DANIEL’S FATHER’S HEART
Many have been drawn to the calling of Joseph with its subtle modern-day expectations of apostolic trappings. Yet, with the exception of a remnant, this 21st century mantle will not find fulfillment without a serious grasp of the depths of the heart of Daniel. Few in Scripture were in as close touch with Heaven as was Daniel. Yet Daniel’s path was a deadly one, with a cost accompanied by a burden that followed him to the end of his days.
The reason for the House of Israel being in captivity during the days of Daniel was the judgment that resulted from the abominations within the household of faith that had become rampant. Ezekiel, like Jeremiah was a prophet prior to and during the captivity. He was deeply distressed by the conditions being condoned by the leaders of God’s people, who had become blind to their own spiritual condition and responsibilities of leadership.
So it was that Ezekiel gave the warning: “Woe to the shepherds of Israel, who eat the fat and clothe themselves with the wool but don’t feed the flock.” Focus should be on who the flock are — misguided followers. On the other hand, Ezekiel stressed the vital role of those with unwavering hearts, to reach higher with a father’s heart: “Mark the foreheads of those who groan and intercede for the abominations in Jerusalem.” This calling was central to Daniel’s heart as he played a most significant role during the course of the captivity in Babylon. At the core of Daniel’s calling is an apostolic father’s heart.
There is no question, that in the polluted spiritual condition of the household of faith in Jerusalem at those days, that mainstream leaders had gotten too full of themselves. Ones who had become blinded by the illusion of their spiritual condition due to the superficialities of the perceptions of success in their lifestyles and the approval of those around them.
Jeremiah experienced much distress in his encounters with these spiritual leaders, who were deceived by the spin of their own press releases. At one point, the Lord told Jeremiah that He would make him to be to these people as a fortified wall of bronze. At the time of that word, Jeremiah has been broken. What he experienced was so bad, that the Lord had to woo him with the words: “If you will return and stand before Me, then you shall be as my mouth.”
So, to understand Daniel’s father’s heart, it is necessary to draw from the insights of Ezekiel and Jeremiah who had a clear grasp from Heaven as to why Israel was in captivity. It was a time of judgment, severe judgment that was needed to reset the spiritual condition and course of God’s people.
Within that context, Daniel and his companions were put in unique positions of influence in the court of the powerful pagan king. In gleaning a deeper understanding of Daniel’s mantle, in order to better understand the mantle tied to today’s Josephs, we need to understand that judgment had come against both the deceived leaders of God’s people and those who had followed their standard, stepping outside the boundaries of their identities and purpose as God’s chosen and were practicing the abominations of a blended faith.
Daniel’s Authority, Influence and Intercession
We also need to understand the significant role Daniel played not only in Ezekiel’s heart-cry in interceding with groanings because of these abominations, but by his prophetic authority and influence within the court of the king, of resetting the spiritual climate of this pagan culture, at the set-time, to conform with God’s purposes for the restoration of His people.
The 70 years prophesied by Jeremiah was not unlike the judgment of those Moses had delivered from Egypt, whose unbelief and response to the evil reports resulted in the need for a new generation to emerge to pick up the mantle that would take them, as a people, into the place of God’s purpose in the land God had promised to Abraham.
All of which is central in the events being played out today bearing on the Joseph-Daniel calling tied to the strategic nature of an apostolic father’s heart. Behind all his Babylonian exploits and amazing encounters that Daniel had with Heaven was the father’s heart for God’s chosen and his role in the reset needed for their time of unmitigated restoration.
It’s important to note that during the captivity, Daniel’s central role was the incredible task of authority and influence over the pagan culture of Babylon — with the spiritual alignment needed to accomplish God’s purposes of restoring His people. Daniel in fact became God’s instrument of judgment on Nebuchadnezzar and his son Belshazzar while serving as chief intercessor for the remnant of the chosen in Babylon. Like the prophets Ezekiel and Jeremiah, who spoke out the word the Lord, Daniel was the aligner whose influence was that of a game-changer.
The Generational Shift and Focus
We are in a new season with a new generation. The generation that hosted Oral Roberts, Pat Robertson and other spiritual giants of this last generation who reshaped the spiritual climate that has paved the way for the season we are now entering — is giving way to a generation of leaders whose functions are far more important than their names. These are ones who, aside from the quibblers and finger-pointers, have fed the sheep in a way that instead of counting followers, they are making a difference by activating and raising up leaders.
