Challenging the Shibboleths

“Then said they unto him: say now Shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame to pronounce it right. Then they took him and slew him at the passage of Jordan : and there fell at that time of the Ephraimites forty and two thousand”

Judges 12:5-6

One of my prayer leaders sent a piece this morning written by Ian Stackhouse from Guildford , Baptist Church, commenting on the need for ‘modern day Jeremiahs with courage to speak the Truth’.

The article is well worthy of review and was like music to my ears.

For years and from being a little bitty girl in church , I saw what the Bible describes ‘thieves creeping in unawares’ (see Jude 1:4).

In Judges 12:5 (above) the Israelites under Jephthah were able to distinguish the ephraimite enemy in the camp (sent to kill and annihilate them) from those who were with them, by the way they pronounced the word Shibboleth. Essentially it was clear by the way they said the word that they were not from the ancient tribe.

For me the piece highlights how even modern church can become complicit in sin because it doesn’t hear well, it has no standard or principles – no one is using the ancient landmarks and anything goes. We see churches built on friendship groups (and who particular leaders might like) people placed in pivotal position, not necessarily chosen on the basis of call or anointing of God, but because their face fits and they don’t ruffle feathers.

If you call sin out, then you become a pariah. But call out we must.

Growing up in Christendom, I watched (and watch…) as so called men of God rule with a iron fist on the pulpit and behind closed doors devour the flock. No one sees – the blind leading the blind, stargazing, naval watching, waiting for the next pat on the back. Father is not pleased.

Like the author, I say bring back the Jeremiahs in our day, men and women of God, that are not afraid of the faces of men. Men and women of God not afraid to challenge political dogma or religious dictates. Those whose only true allegiance is with Jehovah God, creator of the universe.

The church needs to stand up and stand out – men and woman called of God need to speak up and speak out when they see wrong doing. As the author wrote ‘passivity in the face of injustice is not only cowardice, but complicity in the crime’ Father is depending on us to rout out the enemy and call a spade a spade.

I didn’t plan a life in safeguarding, but that is where the Lord has placed me . All too often I hear the painful accounts of survivors who were left at the mercies of men (and in some instances women) of the cloth. Then, abusive men got into positions of power with no screening and abused that trust. Many chose (nay choose) the role because of the easy access. For years, no one challenged their activities or movements. No one saw the deterioration of their vulnerable victims, or heard their cries. If the victims spoke out, they were silenced and vilified.

But God will have his Jeremiahs , his mouth piece in every generation – those who stand for Truth and say enough is enough. It is time for the Church of Jesus Christ to arise and take her place.

Too often (and I’ve already written a piece about this) we see the Emperor standing there stark naked, but no one has the gumption to say so.

There is too much purporting to be God from our altars, in our churches, men’s ideas, men’s knowledge – everyone lapping it up becoming gross, fat even, but no one being filled.

There has been such a mixture that not many can distinguish the evil stream from the godly stream.

No one challenges the word or sound that they hear – there is a non distinct identity that has come into the house, into the Body.

We need to unveil and unmask the enemy and rout him out. We need to listen carefully to what the spirit is saying to the churches and challenge the Shibboleth, by godly wisdom and by the word of God.

Let God arise and the enemy be scattered.

Linda J UK

19th July 2020

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