A Final Mowing and the Wisdom of Yahweh
Joseph Herrin (4-30-08)
On April 27th Randy Simmons and I returned to Macon, Georgia after nearly a month of camping. It has truly been a rich season of hearing from the Spirit of Christ concerning the character of the coming ministry which will prepare a Bride for the return of Yahshua. Many have written to express their appreciation of those things that have been written during this period of time. I don’t think anyone could appreciate these revelations any more than myself. I am truly grateful for all that the Spirit has been revealing. It has helped me to understand both the future days, and the past preparation.
I have been surprised to find that the parables and revelations have not ceased with my return to Middle Georgia. When I got into my van to pull out of my campsite to head home, I looked at the odometer and the last three digits read 622. Six is a number relating to the flesh, and twenty-two is a number the Spirit has consistently used to speak to me concerning the activity of cutting the flesh. In days past, observing such a sign would have caused me a great deal of anxiety. On this occasion I simply felt resignation. I knew whatever Yahweh planned to do in way of a further flesh cutting could not be avoided, and it would be much more bearable if I simply accepted it. There was even the hope that peace would be my portion, no matter the unpleasantness of the trial.
That day was truly a day of trial, as have been the days since. All of the types of trials the Father has led me to at this time have been experienced in days past. I am finding, however, that the Spirit is constantly testifying that the anxiety and torment of earlier days can be replaced with peace. I have known some severe buffeting, but fear has been cast down, anxiety arrested, and a place of peace entered into again and again. It seems that the stormy winds of anxiety are still able to make their presence felt, but I no longer find myself being driven along by them. There is definite progress.
Back on January 30th I wrote of the Lord testifying that I would be launched back out into the deep. I was led to quit my job at a rescue mission where I had been for over three years. I am now following the Lord wherever He leads, and looking to Him to manifest His provision for all of my needs. I can tell you from having done this previously, with a wife, two children and two dogs alongside me, that such an experience can produce a lot of anxiety. Fear and torment were a regular part of my previous journey. At times the anxiety I experienced kept me from enjoying the blessings of the Father.
It was six years ago that my family and I found ourselves camping on Jekyll Island for a month. I had been looking to the Lord for all of my provision for two years at the time, but had not grown comfortable in doing so. Yahweh had made many marvelous provisions for us to get where we were at. He had provided a motorhome in an extraordinary manner. He had outfitted it and provided a tow bar and small car to pull behind it in an even more magnificent manner. It was very evident that He had guided us in this direction. Yet I found myself vacillating between exhilaration at the freedom of following the Spirit in this fashion, and agony as I was met with fears of our provision failing, or direction being lost, or meeting with some unpleasant event that I would not feel adequate to handle.
I truly desired to embark on a ministry of traveling and teaching, and I believed this to be where the Spirit would lead us. To do so would have been the fulfillment of a dream, yet my anxiousness kept me from trusting Yahweh with boldness and confidence. Six years ago while camping on Jekyll Island I was able to pay for a month’s site rental. I had enough gas in the motorhome to get back to Middle Georgia, and enough money to buy food and meet necessary needs while camping. Yet I knew when our month was over my wallet would be empty, and I had no idea where we would go, nor any idea where our next provision would arise from.
Fast forward six years to this present month. Yahweh brought me once more to Jekyll Island and I was able to spend two weeks there, ending a month of camping. The site rental was paid at the start. I had adequate money to see me through my time camping. I was in a camper/van that Yahweh had magnificently provided. And I knew that when I left my wallet would be empty and I did not know where I would go or where my next provision would come from.
Another similarity is that even as my wife Tony struggled with this walk six years ago, my friend Randy Simmons was struggling with it at this time. There were so many parallels as to be uncanny. The Spirit impressed upon me that I was being brought back to this same place of testing so that I could walk victoriously where I had failed to do so in the past. My campsite was even H6, which I took to stand for “Herrin six years later.”
So how did I do? I knew an extraordinary degree of peace. My time this month was vastly different from that of six years ago. I found myself biking around the Island and just praising and worshiping God for the grace He had extended to me by allowing me to be in such a beautiful place at the best season of the year. I would just utter exclamations of awe at the scenic beauty surrounding me, and this was my daily experience. Six years ago it was my “on again off again” experience, with far too much of it being off as I was filled with cares and worry. This time I even dared to walk in confidence before God, rather than in weakness and timidity.
