Grasshoppers. That was how the Hebrew spies saw themselves when encountering the reality of overwhelming spiritual opposition. Yet, it was a reality that had to be overcome in the face of far greater opportunity. Their report, their response to this reality resulted in them not only missing the opportunity, but triggering judgment on themselves and those they infected with their grasp of the situation. It impacted an entire generation.
From God’s perspective, the report that evoked such a fearful response was deemed as evil.
Scripture in Numbers 14:7 tells us that the result for the ones who brought this evil report was a premature death by plague. With the exception of Joshua and Caleb, who clearly perceived the opportunity, the generation of those who believed the evil report then wandered aimlessly in the wilderness for the rest of their lives. The issue came down to Jesus’ rebuke of Peter on the Mount of Transfiguration: “Get behind me Satan, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”
Facing reality, being mindful of the things of God. Avoiding evil reports involves embracing a reality God expects His own to walk in. It is the maturity, response and expectation for those who identify as the household of faith.
Daniel’s companions faced a horrid choice. The choice was a compromise of their faith by bowing and worshipping the king’s golden idol — or to refuse, the result of which was to be tossed into a huge flaming furnace. Their faith embraced the reality God expects. They proclaimed that the Lord was able to deliver them from the fiery furnace, but whether He did or not, they would not bow down. There was no middle ground. For them, there was something greater at stake than their lives.
Upon being thrown in the furnace, those who threw them in were turned to toast, but Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had not a hair of their heads burned, as they walked through the fire with the fourth man, whose appearance to the king was as the Son of Man. Their fate was determined when they chose the mindfulness of God.
Luke 18:8 speaks of this choice between being mindful of the things of men and the things of God: “When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” The question is not about following Jesus. Only three were brought onto the Mount with Jesus, Elijah and Moses. Peter, as one of those three, was one of Jesus’ inner-circle. But the sharp focus of Jesus’ rebuke indicated Peter’s religious perspective had missed the forest for the trees.
The Mindfulness of Man Myopia
The last dozen years I’ve spent in Vietnam I have faced an ongoing challenge with the God’s economy message that I’ve been entrusted to impart. Let me explain with a bit of context. During the cultural revolution in China, in Mao’s brutal cultural purges, instead of wiping out people of faith as he intended, he set the stage for the incredible growth that resulted from those who turned to God. First, he built roads connecting the cities. Second, he mandated Mandarin as a common language and third, he got rid of all the Western missionaries.
Now, being a Western missionary, you might think that statement to be radical and possibly self-defeating. Yet, during those harrowing days of the cultural revolution following the exodus of the missionaries, the only thing Chinese believers could turn to was the Bible and what they were hearing from the Spirit of God. People cried out to God and the answers to prayer were dramatic and real. This was no longer a Western following, but a pure response to the fiery realities. This dynamic was replicated in Vietnam during the severe economic conditions of Vietnam in the 1980s and 1990s. Within these dire conditions, spontaneous and rampant growth of believers within both China and Vietnam was the result.
The God’s economy message reflects a strong biblical foundation with a focus on the Jewish roots and entrepreneurship which carries a far different dependency than the subtle message now inundating Asian communist cultures. It represents the same mindfulness and dependency on God that triggered the growth of believers in both the cultural revolution and the time in Vietnam when refugee camps across Asia were being filled with Vietnamese, from both the North and South, fleeing the hard conditions of the 80s and 90s.
With changing conditions in the late 90s came an influx of missionaries into Vietnam. The result shifted the mindfulness and dependency on God — and the biblical foundations of the Jewish roots of the faith — to a mindset driven by a model replicating Western success and a dependency on Western contributions.
This level of dependency on Western contributions is at odds with my God’s economy message and model which God established for His people through the Mosaic covenant. The issue is subtle. I’m certainly not against generosity from the West — but when that undermines resourcefulness and generosity of those experiencing growth in the Lord, and becomes the main mode of support — it weakens the dependency on and mindfulness toward God and the true potential for the church in Vietnam. It triggers a grasshopper mind-set. God’s way with his people has always been to make them the head and not the tail, to function with a community self-sufficiency that results from creative entrepreneurship with God as the operative Senior Partner.
The challenge is not unlike the need in the promised land to depend solely on God. As it was described when the spies came back and concluded that they — God’s people — were like grasshoppers in their own sight, Scripture tells us that “those who brought this evil report [of seeing themselves as grasshoppers] died by the plague before God.”
