BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
The word “breakthrough” is used only two times in the New King James Version of the Bible. First, in 2 Samuel 5:20, and second, in 1 Chronicles 14:11. Both scriptures refer to the same event.
2 Samuel 5:17-20 says, “Now when the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to search for David. And David heard of it and went down to the stronghold. The Philistines also went and deployed themselves in the Valley of Rephaim. So David inquired of the LORD, saying, ‘Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will You deliver them into my hand?’ And the LORD said to David, ‘Go up, for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into your hand.’ So David went to Baal Perazim, and David defeated them there; and he said, ‘The LORD has broken through my enemies before me, like a breakthrough of water.’ Therefore he called the name of that place Baal Perazim” (NKJV).
Breakthrough has become a common word in the vocabulary of the church today – breakthrough service, breakthrough seminar, breakthrough anointing, etc. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language defines breakthrough as: (1) An act of overcoming or penetrating an obstacle or restriction. (2) A military offensive that penetrates an enemy’s lines of defense. (3) A major achievement or success that permits further progress, as in technology.
Everybody desires a breakthrough – a major achievement or success that permits further progress, as explained in the third definition above.
In verse 20 of 2 Samuel 5 you read earlier, David said, “The LORD has broken through my enemies before me, like a breakthrough of water.’ Therefore he called the name of that place Baal Perazim.” The enemies were a barrier to David’s advancement, but the LORD broke through the enemies before him. David compared this breakthrough to the breakthrough of water.
Breakthrough presupposes that something is standing against one; there is a barrier, an opposition to overcome to be able to move forward. Paul said, “For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries” (1 Corinthians 16:9 NKJV). I pray that you will experience a breakthrough this season of your life in Jesus’ name. You will break through every barrier or obstacle as God works through you.
From 2 Samuel 5:17-20, I have been able to identify four major steps to the “breakthrough” that David experienced. And I believe that these steps can also help you to experience your own breakthrough, for the Bible says God is no respecter of persons. What He did for David, He can do for you, too. You can have your own breakthrough; your life can even become synonymous with breakthroughs. Your name can become Perez or Pharez – one of its meanings is breakthrough. You will become a breakthrough! It will happen in Jesus’ name.
What are these four major steps you must take to experience your breakthrough, as I saw it in that passage, 2 Samuel 5:17-20?
1.Fear not. You must not fear if you want to experience a breakthrough. Do not forget that you need a breakthrough because there is a barrier, an obstacle that is standing in your way. You must not fear the enemy, the opposition, if you are going to have your breakthrough.
How does “fear not” relate to David’s breakthrough? In verse 18, David was not afraid. That was why when he knew that the Philistines were mobilizing against him, he went to his stronghold. He was not rattled by the move of the Philistines. He did not panic. He did not take any panicky steps, like running away or going to hide. Neither was he lamenting. Hear what David said in Psalm 3:6: “I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around” (NKJV).
A stronghold is a “place or means of safety, a protection, a refuge, a stronghold.” It is also called a fortress. But there is a physical stronghold and a spiritual stronghold. A stronghold is used figuratively in the Bible to refer to God as refuge, and to refer to human protection. David went to his physical stronghold when he heard the Philistines were searching for him; he went down to his stronghold.
David did not just go to the physical stronghold; he also went to his divine stronghold – God. In 2 Samuel 22, the song he sang to the LORD the day He had delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul, David said, “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; the God of my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; my Savior, You save me from violence. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies” (2 Samuel 22:2-4 NKJV). Did you see David here referring to God as his stronghold and refuge? That was why he was not afraid of the enemy.
Withdraw into your stronghold
You must also take God as your stronghold, your refuge. If you do, you will have no need to be afraid of any challenge or enemy. “The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him” (Nahum 1:7 NKJV). Paul said, “And not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God” (Philippians 1:28 NKJV).
When the Egyptians were pursuing the Israelites after their exodus from Egypt, God told them to go forward because their breakthrough was ahead. “And the LORD said to Moses, ‘Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward’” (Exodus 14:15 NKJV). Of course, there is no reason to be afraid when the LORD says, “go forward” though the situation or condition could be frightening just like the sight of the Red Sea was dreadful, and the terrifying condition was even made worse by Pharaoh’s army furiously chasing them to catch up with them. But if God says, “go forward”, that means He has already gone ahead. “And the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed” (Deuteronomy 31:8 NKJV). With God going ahead of you, victory is certain; breakthrough is guaranteed.