Three days ago when I left Jekyll Island I found that I was not immune to being buffeted by these same old anxieties. I did not have a full tank of gas as I left, and I had no money to put more in the tank. Randy was driving his own truck and we left separately. The enemy sought to ply me with doubts and worries, and I found it necessary to cast down thoughts and imaginations repeatedly on the trip home. The remarkable thing is that I was able to do so, and to know much greater success in this than in years past.
It was only on the morning that we left that the Lord revealed the direction I was to take next. Randy’s grandfather invited us to stay at his home that night. When we arrived at his house later that afternoon he said the Lord had spoken to him as he was praying earlier in the day and he felt led to invite us to stay with him as long as needed until the Lord opened up the ministry He had been speaking to us about. He only asked that we pay the electric bill and pay for groceries.
I confess I had some anxiety about this. Randy was still struggling with whether he could continue this walk, and even mentioned returning to the rescue mission. I also remembered the last occasion that I was met with such an invitation. It was when my wife’s aunt asked us to stay with her, and she also asked us to help out with the electric bill and with groceries. The experience did not end well, and I was treated very rudely and eventually asked to leave. Satan was quick to remind me of the experience, and to suggest that it could happen again.
On top of this I had some pressing bills to pay and no funds. But day by day a little would come in and I was able to pay my car tag for another year, the fee for the small storage space where my few possessions are kept, and my cell phone bill. On top of this another trial arose that I had also encountered in days past, one which had caused me great anxiety. This one has yet to be resolved.
I must tell you that for about three days the warfare was intense. I found myself a dozen times a day fighting back to a place of peace. Today there was some relief, either through victory or a lessening of the attacks, I am not certain which. I do know, however, that I was resigned to whatever outcome the Father chose for me, and I had made up my mind that I would stand fast and look for the salvation of the Lord.
Perhaps some of you are finding yourselves revisiting old battles that you did not fare so well in during days past. The reason is that you might conquer that which once tormented you. This seems to be one more flesh cutting before the time of release into the promised ministries and callings of the Lord. I was encouraged by a devotion I received in my email today by Os Hillman. In it were the following words:
Faith that bears fruit is faith that is born from experience with a living God. It is faith that says, "I don't know where the next check is coming from. All I know is that God told me to do this and trust Him for the next step." That is faith that moves mountains and moves God's heart. God rarely allows His servant to see beyond the next faith step. However, those who are willing to take the first step and leave the outcome to Him see His works.
This describes my present circumstances. I know God has told me to be in this place and to walk in this way. I don’t know where my next check is coming from. I do know that He is saying, “Trust Me!” This I want to do with all of my heart.
It is not my intent in sharing these words to solicit financial support. I realize that it may seem so, but I have sought to make it my practice whenever I have a need to simply make it known to the Father. I am confident that He will supply. I share these things because I know that many of those reading these words struggle with the same tests. Trusting Yahweh for practical needs is a common struggle. If it were not then Yahshua would not have spoken so much about it.
“For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single cubit to his life's span? And why are you anxious about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these. But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do so for you, O men of little faith? Do not be anxious then, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'With what shall we clothe ourselves?' For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.”
I cannot tell you how many times I have recited the words of this passage to myself to calm my inner man. Worries over practical needs are very common, especially among those who are instructed by the Spirit to look to Him for all of their needs. At times Yahweh will lay one of His children in such strict bonds that they know they are not permitted to seek any human method of delivering themselves. I have known times when the Lord has told me to lay aside secular employment and to trust Him for all provision. I knew I could not take a job, even though I wanted to on many occasions. Yahweh would then test me by allowing me to suffer some need. Some bill would become due and there would be no money for it. Still I was constrained.
Perhaps you have never been dealt with in such a strict fashion by the Lord. I can tell you that it is difficult. Nothing else quite describes it other than the image of hanging on a cross that you had to voluntarily get on, and which you could come down from if you chose to, but God is telling you “hang in there.” This is truly an experience of being a free will offering, placing one’s flesh on the altar to be consumed when everything in your flesh is crying out for release. It is at such times that I have on occasion asked the Lord to “bind the sacrifice to the horns of the altar,” that I might remain there until His fiery work has done its full job.
