By Christine Darg
Let’s chat for a few minutes again about the power of our words because for the past two years the Body of Christ has been inundated with many fears.
I want us to consider —Do strong believers have the power to manifest words of blessings or decrees against sin and sickness in this world?
Based upon verses in the Hebrew Bible, the Jewish people believe that revered rabbis have this power with God.
Strong evangelical believers also have learned to pray with authority… and to get results!
Bible teacher Derek Prince of blessed memory whom we knew in Jerusalem once startled people when he made the simple statement that he gets results when he prays, but such a statement shouldn’t be surprising to believers, nor should it cause indignation. The Bible says the “prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
Indeed, getting answers to prayers should be the normal Christian life! The Scriptures are a powerful force when spoken. We have to discipline ourselves to speak the word out loud—and often! And God has made a spiritual law that as we dare to decree God’s word, the power of the Holy Spirit is released to bring his Word to pass in our lives.
Jesus said the words that we speak are spirit and they are life. He also said we will give an account of our words! Oh, dear. That’s a sobering thought! I have always found it amazing that God himself has set down a principle through his Word that he expects believers to co-labor with him in prayer. Isn’t that awesome that he lets us in on the action so to speak? It’s as if God says, If you do not pray, I will not act and I will not answer.
One of my mentors in prayer, Lance Lambert of blessed memory, often asked… why does God seek for intercessors to stand in the gap during troubling times since we human beings ourselves are so much trouble for God to have to deal with in the first place? Why doesn’t God just act on his own without having to partner with you and me and put up with all of our weaknesses and foibles? But God has designed it that way, in his wisdom, love and mercy.
I’ll never forget seeking God one time about a particular individual—whether or not he should be a part of our ministry team—and I felt the Lord assured me that that particular person was a valuable genuine believer but God said that person nevertheless had many foibles. The word foibles itself means weaknesses. Well, Doesn’t that unfortunately describe all of us? Nevertheless God puts up with our weaknesses, and so we have to tolerate the weaknesses of others; the Lord is continually training us for our ultimate purpose to rule and reign with him throughout eternity. And we can’t rule and reign with the Lord throughout eternity without a lot of training in the here and now, we can’t grow without Holy Spirit mentoring and without learning to know God’s mind and to grasp his will in order to learn how to decree things correctly and accurately in prayer.
In light of recent troubles with the coronavirus, I want us to look today at one of my favourite verses found in Job 22: 28. This verse has been a part of my spiritual life and training for many years. It says, “Thou shalt decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways.”
This verse— I looked up the Hebrew in the Bible— literally means, “When you make a decision, it will be carried out, and light will shine on your ways.”
This verse is addressing godly decisions made by God’s people who are in touch with him and who know how to receive divine guidance. This s speaking of people who know how to hear from God. People who know God’s ways and God’s mind because they know his Word from cover to cover. When we know his Word, we can make right decisions and speak righteous decrees.
A Spirit-led decree implements the plans and purposes of God in the earth and destroys plans purposed against the godly.
When I was weak with the Delta variant of Covid in Aqaba Jordan, I was languishing on a sick bed, and the turning point of my recovery was rising up in indignation on that bed and decreeing in a demonstrative voice, “You overturn my bed of sickness!” That’s Psalm 41: 3 which says “The LORD will sustain and strengthen you on a sickbed; he will restore you to health,” but the version that I shouted was one I had learned years ago—a marginal reading —that God overturns our sick bed and heals us. Halleluyah! ….So it’s important to decree verses.
The word decree involves a level of faith. We can mentally decide something, but we have to open our mouth and say something decidedly when we make a decree —and of course that involves faith and believing God boldly. Making a decree is what I call holy audacity.
Whatever a strong bible-based believer decides to resolve, Job 22: 28 promises that God will ratify our resolve with his authority, and bring it to pass in due time for the believer’s benefit – and indeed this is a promise that certainly has “a touch of audacity” about it.
