36. Hebrew Worship: His Process

After naming the God of your victory, the next step is to celebrate the process – not the product.  Celebrating the product comes naturally.  We are emotionally vested in the product.  But the discipline of naming God then studying and celebrating the process that He chose, will enrich our lives immensely.

“Pharaoh’s chariots and his army he has hurled into the sea.  The best of Pharaoh’s officers are drowned in the Red Sea.  The deep waters have covered them; they sank to the depths like a stone.  Your right hand, O LORD, was majestic in power. Your right hand, O LORD, shattered the enemy.  In the greatness of your majesty you threw down those who opposed you.  You unleashed your burning anger; it consumed them like stubble.  By the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up.  The surging waters stood firm like a wall; the deep waters congealed in the heart of the sea.”  Exodus 15:4-8  NIV

From our point of view, this story is so old that it is commonplace.  Try to put yourself in the Hebrews’ sandals to grasp the sheer audacity of this move of God.

The Egyptians had chariots.  The chariots had horses.  The army had charioteers and armed warriors.

The Hebrews were afoot.  Chariots could outrun them.  The Hebrews had weapons but didn’t really know how to use them and had no grasp of military strategy.  Besides that, they had women and children and elderly and cattle.  How could you escape the speed of the chariots?

Well, there was some shred of hope.  God HAD unleashed some hail and brimstone from heaven on the Egyptians before.  That is one way to stop a chariot.

God could send a plague on their horses.  No horses, no danger from chariots.  You can’t push to jump start.  So no horses was a theoretical option.

God could send a cloud of locust again.  Would horses panic if they were sent through a cloud of locust?  Possible tool in the hand of God, but not as emotionally comforting as the first two.

So within the frame of the God they knew, there were some options.  None were compelling, but they were possible.

But, The God Who Plans Outside the Box was a new one to them.  When you stop and think about it, chariots have two major liabilities (in addition to wheels that come off when God is messing with them).  They don’t swim and they don’t fly.

We all know that.

No mysteries.

But who of us would have thought of defeating chariots by making the pesky things try to swim?  Oh, and horses don’t swim so very well when they are anchored by a non-swimming chariot.  And charioteers don’t manage crises very well when they are dealing with the mother of all tsunamis.

God’s strategy was brilliant in its simplicity.  Chariots don’t swim.

Ya gotta love it!

Oh, but the more you study the strategy, the more layers you see.  The Egyptian curse we are warring against is defined as “upside down, inside out and backwards.”  Just to mock that demon, God played his own trump card against him.  What is more upside down than dry land at the bottom of the sea?  If that is not an inversion, I don’t know what is.

God used the Egyptian demons’ own tools against him to lure him into position, then the chariots got exposed to The Ultimate Car Wash.

Notice some of the other nuances Moses captured.

-The best of the officers.  The God of the Hebrews disdains beating the B Team.  He took down the best of the best so that there was no opportunity for spin and excuses during the press conference back at the palace.

-Deep waters.  Forget the salvage operation.  These high tech, best in class chariots were gone.  Utterly unsalvageable.

-Your right hand was majestic.  The AV says “became glorious.”  Moses exquisitely chose a word used only three times in Scripture, twice in this chapter.  No ordinary, common word for majestic or glorious would work here. There is a familiar word for glorious – used 200 times in Scripture.  But this was no ordinary glory.  This was so superlative Moses had to reach deep into his vocabulary to find a word sufficiently lofty to capture this victory.

-Shattered the enemy.  Again, a word used only twice in all of the Old Testament.

-Burning anger . . . consumed them like stubble.  Don’t you just love the irony of this word picture?  It presages Elijah on Mount Carmel calling down fire that consumed the wood, the sacrifice, the water, the stones and the dust.  In other words, there was a nuclear event there.  And the picture here was of God’s anger being so hot, it burned them up under water!  I love poetry.  Priceless juxtaposing of metaphors.

-By the blast of your nostrils.  How diminishing!  At least God’s super extraordinary gloriously majestic right hand overcoming them leaves a tiny trace of dignity.  But to say God simply blew them away is a put down in any language.