Wisdom and Power for the Opportunity
As Paul described: “The world did not know God through wisdom, BUT to those who are called, both Jews and Gentiles, Messiah is the power of God and the wisdom of God.” We need to be recognizing the Son of God as the Jewish Messiah, the Son of the Living God, not the son of the Western church. It involves getting beyond the superficialities. It represents a closer look at our thinking and the process we entertain in the paths we traverse.
From the time God has had a people, His intent has been for a society of leaders, those who would influence the cultures around them to know God and His ways, to follow Him with an undivided heart. This is what it means to be a Light to the nations. Historically, God has done this — through His people — culturally, economically and spiritually. It is our lives that the world views, long before it is willing to listen to what we have to say. All this evolves from our thinking, which when correctly aligned with His ways, is the trigger to the wisdom of God.
In getting beyond the superficial, Bob Hamp’s “Thinking Differently to Lead Differently” represents a profound and timely message. His premise is that we tend to be “content-focused” (i.e. message-focused), when instead what we need more is to be process-focused …..in terms of understanding what God is doing and expects from us. In other words, we tend to major in the minor things and miss the big picture, and in doing so, diminishing the importance of the process.
Hamp speaks of the overreach — that adversely affects the next generation — because of this myopia. To the point, this bears on accurately seeing and grasping what we need to see and adjust to — especially now during times of pruning and preparation.
On the other side of this Jobian season, those still obsessed with superficialities — of wanting to be like the world around them, together with their myopic religious obsessions functioning like a plague — will find themselves in Goshen as was the case in the days of Joseph. They will be far from the opportunity in the courts of Babylon where God entrusted Daniel and his companions with the higher order of resetting the spiritual atmosphere in order to prepare for His true Kingdom agendas.
Indeed we find ourselves in an interim time needing to being attentive to the basics — while still reaching for that dimension of “something more” beyond ourselves. There’s something about the nuggets that He’s entrusted to each of — that requires getting past the “content-focus” and embracing the bigger picture process of what He is doing.
Not unlike Job when it seemed the bottom had dropped out, I am biding my time and carefully guarding my words, awaiting the greater revelation that will accompany and provide a more complete perspective to what the preparations of this season will bring.
Not unlike David’s encounter with Goliath, God is providing opportunity and enablement, in Him, to overwhelm what most view and recoil from as overwhelming — because they view themselves as grasshoppers.
Not unlike when God instructed Elijah to go to be cared for by the widow during a time of crisis, God is affirming that He always gives priority to providing, sometimes in the most unlikely ways, sometimes through the most unlikely sources, for those He has on assignment.
Not unlike the time when David was giving thought to his legacy, God intervened with wisdom overshadowing David’s limited human perspectives and plans — to raise the bar in resetting the equation for David’s legacy for the generations to follow.
Despite the circumstances of the times, the Lord always has a way when there may not appear to be many or even ANY options or middle ground. No question that this is a time paralleling the daunting and overwhelming time at Ziklag, when David’s followers’ disillusioned response was closing in on stoning him. Instead, David sought and got a word from the Lord, and in acting on it, everything changed. And David emerged with His greatest opportunity and accomplishment, of bringing all Israel together. Indeed we’re in the season when it all points back to Israel and its restoration.
A Season of Maturing
Understanding the season gives us a glimpse into the expectation for what will emerge. Paul wrote the Romans with great insight into the depth of this expectation. He spoke of an issue not many want to broach, the issue of suffering. Yet, religion has perverted what Paul was imparting about sufferings. Suffering involves the courage to face the pruning required to graduate into the new season. Suffering involves the sacrifice needed in our response to the world’s contempt for the mantle we wield.
With the path of suffering, described by Paul, would come a spiritual maturity. It is a greater maturity, a “body maturity” that will result in those who prevail being called sons. With so many modern-day translations of the Bible, sometimes we miss subtle points of truth that the writers intended. Kenneth Wuest’s expanded translation of the New Testament lends insight to this process Paul was describing — and the season of maturing we are now navigating. From the 9th to the 13th verses of Romans 8 we have the assumptions which determine whether one is truly a follower of Jesus.
Then, in the verses following, there is a distinction between being children of God and sons of God. As children, the Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we will be joint-heirs with Jesus — with the condition that we have embraced his sufferings, in order that we might share in the resulting glory together. Then Wuest translates the 18th verse of this letter with: “For I have come to a reasoned conclusion that the sufferings of this present age are of no weight in comparison to the glory which is about to be revealed upon us.”
Then Paul describes this expectation with: “the concentrated and undivided expectation of creation [which] is assiduously and patiently awaiting the revelation of the sons of God.” He then speaks of the travail, the pain of the birthing process and in verse 23: “For we know that the whole creation groans and travails together up to this moment, and not only, but we ourselves also who have the firstfruit of the Spirit, we ourselves also are groaning within ourselves, assiduously and patiently awaiting the full revelation of our adult sonship at the time of the redemption of our body.”