I have found it interesting that in the past short span of time that nearly every trial I have faced in days past has been brought back to me to be faced again. I know I am doing much better than I did five or six years ago. There is still warfare, intense at times, but there seems to be more resignation to endure and to accept whatever Yahweh chooses for me. I know He must fulfill His promises to me, so He cannot abandon me. I may know trials. I may face reproach. Fears may come against me. I am assured, however, that He will only do that which is for my good, and He will deliver me when He has determined the moment is right.
Yesterday the Lord gave me an unusual witness. It began when I heard from a friend in California. Bob has been experiencing trials of his own. He wrote to me and told me of going on a hike near his home and trying a trail he had not ventured down before. He went a ways and found a trail sign. It said he was on St. Joseph’s Hill. He had read all I had written recently about a Joseph Company, and found the experience to bear prophetic significance.
I told my friend Randy Simmons about Bob’s experience as the two of us also took a hike. We had gone over to the Ocmulgee Indian Mounds in Macon. I was telling Randy about St. Joseph’s Hill when we looked ahead and saw the largest Indian Mound ahead of us, and there was a man mowing grass on top of it. I immediately thought that at that moment this mound also was a symbol of St. Joseph’s Hill, for mowing grass, or flesh cutting, is the ministry to which the Joseph Company is called.
Randy and I walked to this hill which is accessed by steps and a ramp. When we first began to walk this trail a couple months ago, I had to pause part way up and catch my breath. After a month solid of hiking and biking in which I lost fifteen pounds, I found that I was able to ascend the hill easily and could have gone further without stopping. When I crested the top the man mowing grass finished and began gathering up his equipment. I noticed that his shirt said that he was a park volunteer. Randy and I walked around the top of the mound and then started back down and this man who had been mowing followed us down pushing his mower along.
I considered what this signified. The Father is doing a final mowing to the lives of those in the Joseph Company. The trials are the same as they ever were, much like climbing the steps. Some exertion is necessary, but we are able to pass through these difficulties much easier than before. Is this not what obtaining hinds’ feet to traverse high places is all about?
That the man on the top of the hill was a volunteer also speaks of those being refined at this time. They have of a free will accepted this course of discipline. They observe that most Christians around them are not experiencing anything similar. I was wondering while at the park, what type of person came on their day off to mow grass voluntarily at a local park where they were receiving no pay? It must be similar to the type of person who takes up their cross and follows Christ when they do not have to, while most of their fellow Christians are not doing so. Peculiar people!
It is encouraging to know that the grass cutting is almost over. The trials are also easier to endure. It is not because the trials are lessened. There are still as many stairs to the top of the mound as before. This time my muscles were stronger and I was carrying less flesh. Hmm... I trust you can discern this parable yourself.
Today Randy and I went bike riding. Macon has a river walk/bike trail. We decided to start on one end and go to the other, then double back. After biking fourteen miles a day on Jekyll Island this short two mile path seemed ridiculously easy. Randy kept commenting, “I guess this is not much of a challenge for you after biking around Jekyll Island.” Truly it was not. So next we went across the river to Rose Hill Cemetery and we hiked up and down some of the steep hills. I used to not be able to do it once without being exhausted. We did it twice today after having biked, and we still felt that we hadn’t been properly challenged.
While at Rose Hill Randy and I had a conversation that shed light on the spiritual application of these things. Randy has suffered more physically and in the agony of the soul than any other man I am personally familiar with. At a young age he was a desperate alcoholic. He could not stop drinking and would drink until he would pass out. He would wake up and drink again until he would pass out. He begged God to let him die, or to deliver him. Such experiences went on for years.
If you have not been around alcoholics, such misery is hard to imagine. It cannot hardly be said that such men drink for pleasure. Rather, they drink due to misery, and then their drinking leads to even deeper misery as they impact the lives of family and loved ones. This leads to deeper misery and more drinking with the result being that their bodies begin to break down. Once strong and healthy men are left weak as babies and their muscles deteriorate and they become thin and gaunt.
Although Randy has been able to resist the temptation to drink for some time, knowing that it has nearly killed him on several occasions, the agony of soul that led him to drink has remained. Symbolically, he has an injured foot that causes him to limp and endure much pain. His daily life is one of pain in his soul. The enemy often torments such men with thoughts of suicide, yet pragmatically, Randy understands that departing this physical body does not lead to oblivion, or an end to all suffering. If he thought it were so he would have ended his life long ago. He knows, however, that it is necessary to end this life as an overcomer that one might be spared suffering in the ages to come. So he has simply endured.
