sign acquires the more general signification, “that the Lord manifested himself even in the weakness and forsaken condition of His people, while the nations were flourishing all around; and when so explained, it served to confirm and strengthen the first, inasmuch as it contained the comforting assurance for all times, that the Lord has not forsaken His church, even when it cannot discern and trace His beneficent influence, but rules over it and over the nations with His almighty power” (O. V. Gerlach).

It is the nature of the wise to appreciate questions on their viewpoints more than agreement. A person who wants approval is disturbed and irritated if someone questions his attitudes and opinions. But a wise person seeks truth and therefore gets pleasure if someone raises objections — since this helps him correct his mistakes.

Origen, in his eighth homily on the book of Judges, has many curious and interesting thoughts. “The fleece is the Jewish nation. The fleece covered with dew, while all around is dry, the Jewish nation favored with the law and the prophets. The fleece dry, the Jewish nation cast off for rejecting the Gospel. All around watered, the Gospel preached to the Gentiles, and they converted to God. The fleece on the threshing-floor, the Jewish people in the land of Judea, winnowed, purged, and fanned by the Gospel.

The dew wrung out into the bowl, the doctrines of Christianity, extracted from the Jewish writings, shadowed forth by Christ’s pouring water into a basin, and washing the disciples’ feet. The pious father concludes that he has now wrung this water out of the fleece of the book of Judges, as he hopes by and by to do out of the fleece of the book of Kings, and out of the fleece of the book of Isaiah or Jeremiah; and he has received it into the basin of his heart, and there conceived its true sense; and is desirous to wash the feet of his brethren, that they may be able to walk in the way of the preparation of the Gospel of peace.”

The Issue of Team Ministry

We have so far discussed three issues: the issue of self-identity, the issue of divine order and the issue of faith. Now we turn our attention to the issue of team ministry. Gideon needed the right kind of team. God already planned the deliverance of Israel. In the cradle of His mind and purpose, the Almighty rocked the victory, which had already been birthed.

The only item missing from the plan was a warrior. God needed a warrior through whom he could express His deliverance. God’s plan for victory needs the cooperation of a man. Remember that God doesn’t need victory but we do.

He’s got a plan but are you willing to cooperate with it? It absolutely cannot be done without a team. My mission with this Barnabas letter is to equip you in spiritual warfare and make you effective against every attack. Then we can damage the kingdom of darkness. Why do we need this awakening in the Spirit? Satan doesn’t want you to discover the truth about His defeat. You must be equipped to win or you will become the devil’s playground.  But if I can awaken you to God’s power and your authority you will become the leader that wins.

How could one chase a thousand, And two put ten thousand to flight, Unless their Rock had sold them, And the Lord had surrendered them (Deuteronomy 32:30)?

God is bringing the church into an understanding and greater revelation of “Team Ministry” in the 21st Century. It is evident according to Deuteronomy 32:30 that Unity/Teamwork does not simply increase our authority but rather Unity/Teamwork multiplies our authority.

One puts a thousand to flight and two, not two thousand, but ten thousand! The greatest works of God will not be accomplished in this hour among a few “superstars” showboating their ministries, but rather thru unified, anointed teamwork as the “Bright and Morning Star” shines through our team Ministry efforts! God truly does His greatest works in the midst of those who are not concerned with who gets the credit but are passionately committed to seeing the need met and work accomplished to the Glory of God.

God is anointing team ministry in this hour to accomplish the seemingly impossible task of reaching our lost world. Many leaders have the tendency to be “loners” due to personality and past life experiences.

We have received a telescopic view of team ministry during the Ethiopian revival. At first, many people who traveled to Ethiopia felt the team concept was awkward. This was partly due to the various personality and ministry differences that we ministers have. Nevertheless, God wanted to use the “Team Ministry” concept to accomplish true, Apostolic revival and harvest.

Many noticed the degree of anointing in the services was on a much higher level and the results were greater. Nothing can compare to what had occurred under the protective covering of the “Ministry Team.”

There are dimensions of anointing and results that God will not trust any single individual with but in the safety and covering of team ministry, where no one person can get the glory, He can accomplish more.

As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 3:5-9, we are laborers together.

5Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? 6I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. 7So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. 8Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. 9For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry {husbandry: or, tillage}, ye are God’s building. 

When we labor together it becomes a work of unity and teamwork. Each ministry has its part and place.

This is why Paul wrote in I Corinthians 2:16 For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?’ But we have the mind of Christ. No one person can ever hold the complete picture or package. “We” ministry is the Spirit chosen ministry of the 21st century. The strength and authority released from team ministry must be understood. Ecclesiastes 4:12 records, Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

There is a southern parable that holds an powerful lesson on unity/teamwork. There were four bulls that lived in a field. These four bulls were close comrades and did everything together. A local mountain lion often tried to prey on the bulls, but every time the mountain lion attempted to attack a bull, the others, in defense of their friend, would attack the lion with their sharp horns and drive the mountain lion off. One day the lion devised a plan. He went to one bull and whispered in his ear that one of the other bulls was against him and had spoken a hurtful word about him. One by one spoke this falsehood to each bull. Soon each bull was at odds with the other bull and became offended. Then, one by one, each bull went to a separate corner of the field and stood alone. Then the lion, one by one, easily killed each bull.

