OVERCOMING THE SPIRIT OF LEVIATHAN
BY REVIVALIST TODD BENTLEY
PART 1 & 2
This is both of part 1 & 2 teaching entitled Overcoming the Spirit of Leviathan. This week we will learn about Leviathan and how it manifests and influences believers. We'll also discuss God's power over this evil spirit. Although we'll take a look at several characteristics of Leviathan in this series, this week we'll take an in-depth look at its kingship over the stronghold of pride. Next week, in Part 2, we'll examine more characteristics of Leviathan and how it attacks through speaking lies, miscommunication, confusion, and suspicion. Finally, we'll discover how to resist its influence.
Before we begin, I want to invite you to join with me in prayer.
Father, I thank You that there is protection and safety when we plead the precious blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Therefore we ask for the blood of Jesus Christ to completely cover our households and each one of us- spirit, soul and body-as we learn about the spirit of Leviathan. Today we ask that this enemy would be completely exposed and that You would give us wisdom and revelation concerning its tactics and strategies. Under the blood and in a spirit of humility we want to overcome this wicked spirit for Your glory, God. In Jesus' name. Amen.
At this very moment God sees each battle that we're engaged in, and simultaneously, He sees all the conflicts that we'll face in the future. Having said that, let's be encouraged by an ancient promise the Lord made through King Jehoshaphat when Judah was facing the possibility of an enemy attack. "Thus says the LORD to you: "Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God's" (2 Chron. 20:15).
The Bible is filled with life-giving promises about how God comes to our defense against the enemy. Paul (the apostle) said, "Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies . . . . Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us (Rom. 8:33-34). In fact, Romans 8 speaks non-stop about how it's possible to be delivered from bondage and live victoriously in Christ. No wonder Paul said, "What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Rom. 8:31b). Hey! We're in good hands, the very hands of God!
So why then do we sometimes jump out of the Lord's hands and try to do our own thing according to our own understanding (Prov. 3:5-7)? The sad fact is many of God's people "are destroyed for a lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6a). But God doesn't want His people to be destroyed because they lack spiritual knowledge! His desire is that we would receive an abundance of spiritual wisdom and knowledge so that we're equipped to fight the good fight of faith to advance His kingdom in the earth today (1 Tim. 6:12). Yes, God wants to release godly wisdom to us-His divine counsel and divine strategies.
With this in mind, as I studied God's Word with a desire to grow in wisdom, I came to several direct references about a serpent-like creature called Leviathan. As I pondered this, I realized that God wanted to release specific revelation about Leviathan. And with more study, I did in fact receive some significant insight on just how evil Leviathan is and how this spirit attacks believers. This revelation shed a bright light on some of the battles that were coming against us here at Fresh Fire Ministries and helped us to discern the strategies of this particular enemy better.
Therefore, I want to share with you what I have been able to discover so far through God's faithfulness. It is my hope and prayer that this prophetic teaching will expose how Leviathan operates so that Christian leaders, intercessors and prayer warriors will have more spiritual keys available to continually resist and wisely oppose Leviathan. Also, my prayer is that the body of Christ would then be in a better position to hold a place of sustained victory against this foe. So, let's discover how "we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us" (Rom. 8:37) as we dig into this teaching series!
LEVIATHAN, MORE THAN A SEA-MONSTER
If we just stick to skimming the surface, it seems like several scriptures speak of Leviathan as merely a powerful sea-monster type of creature. Some people even think that Leviathan is a dinosaur. But I believe Leviathan is more than just a powerful sea-monster or a weird creature that's commercialized and popularized like "Ogopogo" or the "Loch Ness" monster. So let's examine some key scriptures about Leviathan so that we can see some of its characteristics more clearly.
We notice that Job 41 speaks about Leviathan, as does: Ps. 104:25-26; Is. 27:1; and Ps. 74:13-14. Also, Ezek. 29:3-5 speaks about a "great monster who lives in the midst of his rivers" and it's my opinion that this monster is really Leviathan.
