Posts Tagged ‘Strategy’

Genesis 32:7-8 – HOW TO HANDLE THE GREATEST CONFLICT OF ALL

Instructions in Diplomatic Integrity – Part 4

Jacob is preparing to come face to face with Esau. The meeting could be explosive. (see parts 1-3).

When a conflict management meeting starts to go south, what can you do?

  1. MASTER YOUR EMOTIONS

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© Control Your Emotions by Ross Cochrane

“Jacob was terrified at the news…” (Genesis 32:7 NLT).

OK, so Jacob is not exactly cool, calm and collected about the news of an army of 400 men coming his way. And neither are you, if you are honest, when faced with conflict.

But once again, Jacob observes the facts of the situation as objectively as he can. So often in conflict management, we have limited information, much of which is anything but good. But here Jacob has a window of opportunity, a timeframe within which he must respond with something concrete and positive. The clock is counting down and at the moment he has about 24 hours to defuse this potentially explosive situation.

  1. REMAIN OPEN TO IMPOSSIBLE POSSIBILITIES

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© Remain open to possibilities by Ross Cochrane

What do you do when you don’t know what to do?

Jacob can only assume that past history will dictate how Esau will handle this conflict. Esau was always a hunter. A whole lot more information is needed but all Jacob can go with is what little he has. If he remains open to the possibility that Esau may be willing to negotiate, then he may still be able to pour oil on the water.

  1. BE STRATEGIC IN CARING FOR THOSE AFFECTED

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© Transparently Strategic by Ross Cochrane

“…He divided his household, along with the flocks and herds and camels, into two groups. He thought, “If Esau meets one group and attacks it, perhaps the other group can escape”” (Genesis 32:7-8 NLT).

Jacob is terrified but not stupid. He takes immediate action to protect his family and servants. Trusting in God but not his brother, Jacob believes for the best and prepares for the worst. He is being proactive in dividing his company into two groups given that God has not given specific instructions as to how to deal with Esau.

Notice Jacob moves to protect his family and his people rather than his flocks and herds. People are always more important than the conflict. He has learned that people in his life are not just commodities to be manipulated to suit his own ends. One group at least has hope for escape.

I’m sure Jacob is hoping that the angelic army is going to help, but he’s setting things up in case they are just there to watch.

Is all this simply scheming as some have suggested, and not trusting in God? It seems to me Jacob is acting with care, putting others first. He’s afraid, but he’s not running away from God’s plan and he is taking responsibility for the blessings with which God has entrusted to him.

Jacob needs counsel, not criticism and who can he talk to? (Find out in Part 5)

Pastor Ross

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WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

 © by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 73

The slaughter was horrendous. At battle’s end, 20,000 men lay dead. Because of the strategic positions of Joab’s men, more of Absalom’s forces died in the forest that day than in open combat by the sword. David’s careful strategy and many years of guerrilla warfare in rugged terrain such as this had taught Joab how best to use the geography of the country to full advantage in battle.

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

His long hair flying in the wind, Absalom rode his mule towards the thickest part of the forest he could find, Abishai’s men in pursuit. As his mule veered sharply, careering under the thick branches of a great oak, there was no time to lower his head, and crossed branches were thrust under his chin.

The shuddering halt caused extreme trauma to his pharynx. His head caught fast in the oak and his neck was almost broken. As the momentum of his body swung, its full weight wrenched on his spinal column and Absalom momentarily lost consciousness. A tingling sensation ran down his spine from his head and the impact left him temporarily unable to move his arms or legs.

Growing his hair had made him a further victim of his vow against David. Now it was caught around the branches so that he was left hanging awkwardly between heaven and earth. Balanced precariously, in shock and fear, he waited for the end to come.

The man who had followed Absalom saw that he was unable to move. He sheathed his sword and sent word immediately to Joab. When Joab arrived he was furious, “You saw him and you didn’t strike him down! I would have given you ten pieces of silver and a belt as a reward.”

The soldier was defensive. “Even if you gave me a thousand pieces of silver, I would not have killed him. He is the king’s son. You heard what the king said. He told you to protect him. We all heard the command. Besides, I am sure that if I had killed him you would not have supported me before the king.”

“Don’t waste my time.” I’ll deal with your insolence later. He pushed the man out of the way.

For a fleeting moment Absalom saw Joab moving towards him with a spear but then as he slipped once again into the ethereal world of semi-consciousness, he seemed to hear his father’s voice say, “He is my son.” Then the strong hands of his father were reaching up to free him. Father, spare my life again!

Searing, throbbing pain pierced through his body, singing with increasing volume in his head. Absalom saw himself seated on the throne of David’s kingdom with his father now lying prostrate before him, begging him for mercy. Will I send you into exile or keep you under house arrest for the rest of your natural life?

“Bring me my dagger”, he said, but his voice seemed to be deep and gravelly. One of the soldiers nearby brought a dagger to him. It had strange carvings on the handle of a lion and a wolf in mortal combat.

David was tied, hands outstretched, suspended from the branches of a tree. You will pay! He raised the dagger and thrust it toward his father’s heart. As the dagger moved closer he looked on with the delight of insanity written into the features of his face.

But the face changed. Instead of his father, the face that looked at him was now the face of Amnon. As the dagger continued its journey and in the flickering filtered light, the face changed again and again.

