It’s More Than a Movement, It’s a Way of Life
In 2007, I was speaking at a conference. A friend of mine was also there, and I knew God often spoke to him through dreams.
“Hey Thomas,” I jokingly said as he headed towards his room, “ask God to give you a dream for me tonight.”
“OK,” he replied in the same lighthearted manner.
The next morning, to my surprise, the first words out of Thomas’ mouth were, “Hey Dutch, God gave me a dream about you last night!”
My first thought was, Wow I wish it was always this easy!
He continued. “In the dream, you were a boxer. You faced five giants in five rounds and knocked each of them out - one per round. You knocked each one out with one punch; and with each giant, you alternated fists. The first giant was floored with a right, the second with a left, back-and-forth you went until they were all down for the count. Five giants, five rounds, five punches, alternating fists.”
“After you knocked out the fifth giant,” Thomas continued, “you walked out of the ring and directly up to me. Holding up your gloved fists, you declared, ‘If you’re going to take out the giants in this season, you’re going to have to wear these two gloves.’ One of the gloves had the word ‘Everlast’ on it; the other read ‘Evergreen.’”
The word “Everlast” meant more to me than just boxing equipment. I knew there was a scriptural connection, and I knew what it was. True to form, the Lord had been paving the way for me so I would recognize it at the right time. In that season, I had been studying the life of Abraham and his journey with God. In Genesis 21:33, scripture tells us that Abraham called on “the Everlasting God.” The name in Hebrew is Olam El, and it’s the first time in scripture anyone used that phrase as a name for God.
In biblical times, the meaning of an individual’s name was important, often referring to a person’s calling, nature, or some other identifiable characteristic. This is the reason God has so many names and why He sometimes changed a person’s name, as He did with Abraham (Genesis 17:5).
When Abraham called on God in this passage, he used a new name because the Lord had revealed Himself in a new way. The name Yahweh is powerful but didn’t convey that revelation. Elohim and Adonai are important names of God, yet this situation required something different.
The translation, “Everlasting God,” is not enough to describe the full meaning of Olam El. The El portion of the name means strong, mighty, or powerful. But olam is much more challenging to define; its meaning is greater than simply “as far as possible into the future.” Olam actually extends both directions in time, forward and backward. One lexicon described olam as the most distant times in both directions. Even that falls short, however, because the word “times” in the definition violates the very concept of olam. The concept of olam is not confined to a timeline, and neither is God; the Everlasting God exists outside of time. If you were to go back to the very beginning of time, He was before that.
The way humankind thinks about time forces us to consider a start and a finish. Olam El, however, knows no beginning or end. When time as we know it comes to a close, the Ancient of Days will continue. He sees the past, present, and future - all at once. Obviously, this enables Him to have a unique perspective, seeing the results of an action long before it happens (for example, Adam’s fall and the consequential need of the Cross); it also gives God the unique ability to deal with the ramifications of events that occurred in the past, erasing their consequences as though the events never took place. For example, God doesn’t see a born-again, former thief as “a former thief;” He doesn’t see the redeemed murderer as “a former murderer.” God separates our sins from us “as far as the east is from the west,” (Psalm 103:12) and remembers them no more (Hebrews 8:12; 10:17). Olam, through the Cross, eradicates all records of our former sins. In Abraham’s day, he did so through animal sacrifices.
Consider Abraham‘s situation when he calls on the Lord as Olam El, Everlasting God. Abraham has been on a 25-year journey of faith and as he looks back over that timeline, he can see places where he failed miserably - blotches, torn places, and embarrassing failures.
Most believers think of Abraham as “the father of faith,” a description of him taken from Romans 4:16. Likewise, Hebrews 11 refers to him as a great man of faith. We forget, however, that Abraham wasn’t a great faith man his entire life. There were significant deviations from that path. Romans 4:20 references this when it says Abraham “grew strong in faith.”
Actually, Abraham and Sarah both wavered at times in their faith that God would give them a son. The Lord had promised them children, but when no children came, their lack of faith in God‘s promise caused them to introduce Hagar into the family, resulting in the birth of Ishmael. Later, they actually laughed a cynical laugh at God’s final re-stating of the promise. And why not? Abraham was 99 years old and Sarah was 90 (Genesis 17:1, 17).
This wasn’t Abraham’s only failure of faith, however. On two different occasions when Abraham and Sarah were younger, he was afraid that foreign kings might kill him in order to marry her. His solution for these predicaments included the despicable acts of twice pretending Sarah was his sister instead of his wife. She was, indeed, taken by the kings but God supernaturally intervened before physical unions occurred. These connivings were horrible breaches of the marriage covenant.