That is God’s intent with his people: a society, a culture of mobilized leaders. It is the antithesis of “all we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned everyone to his own way.” This marks the significance of the marketplace movement and the role of the Joseph-Daniel calling: the spiritual alignment required in restoring God’s people to their intended mantles as a people of influence.
Despite Elijah’s incredible exploits against the prophets of Baal and Asherah, he hit a time when he spiritually become totally overwhelmed. He was burned out. He felt like he was the only one. Yet God revealed to him that He still had 7000 in the wings. So it is today, that there are ones God has prepared, in the wings, that even those at the forefront of God’s agendas are not aware of. Ones prepared to be actuated and put into their roles for this hour.
The shift has gone from building the church as an institution, to building the community of God’s people vertically as a society of leaders. Doing so requires the father’s heart of Daniel.
The model for the past generation to actuate this dynamic is giving way to a model, much as Paul described when he said: “When you come together, each of you has a psalm, a teaching, a revelation, an interpretation. Let two or three prophets speak and let the others judge. For you can ALL prophesy one by one that ALL may be encouraged.”
It is the model that has brought believers in severe persecution out of the darkness. The spontaneity and Spirit-led power of small-group gatherings led by ones who bear the heart of fathers, who deem it more important to build up the flock than promoting themselves.
Managing success takes wisdom and maturity. Without it, success can take on a life of its own and become seductive. It can stymie innovation and the higher dimensions that come with change. Ambition in Kingdom agendas has to be “other-directed” and pure. The degree to which the focus is inner-directed, will determine the level by which the narrow path is bottled up, defiled and unproductive. Or as in the days of Ezekiel, abominable.
Higher Levels of Deception with the Season
Jesus discerned this season and warned that the chief snare would be that of deception and its target would be the spiritually elite. Distractions confuse the focus that result in a blended faith that majors in minors and minors in what is important. Indeed, this level of deception that fosters “more of the same, harder” within the household of faith, during the days of Daniel reached the stage of being abominable, triggering the fall of Jerusalem.
The depth of the deception — within the mainstream — reached levels in which the abominations embraced became acceptable practices among even the elite of the brethren. So then, under the thumb of Babylonian captivity, Daniel, interceding and embracing a father’s heart, held to the standard. Yet, he had the wisdom and mind of the Lord to know the difference between spiritual standards representing his protection and those that were not worth quibbling over. He had the wisdom needed to avoid majoring in minors and minoring in the essential things. In doing so, he never lost the spiritual authority he needed to trump the power of the occult practitioners that he had to work alongside.
Discipline and Sources of Influence
Two key factors marked the depth of the impact made by Daniel. First was his incredible spiritual discipline that despite his life being on the line, as he served in highest ranks of the occult infrastructure, with the unrelenting assaults that followed him through the course of his life, he overcame by consistently choosing to reach higher and harder for the Lord.
Likewise and another essential in the deadly path of his high calling was the influence from the ones he selected as his inner circle. Ones, like himself, who spiritually were in the same line of fire. These are those he turned to when the king issued a decree that he and the rest of the wise men would be executed unless they revealed what the king’s dream was.
Such alliances are crucial to an apostolic father’s hearts. In modern-day terms, Hananniah, Mishael and Azariah were more than just Daniel’s companions that he prayed with. They were as an inner-circle council to him. The mature spiritual and emotional support required when the pressure hit. A supportive father’s heart that combines wisdom with hearing from God and is pure and undistracted. In today’s toxic spiritual atmosphere, even the seasoned and mature can be wrong when they are right and right when they’re wrong. The spiritual atmosphere is deadly and subtle. Being inoculated against idols in your mind begins with a spiritually trusted inner circle, not given to rubber-stamping, who possess the discipline and humility that refuses to be enamored by the crest of success and ambition driven by ego.
The Key Role of the Remnant
Throughout Scripture, there are examples of the exploits God has accomplished through remnants, who are willing to take a stand and retain the standard. Daniel was able to view not just the outcome of the captivity from God’s perspective, but the big picture of the cosmic battle underway, even to the time of the end.