First of all let's look at Job 41:26-32. Here we see Leviathan's strength.
"Though the sword reaches him, it cannot avail; nor does spear, dart, or javelin. He regards iron as straw, and bronze as rotten wood. The arrow cannot make him flee; slingstones become like stubble to him. Darts are regarded as straw; he laughs at the threat of javelins. His undersides are like sharp potsherds; he spreads pointed marks in the mire. He makes the deep boil like a pot; he makes the sea like a pot of ointment. He leaves a shining wake behind him; one would think the deep had white hair" (Job 41:26-32).
Secondly, let's take a look at Psalm 104:25-26.
"This great and wide sea, in which are innumerable teeming things, living things both small and great. There the ships sail about; there is the Leviathan which you have made to play there."
It was revealed to me that the "sea" (v.25) is a picture of the "sea of humanity"-the world. The serpent-like creature (or as some believe, crocodile, that lived in the Nile) is seen alongside the ships.
I believe ships represent ministries that are laboring in the sea of humanity. With this in mind I believe that one of Leviathan's primary purposes is to attack and destroy ministries, especially those that labor in the harvest. I'll share more about this later in Part 2.
Thirdly, let's examine Ezek. 29:3-5:
"Speak, and say, "Thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, I am against you, O Pharaoh king of Egypt, O great monster who lies in the midst of his rivers, who has said, 'My river is my own; I have made it for myself.' But I will put hooks in your jaws, and cause the fish of your rivers to stick to your scales; I will bring you up out of the midst of your rivers, and all the fish in your rivers will stick to your scales. I will leave you in the wilderness, you and all the fish of your rivers; you shall fall on the open field; you shall not be picked up or gathered. I have given you as food to the beasts of the field and to the birds of the heavens'"
We see in verse 3 (above) that there is a connection between Leviathan [spoken of as the "great monster who lies in the midst of his rivers"] and both Pharaoh and Egypt. It's interesting that the Egyptians both feared and worshiped this great monster. In Greek mythology this "creature" is known as the "god of chaos" and it's in this context that the Egyptians feared Leviathan.
They worshiped Leviathan as the great serpent in their rivers that was responsible for prosperity and commerce. Also, the Egyptians believed they created the rivers just because they learned how to control the rivers for their purposes (29:9). This pride was one of Egypt's greatest sins. It's also worth noting that not only did Egypt worship Leviathan but Pharaoh's crown had the emblem of a large serpent with a ruby in it. I believe that the spirit behind Leviathan worked through Egypt and Pharaoh and even helped to make Egypt as great as it was.
GOD WILL DESTROY LEVIATHAN
Fourthly, take a look at this verse. "In that day the Lord with his severe sword, great and strong, will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisted serpent, and he will slay the reptile that is in the sea" (Isaiah 27:1) Listen. The Lord, with His great sword, will punish and overcome this principality. Carnal, natural weapons won't be able to destroy Leviathan.
Our fifth key scripture is Psalm 74:13-14: "You broke the heads of the sea serpents in the waters. You broke the heads of Leviathan in pieces and gave him as food to the people inhabiting the wilderness." After studying these verses, I realized that God Himself will destroy Leviathan! And not only that, He will give "him as food to the people inhabiting the wilderness."
Let's keep moving forward and take a look at several characteristics of Leviathan. (However, we'll only focus on one of these traits in this lesson and continue examining others next week.)
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE SPIRIT OF LEVIATHAN
As I continued in my studies on Leviathan I came to Proverbs 6:16-19:
"These six things the LORD hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren."
I couldn't help but see that these seven abominations illustrate not only many of the ways that Leviathan attacks believers but also how this spirit works. This was a great revelation to me, and my prayer is that it will be great revelation for you, too! Therefore, let's discuss the first abomination-a proud look, otherwise known as pride.