So why does the Bible call Abraham a father of faith and a friend of God? Because even though he may not have fulfilled these descriptive phrases at every step of the journey, they are accurate descriptions of how he finished. Abraham isn’t remembered by God as “the former covenant breaker,” “the one-time liar,” or “the double-minded man.” He is God’s friend and our faith example! Abraham was grateful his past actions were not allowed to define his present situation. Olam El had navigated him through every season - even the embarrassing ones - and preserved his destiny. And as He does for all of us, He reached back in time and cleansed Abrahams’s wrongs, once and for all.
With that in mind, one can almost see Abraham as he searches for the right name to use in thanking and glorifying God. Finally, exhausting all known possibilities, he has to create a new one. The declaration may have been something similar to this:
You are more than Yahweh, Adonai and Elohim. You are the infinite and powerful God of the ages - Olam El! You are outside of time and Lord over time! As ruler over the past, present and future, You healed my breaches and kept my destiny intact! When I was unfaithful, You were faithful; when I doubted, You overcame my unbelief; when I lied, You were able, not only to forgive me, but to cleanse me and keep my marriage intact. And even when our bodies were too old to conceive and reproduce - 99 and 90 years of age! - You placed some of your timeless nature in Sarah and me, and we drank from the fountain of youth! Truly, You are the creator of and ruler over the past, present and future - Everlasting God!
With that declaration, Abraham entered a new phase in his walk with Yahweh. He recognized that the God who is bigger than his past could be fully trusted with his future. Abraham desperately needed this revelation, having been promised land he did not yet have and descendants that did not yet exist. He had been promised a nation, but a nation had yet to rise up. He and Sarah were now old. But Abraham laid hold of Olam El, the God who could bring his fractured past into alignment and chart the right course for his destiny-driven future.
He knows how to reach back into the most difficult of life‘s seasons and redeem them, expertly removing offences and re-shaping our hearts. He snaps our lives back into alignment, healing our history and promising us a hope-filled future.
When I pray for revival in America I boldly and confidently wear this glove mentioned in the dream. I know well the breaches in our history - the injustices, the evil acts and our many sins. Like Abraham, we have failed, sometimes egregiously. But I also know Olam El and what He can do through the blood of the Cross. No giant is too big for Him.
At times, I am challenged by individuals contending that God cannot send revival to America and restore her destiny. “Our sins and evils are just too great,” they tell me.
I remind them of Abraham.
Yes, our nation has a flawed past and perhaps an even more flawed present. But I’m not asking for a merit-based revival where God gives us tokens of His goodness in response to our excellent behavior. Obviously, God isn’t going to award America with a revival simply because He is impressed with our actions. But isn’t that the point of revival? If we were “good enough,” we wouldn’t need one!
I am asking for awakening because covenant-keeping Olam El lives up to His name. I’m asking for revival because I know the timeless God can reach back and heal our breaches, repairing the wrongs we are responsible for and also the ones we’ve inherited. Forgiveness and cleansing - redemption - are specialties of His. When Olam does this, blessings can and will flow through our timeline once again.
Olam El, Everlasting God, made perfect sense as the meaning of one of the boxing gloves that would serve to knock out the giants we face. Understanding His timeless and redeeming nature will cause us to pray differently about the past and the future. We can confidently repent of history’s sins and unwaveringly agree with history’s promises. Olam El eagerly awaits these redemptive prayers.
Thomas’ dream didn’t end with “Everlast,” however. The other boxing glove was marked “Evergreen.” Though I prayed and studied, the meaning of this one remained a mystery for a while…a long while. By the time the Lord revealed it six years later, I had moved on to other things. But true to His nature, He brought the understanding.
And when it finally came, it was wrapped in a flag.
I’ll share that tomorrow.
Pray with me:
Merciful God, gracious Father, Lord over our past, You who sent Your Son for the sick - not those who were well - we appeal to You today. We wear the glove marked “Everlast.” We thank You that with this revelation, with Your redeeming nature, we can take out giants of racism, abortion, humanism, murder, immorality, and principalities that have ruled our land.
Not only do we sing the song, we believe the words: “What can wash away our sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Oh, precious is the flow, that makes us white as snow. No other fount we know…”
It is enough!
We will wear the gloves, and we will take out the giants.
Today’s post was taken from my book An Appeal to Heaven.
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