Two key dynamics here are being postulated by Paul. Within the context of the process of waiting and travailing with the suffering of the birthing underway is first the expectation of the “full revelation of our ADULT sonship.” Second is the coinciding of the timing of the “redemption of the body,” with this “full revelation.”
Paul goes on to note that we are saved in the sphere of hope. In other words, we have not yet arrived. Whereas Christians view their salvation individually and Jews as community, Paul, as their Jewish mentor, imparts it to these Roman Gentiles in the future tense, as a hope to embrace within the context of the matured body …at the time of the full revelation of this sonship and redemption of the body.
So it is that higher dimensions are reflected in the mysteries reserved for a time of the end, spoken of by Daniel, by Jesus, by Paul and by John in Revelations. Higher dimensions that point to why the evil report brought by the spies who were sent to discern opportunity, resulted in a generation missing the step God had intended for them to take. Now, once again, as Twenty-First Century believers, we find ourselves with opportunity at hand.
A Season of Pruning and Preparation
This is a season of preparation, not unlike what Job went through. Not unlike the preparation that Joseph went through. It is the time of preparation for when the Son of Man will be returning and seeking to find faith on the earth that is mindful toward God and not man. We need the wisdom of Daniel in serving as a connection and influence for God within the power structures of darkness.
It is a time of alignment, of establishing a standard of righteous power in corrupt settings and overthrowing what has become corrupt with the mindfulness of man, within the household of faith, as the righteous adjust, commune and draw together as Light in the darkness to embrace the opportunity.
During the 18 months preceding global restrictions for the Corona-virus, the Lord led me to increase the frequency of my solitary retreats with the Lord in my prayer-closet. This leading represents a compression of what, over the last two plus decades, have been retreats done at year-end. Each time, I’ve done so, there has been a discipline of memorizing a compilation of Rhema scripture the Lord has imparted to me during the previous time frame. In this recent series of retreats, four years were compressed into 18 months. Pretty intense. And for what reason? I believe it has been for the preparation of the intensity tied to this season of pruning.
The time we have entered has been a time of sifting. A time of pruning away the superficialities in order to uncover and release the genuineness of the authority needed. A time when blind spots, vain imaginations, false-dependencies and counter-productive religious practices are being exposed and removed. Likewise, as many have recently begun recognizing, the enemy is no longer at the gates, he is all around us. Yet, just as in the days of Daniel, this is a time that will bring us into the season when our Light will shine the brightest.
As we emerge, we will emerge as Job did, as did Joseph, as Paul did after his 1000 days in Arabia, with totally different perceptions and perspectives to employ our mantles more strategically and with far greater power.
Higher Dimension Responses to Opportunity
As we embrace this interim season, there will come the strengthening of key relationships and alliances, along with the fading of some that perhaps were simply for a time. What I have discerned in going through this transition, in preparing for this season to follow, is the need to constantly being intentional. Becoming more alert in all that we do and respond to. In terms of navigating the spiritual realm, nothing is the same. Nor is all as it seems. It requires spiritual vigilance like never before in adhering to the Spirit’s guidance. There is no coasting.
Like Daniel and his companions, despite the challenges and perhaps more so because of them, there is the need to be connected and regularly interacting with those who share this very strategic and vital spiritual leadership mantle. Those with eyes to see and ears to hear will embrace the opportunities in doing so. It is going to require a greater response — and a bond of friendship on the level as Jesus defined it as being willing to sacrifice and give priority to friends before ourselves. We are in a wartime setting and we need the courage and camaraderie of elite troops on critical combat missions.
Whereas Spirit and Truth must be aligned, so now in this process of maturing wisdom and discernment will work simultaneously to complement one other, as we enter and engage with higher levels of darkness than has previously been encountered in this generation, both within and outside the household of faith.
We constantly need to be checking with God to avoid premature and myopic responses, together with the contagion of fear and grasshopper mindsets — to accurately discern the issues that truly make a difference. Remember the overreaction during the days of the bubonic plague of exterminating cats due to the misdiagnosis of the reason for their increase. It was tied to them coming to kill the rats, sadly the single thing holding back the pandemic levels of the plague.
We are on assignment and need the presence of mind and spiritual acumen to be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves as we become people of influence in high-level pagan settings. Humility is the lynchpin in relationships with consistent demands on integrity, honor and loyalty. Kingdom identity and thinking is paramount as navigating the lairs of darkness will more frequently become the mode — which will challenged, yet will become the very factor that overcomes and yields opportunity.
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