In the battle of Ai, the same thing the LORD said: go forward. “Now the LORD said to Joshua: ‘Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed; take all the people of war with you, and arise, go up to Ai. See, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, his people, his city, and his land. And you shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king. Only its spoil and its cattle you shall take as booty for yourselves. Lay an ambush for the city behind it’” (Joshua 8:1-2 NKJV). Of course, breakthrough was certain because, Achan, who violated God’s instruction in the earlier battle of Jericho, had been judged together with members of his family, after Israel’s initial defeat in Ai.
In order to have your breakthrough, you must get rid of fear, which has kept many people from moving forward in life. It has kept many from taking the steps of faith, which God would have magnified. “And David said to his son Solomon, ‘Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD God — my God — will be with you’” (1 Chronicles 28:20a NKJV). You need to look the opposition in the face, and look the barrier and the adversaries in the face; and declare like David did: “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1 NKJV).
David did not fear, and he had his breakthrough. In Psalm 56:3-4, David said, “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?” (NKJV). David said whenever he was afraid, he chose not to be afraid! How? He put his trust in God to overcome whatever was causing the fear. Fear not! You will have your breakthrough, too.
You shall not die but live
Those four lepers in Samaria analyzed the situation correctly. “Why are we sitting here until we die? If we say, ‘We will enter the city,’ the famine is in the city, and we shall die there. And if we sit here, we die also. Now therefore, come, let us surrender to the army of the Syrians. If they keep us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall only die” (2 Kings 7:3-4 NKJV).
These lepers took the bull by the horns and went to the camp of the Syrians. The option they never imagined was what they met – an empty Syrian camp. They did not imagine this possibility, but it happened. They did not die but ate to the fullest, gathered excess and became the agents of salvation for the rest of the Israelites who were dying of hunger in the city because of famine.
Do not be afraid of death if you are going to have your breakthrough. You shall not die but live and declare the works of God (Psalm 118:17). Do not allow the terror of death to overpower you (Psalm 55:4). Do not be afraid of death, the unknown, possible failure, rejection, etc. Have faith in God because with God, nothing shall be impossible (Luke 1:37). Do not forsake God, your stronghold. “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe” (Proverbs 18:10 NKJV).
2. Seek divine guidance. Why do you need divine guidance? Here is the answer: “No king is saved by the multitude of an army. A mighty man is not delivered by great strength. A horse is a vain hope for safety; neither shall it deliver any by its great strength” (Psalm 33:16-17 NKJV). Proverbs 21:31 echoes a similar truth: “The horses are prepared for battle, but the victory belongs to the LORD” (NLT).
When David withdrew to the stronghold, he sought divine guidance on the action to take. “So David inquired of the LORD, saying, ‘Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will You deliver them into my hand?’” (2 Samuel 5:19 NKJV). Did you see that? David did not go out on presumption. He enquired of the LORD if he should go to fight the Philistines and if God would hand them over to him. God’s answer was in the affirmative, and he had victory.
But after this victory, the Philistines returned (verse 22). David again enquired of the LORD and His instruction to him this time round was different. “Therefore David inquired of the LORD, and He said, ‘You shall not go up; circle around behind them, and come upon them in front of the mulberry trees. And it shall be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall advance quickly. For then the LORD will go out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines.’ And David did so, as the LORD commanded him; and he drove back the Philistines from Geba as far as Gezer” (2 Samuel 5:23-25 NKJV).
On previous occasions, David had also enquired of the LORD for direction and God answered him and gave him victory (1 Samuel 23:2-4, 10-13, 30:7-8). David didn’t act presumptuously. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV).
In order to experience a breakthrough, you need to be led by God; you must have His approval for the assignment or project. If God is with you on your mission, it will not matter who is against you (Romans 8:31). If God is leading you, you will prosper.
As you step out in faith, God wants to lead you, and expect Him to lead you. Concede leadership to Him; do not lead and ask him to follow. That will be foolishness. Ask Him to lead you, and be assured of His presence. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you” (Isaiah 43:2 NKJV).
3. Take action. This is another major step towards your breakthrough. That means you must do the needful. Do it willingly, not reluctantly. God will do His part, but you must do your own part. He will not do your part for you, and do not think you can do His part. If you try it, you will only mess up things, because you do not have the resources to do His part.
If God says go and you are still waiting, you cannot have any breakthrough. If He says go, you are the one to go and not Him – He will go with you, but He will not go for you!