-The surging waters stood up like a wall.  Come on, Mo!  Now you are just rubbing it in.  Everyone learning and singing this song had to be thinking of all the bricks they made to build walls with.  And to taunt the enemy with the fact that God sneezes a wall into existence, so much faster than they could, without needing to get in a huff over the straw issue . . .

There is power in deconstructing the processes God uses and savoring them.  It doesn’t make the victory any different, but it sure can be transformational to our souls when we spend that kind of time working through the details.

36. Hebrew Worship: His Process  Developing Discernment SLG Coaching blog

Copyright December 2015 by Arthur Burk

From the Hub

35. Hebrew Worship: Naming God

After the Exodus, Moses led Israel in formal worship.  There are four components to worship after a victory that we will look at individually.

First, and perhaps most important, is naming God.  Each victory reveals some facet of the nature of God.  Our emotional reaction is generally about the benefit to us.  Recently a man I know was diagnosed with a brain tumor.  The family feared death with the loss of husband and father.  The surgery went better than expected.  He got a visitation from God and has been rejoicing over his miraculous process.

That is good, and there is nothing wrong with his celebrating a new lease on life, but when we become completely caught up in the benefit to us, we miss the all important issue of the revelation of some facet of the nature of God.

Prior to the ten plagues, the God of the Hebrews was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  There had not been transformational transactions with this God for about 400 years.

During the ten plagues, Yahweh became The God Who Destroys.  They got quite a lesson on the diversity of ways this God they were somehow related to, could spank entire nations.

After the first three plagues, God differentiated between the two nations, revealing another aspect of His nature.   When all of the cattle of the Egyptians were killed by disease, God protected ALL of the Hebrews’ cattle.  Pharaoh sent some inspectors from the Ag Department to verify this rumor and was quite taken aback to discover The God Who Micromanages Highly Contagious Diseases.

Gradually God revealed one facet after another of His nature to them.  This was Moses’ primary calling in life, as an Exhorter.  He was to reveal God to the people of God who did not know their God.

“Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the LORD: “I will sing to the LORD, for he is highly exalted. The horse and its rider he has hurled into the sea.  The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.  He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.  The LORD is a warrior; the LORD is his name.”  Exodus 15:1-3  NIV

They had seen God take on the magicians of Egypt.  And the political power.  And the economic power.  And the demonic power.

BUT, Egypt’s brand was their army.  The chariots of Egypt were a source of terror to the entire Middle East of that day.  You didn’t want to provoke a diplomatic crisis so great that the big bad chariots rolled.

Unless, you happen to be the Warrior God of the Hebrews!

They simply HAD to see their God take down the chariots of Pharaoh.  Anything less than that would have diminished their view of God.  Sneaking out at night, while Pharaoh was weeping was cool.  It broke the slavery.  But watching God utterly obliterate soldiers, officers and chariots – well, that was a side of God that was new, new, new and most utterly welcome.

So where have you named God lately?

One of our tribe is part of a deliverance team that hears God with great accuracy.  They refer to The Elbow of God whenever the Holy Spirit pokes someone in the ribs with an insight.  They would dearly love to have a glorious graphic of an elbow to decorate their meeting place, but can’t find anything that isn’t cheesy!

Another team experience God Who Dominates the Personnel Files.  This team ended up on a bait-and-switch assignment.  They went after a demon of death by a river, and God redirected them to a spirit of depression on a mountain.  It was affecting the whole community.

They braced themselves for an intense rumble, but it was all over in seconds.  They swiftly realized that they had a very bright, cheerful person on the team who had huge capacity for joy in a 1,000 different flavors which made taking that stronghold easy!

A mother wrote in this week with an exciting story of her child surpassing her in spiritual wisdom.  She had just met The God Who Loves to Partner with Children’s Spirits.

I have a friend who knows The God of the Four Winds.

The gentleman who is helping us find our venue in England knows The God Who Designs Distinctive Land.

Who do you know?  Have you named the God of all your victories – or were you just grateful?  Gratitude is powerful and appropriate.  But if you only got your miracle and didn’t come to know your God in a deeper way, you foolishly squandered a vast treasure.

Join me in a prayer of repentance and of celebration.

