Part 2 – Known By God
“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” (Genesis 6:8)
It is Noah’s character that gives us clues as to why God chose him to save humanity from destruction. Firstly, he was known by God. In the Hebrew language the word for grace is chen and could also be translated as “attained favor and acceptance”. As a noun it relates to the place or position that Noah held with God. He found a place of favor in the eyes of God and was acceptable to Him, which is why God made a covenant with him after the flood.
As I write this, the farm we live on has a hundred mile an hour winds raging across it, driving rain and a valley flooded by the river in it. At times there will be a double rainbow across the land, a promise that the land will never again be flooded in judgment, even if it does flood regularly each year by forces of nature! Many believe there is a coming move of God across the world that will see people of all ages become Christian disciples. In some countries this has already started to happen often in the face of religious and governmental opposition. Part of this move of God will be a powerful anointing that Jesus said was on him, which gave him significant authority, miracles taking place around His life including signs and wonders. As dark storms engulf many around the world and the Coronavirus pandemic has swept the globe showing that even governments have little control to protect and preserve lives and economies, it is time for revival to break out in multiple nations, people groups, and every economic sector.
Religion has made everyone who prays a two-minute prayer a “little Christ”, even when they do not sound like Him; do not live like Him; and have no signs following like Jesus had. As I search the New Testament I see four different levels of relationship revealed. Different words are used to describe each level and are mirrored in both the parable of the sower (Luke 8) and the four stages of the river flowing out from the throne in heaven (Ezekiel 47).
Believers – those who repent and are baptized. Their spirit is born again but there is little or no spiritual growth in their lives. In the parable of the sower they would be the ones where the birds of the air come and ate up the seed that was sown. In the river which flows from the throne of God, this would be an ankle-deep level of commitment.
Followers – many followed Jesus until His teachings became too hard for them and then they deserted Him. In the same parable they spring up quickly but there is a shallowness to their roots that often means they wither when challenges come along, or they are choked by the thorns of life. It is the knee-deep impact of the river of God.
Disciples – those who accept the discipline of the Gospel. The commission the Lord gave was to make disciples of all nations, not church members or even just converts. In Luke 2 we see Jesus confounding the scholars and leaders in the temple, yet returning home, submitting to Mary and Joseph and from that place growing in wisdom until the time appointed by the Father. Waist deep water does not just signify sanctification, but also the point of no return. Once we yield control, take our feet off the ground, the Spirit of God moves us wherever He pleases.
Little Christ’s – those who are the mirror image of Jesus, doing what He did whilst on the earth. This is my goal, to live as a “mirror image of Jesus” so non-believers see that in my life and ministry! This is the fullness of the river encounter – an abundance, a fast flow of the Kingdom of God in and through our lives.
I recently found out that the Jews believe there are four levels of reading of God’s Word, with each one taking the reader to a different level of relationship and insight:
- Peshat, the plain (simple) or literal reading.
- Remez, the allegorical reading through text hints or allusion.
- Drash, the metaphorical reading through (a rabbinic sermon’s) comparison/illustration.
- Sod, the hidden meaning obtained by reading through text’s secret or mystery.
Those who are “known by God” are being challenged and changed into His character ahead of a worldwide outpouring. Just weeks before his death in March 1947, Smith Wigglesworth re-released a prophetic word he had first given in 1939, in the months before the start of the Second World War. In it he talks about three future distinct moves of God, two of which have already taken place. I believe we are in the early days of the third phase of this prophecy:
“During the next few decades there will be two distinct moves of the Holy Spirit across the Church in Great Britain. The first move will affect every church that is open to receive it and will be characterized by a restoration of the baptism and gifts of the Holy Spirit. The second move of the Holy Spirit will result in people leaving historic churches and planting new churches. In the duration of each of these moves, the people who are involved will say, ‘This is the great revival.’ But the Lord says, ‘No, neither is this the great revival, but both are steps towards it.’ “When the new church phase is on the wane, there will be evidenced in the churches something that has not been seen before: a coming together of those with an emphasis on the Word and those with an emphasis on the Spirit.” “When the Word and the Spirit come together, there will be the biggest movement of the Holy Spirit that the nation, and indeed the world, has ever seen. It will mark the beginning of a revival that will eclipse anything that has been witnessed within these shores, even the Wesleyan and the Welsh revivals of former years. The outpouring of God’s Spirit will flow over from the UK to the mainland of Europe, and from there will begin a missionary move to the ends of the earth.” In Genesis 6 the rainbow represents “promise” and in Revelation 4 it represents “the sevenfold Spirit of God”.
