by Nathan Shaw

This prophetic word was given at the Christchurch Prophetic Round Table meeting in November 2017.

Recently I have been asking God about the year 2018. In a dream He showed me a coin. Written on the coin were the words, “Take up the jawbone of an ass.” The phrase refers to Samson killing a thousand Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey (Judges 15:15)! God is going to do some surprising things in 2018. There will be significant and surprising breakthroughs in politics, in churches, in ministries, in businesses and in individual lives.

In Samson’s day there was much conflict between the Philistines and the Israelites. The Philistines particularly wanted Samson because he had killed many of their people. In order to appease the animosity of the Philistines, the men of Judah captured Samson, bound his arms with two new ropes, and delivered him to the Philistines. For Samson the situation looked impossible. When the Philistines saw him they came against him like a roaring lion (Judges 15:14). But the Spirit of God rushed on Samson (“rushed” is the literal translation of the Hebrew. There is a deliberate parallel between the Philistines aggression toward Samson and the Spirit rushing on him). As soon as the Spirit came on Samson, “The ropes that were on his arms became like flax that is burned with fire, and his bonds broke loose from his hands” (Judges 15:14).

Although Samson was freed from his bonds he was still seriously outnumbered—one person against an army. Further to this he had no weapon with which to fight. In the midst of the desperate situation he grabbed the only thing within reach—the jawbone of a donkey—and slaughtered one thousand Philistines with it.

Here is the sequence of events:

  • Samson’s hands were tied.
  • The Spirit of the Lord rushed on him.
  • He gained a great victory using an unusual and unexpected weapon.

This sequence forms a pattern that will be repeated many times in 2018. Situations that seem totally impossible will suddenly and dramatically turn as God moves by His Spirit and people “take up the jawbone of an ass.” Imminent defeat will turn to great victory.

Six times in the book of Judges every day objects were used to obtain victory over Israel’s enemies.

  1. Ehud used a dagger to kill Eglon, king of Moab (Judges 3:16).
  2. Shamgar used an oxgoad to kill 600 Philistines (Judges 3:31). An oxgoad is a long stick used to prod an ox.
  3. Jael used a tent peg to kill Sisera (Judges 4:21).
  4. Gideon and his army of 300 used trumpets and empty jars hiding torches inside to defeat the Midianite army (Judges 7:20).
  5. A woman from Thebez used a millstone to kill Abimelech (Judges 9:52-53).
  6. Samson used a donkey’s jawbone to kill a thousand Philistines (Judges 15:15).

We are in a season when it will be necessary to “take up the jawbone of an ass.” There won’t always be time to think. Moved by the Spirit, and by necessity, we will pick up “jawbones.” God showed me this exhortation written on a coin because this wisdom is the currency of the season we are entering. The coin had other statements written on it. Although I didn’t see the statements I sensed they were exhortations related to the other five situations in the above list. We should note that the role of women will be strategic. Jael and the unnamed woman of Thebez were women. They both found themselves in unique situations and used the only weapon at hand. Women played strategic roles in the history of Israel. Women will play strategic roles in the advance of the modern church and in the advance of modern enterprise as a whole.

Political gridlocks and standoffs will be dramatically changed through the intervention of God’s Spirit and through strategies that are unexpected, unusual and unconventional. Churches, ministries, businesses and individuals stuck in gridlocks that keep them from advancing will come unstuck. When it was God’s time for Samson to be in position, the jawbone of a donkey became the means. Once Samson was in position God used him to hold back the oppression of the Philistines for twenty years (Judges 15:20). Many people think they need specialized equipment and significant resources to advance. Equipment and resources will come, however, lack of them will not stop God getting churches, ministries, businesses and individuals into position. It’s time to “take up the jawbone of an ass.”



Nathan Shaw helps bring individuals and churches into dynamic encounters with God's indescribable love. Nathan's passion is to equip churches so that they can move in the Spirit, access heavenly realms, encounter God's heart and release His Kingdom on the earth. 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 and he is the senior pastor at Fire and Destiny Centre, Dunedin and Celebration Church, Mosgiel
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