Twos and Threes vary with circumstances
By: Michael Peebles
Date: February 14 ,2013
Acts chapter 4
Earlier this week, I wrote some about the significance of two and three in the Kingdom of God. The purpose of this post is to expand on that by considering some specific examples of two and three men, and what God did with them. Bear in mind that there is an underlying principle that twos and threes chosen by God are often used to bring judgment, and the working of his purpose in this world. Lets start by recalling to mind some of the details we have been reading lately in the Torah in Exodus (Shemot).
Moses and Joshua are an example of two men before God as he is performing his will in Israel. There are many things they experience in tandem, and they are joined in a calling – Joshua follows Moses as the chief prophet and judge (this role includes “commander-in-chief”) to Israel. But, Joshua and Caleb also are an example of two joined as witnesses. They also are men who stand for the truth in adversity, and through whom God brings judgment to his people and to the world. Each set of two was oriented to its own purpose in the larger thing that God was doing at that time.
In the battle of Israel with Amalek, Moses held up the staff, and Joshua led the fighting. As long as Moses held up the staff, the Israelites prevailed. So, Moses and Joshua have a certain link in this conflict. But, Moses was also joined with Aaron and Hur in a group of three to make it possible to do what needed to be done. Moses and Joshua were linked as two for the execution of the battle; for overcoming or prevailing in the conflict. But Moses had the support of Aaron and Hur – they made a cord of three strands, one might say – to hold up the staff so that the battle could be won.
Now, let’s consider some examples of ministry teams in Acts. Peter is prominent in his preaching on Pentecost day, in the same way that Moses or Elijah were prominent as individuals. It is important to keep in mind that individuals acting alone under God’s direction have their place. But, we are presently thinking of how God works uses his groups of two and three.
Peter and John were joined together in the matter brought before the High Priest and the Council. They had been together at the healing of the lame man, and in the preaching of the Gospel, and in preaching through Yeshua the resurrection of the dead. Then they were together as the matter was brought for judgment, and when they were told to preach no more in the Messiah’s Name. They agreed in their refusal.
The impact of this agreement was significant. Consider who was there; the High Priest and his family, the rulers, the Elders, and the Scribes. These folks had a lot of power, and were accustomed to the deference of others. But the Holy Spirit moved powerfully on Peter, and he told them that they had rejected and crucified the head cornerstone! Did Peter and John think they were immune to the fate that Yeshua had suffered? It doesn’t seem likely. They were fully committed.
What if, right there in that special moment, they had broken down under pressure, and caved in?
Are the stakes any lower now?
There has been some thought in discipling in recent years that we need to be paired up in ministry with one particular person, or be part of one specific team. Instead, we should expect to be in different twos and threes for different purposes, just as all those who have gone before us. However God may use a particular individual, and display his power in them, do we find instances of God using a single witness to bring his judgment into the world?
No – he provides that two or three are joined together in his purpose in the work against his enemy. We are to confront that enemy together in the power of the Spirit of the Almighty. The promise that God will do as we ask is not to an individual – it is to twos and threes in judgment, as the Savior told us in Matthew 18. The agreement must be in keeping with God’s Spirit; that is essential – otherwise we are agreeing together against God; and that can never succeed.
We overcome by the blood of the spotless lamb, Yeshua haMashiach, and by the power of our testimony. Just the same as those who have gone before us. Others are influenced by our victories and defeats. Let’s be victorious in the Anointed One!