PRIDE AND THE SONS OF PRIDE
The key scripture is: "He beholdeth everything that is high thing: he is king over all the sons of pride." (Job 41: 34). Leviathan works in this kind of prideful environment. [For the sake of clarification, I'll call Leviathan "he" or "him."] He carries an attitude of superiority, haughtiness, boasting, and arrogance and tries to draw believers into these negative attitudes. He targets individual believers as well as groups with the temptation to be prideful; especially so that believers themselves will come against ministries that are advancing God's kingdom. Sick, eh?!
The Bible says not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought to (Rom. 12:3). But Leviathan promotes self and self-serving agendas. Can you hear his smooth and deceptive whispers in your ear? "Who do they think they are?" "They don't move in the power like you do." "Who gives them the right to speak into your life?" We need to watch out for a false confidence and keep a humble trust in the Lord because when God uses us, there is a constant temptation to play the "name game" or compare ourselves to someone else.
We might be tempted to feel like we're more successful based on how much money we raise, or how many come to our church, or how many miracles we see. "How big are your meetings?" Power, numbers and what looks like God's favor doesn't always mean that we're right with God. We need to guard ourselves from the attitude that says: Well I'm too good for that! I will only do this! Leviathan wants to puff up our pride, set us up with a false confidence, and deceive us into placing our worth and identity on what we do rather than who we are.
Just like Egypt trusted in its commercial success in the waterways (Ezek. 29:3) out of a false confidence in prosperity and status rather than intimacy with God, so can we. This can happen if we allow the Leviathan spirit to draw us away and seduce us from the secret place of intimacy with God.
If that seduction succeeds, [take this personally please], here's what can happen. There's a good chance that you'll be promoted ahead of the Lord's leading and move into a place where you depend more on your giftings, charisma, finances, traditions, programs, or favor with your denomination, than on the Holy Spirit. As well, I hate to say this, but there can come a place in ministry where you'll be ministering without even consulting God. If that happens you'll just be forging ahead by your natural talents and abilities, losing sight of Jesus. When His voice is no longer heard it's easy just to use administrative strategies like e-mail lists, mail-outs, websites, etc., that seem to keep the "ministry ball" rolling. Sometimes the devil will fuel your "ministry machine" so that you'll feel as though all is well. But in actual fact all is not well and you won't even know it because the secret place of intimacy with God is abandoned. Watch out!
You know, there's nothing wrong with the administrative strategies that God uses to advance His kingdom. They are vehicles to help fulfill the blessing of God. For instance, in our large ministry we have a good number of staff, partners, and a good infrastructure. We're growing more every day. But God wants to warn all of us about a danger-point; namely, putting all of our trust in man-made systems. If that happens to any of us, then Leviathan will be our best cheerleader.
For me personally, I don't want to be a "son of pride." Instead, I want to have an attitude that allows me to be vigilant about keeping my eyes on Jesus and remaining broken, daily, before Him. Now let's look at eleven attitudes that oppose godly brokenness; namely, prideful attitudes.
Let's ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any prideful issues described below that we might need to deal with. We don't want to be sons of pride. What a horrible thought!
Condescending attitudes towards others in the body: We are to esteem others as higher than ourselves (Phil. 2:3. Rom. 12:10). If we catch ourselves thinking of someone as less than ourselves in any way, especially in regards to spiritual gifting, understanding, etc., we must repent quickly.
Independent attitude: We are to be united in heart as one, although we may all have different functions. If we ever feel "out there" just wanting to do our own thing, then we're forgetting that we need to be connected to the body of Christ. (Heb. 10:25)..
Self-glory: Although it is good to enjoy the workings, dealings, gifting, and blessings that the hand of the Lord brings to us, we must be careful not to think that it's all because of our own greatness (Jer. 45:1-5). All things are given to us as a gift of grace (undeserved, unmerited favor) and all the worship and delight in these blessings must be returned to Him who authored them. We can never glory in our own righteousness; it is as filthy rags. (Is. 64:6).