In verse 20 of 2 Samuel 5, David and his troops did the needful. After David had withdrawn into his stronghold and enquired from God, He told David to go, and he went with his troops. When they got to the battlefront, Baal Perazim, they fought and defeated the Philistines. The Israelites had to fight before God broke through the enemies.
Sometimes God could just say: go forward – you don’t need to fight; divide the sea, and march on dry ground (Exodus 14:15-18). Sometimes He could say that the battle is His not yours, and the enemies would just march out against themselves (2 Chronicles 20:13-17). At another time, God could send His angels to accomplish the breakthrough when your obedience is complete (Isaiah 37:36-38; 2 Chronicles 32:20-21).
God determines how He will give you the breakthrough. What is important is for you to do whatever He asks you to do; do the needful. When the wine finished at the wedding celebration in Cana in Galilee, the mother of Jesus told the servants at the ceremony, “Do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5 NLT). They obeyed her and filled the jars with water as Jesus had commanded them, and water turned to wine. Peter only had his breakthrough that day by the Lake of Gennesaret after he had obeyed Jesus. He said, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net” (Luke 5:5 NKJV).
God blesses obedience. It was by obeying God that the Red Sea parted for the Israelites (Exodus 14). It was by obeying God that River Jordan dried up for the Israelites to pass through (Josh 3). As you willingly obey God, your breakthrough will appear. “If you will only obey me and let me help you, then you will have plenty to eat” (Isaiah 1:19 NLT).
4. Give God the credit. Do not take the credit for the breakthrough, no matter how the breakthrough comes. Whether God works through your efforts or not, give God the credit. Without God, all your efforts would be in vain. God’s roles are often not easily obvious. There is nothing as coincidence in your breakthrough. As someone has rightly said, “Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.” Be wise; give God the credit for your breakthrough.
In verse 20 of 2 Samuel 5, David gave God the credit for his breakthrough. He said, “‘The LORD has broken through my enemies before me, like a breakthrough of water.’ Therefore he called the name of that place Baal Perazim” (2 Samuel 5:20 NKJV). David did not appropriate the breakthrough to himself or to his troops. This was always the lifestyle of David. He never ascribed to himself any superior intelligence or skills in warfare. He said in Psalm 144:1-2, “Blessed be the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle—My lovingkindness and my fortress, my high tower and my deliverer, My shield and the One in whom I take refuge, who subdues my people under me” (NKJV). If God is your teacher, how can you fail? You need to emulate David’s attitude. There is nothing you have, which you did not receive from God. There is nothing to boast about (1 Corinthians 4:7).
In 2 Chronicles 20:27-28, Jehoshaphat led the people to thank and praise God for the breakthrough He had given them – the defeat of the three nations that joined forces to fight Judah. The people of Judah did not take the credit for the breakthrough. They were “full of joy that the LORD had given them victory over their enemies” (verse 27b NLT). They gave the glory to God; they did not celebrate themselves for their heroic feat.
Paul said that his sufficiency was of God (2 Corinthians 3:5). That means minus God, he was inadequate. What about you? The psalmist declared unequivocally in Psalm 115:1, “Not to us, O LORD, but to you goes all the glory for your unfailing love and faithfulness” (NLT).
Those who want to ascribe their breakthroughs to their prayer and fasting, holiness, hard work, etc. do themselves a great harm. They may be shutting the door of future breakthroughs against themselves or hindering their expected breakthroughs. No matter your brilliance or hard work, and how rigorous or sacrificial your spiritual exercises may be, they cannot give you a breakthrough without Heaven’s approval.
Learn to humble yourself, and stop sharing with God, the glory that is due to Him alone. Some people do not even share with God His glory; they completely steal the glory due to Him alone! Repent!
Pharaoh asked that Joseph be brought out of prison to interpret for him his dream. The king told Joseph he had heard about his reputation of being able to understand and interpret a dream. That was enough to inflate anyone’s ego. But what was Joseph’s reaction? “So Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, ‘It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace’” (Genesis 41:16 NKJV). That was a wise man. He did not allow his gift of interpretation of dream go to his head.
Joseph was not proud like Nebuchadnezzar who said, “Just look at this great city of Babylon! I, by my own mighty power, have built this beautiful city as my royal residence and as an expression of my royal splendor” (Daniel 4:30 NLT). He forgot that it was God who allowed it and gave him the kingdom. He learnt his lesson the bitter way. He later confessed that those who walk in pride God is able to put down (verse 37).
