12 – ENGAGING THE POWERS OF THE KINGDOM – THE POWER OF DECLARATION

12 – ENGAGING THE POWERS OF THE KINGDOM – THE POWER OF DECLARATION

A few weeks ago, I listened to a message by Ken Legg entitled “Drawing water from the Wells of salvation”. He used the story of Jesus’s conversation with the woman at the well to illustrate another of the powers of the kingdom that God has put at our disposal.

Jesus offered the woman the living water which would be an eternal spring in her if she believed in Him.  She responded by saying…

“But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water?” John 4:11 NLT

“Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again.  But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” John 4:13-14 NLT

We have in us a well of living water that needs to be released. Ken used a beautiful passage in Isaiah 12 to show us how to draw water from this eternal well.

“With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.  In that day you will say: “Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted.  Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world.  Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.” Isaiah 12:3-6

Our mouths are the opening to the well. By declaring who God is and what He has done, we pour out the living water that quenches our thirst and the thirst of others who hear that word.

“I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.  My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.  O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.” Psalms 34:1-3 KJV

In many of the Psalms, the psalmists, and especially David, used declaration to encourage themselves and as a weapon against their enemies.  We need to learn from them how to use declaration effectively as a powerful kingdom tool on our journey towards wholeness.

Before we talk about what declaration does, I must give you a word of warning. There is a trend in certain streams of the church to use declaration as an attempt to manipulate God into doing what He has not said He would do.

Prophecies abound today about what God is going to do, which have very little or no confirmation in Scripture. There is one prophecy in particular about the role of Africa in global revival that is based on a prophecy in Isaiah taken completely out of context.

“In that day Egypt and Assyria will be connected by a highway. The Egyptians and Assyrians will move freely between their lands, and they will both worship God. In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth. For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will say, “Blessed be Egypt, my people. Blessed be Egypt, my people. Blessed be Assyria, the land I have made. Blessed be Israel, my special possession!” Isaiah 19:25 NLT

This prophecy is about Egypt, not about Africa or South Africa and yet it is taken to apply to Africa as a whole.

In a recent issue of “Gateway”, a digital Christian news magazine, a so-called “prophetess” called the church to make declarations about what God will do in Africa based on these prophecies. She gave almost a page of declarations that we are supposed to make that have no parallel in Scripture.

I commented online in response that this form of declaration is not a Biblical practice, especially in the New Covenant.

A well-known South African believer in certain circles responded in agreement and pointed out that the declarations in Scripture focus on the nature and works of God and not on what we want Him to do.

So, I ask you to be careful to stay within the boundaries of Biblical teaching and practice and not to follow the fine-sounding ideas of those who, in ignorance, lead us away from the truth.

Now let’s examine Isa. 12. In it, we have the way to draw from the well of living water in us. All of these methods come out of our mouths and accomplish very specific purposes.

Isa. 12:4-6 gives us three ways in which we can draw water from the eternal well inside us.

  1. SAY

“In that day you will say: “Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted.” Isaiah 12:4 NIV

Since our mouths are the mirror of our hearts, we need, first of all, to fill our hearts with the Word and then to speak God’s praise as a witness to who He is and what He has done.

“I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalms 91:2 NIV

We often use our mouths to confirm the lies we believe instead of declaring the truth about God and ourselves. Declaration is a powerful weapon in times of confusion and chaos to bring us back to the truth of God’s presence and control.

  1. SING

“Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world.” Isaiah 12:5 NIV

Satan effectively uses music and song to spread and entrench his lies, especially in the hearts of children and young people. Through human agents, he blares out his deception into the ears of the young from morning until night and they obediently act on the evil he spreads.

Unfortunately, much of the music in the church today is a copy of the world’s style. The focus has shifted from glorifying God to pumping up our experience.

The Bible’s stance is “Sing to the Lord…” Our well should overflow with praise to Him because our lives are all about Him, not us.

  1. SHOUT

“Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.” Isaiah 12:6 NIV

Shouting God’s praise is the same kind of expression of enthusiasm and exuberance that sport-mad people display when their favourite team has won. If we truly believe that we are on the winning side, we will shout for joy to display our confidence in Jesus’ victory which is ours, as well.

We may not all be noisy and demonstrative, but we can all declare, in one way or another, that our God is great and we can trust in Him.

“I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. I will boast only in the Lord; let all who are helpless take heart. Come, let us tell of the Lord ’s greatness; let us exalt his name together.” Psalms 34:1-3 NLT

  1. Declaration is the revelation of what is in our hearts.

God has promised us that, in the New Covenant, He would write His word on our hearts.

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.  It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them, ” declares the Lord .  “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord . “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.  No longer will they teach their neighbour, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord ,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord . “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Jeremiah 31:31-34 NIV

Our hearts should be so full of the Word that God’s Word, and not the words of unbelief, come out in times of stress and crisis.

Paul put it this way:

“But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim:” Romans 10:6-8 NIV

  1. Declaration is the verbal expression of faith.

When we declare God’s Word in our human experiences, we are proclaiming our confidence in what God has promised rather than in the uncertainty and insecurity of what is happening in the present.

  1. Declaration encourages us to keep trusting God in times of trouble.

We have a good example in the story of David and his men when the Amalekites raided Ziklag, David’s home town, and took all their wives and children.