Eternity was opening its doors and he saw the face of Ahithophel just before he hanged himself and many of the faces of the soldiers wide-eyed in the terror of certain death. In the array of faces that appeared was a man whom he did not recognise with a crown of thorns on His head and nails in His hands His feet.

The dagger had reached its destination as the face changed for one final timeless moment. My own face! To his horror, he realised that he was executing himself. “No! Stop!” he yelled.

Part 1 – Genesis 14 – BUZZ LIKEYOU TO THE RESCUE!

Buzz LikeYou to the Rescue!

My grandson hits the ground running in the morning. He will come in at 5am while I am having my quietime and startle me by saying “Pa, you be Zurg!” and thrust into my hands an action figure with horns, piercing eyes and cape. My grandson plays the part of BUZZ LIKEYOU (I think the name is supposed to be Buzz Lightyear, but I kind of like the idea of Buzz having the name “Likeyou” so I have given up trying to correct this – imagine an action figure that actually likes you). Of course Buzz doesn’t have horns. I am always cast as the bad guy, THE EVIL EMPEROR ZURG. Zurg has the fire power of a small army attached to his arm but it makes no difference. I am always defeated by Buzz Likeyou who likes everyone except the evil emporer Zurg. I suppose that’s a good thing, but not at 5am. “Zion Brave”, I say, “go back to bed until the sun comes up at least.” He goes in to our bedroom and Nanny tells him stories of Bible heroes or he goes back to sleep beside her until it gets light.

IN GENESIS 14:1-24 WAR BREAKS OUT! This is the first war mentioned in the Bible and Lot is in the middle of it. Now there’s an interesting name. Lot by name and he wanted a lot by nature. He’s the nephew of Abram and he’s camped near Sodom and Gomorrah with his family, a lot of livestock, lot’s of servants – the lot (I know. I couldn’t help it. Who names their child “Lot”?). Anyway, that’s the reason he get’s caught up in the battle (not because of his name but because of his position. Position myself beside Sodom and Gomorrah’s kind of wickedness and I am inviting unnecessary trouble.)

It all looks good and the land is fertile and lush, but you don’t want to be in Sodom when Kedorlaomer comes (the evil emporer Zurg). You see SODOM IS A VASSAL CITY (servant city) of King Kedorlaomer. They have probably been forced by their suzerain overlord, Kedorlaomer, to pay tribute money (usually 10%. Tithing to kings was common in the ancient world), and they have refused and rebelled. Even evil people rebel against tithing.

King Kedorlaomer decides to assert his authority and brings his army to lay waste to the city and bring it back under his control. Genesis 14:10 (NLT) says, “as the army of the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, some fell into the tar pits,” (I presume that means their chariots got stuck or swallowed by these tar pits. What a way to go! Was it hot tar? Uggh. Maybe they just fell into these pits in order to hide), “while the rest escaped into the mountains. The victorious invaders then plundered Sodom and Gomorrah and headed for home, taking with them all the spoils of war and the food supplies. They also captured Lot-Abram’s nephew who lived in Sodom-and carried off everything he owned.” (Genesis 14:11-12 NLT)They took the lot. Lot was left with nothing. There are consequences to choosing to get too close to wickedness. Slavery! Wickedness always enslaves.

NOW “BUZZ LIKEYOU” COMES TO THE RESCUE! Abram is no wimp. He quickly mobilizes “318 trained men who had been born into his household.” (Genesis 14:14). The fact that they were trained means that Abram was always prepared for battle. I need to have that kind of readiness in the spiritual battles I face as a Christian – A PREPAREDNESS – ahead of time for what I may face.

It also shows how many people were in Abram’s entourage. He catches up with Kedorlaomer’s army at Dan, divides up his men and attacks during the night. Kedorlaomer’s army don’t know what hit them and they run for their lives. Abram recovers all the goods that had been taken, and brings back his nephew Lot with his possessions and all the women and other captives.

How does this apply to me Lord?

BE PREPARED SPIRITUALLY, because the battles will come.

BE ALERT TO THE OPPORTUNITIES around me to help someone who needs my help, especially if they need to be set free from the slavery of their old life, and find freedom to live by serving Christ. The truth is we will be serving something or someone. I choose to serve Christ and my God who created me and has the best plan for my life.

BE ALIGNED WITH THE RIGHT KIND OF PEOPLE. Abram aligned himself with people who could help when things got tough. He even trained them. I went to a prayer meeting this morning with about 40 other people. I choose to align myself with God’s warriors in prayer.

BE RESPONSIBLE for others in terms of care. Abram didn’t have to help, but he did. When someone is enslaved by their sin, drugs, immorality, we have a responsibility to help them.

Galatians 6:1 (NLT) says “Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.” 

BE STRATEGIC. Abram planned the rescue of Lot. If we are going to rescue those who are lost and don’t know Christ, then we need a strategy.

BE INVOLVED PERSONALLY. Not just train people and send them out with a plan, but be involved personally.

BE GENEROUS. Abram returned everyone and everything to Sodom that was taken. He didn’t have to. He was generous and unselfish towards non-Christians

Micah 6:8 (NLT) puts it this way “… the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what He requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”  

What happens next is intriguing but it will have to wait for another time.

God bless you Church as you are prepared, alert, aligned, strategic, responsible, involved and generous.

Pastor Ross