35. Hebrew Worship: Naming God  Accessing Intimacy SLG Coaching blog

Copyright December 2015 by Arthur Burk

From the Hub



34. Hebrew Worship: Solving Silence

The silences of God are the devil’s playing field.

Today I am face to face with a painful silence from God over an issue I have been struggling against for over 20 years.  On top of that, there is the accusation of betrayal by someone I trusted.  Why didn’t God give me a heads up before I got entangled with him?  It is not a happy day.

God could intervene.  He didn’t.

It is hardly an original problem.

The Israelites had to wrap their minds around a God who clearly could and simply wouldn’t.  He showed His power in all sorts of ways, crushing the Egyptians.  With all that display of power, He simply refused to do anything about the crushing brickyard dynamic nor did He speed up their exit from Egypt to accommodate their pain.

Clearly He could have addressed either of those issues.  And just as clearly He did not.  And more to the point, even though Moses had some pretty impressive access to God, God declined to explain Himself on either of those issues.

The silences of God.

In that place the devil studies our theology and depending on our worldview, comes at us with one of two standardized accusations.  On one side is an attack on our worth.  We are assured that because we don’t measure up to God’s will, He is doing this to us.  We are simply not worthy of God’s intervention.

On the other hand is an attack on God’s worth.  He still uses the same suggestion he made to Eve that God is not deeply vested in your well being.  He has things to do and tosses some crumbs your way occasionally, but in essence, He is not a go-to source for life and goodness.

The silences of God are the devil’s playing field.

God is fully aware of this.  The capacity of His followers to adhere to a single command without deviating from it or second guessing it over long periods of time is a source of vast pleasure to Him and honor for Him.

He is also fully aware that this is the exception, not the norm.  So, The Almighty spends vast amounts of time playing brinkmanship with our sorry little souls.  He refuses to stoop to the level of answering each of our whiny demands for perspective or intervention.  He stretches the silences far beyond anything we ever thought we could – or should have to – endure.

Then, when we are beyond frayed, getting close to being shattered, He plays His restoration card which is some grand intervention.

For the Hebrews, it was the death of every single Egyptian soldier and officer.  The Hebrews watched their bodies wash up at the edge of the Red Sea while they stood in uncontested freedom on the safe side of the Sea.

“When the Israelites saw the great power the LORD displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.”  Exodus 14:31  NIV

Such an irony.  Fear breeding trust.  Yet that is what God does.

In the face of long silence, He suddenly does something so huge it produces reverent fear in His people.  And once we have personally experienced the fact that God can and does intervene, the spirit of distrust is pushed away for a brief season.

Until God becomes silent again.

God well knows that His silences are the devil’s playing field.  That is why He commands us to remember, remember, remember.  If we are not relentless in remembering His faithfulness, the devil will be relentless in reminding us of all the times we wanted Him to intervene and He was silent, distant, detached.

The non-silence from the enemy about the painful silences of God is a wicked virus that will worm its way into the core of our faith.

I don’t know why God’s silence on my big pain point hurts so deeply today.  It is an old issue.  I have asked about it many times.  He has ignored my question every time.  I have tried all the tools in my tool box and none of them has broken through.

Most of the time, I just focus on moving the ball and blocking the pain.  Today, blocking is not working.  So, I grudgingly turn my soul toward the possible reasons for the silence of God.

-Sometimes it is simply a matter of time.  God noted with satisfaction that He had executed His master plan with utmost precision.  The Israelites left Egypt 430 years to the day from when they came in.  That mattered to God.  Did anyone figure that out ahead of time?  I doubt it.  Is there a special date for my big breakthrough that God is waiting for?  Could be.  He has not told me yet.  And I sure have not figured it out if there is.

-Sometimes it is a matter of purity.  But we have looked under so many rocks in the last 20 years, and I have gone to so many ministry teams and prophets that my repenter had to go in for service.  It was out of warranty because of excessive harsh usage.  Could there be a whopping big blind spot that is holding me hostage?  Sure.  Of course.  Considering the mess I came from, that is certainly possible.  All I can say is that I have given God every opportunity I know how to tell me nicely or harshly if there is an offense between us, and He has been silent.

-Sometimes it is just a matter of fighting harder.  And longer.  And smarter.

For me is it #1, #2 or #3?  Who knows.  For now, even if it is #1, doing #3 is the smart move.