Self-confidence: When we begin to feel a confidence in our own abilities to produce the anointing and the fruit of the Kingdom, it grieves the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30).
Lack of time in His presence: This indicates the likelihood that we have become self-sufficient and self-ruled, no longer needing all that we have and all that we are to flow from His presence and counsel. And it won't be too long before we begin to ask God to bless what man has initiated (Ps. 78:18).
Critical and condemning attitudes and thoughts: A critical or accusing tone reveals that we think we're above others (Gal. 5:15). We need to have a humble spirit; the heart of a servant. (Phil 1:1-11).
Boasting over achievements and revelation: This is an inward attitude that becomes noticeable when we speak out, boasting about our achievements. (2 Cor. 10:12-13).
Dishonor of authority: We are to esteem and honor those in authority even if they are NOT under Holy Spirit control, (i.e. David's attitude towards Saul). (Rom. 13:1, Titus 3:1-2). Attitudes of dishonor towards leaders often indicate pride in the heart.
Desiring to be served: Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve (Matt. 20:28). This is the posture of humility.
Desire for reputation: Jesus was a man of no reputation in heart (Phil 2:7-8). He emptied Himself. If we have inner desires to be esteemed by others, we need to be watchful. Pride could be lurking.
Desiring to control others: If we use a position of authority or a spiritual gift to fulfill selfish ambition and vision, this has no eternal value. Such works are considered unworthy, and will be revealed with fire (1 Cor. 3:11-15).
THE ANSWER TO PRIDE
The Word of God shows us how to live in humility. If we focus on what His Word teaches about humility and then obey what the Holy Spirit tells us to do, a great benefit results-the sin of pride will be overcome in our lives! So, before closing this week's teaching I want to outline several key scriptures that will help us defeat a prideful heart.
"Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion" (Rom. 12:16).
"But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: 'God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble'" (James 4:6).
"Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up." (James 4:10).
Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for 'God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble'" (1 Pet. 5:5).
"Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time" (1 Pet. 5:6).
As the Holy Spirit searches your heart, be encouraged! Just allow God to convict you of any sinful areas. If you do, then there is forgiveness and cleansing (1 John 1:9). And having this set-apart time with the Holy Spirit will set things in order for Part 2. Next week we're going to examine some other characteristics of Leviathan and then how we can resist his influence.
HEROES OF THE FAITH LOOK JUST LIKE YOU!
Today, right before our very eyes we see the results of earthquakes, hurricanes, famine, pestilence and terrorism. More than we ever have before, we need to hear God's voice. And it's vital that we understand His word so that we see and perceive correctly not only how to live in days like these, but also how to defeat any demonic strategies set against us.
Most of the time, defeating the enemy really means that we're not on the defensive, we're on the offensive! Listen! God wants us to have an offensive strategy that impacts the world! Do you know who impacts the world? Heroes do! Regular people become heroes by deciding not to look the other way when there's an opportunity to do something that will make the world a better place. And when the heroes are true-believers in Jesus Christ, then the impact they make for the cause of Christ is huge! That's why, at all costs, the enemy wants to quench and paralyze the emerging heroes because then they'll be unable to rise up and accomplish exploits in Jesus' name that impact the world! Well, we're not going to let that happen because we are the emerging heroes!
Remember, last week I said that many of God's people are destroyed because they lack spiritual knowledge (Hosea 4:6a). It's vital that we come into greater discernment, revelation and wisdom so that we're not the ones being destroyed, but the enemy and his plans are! With such wisdom operating, we'll be in a good position to receive greater prophetic insight from the Lord to make successful pre-emptive strikes that shatter the enemy's plans. In other words, the "bomb" lands right on target before the enemy has a chance to pull a fast one. Boom!