The Spirit began speaking to me about this yesterday. I was reminded that days are coming when America will fall. Desperate times will come to millions of people. The land of plenty will suddenly be a land of poverty and lack. Multitudes who have had lives of ease and security will be met with severe hardship and uncertainty. Men’s hearts will fail them for fear. In that day I want a man walking beside me who has been enduring misery and suffering for years, and has weathered it. For such a man, the experience will be like our bike ride today. He will get through it and say, “Was that all? Why don’t we go another round?”
I reminded Randy as we were in Rose Hill of a story I had told him some time back. There was a young man in the Far East who wanted to become a great warrior. He joined himself to a monastery that taught its disciples martial arts. His teacher set a pail of water before him and told him to slap the water with the edge of his hand. He was to do so until there was no water left in the bucket. When he had emptied the bucket in this way he went to his master and showed him that it was empty. The master told him to fill it again and repeat the procedure.
The young man did this the entire day. He expected a new lesson the next day, and was disappointed when his master told him to take a bucket of water and slap the water with the edge of his hand until it was empty. This went on for another day. The entire month he did the same, and the next month. At the end of a year this was the only thing he had done.
The man returned home for a visit and sat down to a meal with his family at their thick oaken table. His father asked him what he had been learning. In total frustration the young man said that he had not been taught anything worthwhile and he questioned the ways of his master at the monastery. With growing anger in having to confess the dull routine he was subjected to daily, and the fact that he felt he was no closer to being a warrior, the young man got up from his seat and struck the massive oaken table with the side of his hand and the table split in two. The young man and his family were in awe at the power he had just demonstrated.
Some years ago the Lord spoke to Randy in a profound way through the verse that declares, “Lean not on your own understanding.” Randy has often lamented at the prolongation of his suffering, and the elusiveness of the release from his misery. He has said, “I don’t understand why God won’t answer my prayers and release me from these things,” for he has cried out with tears on many occasions for God to deliver him.
The Spirit bears witness that there has been a reason for both the intensity and the prolongation of Randy’s suffering. It has been to prepare him for service in days ahead. A man who has known life at the very bottom, wallowing in his own vomit, wanting to die yet unable to end it all; a man who has lived with pain of both body and soul for years on end will be able to experience the difficulty of the days ahead and keep on going steadily when those who have known lives of ease and security are fainting left and right.
Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man whom You discipline and instruct, O Lord, and teach out of Your law, that You may give him power to keep himself calm in the days of adversity...
Some months back the Lord spoke to Randy concerning the ministry of the last days. He told him it would be like unto the ministry of Elijah. I can see many parallels. John the Baptist came in the spirit of Elijah and of him Yahshua stated the following:
And when the messengers of John had left, He began to speak to the multitudes about John, “What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who are splendidly clothed and live in luxury are found in royal palaces.”
There was nothing soft about John’s life. He lived in the wilderness until the day of his ministry. He was clothed in camel hair, and his diet was locusts and wild honey. Can you envision such a life? There is little that is soft and luxuriant in the wilderness. There is heat and dirt and thirst. There was nothing soft about his clothes. Camel hair is coarse. There was nothing soft and appealing about his diet. It was monotonous and unappetizing. John’s existence was a picture of the life of many of those who have also been in wilderness places in recent years. Many have wondered why their lives have been so hard when so many others are experiencing so much comfort and pleasure. In the days ahead it will be said of those hardened by such discipline, “blessed, happy, fortunate, to be envied is this man for he will be calm in a day of adversity.”
People, the Spirit testifies that very difficult days are just ahead. Just before the Lord called me out to this wilderness journey back in 1999, a young woman got up in our church and prophesied the following. She said, “The Lord is about to lead some of you through very difficult days of preparation, but these days will be necessary due to the great difficulty of the days which will follow.” It was a true word.
If you are one of those who have been experiencing trials and difficulties unknown to those around you, consider yourself blessed, happy, fortunate, and to be envied. The days ahead will prove the wisdom of God in leading you down such paths. Lean not on your own understanding. There is a hand of perfect wisdom that has been guiding you.
May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.