We are about to see a company of people who live and move in the promised sevenfold Spirit of God poured out across the earth. If that was the fullness Jesus carried after this baptism, it is the same level we need to impact the world for God as “little Christs”. After 2000 years of church and religion in all its’ guises, we have yet to see a group of people to live as Christ did and the early church had over decades. It is LONG overdue in my opinion! The disciples were told to wait until the promise was released on the earth. Today many are waiting for the same fullness to come and dwell in them. Then, as happened in Acts 4, it will shake the buildings (churches and organizations) we inhabit.
Time and again the Bible tells us that the favor of God rested on the heroes of the faith and they released it individually or across entire nations. In Exodus 33, God tells Moses “I will also do this thing of which you have spoken, for you have found favor in My sight and I have known you by name.”
Then Gideon said to Lord “If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who speak with me.” (Judges 6:17).
“For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” (2 Chronicles 16:9).
What Noah, Moses and Gideon have in common is that their rise to prominence came at times of darkness and oppression. Noah saves humanity from destruction. Moses led God’s people from under the hand of oppression and into the fulfillment of promises given centuries before. Gideon had to overcome his own fear, insecurity, inferiority and intimidation before he could be used to bring peace to a nation for the rest of his life. All three had to live the life of an overcomer, a victorious one, and deal with the strongholds that kept them and others in bondage. They all had to overcome the principalities and powers that were on the earth at that time. “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah.”
The favor we carry is not just to change our lives but the lives of those around us. Carrying favor and doing nothing with it is like the servant who buried his one talent in the sand (Matthew 24). Those who use any gift of God see it grow, develop and mature. Take Samuel and Jesus as examples. The similarity in how the Bible describes their young lives is striking:
“Now the boy Samuel was growing in stature and in favor both with the Lord and with men.” (1 Samuel 2:26).
“Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” (Luke 2:52).
Just think about that for a moment. At this time in his life Jesus was between 12 and 14 years of age. Mary and Joseph had lost the Messiah, in Jerusalem at one of the busiest festivals, and hadn’t noticed until they were a day from the city. By the time the frantic parents found him it was five days later (one out, one back and three days searching)! Luke records that he was sat with the theologians and teachers of the day and that “Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers” (Luke 2:47). And then he goes home and increases in wisdom! Mind-blowing concept and no wonder he would run rings around those who years later would try to trap him with their questions!
Both Samuel and Jesus were children when this was recorded of them. When David killed Goliath and set a nation free from oppression, he was only there because he had brought his brothers lunch! None of them had the ability to earn favor and they had no powerful, transformational ministry at that time. There was nothing they were doing to earn favor other than being who they were. Like many of us today, all three young men were people of substance (favor) but not yet of significance. Sadly, so much of our identity has been established and conditioned based on doing or achieving. True favor flowing in and through our lives comes from us understanding that favor, like sonship, is a position we have.A different Hebrew word is used to describe Samuel’s favor. Towb means “morally good, prosperous, becoming, excellent”. It is the same word used in Genesis 1 to describe God’s reaction when He looked creation at the end of each day.
“God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was [morally good, prosperous, becoming, excellent]…” (Genesis 1:31).
Every aspect of creation, including Adam and Eve, had the fullness of the favor of God inside it and lived surrounded by that same favor. It is the reason why life flourished even after the fall of man. Favor is always fruitful because fruitfulness is the nature of God.
“The sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose.” (Genesis 6:2).
The word translated here as “beautiful” or “good”, depending on the translation you have, is also ‘towb’. In reality, the fallen angels saw the daughters of men carrying God’s favor in their lives and wanted it for themselves. So, they took them as wives and the Hebrew implies the women were “snatched, taken captive and carried away”. Satan’s plan of attack has always been against those who carry God’s favor, because we have inside us the ability to be morally good, prosperous, becoming, and excellent.
Even before his rebellion in Heaven, Satan wanted God’s favor for himself and when he could not get it he has consistently tried to steal it from those who do. His aim is to stop us experiencing the grace and favor of God in and through our lives. I am not surprised that there is a new depth coming to the core message of the grace of God at this time, as we understand more fully our true identity and position ahead of a global manifestation of Kingdom authority.