However, let's remember that in the thick of the battle we need to use certain spiritual strategies and weapons. And we need to drop any carnal strategies and conventional weapons. In fact, get yourself prepared because before we close this teaching, by faith, we're going to make a few pre-emptive strikes by deploying some unconventional weapons like repentance and forgiveness!
So let's be ready to go on the offensive wisely. As a matter of fact, before we go on to discuss Leviathan's wicked schemes, I want to say that he is not just a demonic spirit. He can be seen as either a demonic principality or even as one of the ways that Satan manifests himself. I'll speak more about this aspect as we go through this teaching, showing that Satan is Job's accuser (Job 1-2), the serpent in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:1) and the red dragon (Rev. 12:4).
LEVIATHAN'S WICKED SCHEMES
I want to bring to your remembrance (from Part 1) the characteristics personified by Leviathan as described in Proverbs 6:16-19-the seven abominations that God hates:
(1) A proud look
(2) A lying tongue
(3) Hands that shed innocent blood
(4) A heart that devises wicked plans
(5) Feet that are swift in running to evil
(6) A false witness who speaks lies
(7) One who sows discord among brethren
Last week we discussed the first one-a proud look-entitled: Pride and the Sons of Pride. Today we'll pick it up where we left off by taking a look at the rest of these abominations.
2. A LYING TONGUE
I want to discuss this abomination by exploring some of the details that happened in Job's life. In his grief, after he lost his health, his three friends came to comfort him. They listened silently as he cried out: "May those curse it (it means the day he was born) who curse the day, those who are ready to arouse Leviathan" (Job 3:8). What I want to note here is that Job knew about Leviathan. Although he himself cursed the day of his birth (3:1), he didn't count himself among "those who are ready to arouse Leviathan." I believe that Job operated in wisdom when it came to Leviathan.
Then later on after enduring the awful judgments and speculations of his friends, once again Leviathan's name came up. This time God is speaking to Job (in detail) about Leviathan's strength, and in the middle of His discourse He says: "No one is so fierce that he would dare stir him (Leviathan) up" (41:10). It's like God was saying to Job: Dude! Who would dare to arouse Leviathan? Hey! God had Leviathan's "number" and I believe Job did too!
Now let's look a little more closely at Leviathan and the spirit behind him by asking ourselves this question. Who accuses Job before God (Job 1; 2)? The answer is Satan. Now, who is God describing to Job in Job 41? The answer is Leviathan. God describes Leviathan's evil strength and ends by saying that he is the king over all the sons of pride (v. 34). Here's another question. Who was so prideful that he wanted to raise his throne above God's? The answer is, Satan (Is. 14:12-14). Therefore, it's not hard to see the connection here between Satan and Leviathan and that's why I believe that Leviathan is one of the ways that Satan manifests himself.
But having said all that, there is evidence that Leviathan was aroused against Job (Job 1:6-12; 2:3-6). And he used Job's friends to accomplish his wicked schemes by working through their "lying tongues" to judge him; essentially lying about his character. Here's what happened. In the midst of Job's profound misfortune, his friends comforted him well by their silence (2:13). But they couldn't keep quiet! For instance, after sitting with Job for seven days, Eliphaz began bringing accusations against Job. He said: "Remember now, who ever perished being innocent? Or where were the upright ever cut off? Even as I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble, reap the same" (4:7-8). He was implying that Job deserved what was happening because he was like those who plow iniquity and then reap the same. Harsh, eh?
Eliphaz's accusations made me wonder about what was festering in his heart. Keep that in mind as we note together that God describes Leviathan like this: "Can you draw out Leviathan with a hook, or snare his tongue with a line which you lower?" (41:1). And: "Out of his mouth go burning lights; sparks of fire shoot out" (41:19). The second verse illustrates so well the "fiery darts of the enemy" spoken about in the New Testament in Ephesians 6:16. The fiery darts; the burning lights; or the sparks of fire are the wicked one's accusations, lies and slander! (The best weapon or armor that we can use against the fiery darts of the enemy is the shield of faith!) Could it be that the landing pad that Leviathan used to provoke Eliphaz to speak the way he did was the festering sin of jealousy? After all, Job was a very prosperous family-man and respected leader.
