Ellis Washington
Symposium--divine strategies
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By Ellis Washington
November 13, 2015

Socrates (470-399 B.C.) was a famous Greek philosopher from Athens, who taught Plato, and Plato taught Aristotle, and Aristotle taught Alexander the Great. Socrates used a simple but cleverly profound method of teaching by asking revelatory, psychologically probing questions. The Greeks called this form Dialectic – starting from a thesis or question, then discussing ideas and moving back and forth between points of view to determine how well ideas stand up to critical review, with the ultimate principle of the dialogue being Veritas – Truth.


The Original Biblical 300 (circa 1191–1151 B.C.) – 710 years before the Battle of Thermopylae (480 B.C.) 300 Greek Spartans led by King Leonidas fought against the Persian legions of King Xerxes. Gideon's chosen "army" of 300 were picked if they drank from the river while remaining attentive to the attacks of the enemy.

And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valor.

~ Judges 6:12

"Every man that sticks his face down in the water, couches on his knees, and has his whole vision in his own need, you can't walk with him... They will betray you. They will be a Judas to you."

~ Bishop T.D. Jakes, Azusa 1997 Sermon: Divine Strategies

Characters:

Socrates

Bishop T.D. Jakes

Narrator (Plato)


{Setting: Galilee, Land of Manasseh, circa 1190 B.C.}

Socrates: We are gathered here today at my Symposium in the ancient Northern Tribe of Manasseh on the eastern coast of the Sea of Galilee to discuss the life and times of the Prophet Gideon, the fifth and greatest of the 15 Judges or Civil Magistrates of ancient Israel. Today I bring two dialectical questions regarding Strategy and Jealously: First, What does strategy mean? According to the extant texts, Strategies, also strategic – "the science or art of combining and employing the means of war in planning and directing large military movements and operations." Another definition has less of a militaristic meaning: "a plan, method, or series of maneuvers or stratagems for obtaining a specific goal or result."

My second dialectical question is this – What does it mean to be jealous of someone else? Does jealously lead to blessings or the abyss? The texts define Jealous in this manner, "feeling resentment against someone because of that person's rivalry, success, or advantages."

Thus, in this Symposium we are faced with a critical paradox which all of Humanity through the Ages must struggle with in this existential, dystopian life of pressure and pain – How does jealous people affect God's divine strategies in your life – an existential Destiny He has written on the blueprints of your Mind, Soul, and Spirit?

Narrator: Now let us hear the Word of the Lord concerning the rise and triumph of his Prophet Gideon, according to the book of Judges Chapters 6 and 7:
    Judges 6: And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years.

    2 And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel: and because of the Midianites the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and caves, and strong holds.

    3 And so it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east, even they came up against them;

    4 And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till thou come unto Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass.

    12 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.

    13 And Gideon said unto him, 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.

    14 And the LORD looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee?

    7:10 But if thou fear to go down, go thou with Phurah thy servant down to the host:

    11 And thou shalt hear what they say; and afterward shall thine hands be strengthened to go down unto the host. Then went he down with Phurah his servant unto the outside of the armed men that were in the host.

    12 And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the sea side for multitude.

    13 And when Gideon was come, behold, there was a man that told a dream unto his fellow, and said, Behold, I dreamed a dream, and, lo, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the host of Midian, and came unto a tent, and smote it that it fell, and overturned it, that the tent lay along.

    14 And his fellow answered and said, This is nothing else save the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel: for into his hand hath God delivered Midian, and all the host.

    15 And it was so, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream, and the interpretation thereof, that he worshipped, and returned into the host of Israel, and said, Arise; for the LORD hath delivered into your hand the host of Midian.
Bishop T.D. Jakes: Some of you have not understood why you are going through what you are going through, now this might sound strange, but I came to be strange. I didn't come to fit. I feel a radical Spirit on me tonight. I hope you can handle this. But there is a level in God that you can become that you learn through you trials and your tests. And your enemies and your frustrations help to teach you who you are in God. If you were not going through what you are going through, you would not know that you are significant.

Some of you have not allowed your struggles to work for you. You have got to start reasoning and understanding that the attacks that come against you do not fit where you are. There is no way that the Enemy could afford to invest that much fight into you over where you are. He is not concerned about where you are. He is not intimidated by what you have done. The reason he has loosed his fortresses [sic] forces against you, is not over what you have done to this point. The Enemy has signed a warrant for your arrest because he knows what God is about to do in your life.

