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Nathan Shaw: "How Far Forward Is Forward Enough?"

Nathan Shaw, Dunedin, New Zealand
Jun 23, 2024


"God is calling you forward, but how far forward is forward enough?"

The prophecy was directed at a person sitting in a meeting. I placed a seat in front of the front row and invited the person to take the seat. As she took the seat, I continued to say, "God is calling you forward, but how far forward is forward enough?" I took another seat and took it all the way forward until it was facing the wall of the building. The person responded by getting up from her in-front-of-the-front-row seat, walking across the slightly raised platform, and sitting in the newly placed seat. Her prophetic act became an invitation for other people in the meeting.

A pastor who was sitting in the front row promptly picked up her chair, walked across the platform, placed the chair in front of the wall, and sat on it. Another person from the back row took her chair and did exactly the same thing. The three of them were as far forward as they could possibly be in that venue. It was a powerful prophetic sign (act) to everyone in the meeting.

What Does God Mean?

God is speaking to His church, "I am calling you forward, but how [far] forward is forward enough?"

Often, we respond to God according to the mindset that we have. If we are in a gathering and God says, "I'm calling you forward," we naturally think front row or platform. When God prompted me to place the chair in front of the front row, He was making a point. In front of the front row seems more forward than forward. However, God's definition of forward was as forward as the building would allow. God was saying, "Let Me define what forward means." When God speaks, we can so easily miss His meaning because His definitions and our definitions can be so different.

You Are Being Summoned

When God summoned Gideon to deliver Israel from the oppression of the Midianites, Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress! Threshing floors were normally found in open places—often on the tops of hills. It was here that the wind blew freely, assisting with the separation of wheat and chaff. A winepress, on the other hand, was a stone indentation where grapes were trod. Because a winepress was such an unusual place to thresh wheat, it made it a good place for secrecy. Gideon was using forward thinking to protect his wheat; it was from this exact same place that God called Gideon forward as a deliverer for Israel (see Judges 6:11–14). (Photo via Wikimedia)

God Calls You Forward in Areas of Protest

Gideon immediately protested. His protest was twofold: his clan was the weakest in the tribe of Manasseh and he was the least in his father's house (see Judges 6:15). God called him forward in both areas of protest. Not only would he stand before his father's house, but he would also lead the whole tribe of Manasseh. The first assignment given to Gideon was to destroy his father's altar to Baal and build an altar to Yahweh. Gideon did this at night. It was possibly the only way he could have done it and actually gotten away with it (see Judges 6:25–27).

When the people of the town woke up and discovered what had happened, they were very angry with him. Gideon had nowhere to hide. He was as "forward" as he could be, and uncomfortably so. Gideon's father was gracious and said, "[Baal] can defend himself!" (see Judges 6:28–32).

It was a divine set-up. The Spirit of the Lord came on Gideon, and he blew a trumpet to call the people to battle against the Midianites. The tribes of Manasseh, Asher, Zebulun and Naphtali were all summoned and led by Gideon (see Judges 6:33–35). The combined might of these tribes was thirty-two thousand men. Regardless, God decided to defeat the Midianites with only three hundred of them—less than one percent of the total! (see Judges 7).

How Far Forward Is Forward Enough?

Gideon was called forward when he was asked to destroy his father's altar to Baal and build an altar to Yahweh. Effectively God was saying, "Gideon, I am calling you forward, but how [far] forward is forward enough?" Gideon was further called forward when he summoned Israel to battle against the Midianites. Still God was speaking, "Gideon, I am calling you forward, but how [far] forward is forward enough?" Gideon was once again called forward when he defeated the Midianites with a mere three hundred men. Gideon had no idea what "forward" meant until God instructed him each step of the way.

You Are Being Called Forward

God is summoning His people today. It doesn't matter whether you are hidden in the midst of the people, visible on the front lines, or barely visible at the rear. God says, "I am calling you forward, but how [far] forward is forward enough?" It's a provocative question. It's a challenging question. It's an aligning question. But most importantly, it's a liberating question. It's a question that He wants to answer because only He can answer it. His instruction to us is both wise and clear: "Let Me define what forward means."


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Nathan Shaw
Heart of David Ministries

Nathan Shaw helps bring individuals and churches into dynamic encounters with God's indescribable love. Over the last twenty years he has been instrumental in ushering in significant moves of the Spirit in over ten different nations. Many have experienced life-changing prophetic encounters and dramatic visitations from God. Nathan is the author of two books: Passion and Fire and Unto the Least of These. Nathan is senior pastor at Fire and Destiny Centre, Dunedin and Celebration Church, Mosgiel.

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