I want you to take what I'm about to say next and apply it personally. If there is jealousy lurking in your heart toward someone (at the "right" moment for the enemy's purposes), it's highly possible that you could bring accusations against someone unjustly and lie about their character. Let's beware! The spirit behind Leviathan not only wants to use you as the carrier of lies, gossip and slander, it also wants you destroyed by lies, gossip and slander, too!
So let's hold this proverb in our hearts: "Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life" (Prov. 4:23). And another way we can counter attack this demonic assault of the tongue, i.e. lies, gossip and slander is by claiming the words of David, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit: "But the mouth of those who speak lies shall be stopped" (Ps. 63:11b). We need to start speaking this verse out and acting on it in prayer.
3. HANDS THAT SHED INNOCENT BLOOD
Right at the beginning of creation we have the unhappy story about what transpired between two brothers, Cain and Abel, the sons of Adam and Eve (Gen. 4). Cain, who killed Abel because of pride and jealousy, is the first person ever recorded in the Bible who shed the blood of an innocent human being.
Today, if we go back to the1920's, 30's and 40's we see two history-maker monsters, Stalin and Hitler, who were responsible for spilling the blood of millions and millions of innocent people. As well, it was only just over 11 years ago that mass genocide took place in Rwanda when almost a million people were murdered in 100 days.
Let's pause and think about genocide. Genocide means the systematic and planned extermination of an entire national, racial, political, or ethnic group-The American Heritage Dictionary. Mass genocide happens because of a progression of sinful attitudes that are unconfessed and never dealt with. And genocide is an outcome or final consequence to something that may have originated simply because of someone's jealousy and anger that was never healed.
Listen. Jealousy and anger can turn into a bitter, blind rage, enflamed by the demonic realm, and if left unchecked, murder can be a result. And then if murder is left unchecked, in the "right" environment it can turn into a blood lust and it can spread to others. If that happens we'll often see mobs or groups (political or non-political), or armies, that are taken over by strong demonic powers and deception to the point that masses of people are murdered by them.
There's something to be said about a "mob mentality." It has been reported that many of the people who committed atrocities in Rwanda remain haunted to this day by the fact that they actually committed such horrors. They were swept up into a mob mentality. You know, Satan will always take you further than you ever thought you would go. So the answer is we need to nip sin (like jealousy and anger) in the bud!!
4. A HEART THAT DEVISES WICKED PLANS
Someone who devises wicked plans is not only an abomination in God's eyes, that person is also a complete fool. I say this because there is a lesson we can learn from the life of one of David's enemies, Nabal, who devised a wicked plan to dishonor David and his mighty men. His stupidity was overruled because of his clever, quick-thinking wife, Abigail. When she came before David, this is what she said about her husband: "Don't pay any attention to that good-for-nothing Nabal. His name means "fool," and it really fits him!" (1 Sam. 25:25 CEV).
We want to be found among the wise who have a godly fear and with those who depart from evil, just like this proverb states: "A wise man fears and departs from evil, but a fool rages and is self-confident" (Prov. 14:16). Let's not be like Nabal who was a self-confident fool who got into a rage and devised wicked plans.
5. FEET THAT ARE SWIFT IN RUNNING TO EVIL
One of the most important calls on the lives of every one of us is to please the Lord (Eph. 5:10; 1Thess. 4:1). There are many wonderful consequences of doing our best to please Him. For example even our enemies will be at peace with us (Prov. 16:7). Among the six billion people who share the world with us a large majority don't know our Lord and neither do they attempt to please Him. As we well know by the wickedness of the world, most people are on a rapid downward spiral that leads to destruction (Matt 7:13-14). We are surrounded by lost souls who are vigorous and diligent in their pursuit of sin. Their feet are swift in running to evil. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God (Rom. 8:8). They lack faith without which it is impossible to please Him (Heb. 11:6).