The king of Assyria committed the same error of Nebuchadnezzar by failing to realize that he was just a tool in God’s hand. Assyria did not ascribe to God her military feat; she ascribed it to her military prowess; and for that, God’s judgment of destruction came upon her. “Destruction is certain for Assyria, the whip of my anger. Its military power is a club in my hand. Assyria will enslave my people, who are a godless nation. It will plunder them, trampling them like dirt beneath its feet. But the king of Assyria will not know that it is I who sent him. He will merely think he is attacking my people as part of his plan to conquer the world. He will say, ‘Each of my princes will soon be a king, ruling a conquered land. We will destroy Calno just as we did Carchemish. Hamath will fall before us as Arpad did. And we will destroy Samaria just as we did Damascus. Yes, we have finished off many a kingdom whose gods were far greater than those in Jerusalem and Samaria. So when we have defeated Samaria and her gods, we will destroy Jerusalem with hers’” (Isaiah 10:5-11 NLT).
Please take note of verse 7: “But the king of Assyria will not know that it is I who sent him. He will merely think he is attacking my people as part of his plan to conquer the world.” That was unfortunate. Because the king of Assyria did not see God’s hands in his military success, he felt on top of the world and started misbehaving.
Hear how God vowed to deal with Assyria and her king: “After the Lord has used the king of Assyria to accomplish his purposes in Jerusalem, he will turn against the king of Assyria and punish him — for he is proud and arrogant. He boasts, ‘By my own power and wisdom I have won these wars. By my own strength I have captured many lands, destroyed their kings, and carried off their treasures. By my greatness I have robbed their nests of riches and gathered up kingdoms as a farmer gathers eggs. No one can even flap a wing against me or utter a peep of protest.’ Can the ax boast greater power than the person who uses it? Is the saw greater than the person who saws? Can a whip strike unless a hand is moving it? Can a cane walk by itself? Listen now, king of Assyria! Because of all your evil boasting, the Lord, the LORD Almighty, will send a plague among your proud troops, and a flaming fire will ignite your glory. The LORD, the Light of Israel and the Holy One, will be a flaming fire that will destroy them. In a single night he will burn those thorns and briers, the Assyrians. Assyria’s vast army is like a glorious forest, yet it will be destroyed. The LORD will completely destroy Assyria’s warriors, and they will waste away like sick people in a plague. Only a few from all that mighty army will survive — so few that a child could count them!” (Isaiah 10:12-19 NLT). What a great lesson to learn!
However, when I read about Cyrus, I saw a king clearly different from Nebuchadnezzar and the king of Assyria. Cyrus acknowledged that it was God who gave him the kingdom and not something he acquired by his power or prowess. He, therefore, obeyed God’s command to Him to build a Temple for him in Jerusalem. “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the LORD God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. Who is among you of all His people? May his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel (He is God), which is in Jerusalem. And whoever is left in any place where he dwells, let the men of his place help him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, besides the freewill offerings for the house of God which is in Jerusalem” (Ezra 1:2-4 NKJV). This king supported the Jews to build the Temple to the glory of God.
Just like Joseph, Daniel wasn’t proud in the use of the gift God had given him. In fact, he knew how to cut to size a very proud king, Belshazzar; he trivialized the gift the king had promised to give him if he interpreted the strange writing on the wall, which amounted to God’s judgment upon the king. Belshazzar had told Daniel, “Now if you can read the writing and make known to me its interpretation, you shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around your neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom” (Daniel 5:16 NKJV). But I love Daniel’s reply. He said, “Let your gifts be for yourself, and give your rewards to another; yet I will read the writing to the king, and make known to him the interpretation” (verse 17 NKJV).
Daniel did not allow the king to send him on any ego trip, and neither was he greedy for any gain from interpreting the writing. He considered himself a servant of God, not any man’s servant. He was not like Balaam (Numbers 22-24).
The psalmist said, “I give you all the credit, God – you got me out of that mess, you didn’t let my foes gloat” (Psalm 30:1The Message). Give all the credit to God, and your breakthrough shall not only be permanent, but you shall be correctly positioning yourself for more breakthroughs. May you break through in Jesus’ name.
Conclusion: God is the author of breakthroughs; but we are partners with Him in birthing breakthroughs. The servants of God can pray for you, anoint you and prophesy upon your life; you can even do all you know to do spiritually and physically, but it takes God for you to break through in life.
I pray that as you take these four major steps, you will share testimonies of your own breakthrough in Jesus’ name. All the outstanding prophecies upon your life shall come to pass; your prayer labour shall not be in vain in Jesus’ name. You shall testify!
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible believing and Bible teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The LORD be with you.
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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