The commentaries tell us that Job 22: 28 about decreeing a thing no doubt alludes to the memorable case of Abraham’s intercession for Sodom and Gomorrah. Do you recall that episode in Genesis Chapter 18? God told his friend Abraham that he planned to destroy the twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and Abraham interceded boldly with God —even gently rebuking the Almighty (now that’s friendship!) when Abraham asked, “Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Shall not the judge of the earth do right?” That’s chutzpah! Holy boldness! So Abraham approached God and asked if would God destroy Sodom and Gomorrah if 50 righteous people could be found. And Abraham kept negotiating with God unto he got the number down to only 10 righteous persons, which is the number the rabbis call a minyan, the required number for corporate prayer. And God agreed to Abraham’s terms that he would not destroy the cities if 10 righteous persons could be found. Think about that. This Bible episode teaches us to come boldly like a lawyer and make our case to God when we know we are on holy ground and that the Word of God actually backs us up, because God will honour his Word!
King David was also audacious in the psalms and achieved similar results. Friends, I want to testify this day that I’ve drawn strength and hope from Psalm 37 for many years, and it says, “Delight thyself in the Lord, and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart; commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” Bring what to pass? The desires that God has placed within your heart.
While I was studying Job 22: 28 about decreeing a matter, I also looked at the next verse, 29, and it’s marvellous: Listen…“When men are cast down, then you—yes, you the believer— shalt say, There is lifting up; and he shall save the humble person.” Oh, I just love this. One Bible commentary explains the verse like this—When people are cast down, then you shall say, There is lifting up; and he shall save the humble person.” This wonderful uplifting passage in Job 22 teaches that our decrees and decisions will not be disappointed, but they will be ratified by God! And God will give us the light of his direction and governance, aid and success. In a time of general calamity, and when everybody is miserable and cast down around us, when people are down in their spirits (and that happens when you listen to the news all day), then people sink into despair; when men’s hearts fail them for fear, when God suffers us to be brought into trouble and judgments that he knows will ultimately do us good, THEN Job 22: 29 says you shall say — with confidence and assurance; There is lifting up in God! YES, there shall be lifting up if WE repent and humble ourselves, then God promises we’ll be helped and restored: God promises to deliver believers, while all around us people are crushed and destroyed. The Hebrew here in verse 29, “Thou shalt say there is lifting up,” is typically concise —גרה, You shall say gerah— meaning simply exaltation! You shall decree, exaltation! Benson’s commentary says this Hebrew expression is to be admired for its conciseness and scope. Believers, not unbelievers, but BELIEVERS should expect lifting up in the time of depression. Be lifted up like the eagles above the storm’s troubles, rejoice in the midst of them. God will save us— from the evils of this world, and save us eternally from greater evils.
So Job 22: 28 about deciding and decreeing a matter is one of the verses that strong Christians practice and also practicing Orthodox Jews believe this; that’s why in crises and times of distress, religious Jews consult well known rabbis and sages to act as intercessors to decree a blessing over their lives. They believe that if a bad decree has been decided on High, they can fast, pray and annul the decree. Many observant Jews fast, pray and read the Psalms, even blowing a shofar to offset troubles and woes. When a Jewish person is confronting a problem in his life, such as a hard financial situation or a health issue, his or her first reaction is to pray by reciting Tehillim, the Psalms; the observant ones do this in every crisis to achieve deliverance. If problems persist, they may seek a Rabbi’s blessing. The rabbi is expected to discern the situation and decree a blessing, saying something like, ”Go your way, and you will see that everything will work out for the good.” I find it interesting that these practices of receiving a rabbinic blessing show that Jews believe in the power of an intercessor. We Christians also tend to look to our pastors and to strong spiritual leaders and very often to well known intercessors, and we may go to them with prayer requests because we know from experience that God hears and answers their prayers.
But let’s admit that God intended for every believer to be strong and to hear from God for themselves. The New Testament speaks of the priesthood of believers, an every man and every woman ministry in the Body of Messiah.