Let us not insulate ourselves from the world by not leaving the walls of our churches. Let us instead be shamed by their enthusiasm for sin and provoked to lead as many of them as we can to salvation through Jesus. As we do this we win, the saved ones win and Leviathan loses.
6. A FALSE WITNESS THAT SPEAKS LIES
If the devil can't get you in sin, he will try to accuse you of something or make up lies against you. This happened to Jesus when different people give a false testimony about Him. They were influenced by the religious clerics who hoped their false testimonies would get Jesus arrested and then crucified (Mark 14:53-59).
In my own life, my wife Shonnah and I experienced a crisis when were newly-weds. The devil was looking for a way to accuse me and stir up mistrust in my new marriage so someone gave a false report about me. However, we came to the realization that "the accuser of the brethren" was at work in that situation trying to use a false witness to speak lies. As a result, not only did Shonnah and I experience a great victory, we also learned a valuable personal lesson because of the whole ordeal! Now that's a double blessing!
It's important to remember that when false testimonies were declared against Jesus in front of the religious clerics, He remained silent (Mark 14:61). And later when He came before Pilate he remained silent again when Pilate spoke about the charges against Him (Matt. 27:14). Sometimes the best strategy against lies and slander is to hold our peace and keep quiet and pray. We can stand on God's Word: "'No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me,' says the Lord" (Is. 54:17).
7. ONE WHO SOWS DISCORD AMONG THE BRETHREN
Leviathan is working today through the body of Christ and we see many churches, ministers and organizations bringing accusations against each another. So often there is a critical, faultfinding spirit working through some of the people in church today, judging and speaking against moves of God, ministries and denominations who are different from their accusers. Instead of such negative words, what the church really needs is those who will restore the body of Christ. Look at this. "Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted" (Gal. 6:1).
Now let's move on and discuss how Leviathan hides God's revelation, orchestrates miscommunication and twists God's word.
LEVIATHAN HIDES REVELATION AND UNDERSTANDING
Back to Job again! In the midst of all his troubles, after Job listens to his friends and tries to understand why he is experiencing such deep trials, God has a lengthy discussion with him. He releases inside information about Leviathan (Job 41). After this, Job speaks with God and he brings something to God's remembrance: "(God) You asked, 'Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?'" (Job 42:3a). ["Who is this who darkens or obscures counsel without knowledge?" (AB) Or as in another translation: "Who is this who seals up counsel?"] He comes to realize that counsel and true understanding were kept from him and hidden from him so he declares why he spoke to God the way that he did: "Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know" (v.3b).
I believe that the "who is this" was the spirit of Leviathan, trying to keep Job from the true counsel of the Lord and hiding from Job his own small areas of pride and self-righteousness in his life. We see in Job 42 that Job is no longer the one who justifies himself, but instead, he confesses that he has not really known God by revelation. "I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes" (v.5-6).
Let's be sure to give any areas of any pride or self-righteousness to the Lord and ask for the spirit of wisdom and revelation in our life and ministry.
Just as Leviathan got between Job and the revelation of God and distorted the word of the Lord, he also wants to do the same to us. Leviathan will seek ways to hide true revelation from you and confuse the true meaning of things so that there is miscommunication and misunderstanding. That's how this spirit can sow discord among brethren. Have you ever been at your workplace or at home and something you say is taken the wrong way? Someone will say, "You said this" and you say, "No! I said this." You both think your right! Or you say one thing and the other person hears it differently. You said, "It's black" and they hear you say, "It's blue." Leviathan wants to get in-between your conversation and hearing, distorting what someone is really saying. This can happen between friends, in the work of ministry and so often between children and parents.