Socrates: But Bishop, how does your Prologue relate to Gideon's narrative, of how God used his pathetic little army of 300 men, some pottery pitchers, torches, trumpets, and shouts to deliver a legendary victory to Israel over her enemies the Midianites – a military so vast it was like the sand of the sea without number – a vicious, merciless pagan nation who long-oppressed the Jews?

Bishop T.D. Jakes: Many times the Enemy is more aware of who you are than you are of yourself. Gideon was God's man and he didn't know it. He was preoccupied with his depression, his weaknesses, his struggles, his trials. He was hiding in the bottom of a wine press, threshing wheat, when God stopped by and spoke to him and called him, "A mighty man of valor." He called him that when he was in hiding...trembling at the bottom of a wine press.

What He's going to give you; what He always gives to somebody that He is going to move mightily in their life. What He's going to give you that you've got to have to perform His will is a strategy. When the call is greater than the person that's been called; When the vision is greater than the provision; When God has called you to do something that seems impossible for you to do, you don't need welfare, you don't need hand-me-down anointings, you don't need someone to shake your hand with a $100.00 bill in it, because for where you're going they not going to shake your hand often enough.



Socrates: True words you have spoken, Bishop Jakes, nevertheless, I am a military man. During my youth I fought in the Peloponnesian Wars. I fought at the Battle of Delium (circa 424 B.C.). And as an Athenian Hoplite soldier, I for years studied military tactics and strategies, therefore I understand Gideon's victory over hundreds of thousands of trained Midianite soldiers with just 300 men as being militarily impossible! ... Isn't it, Bishop?

Bishop T.D. Jakes: In order to be eligible for divine benefits, you can't have too much help, you can't have too much going for you. It will nullify your rights to receive divine assistance. And don't let everybody help you. When some folks try to help you, you ought to say, No! Say, thank you, that's alright; I'm going to wait on the Lord... Lest you say you have made me rich... (Gen. 14:23)

I used to praise God for opening some doors, but now I am praising Him for shutting some doors... He shut some doors so that I could focus on what I had to do. You need to quit cryin' over doors He has shut, and start dancing and say, Lord, I thank you that I didn't get in! I thank you they rejected me! I thank you they shut the door! I'm glad I lost the job, nooowww I can do – {shouts of praise to God}

God said, Because of the anointing on your life, He's going to do more with less. When you are really anointed, you can do more with less... God said to Gideon, Tonight, go down there and overthrow the Midianites... if you are not afraid. He said, If you are afraid, don't overthrow them. Go down to the Enemy's camp and just listen...

Socrates: But Bishop, how come God sent away 22,000 people for being afraid, when the head guy, Gideon was afraid?

Bishop T.D. Jakes: There's a difference in the kind of fear for the 22,000, when He said, "Are you afraid" They said, "Yes" and went back [home]. He said, But when I've really anointed you, you can be afraid and still keep goin'... Touch your neighbor and say, "I've been terrified, but I'm still going." {Shouts of praises to God} God told Gideon, "Go down into the Enemy's camp. I'm going to you your opposition to encourage you. Listen at what your enemy is saying about you... He said, "... Listen at the gossip." If you ever need to be encouraged, Listen at the gossip. Because sometimes what they say about you is greater than how you see yourself. And if you ever start feeling like a Nothing and a Nobody, Listen at the gossip... If somebody is jealous of you, you got to understand that's a sign that there is something in you that you might not see yourself!

He said [to Gideon], you got to let me pick your friends. I'm getting ready to get in your business... This is how I am going to pick your friends: take them [Gideon's Army] down to the creek, and watch how they deal with their passions. Because how you satisfy your passions determine if you are ready to go further with God. We all got them [passions], but we can't all satisfy them the same way. He said, Every man that sticks his face down in the water, couches on his knees, and has his whole vision in his own need... you can't walk with him.

Socrates: Indeed Bishop, yet what about the paradigm set by objectivist philosopher Ayn Rand (1905-82) whose Subjectivist ideas and thesis regarding The Virtue of Selfishness, states quite obviously that each person should singularly and zealously seek after their own self-interests?

