The bragging you hear in so many Christian gatherings about power and authority is baffling. If we are who we say we are—how on earth did evil put such a death grip on America? If we can do what we say we can do—how did we lose so much high-value real estate to the enemy?
Now that the illegal lockdown is over, the church is reverting to old bad habits—and not a little hypocrisy. If they were afraid to have church all this year, it seems very odd for them to boast about having great power, now.
Almost as an act of compensation for our lack of power, we are turning up the noise. We have the shout without the clout.
What is wrong with us? And more importantly, how do we get the firepower we need to turn America around?
The answers are in plain sight. They are showcased in the following verses:
“When the troops had come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why has the Lord smitten us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord here from Shiloh, that He may come among us and save us from the power of our enemies.”
So, the people sent to Shiloh and brought from there the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts, Who dwells above the cherubim. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were with the ark of the covenant of God. And when the ark of the covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel shouted with a great shout, so that the earth resounded.
And when the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, “What does this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews mean?” Then they understood that the ark of the Lord had come into the camp. The Philistines were afraid, for they said, “God has come into the camp.” And they said, “Woe to us! For such a thing has not happened before. Woe to us! Who shall deliver us out of the hand of these mighty gods? These are the gods that smote the Egyptians with every kind of plague in the wilderness.
Be strong, and acquit yourselves like men, O you Philistines, that you may not become servants to the Hebrews, as they have been to you; behave yourselves like men, and fight!”
And the Philistines fought; Israel was smitten and they fled every man to his own home. There was a very great slaughter, for 30,000 foot-soldiers of Israel fell. And the ark of God was taken, and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were slain” (1 Samuel 4:3-11).
Here is what they did wrong:
First of all, they asked the right question, but came up with the wrong answer. “Why has the Lord smitten us today before the Philistines?” (verse 3). They assumed that all they needed to do to win was to go and get the Ark.
Hauling the Ark into battle was a kneejerk reaction—not a revelation. They imitated the outward features of past victories, without paying the price for true authority.
Then they released the shout without clout. They assumed that the combination of the Ark and noise would win the day (verse 5). At first it worked. The Philistines were terrified by the optics and the shout. And no wonder. The Philistines had bitter memories of being totally defeated whenever Israel had the clout in their shout.
The problem was that one of their leaders thought, ‘Wait a minute. There is something off here. There is something missing in their shout. They do not have the anointing for war. They are posing as the army of God, but God is not here to fight for them.’
That is exactly what is wrong with so many of our Spirit-filled churches. We are making a lot of harmless noise. We are playacting. Many are saying, “Thus sayeth the Lord”—but not because they have a true word of prophecy, but because they are hoping it will act as a booster rocket to get their message across.
The real measure of our anointing is what it actually does to Satan. Real authority from God drives back cultural evil. We should not be reveling in our theatrical services―we should be grieving over our powerless witness.
All of the usual suspects are returning from the pre-pandemic church life. The gimmicks are reappearing. The false comfort is being reheated. The greasy-grace is being rubbed on the thin skin of the American church.
Worst of all we are back to seeking carnal methods and more marketing. E. M. Bounds looked way into the future and described us, when he said, “What the Church needs today is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use―men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men―men of prayer.”
The lesson is simple: unless clout is restored to our shout, our nation is lost.
But there is a great hope! There is a remnant who cannot stomach synthetic services. They are starving for true anointing—for true miracles―and for real victories in the culture.
The promise of God is sure. He has promised that He can restore the shout. And He will do it, for those who ask with an undivided heart.
James 1:5-6, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.”