So I will war some more.  Harder.

I have asked a prayer partner to join me daily for remembering the faithfulness of God, to share in Holy Communion as we vehemently celebrate His faithfulness, and then for warfare against the enemy of God’s reputation and of my peace.

Today’s audio clip is my personal rage against the accuser of my God.

34. Hebrew Worship: Solving Silence   Joy Unstoppable SLG Coaching blog

Copyright December 2015 by Arthur Burk

From the Hub


33. Hebrew Worship: Concession Speech

When I was a kid, the peer fighting culture demanded that the loser yell “Uncle” to concede defeat.

Often it was easier to get a victory than a concession speech.  The winner would be on top pounding the loser while yelling, “Say Uncle.”

Meanwhile, the loser would be yelling, “Let me go!”

Or commonly, “Mooooooooooother!”

To lose a fight AND have to admit it was simply harsh.

I love the way God pushes for concession speeches.  It is a form of worship of His Majesty, sagacity and omnipotence.

During the ten plagues, the mumbo jumbo crowd kept pace for the first three plagues, then they conceded quite completely, “This is the finger of God!”

And in the Red Sea, even though the Angel of the Lord moved around from in front of the Hebrews to between them and the Egyptians, and even though the pillar of fire moved to the back and morphed into darkness on one side and light on the other, the Egyptians, sturdy warriors that they were, pressed on.

God, undisturbed, unleashed such a simple little tool – a spirit of confusion – into their midst, and the concession speech emerged!  “Let’s get away from the Israelites.  The LORD is fighting for them against Egypt.”  Exodus 14:25  NIV.

As concession speeches go, that one covers all the bases.

Join me on a celebratory romp through Scripture as we explore a collection of concession speeches in the King’s Trophy Cupboard.

33. Hebrew Worship: Concession Speech

Copyright December 2015 by Arthur Burk Developing Discernment SLG Coaching blog

On the road

32. Hebrew Worship: Brinkmanship

In the last couple of weeks in the NFL, there have been a few games won in the last three or four seconds.  A win is a win, no matter when it comes, but the thrill of a team fighting back against all odds to win in the final seconds makes the win so much sweeter than a 45 to 9 game that was “over” in the first half an hour.

As we look at the emotions involved, there are two distinct dynamics.  AFTER the win, there is euphoria in the stands and on the field.  However, the long fight back from being behind in the score is anything but euphoric.  It is brutal.

In a movie, the last minute resolution of the crisis is carefully scripted, and we all know from the beginning that the bad guys will lose, and somehow the good guys will win.  The tension is deliberately developed to make the story more interesting.  The more impossible the last second win is, the more compelling the story is to the purchasing public.

But in a football game, provided it is not rigged, the players are living with the agony of probable, real-time defeat up until the last seconds.

In our walk with God, we combine the two dynamics.  God writes the script, and He deliberately raises the risk level and delays the intervention for a long time, in order to make His win extra large.  But we here on earth, who are walking out the story line, are like the football players who do not know if we will win or not and feel the agony of potential defeat while the tension is building.

God allowed James to be murdered, and He rescued Peter.  He rescued Daniel but allowed Jeremiah to die a hard death.  We simply do not know how God will write the script.  For Him, there is no concern.  He runs His plans with precision and utter control.  For us, the sense of powerlessness as humans up against God’s ancient enemy is never too far away.

This was the dynamic with the Exodus.  God fully knew He was going to use the Red Sea to finalize His victory over the Egyptians.  The Hebrews had all the victory they needed.  They were free and they had wealth.  How much better does it get?

Well actually, an eradicated Egyptian army was better, but they had no heart for such a battle.  God did.

So God used them as the bait to lure the Egyptians to their destruction.  He was at peace with the gamble.  The Hebrews would not exactly have used the phrase “at peace” to describe their emotional construct at the time.

In the end, He did it for two reasons.  First was to benefit them.  After the sheer terror was over, they were able to concede that the destruction of Pharaoh and the army and the chariots and the horses was a pretty cool insurance policy for their medium term future.

The second objective was to increase His honor through the complexity of the defeat of the Egyptians and the sophistication of His game of brinkmanship.