“When David and his men reached Ziklag, they found it destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. So, David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep. David’s two wives had been captured—Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel. David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the Lord his God. 1 Samuel 30:4-6 NIV

  1. Declaration steadies us in times of emotional distress.

It is wise never to make major decisions when you are in emotional turmoil. Once again, David’s response in trouble is an excellent example of how to handle out-of-control emotions.

“Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent. Offer sacrifices in the right spirit, and trust the Lord.” Psalms 4:4-5 NLT

“O Lord, hear me as I pray; pay attention to my groaning. Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for I pray to no one but you…. But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy. For you bless the godly, O Lord; you surround them with your shield of love.” Psalms 5:1-2, 11-12 NLT

These are only two examples of David’s way of handling his emotions in times of deep trouble. He spent many years of his young adulthood fleeing from Saul’s murderous hatred but he remained faithful to God and chose to trust Him instead of living in panic.

  1. Declaration protects us from the devil’s lies.

Jesus used the power of declaration to ward off Satan’s frontal attack in the wilderness.

“During that time, the devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.” But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:3-4 NLT

Declaring God’s Word during times of temptation and testing takes our attention away from the weakness of our flesh by focusing on God and puts us in touch with the power of His Word.

Jesus also used declaration to silence His enemies and the voice of the Accuser through them. How often we fall prey to criticism and condemnation because we fail to counter the attack by not declaring the truth.

“The people said, “Now we know you are possessed by a demon. Even Abraham and the prophets died, but you say, ‘Anyone who obeys my teaching will never die!’ Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?”…

“Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I Am!” John 8:58 NLT

Note that Jesus’ declaration about Himself was based on what the Father had to say about Him.

“Who are you?” they demanded. Jesus replied, “The one I have always claimed to be.  I have much to say about you and much to condemn, but I won’t. For I say only what I have heard from the one who sent me, and he is completely truthful.” John 8:25-26 NLT

  1. Declaration releases a fountain of joy.

When our hearts are overjoyed with the goodness of God, our mouths release that joy by declaring who He is and what He has done.

I think that Ex. 15 is one of the best examples in Scripture of the release of the fountain from their mouths when God finally delivered the children of Israel from the Egyptians.

“Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the Lord: “I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; he has hurled both horse and rider into the sea. The Lord is my strength and my song; he has given me victory. This is my God, and I will praise him— my father’s God, and I will exalt him! The Lord is a warrior; Yahweh is his name! Pharaoh’s chariots and army he has hurled into the sea. The finest of Pharaoh’s officers are drowned in the Red Sea… ” Exodus 15:1-4 NLT

  1. Declaration brings victory in impossible situations.

The children of Israel had a declaration that they used effectively in many situations throughout the Old Testament.

The best example is found in the story of Jehoshaphat who was confronted with a huge challenge. A coalition of three enemy Armies was on its way to attack Judah.

“After this, the armies of the Moabites, Ammonites, and some of the Meunites declared war on Jehoshaphat. Messengers came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army from Edom is marching against you from beyond the Dead Sea. They are already at Hazazon-tamar.” (This was another name for En-gedi)…

Jehoshaphat was terrified by this news and begged the Lord for guidance. He also ordered in Judah to begin fasting….

Jehoshaphat stood before the community of Judah and Jerusalem in front of the new courtyard at the Temple of the Lord . He prayed, “O Lord, God of our ancestors, you alone are the God who is in heaven. You are ruler of all the kingdoms of the earth. You are powerful and mighty; no one can stand against you! O our God, did you not drive out those who lived in this land when your people Israel arrived? And did you not give this land forever to the descendants of your friend Abraham? “And now see what the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir are doing. You would not let our ancestors invade those nations when Israel left Egypt, so they went around them and did not destroy them….

O our God, won’t you stop them? We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us. We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help.”…

Early the next morning the army of Judah went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. On the way Jehoshaphat stopped and said, “Listen to me, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be able to stand firm. Believe in his prophets, and you will succeed.” After consulting the people, the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising him for his holy splendour.

This is what they sang: “Give thanks to the Lord; his faithful love endures forever!”

At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves. The armies of Moab and Ammon turned against their allies from Mount Seir and killed every one of them. After they had destroyed the army of Seir, they began attacking each other. So, when the army of Judah arrived at the lookout point in the wilderness, all they saw were dead bodies lying on the ground as far as they could see. Not a single one of the enemy had escaped.” 2 Chronicles 20:1-3, 5-7, 10, 12, 20-24 NLT

  1. Human beings are not the only ones who declare God’s glory.

Science has discovered that many of the stars make sounds in the heavens. How amazing that they have a voice that glorifies their Creator!

“The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world.’ Psalms 19:1-4 NLT

As Jesus received the people’s praise on the eve of His crucifixion, the Pharisees vehemently objected. Jesus assured them that, if the people did not praise Him, His inanimate creation would take up the chorus.

“As he rode along, the crowds spread out their garments on the road ahead of him. When he reached the place where the road started down the Mount of Olives, all of his followers began to shout and sing as they walked along, praising God for all the wonderful miracles they had seen.

“Blessings on the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in highest heaven!”

But some of the Pharisees among the crowd said, “Teacher, rebuke your followers for saying things like that!” He replied, “If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!” Luke 19:36-40 NLT

We have a powerful weapon at our disposal, the power of declaration, to silence the enemy and release faith and the assurance of eternal life in a world that is completely against us.

“On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me!  Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” John 7:37-38 NLT

How do we release the water of life that is in us?

But the righteousness that is by faith says:…“The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: Romans 10:6, 8 NIV

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

All Scripture quotations in this series

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.