Here's an example. At FFM we had a misunderstanding in our ministry when someone gave a financial gift for the work of the ministry. We sent a thank you letter to the donor but we did not specifically mention the amount given. So the enemy worked on the donor's mind and, being the accuser, told this person that maybe we could not be trusted as a ministry because we did not specifically mention the size of the donation in the thank you letter. He caused suspicion to come into the donor's mind that maybe the entire amount would not be used for missions like I said it would. Leviathan works in suspicion and mistrust.
This particular person was previously working in a church and saw that church hold back on offerings. Also, the donor believed I said that the entire missions offering would go specifically for Sudan. However, I did not say that we would use any money for Sudan, and this was verified by the tapes of that night's service.
The devil nearly succeeded in causing a rift, but this never happened because the Lord showed me that this misunderstanding was an attack by the spirit of Leviathan. So with this information we were in a good position to meet with this person, pray together, and cut the devil out of our business. The spirit behind Leviathan was trying to sow seeds of mistrust and misunderstanding, bringing accusations forward that caused suspicion against the ministry. But Leviathan lost the battle because we persevered in getting to the bottom of the problem and if there was any blame to be cast, it was cast where it belonged, on Leviathan!
LEVIATHAN WILL TWIST GOD'S WORD
As I mentioned earlier Leviathan can be seen as one of the ways that Satan manifests himself. I believe this was the case in the Garden of Eden when the "serpent" approached Eve. Let's take a look at Genesis 3:1: "Now the serpent was more subtle and crafty than any living creature of the field which the Lord God had made. And he [Satan] said to the woman, 'Can it really be that God has said you shall not eat from every tree of the garden?'" (AB). Leviathan wanted to distort and hide the true word of the Lord from Eve. And today, he wants to cast doubt, mistrust and suspicion on God's word. Nothing has changed.
In this encounter with Eve we see Satan's famous question. "Has God indeed said?" ("Is that really what He meant?") The enemy wants to twist God's truth and rob us of our promise. But his schemes cannot prevail when we stand in faith on God's Word and when we know God's unchangeable character.
You know, when Job realized the truth about his situation, he repented (Job 42:6). He humbled himself before God! And when God told him to pray for his friends, I don't think he could have done that unless he had forgiven them for their misdeeds. I believe Job's attitude of heart pleased the Lord deeply and so God responded by restoring Job's fortunes two-fold (v. 10-17).
You know, we can humble ourselves, repent and forgive just like Job did. Remember earlier I said that we're going to close this teaching by deploying some unconventional weapons like repentance and forgiveness? Such acts are essential if believers like you and me are going to be the true heroes of the faith that God wants to release into the battle in these last days. Listen. A time is coming when I believe that one of the manifestations of Satan will be as a "great red dragon" (Rev. 12). This dragon is going to wage war with those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus (v. 17). Let's get strengthened and prepared now at this set time! There's grace from God for this here, now! I want to invite you to join me in prayer.
Father, we want to thank you for helping us and strengthening us today to fight the good fight of faith. We want to be overcomers; people You can be proud of in these last days.
We want to humble ourselves and ask for Your forgiveness where we have knowingly or unknowingly taken part in perpetuating any of the seven abominations that we learned about in this teaching. Or for being involved in any other deeds that are not pleasing to You. Father, no one can forgive us or cleanse us but You. Thank You for having such great mercy upon us.
God, we want our character to please You and we want to live in Your truth in every area of our lives. In humility we say that we want to be heroes of the faith, people You delight in to advance the cause of Christ in the earth in these end days. We want to be a company of people who turn away from sinful attitudes and practices; those that walk with You having hearts that easily come into repentance and forgiveness. We want to have unwavering faith in You!
God would You please release more divine strategies and divine unconventional weapons to help us gain and hold a position of victory as darkness increases upon the earth? We want to rise and let our light shine for You, God.
It's awesome to realize that godly attitudes are exactly opposite to the way the enemy of our souls operates, and such godliness completely defeats his purposes! And we want to say collectively that our pursuit of holiness is for Your glory, God. We love You so much!