Most Christians don’t have much appreciation for God’s love of brinkmanship.  We feel the anguish on the playing field of potentially losing something of immense value to us.  We can’t see the confidence and control that the Writer of the Movie Script has over the outcome.

This is a time for confession of our fear based approach to editing God, and a celebration of His nature and purposes.

32. Hebrew Worship: Brinkmanship

Copyright December 2015 by Arthur Burk A Hard Life

On the road

Demon, Part or AHS?

Jenny came to me with a “will of God” question.  She had sought God about taking some training and enrolled, then ended up in a strong push/pull.  She wanted to learn the material, but was doing very poorly and could hardly bring herself to go.

She wanted my advice on how to determine if it was God’s will that she quit.

Knowing the story, I was pretty sure she was supposed to finish, but I don’t like White Knuckle Christianity.  When she signed up, she was so sure it was part of her design, and so was I.

As I listened to her story, the push/pull stood out.  There was internal conflict.  So that means there was shame, fear, curse, demon, part or an alien human spirit.

Scrolling through the options, I felt I should try for an AHS.  With all my discernment tools, I could not reason confidently to one particular problem, so whatever I tried would be a guess at best.

Turned out to be a good guess.  I said, “I would like to speak to the AHS that does not like Jenny going to class.”

It immediately responded.  I asked politely why it objected to her taking the class, and it said she was no good, would never be any good in that subject and that there was no benefit or future in it for her.

The language and logic used by the AHS indicated that this was an older spirit, not a young, one dimensional child.  I carried on a small amount of conversation, querying what the AHS thought she would be good at.  It had no particular idea.

So I explored arranging for it to return to eternity, and it agreed and left.

Jenny didn’t want to hurt my feelings, but as glad as she was to get it gone, she still had no desire to go back to class, so she sadly told me.

I opted for demon next and spoke directly to the demon commanding it to respond to me.  They don’t always respond immediately, but the client can usually feel fear or defiance inside in the middle of the silence.  She listened closely inside and felt absolutely nothing.

It was possible that this was just a very determined, clever demon, but then Jenny shared that it had been difficult to go to the training for some time, but after the last time when the instructor had scolded her, it was just utterly impossible to think of it.

That was my clue that it was a part.  I said, “May I speak to the little one who was so offended by the scolding Jenny got last week?”

There was an immediate response of a five year old who was scared that I was going to scold and be harsh.  I reassured the part, got it to Original Self and in a few moments, integrated it.

Since most people have discernment they don’t pay attention to, I also asked Jenny if there were any areas of the building that she did not like.  She was swift to identify them, so I encouraged her to cleanse the land or clear out the demons, so that she was not pushing against that too.

I don’t know if she will finish the training or not, but it will be more within her reach now.

Copyright November 2015 by Arthur BurkDeveloping Discernment SLG Coaching blog

From the Hub

AHS and Clothes

Sally needed a coat.

The process was familiar — multiple shopping trips; significant verbalization with her friends about not finding anything right; finally settling for something that was good enough.

And . . . shortly after she got home, she decided she didn’t like it.

She wrote me saying that when she put it on, she felt like a little girl, and she just could not wear it.  She was a grown woman after all and this was not suitable for her.

I intercepted her before she could return it.  Since she is somewhat comfortable with my abruptness, and since she had listened to the teaching about alien human spirits when it first came out, I simply said, “I would like to speak to the AHS that does not like the new coat.”

Immediately this adult woman was crying and the voice of a child responded saying, “I want my mommy.”

I comforted the spirit for a bit, assured her that Father knew where her mommy was and suggested that her best move would be to go to Father.

She was sort of willing, but afraid so I asked if she would like an angel to help her go, so she didn’t get lost.  She immediately acquiesced, I opened the silver channel and she left.

And now the coat is just as good as it was in the store, but Sally is still thinking wistfully of that extraordinary Italian winter coat she will own some day, that will perfectly set off her sparkling personality.

One wonders how many billions of dollars of clothing has been purchased by an adult in the store and vetoed by an AHS when they got home, and then returned to the merchant.

Copyright November 2015 by Arthur BurkBuildingGrowthProject SLG Coaching blog

From the Hub, with jetlag