On the other hand, Scripture marks those who used their mantle of leadership for their own glory: Saul and Ahab to mention a couple. Of Saul, it was observed that rebellion paralleled the sin of witchcraft — and stubbornness, that of idolatry. Wisdom tells us that a fool has no delight in understanding, but instead in expressing their own heart. In other words, those who follow the path of Saul are self-absorbed and insecure to the level that they get their confidence from the reassurances of those telling them what they want to hear, that they’ve surrounded themselves with, rather than God and the standard God has entrusted them to uphold.
As such, the remnant emerging for this season are standard-bearers. The standard is not the watered-down blend of religious precepts with pop-culture mainstream trappings. The standard embraces Spirit and Truth — hearing from God with the foundation of His Truth that dares to be different, upholding the ancient ways and honoring God at all costs. Elijah was a standard-bearer despite Ahab accusing him of being a troubler of Israel.
One of the distinctives of true leaders of the brethren in lands of persecution is the degree to which they adhere to and promote Truth, rather than their perception of the success of the Western church. Premature success based on watered-down standards can undermine the response and presence-of-mind needed for when critical battles come unexpectedly.
The apostolic father’s heart thinks differently because it adheres to upholding the standard. Standard-bearers are defined not by what they know, but rather Who they know and the wisdom that flows from that relationship. Daniel noted that those who know their God would do exploits. It will be a remnant of standard-bearers who possess an apostolic father’s heart. The apostolic father’s heart develops from consistently giving priority to the time spent with the Lord, intently listening, in order to know Him and His ways — with an undivided heart.
Over the years, as I have walked with the Lord, I have had a litmus test — for those I choose to be in close relationship with: “Would I take this person with me into combat?” My close combat experiences were many. During my first combat tour I was a part of a highly trained elite group that with small teams, accomplished special missions deep within enemy territory. These missions were deadly and the way those around you functioned, determined the outcome for all. As a leader, I learned quickly to weed out the glory hounds. who operated as ambitious mavericks rather than team players — because these were the ones who had the tendency to get their teammates hurt or killed. This team-spirit is central to the community-building required of the father’s hearts of those at the forefront in toxic seasons.
The Messianic Standard of Friendship
As those Jesus had selected as His inner circle grew spiritually, there came a time when He explained that they had reached a level of maturity in their relationship with Him: of being His friend. This didn’t happen immediately. It involved a process. It was said of Abraham that he was a friend of God. The criteria for this level of relationship with God has a different standard. A much higher one.
For instance, when Jesus established this standard with his inner circle, He also told them: “Greater love has no man than this, than a man give up his life for his friends.” That premise plays into the criteria I used for those I took with me into the hazards tied to operating as a US Marine deep in enemy territory. In stating that a “friend” would give up his life, it includes not only being willing to die for, but to live for his friends. Jesus had no life of his own. Scripture says He had no place to lay His head. Paul got this when he wrote the Romans describing our lives as a living sacrifice.
This was the level of oneness God sought in creating man. As it is noted in Genesis, God created man in His image. In other words, in our behavior, attitudes, thoughts and even emotions, we are designed to be His reflectors. Reflectors of the essence of Who He is.
In outlining the foundations needed to live in a God-centric society where the Presence of God was in manifestation, Moses began his instruction with noting that such a society would not be partial in judgment, but listen to the great and small alike, that there would be no intimidation due to rank (Deut 1). Yet, what was being outlined was not to create a seedbed of quibbling and lack of respect, but rather the foundation of this standard of friendship. When this premise operated as it should, it would result in there being no fear of those surrounding cultures who were different. It accompanies the true bond of community.
It is the standard that protects. Daniel understood this. It was the core of his heart, the father’s heart. It is the standard by which the image or attributes of God, including His power, are reflected through His people. This standard of relationship — with Him and with one another — is the premise for unity within the household of faith. Not some man-derived doctrinal precept. Sharing your faith is not an argument, but the observation of the difference in the life lived. I recently found myself in a place where I needed to make a hard choice. It was a choice between a unique opportunity for my benefit or the sacrifice of turning it down to serve the good of someone I loved. There was no dilemma, I made the sacrifice. Love involves choices and actions. It also is a discipline of living our life making choices that involve sacrifices.
