"Confronting Jezebel" by Steve Sampson is a balanced discussion of a topic that I used to cringe about as a teen. Maybe it was just the circle that I grew up in, but back in the 90's "Jezebel spirit" seemed to be a phrase that generally got thrown at any woman who was perceived as some kind of threat to the old established church order. Perhaps that's why I couldn't quite decide if I wanted to read this book or not. I am thankful that I did, however, as I appreciated not only Sampson's balanced perspective - (a Jezebel can be either male or female) - but the helpful insights on how a Jezebel operates, how to avoid falling for his or her schemes, and how to confront a person who truly is a Jezebel.
Sampson did a great job using engaging stories that demonstrate how a Jezebel spirit can operate through people, in relationships, and within churches. He clearly delineated between a control freak and a Jezebel- those who struggle with wanting to be in control of their own life and have difficulty surrendering to God versus those who want to control other people's lives, and its critical to keep this clarification in mind as you read, because you'll find yourself thinking of every remotely controlling person you know (yourself included) and wondering if they're perhaps a "Jezebel." After reading this book I can definitively say I have had experience with at least two very real "Jezebels" (and unfortunately have seen firsthand the devastation they can cause) and this book did help me understand some of the methods that Jezebels use to control and manipulate others, and how I can protect myself from getting sucked into those traps. I also appreciated how Sampson challenged the reader at the end of each chapter to take time to pray and examine areas where he or she may be operating under a Jezebel spirit; that was helpful and needed, as it was all to easy to contemplate the traits of other people I knew without looking inward and assessing myself.
Be warned though, that there are a number of instances where the author took shortcuts in addressing theologically tricky issues or he simply avoided them altogether. For instance, while I don't argue with the premise, I felt that Sampson failed to give a thorough explanation for how a true Christian can be completely carnally minded and vulnerable to demonic strongholds in her life (pg. 30). That's a huge theological issue that deserves more than a casual paragraph. The reader should not be expected to just accept that it is so, on the contrary, the author should be expected to take the time to make the case for how a Christian can be born-again and yet be altogether spiritually blinded. Along these lines Sampson doesn't address how a Christian can be completely controlled by a demonic spirit. When he points out that you can't just cast out a Jezebel spirit, and that he's rarely seen a person completely delivered from one (because it becomes so much a part of one's personality), this leads to more questions, such as the discussion of what exactly the Jezebel spirit is. Is it a demon? A principality? What's the difference between the two? These issues are not succinctly clarified. In chapter 3 Sampson essentially equates every form of immorality in our society today to the Jezebel spirit, with the result that the Jezebel spirit pretty much cancels out Satan and any other demonic influence. My final criticism is that Sampson has a habit of making a theological statement and then inserting a random scripture that is remotely related to his point - or he inserts the scripture as if it makes the point without further discussion. Yes, you could accuse me of being too nitpicky, but it felt arbitrary, as opposed to being a purposeful use of Scripture in context as a foundation for his argument. But let's end on a positive. Should you read this book? Yes - and yes especially if, like me you grew up with the feeling that the church elders were whispering "Jezebel" behind the back of every woman who desired that God use them as more than a body on a pew. Its time for a healthier perspective of what this spirit really is. Yes too, if you are in the clutches of a manipulative user and you don't know what to do. And yes, by all means yes, you should read this book of you know that you are the manipulative user and God is calling you to confront it and repent.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.
This useful book was intriguing. I had never read the first version, so I can't comment on the expansion/revision aspect of it, but I can say it was definitely an eye opening experience to read of the ways in which this "Jezebel Spirit" can and has attacked the church and Christians, even while claiming to be one. The anecdotes of real individuals who have been (or continue to be) persecuted in this way were powerful and real. The descriptions of the personality traits and the woundedness that leaves someone vulnerable to this kind of spirit were also revealing.
However, there were some real challenges for me as I read this book. The idea that there are real evils that are grappling with Christians is not up for debate - that is very true. What I took issue with was the way in which Sampson describes dealing with this foe. He argues that it is not the same as a tangible demon that can be cast from a person, it is more a personality or character flaw that must be dealt with in human experience. Further, while he discusses this as spiritual warfare, he spends little time advocating that God's power to deal with such individuals far outstrips our own, and that while we can make assertions and challenges on a human relationship level, God must ultimately convict and transform the heart of the Jezebel in question.
I also felt as though some of the stories and characterizations were redundant. Covering the Ahab portions included much rehashing of the Jezebel spirit, and I felt that some of this content was a little repetitive with earlier sections of the book. I did appreciate the prayers for guidance throughout, and the need to help some see how disastrous and conniving this type of spiritual poison can be. I was, though, a little disturbed by the lack of forgiveness, and even to a certain extent, the very real bitterness, that seemed to flow from the pages. God clearly tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. This book seems intent on pointing out flaws, describing an administrative method for dealing with the issues, but lacks the compassion that must be part of the package as well. Those who would harm the church must be dealt with, but in such a way to not presume they are beyond the Lord's help. That theme felt prevalent in the book, and while I get that this is a very dangerous adversary, it is not our place to presume that certain circumstances require other than a Great Commandment response. When we do, we have let the enemy defeat us in another way.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255
Confronting Jezebel is an informative, easy to understand book on the Jezebel spirit in our lives but also within the church with guidance on how to respond to those who possess this controlling/demonic spirit.
Very helpful to have Biblical references available as we try to deal with this issue.
This is a heavy book in many ways...it is something that you need to pray about...pray through...and realize that even if you don't believe in a "Jezebel Spirit" there are truly people out there with the characteristics listed in this book that manipulate and destroy other peoples lives and their ministries.
This is not a book to read straight through. Please stop and meditate on the things being said and pray over them. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you truth...remember the truth will set you free.
If you see things about yourself or others in this book...repent if it is about yourself...get an accountability partner...and ask your Pastor to help you walk through it...if it is about someone else...pray for them...believe me they need all the prayers they can get, as well as all of us do.
This has been an enlightening book for me...and I hope you grow as you read...i am not going to say you will enjoy this book..because it is heavy and serious...but you can grow...and we all need to grow closer to Christ and to become more like HIM!