There is strength, power and protection in unity/teamwork. Our heart prayer is, “God help melt our sprits together in Team Ministry for the sake of souls in this last hour!”

The Issue of Testimony

Now for the final and fifth issue that must be resolved. It is the testimony issue. No leader can lead without the proper testimony. Not only do you need to put the trumpet in the hands of the right people, but you must learn how to screen those you use in the kingdom. This is vital to your victory. You must provide them an example to follow by your own life.

Gideon had listened for God’s word and had advanced to the point of discovering what kind of army he needed to win. It’s not the size; it’s the attitude of your staff that counts. 32,000 men can be too many if you don’t have the right spirit. The first group had to be released from duty because they were afraid.

This took place at the Well of Harod which means, “the fountain of trembling”. The word of promise had no effect on them. The word no longer caused them to tremble. Some people can’t be moved by God’s word or presence. Therefore, they can’t fight in the battle.

The second group was released because they didn’t use their hands while drinking. They did not remain ready. They refused to cleanse their hands. This happened at the Hill of Moreh, which means, “teacher.”  You must allow the word to instruct and teach you. We must “lift up holy hands without wrath and doubting.” What was this really all about? God wanted His army to possess the right attitude. Only when we have the right Spirit does God receive glory for what is accomplished.

Now God led Gideon and his servant, Phurah, to the enemy’s camp. He linked up with a faith buddy and together they determined that the enemy interpreted the dream as Israel’s complete victory. All God needs are anointed, fired-up warriors to make it happen. It was important for Gideon to learn just how the enemy really felt about him. If you don’t understand how you affect the enemy, you will forever be intimidated. Gideon learned the value of listening to what the enemy said about him and not what he said to him. God sent a dream to the enemy. They saw a tumbling of barley bread from the mountains crushing their entire army.

Not only were they defeated – but also humiliated – crushed by something as poor as humble barley bread. Barley bread is a poor man’s bread. What looked like a rag-tag band of impoverished saints has become a powerful force, because they are now anointed and equipped with right attitude. Barley bread is the bread used to feed horses and mules. It was the first grain to be harvested each year.

This little rag tag band of Jehovah fired-up warriors got a revelation of how they are a nightmare in the enemy’s camp. It’s not the number in your army; it’s not the effectiveness of your weapons or your ability to use them. It is the blessing of God upon you that counts. It’s God clothing you with Himself.

Now they are prepared and they are convinced the victory is already won. They took their lamps in their pitchers. They blew the trumpet and broke the pitcher and the light shined out. This confused the enemy and they began to fight one another. Gideon told them to do exactly as he did. Follow the leader. This always leads us to higher dimensions of power.

Benjamin Stein made several observations in Mistakes that Winner’s Don’t Make and I have included his comments here to help you build the proper testimony for victory.

Benjamin said, “Life’s been a long, exciting trip, and it’s taken me to a lot of places: law school at Yale with Hillary Rodham Clinton; speech writing at the White House for Richard Nixon; preparing stock prospectuses on Wall Street; and, for the past 18 years, writing and acting in Hollywood. I’ve watched successful people at work and at play. Powerhouses such as Ron Perelman, billionaire owner of Revlon, and Norman Lear, one of television’s greatest, and Nicholas Cage, who’ve struggled to the top. Bu I also know many who haven’t made it – shining stars from college years who sell shirts; computer hotshots who deliver pizzas; former studio executives who peddle 900 phone numbers for modest pay; math geniuses who fix pipes in rotting apartment buildings.

Like them, all too many people have the smarts to succeed but never do. Why do some count their money while others curse their unpaid bills? Of course, luck has a role. But usually people make their own bad luck by regularly getting trapped in self-defeating attitudes and shoot-yourself-in-the-foot behavior.

Your testimony is like Gideon’s trumpet – it is used to call men to battle. It’s God’s battle cry; your personal testimony, your declaration of who you are, what you’ve got and to whom you belong.

The lights within the pitcher are the spiritual power that inhabits every true believer. Unfortunately this power can’t be revealed until the pitchers are broken. Either by fear or unwillingness, we can lock up the power and keep it from shining out.

You have to understand that what you declare you are through the word is sometimes different than what you are as a person. The trumpet is able to break what you are and let the light shine through.

The barley bread tumbled – tumble means to fall on purpose. By reason of breakings they purify themselves (Job 41:25). Their numbers tumbled they broke their pitchers they fell on the rock and were broken but the enemy was conquered.

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