This is friendship that counts the lives of the brethren with a higher regard than that of our own. Which is the premise of the leadership Jesus imparted — servant leadership. Such is the heart of those emerging in this season as apostolic fathers.
Solomon noted that a man of many companions would come to ruin. Yet, he made the same distinction, that if a man wanted friends, he must be a friend. And then the point, that there was a standard for a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Within the Body today are far too many who glad-hand and excessively promote themselves, yet fall short when it comes to being a true friend. Daniel’s father’s heart reflected the depth expected of true friendship.
Unity will come as we come together regularly, each with a song, a teaching, a tongue, a revelation and interpretation — together actuating the presence of God. Moses said to the Lord: “If Your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. For how shall it be known that we have found favor in Your sight? Is it not in Your going with us that we are distinct from every other people on the face of the earth?” Fathers will actuate this unity.
The Distinctives for the Season
Understanding the distinctions begins by having a recognition of the subtleties of the superficial. Such as the spiritual blindness undermining the perception of the spiritual protection from the ancient paths of God’s ways. Then restoring and upholding the standard to avoid the deception of blended spiritual paths.
Embracing the community bond of other-directedness — the willingness to give up your life for your friends. Decisions concerning the life we live, based on the sacrifice made for friends, marks the strength God expects from community. Avoiding evil reports and premature judgments as did Job’s friends.
The story of Job is one in which God takes a man after His own heart past his blind-spots and superficialities to a new level in knowing God. But it also involved his relationship with his friends. This new threshold imparted by God involved honor and friendship and the depth of what it meant to be God’s friend. It also involved issues involving a significant part of the chink in Job’s armor precipitating the negative turning he fell into — because of the constraints and snares caused by the superficialities and religious spirits and misguided tongues embraced by his family and friends. Job’s friends triggered God’s anger because they had not only condemned Job, but didn’t have a clue of the real issue that God was dealing with. In telling Job that his restoration would come when prayed for his friends, God was nudging Job into embracing the same father’s heart as Daniel had.
Friendship, family, not to speak of the reality outlined biblically for community is so much more than the shallow superficialities of relationships based on cell phones, Facebook and texting. We need the reality of face-to-face engaging relationships — where we come together, each with a psalm, a teaching, a revelation — in together reaching for those higher dimensions in God. We’re in a season of change. It is not unlike the time when the superficialities surrounding Job’s world had become wood and stubble to be burned as God gave him a new heart, not unlike the father’s heart He gave Daniel — that thrived in the face of all darkness could throw at him. As was revealed to Daniel, with a remnant of those with the wisdom to turn many to the right path to shine like the brightness of the stars.
Morris Ruddick has been a forerunner and spokesman for the higher dimensions of spiritual business leaders since the mid-90s. As founder of Global Initiatives Foundation and designer of the God’s Economy Entrepreneurial Equippers Program, Mr. Ruddick imparts hope and equips economic community builders to be blessed to be a blessing where God’s light is dim in diverse regions around the globe.
He is author of “The Joseph-Daniel Calling;” “Gods Economy, Israel and the Nations;” “The Heart of a King;” “Something More;” “Righteous Power in a Corrupt World;” “Leadership by Anointing;” and “Mantle of Fire,” which address the mobilization of business and governmental leaders with destinies to impact their communities. They are available in print and e-versions from www.Amazon.com, www.apple.com/ibooks and www.BarnesandNoble.com.
Global Initiatives Foundation (www.strategic-initiatives.org) is a tax-exempt 501 (c) 3 non-profit whose efforts are enabled by the generosity of a remnant of faithful friends and contributors whose vision aligns with God’s heart to mobilize economic community builders imparting influence and the blessings of God. Checks on US banks should be made out to Global Initiatives and mailed to PO Box 370291, Denver CO 80237 or by credit card at http://strategicintercession.org/support/
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2020 Copyright Morris Ruddick — firstname.lastname@example.org
Reproduction is prohibited unless permission is given by a SIGN advisor. Since early 1996, the Strategic Intercession Global Network (SIGN) has mobilized prophetic intercessors and leaders committed to targeting strategic-level issues impacting the Body on a global basis. For previous posts or more information on SIGN, check: http://www.strategicintercession.org