Bishop T.D. Jakes: Every person who is in your support staff, and your group, and your ministry, and on your board; and every girlfriend that calls you on the phone, and your buddies that you go out to eat with after church – Watch them... If they stick their face down, and the only thing they can see is what they can get out of it... leave them alone, because that means that their thirst is more important than their calling. And any time a person's thirst is more important than their calling, they're dangerous. They will betray you. They will be a Judas to you.

He said, I don't want you to tie up with anybody other than those who take their hand and dip it in the water, and lap it looking up. {Bishop here imitates a dog lapping water while looking up} I don't want you to get tied up with anyone who has a downward vision. I want you to get tied up with a person who can't do more than one thing at the same time. I – all you don't hear what I'm sayin'. I want you to be tied up with somebody who can do what they got to do and still keep their mind on what they been called to do. I want you to get somebody whose focus is set – who want let anything separate them and won't let anything move them, because I'm not going to use many people to bless you, it's just going to be a few people...

Narrator: {Channeling Plato's Symposium narrative of Socrates in battle} "But it was my opinion, Aristophanes (and this point is yours); that walking there just as he [Socrates] does here in Athens, 'stalking like a pelican, his eyes darting from side to side,' quietly on the lookout for friends and foes, he made it plain to everyone even at a great distance that if one touches this real man, he will defend himself vigorously. Consequently, he went away safely, both he and his comrade; for when you behave in war as he did, then they just about do not even touch you; instead they pursue those who turn in headlong flight." (Plato, Symposium, 220d – 221c)

Thus, because of his singular and strategic vision, even in his youth, in the heat of battle, Socrates would have been part of Gideon's 300.

Bishop T.D. Jakes: The next thing is I want you to get somebody who knows how to get down and lap like a dog – Don't get anybody too high, too arrogant. Get somebody who is still looking ahead, and humbled, and submitted, and ready to serve – those are the only ones I want you to take. There weren't nothing but 300 [soldiers]. God says, "Now, I'm ready to bless you."... Some of you seen a setback, and you said it was the devil, but you was wrong. {laughter} God was pruning your bush... That stuff you lost was dead weight. He didn't cut nothing off you but the suckers...


Socrates: Bishop, you seemed to be counterintuitive here when you invite the jealous, the Sophists, the Gnostics, the Scoffers, the Haters, the Trolls, the enemies into your life, but why? Again I reiterate the initial dialectical question stated at the beginning of this Symposium – How does jealous people affect God's divine strategies in your life – an existential Destiny He has written on the blueprints of your Mind, Soul, and Spirit?

Bishop T.D. Jakes: Don't nobody be jealous of somebody who don't have nothing. If you didn't have something, they wouldn't be jealous of you... That's why I thank God for my enemies, more than I do my friends. Sometimes my friends hinder me from the will of God trying to help me out, but thank God for my enemies; they push me on my knees, they make me call on the Lord. Bishop, I got to have some enemies; I need some enemies. If I don't have some enemies, I can't get my blessing. Because the Book says, "He prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies." If they didn't hate me, He couldn't bless me.

While I was preparing to preach, tell them, "I'm going to give them a miracle on a budget." I said, "What do you mean on a budget?" He said, when I called Gideon, he told me he was poor. When I blessed him, I didn't use anything [else] to bless him that he didn't already have. He said, Tell my people you ain't got to buy nothin'. I'm going to use the things you got. I'm going to take your skills, your writing ability, your speaking ability, your talent. You don't need nothing! – {shouts of praises to God} ...

No weapon formed against you shall be able to prosper. The devil tried to kill you, but it's not going to work. Tonight is your night! Tonight, God said, Do it tonight! ... Tonight!


Book Notice

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Invitation for manuscripts

I am starting a new a program on my blog dedicated to giving young conservatives (ages 14-35) a regular place to display and publish their ideas called Socrates Corner. If you know of any young person who wants to publish their ideas on any subject, have them send their essay manuscripts to my email at ewashington@wnd.com.

© Ellis Washington

 

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Ellis Washington

Ellis Washington is a former staff editor of the Michigan Law Review (1989) and law clerk at the Rutherford Institute (1992). Currently he is an adjunct professor of law at the National Paralegal College and the graduate school, National Jurisprudence University, where he teaches Constitutional Law, Legal Ethics, American History, Administrative Law, Criminal Procedure, Contracts, Real Property, and Advanced Legal Writing, among many other subjects... (more)

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