Generational Passages of Leaders
The psalmist very prophetically, seeing beyond the realm of time, observed: “This is the generation.”
Several years ago, for the first time in my ministry relationship with a man I had worked with in the past, I sat down with him one-on-one in his offices. Yet, it was the relationship with his son-in-law that had brought me to visit his ministry. While his son-in-law operated independently as a modern-day Joseph, he simultaneously provided major assistance for his father-in-law’s very impactful ministry. Being a prophetic type, this man I had originally worked with for an Israel initiative, observed that the impact of my mantle, together with his and his son-in-law’s was like the generational bridging represented by that of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
My friend and Kingdom co-worker tapped something very significant in terms of the Lord’s strategies for this season. Solomon’s wisdom notes that “an attacker may defeat someone who is alone, but two can resist him; but a three-stranded cord is not easily broken.” (Eccl 4:12) It emphasizes the benefit of unified efforts and a wisdom that is compounded when three generations, Abraham Isaac and Jacob, can in unity and harmony pursue the same goals.
In keeping with that wisdom, years ago I set up my ministry to operate with both a legal board and what I call my advisory board, ones who have been members of the next two generations. My advisory board consists of members of future generations who I intentionally invest my anointing, wisdom and gifts into. So as I close in on becoming an octogenarian, my intentions and strategies have become more pronounced in operating together with the Isaacs and Jacobs carrying parallel mantles to my own.
It connects to a wisdom that Paul explained to the Corinthians (1 Cor 4:15 CJB), when he noted that spiritually the Corinthians among his charge, might have ten thousand trainers, but those meeting the criteria for fathers would be few. The Amplified translation concludes this description of spiritual fathers as ones willing to assume responsibility for those they were investing in mentoring.
Despite a range of misfires in his role as a natural father, King David got it right when it came to his legacy. In getting his legacy right, it did not come without distinct challenge from within the ranks of David’s inner-most circles. So in this change of seasons, it is both strategic and pertinent to grasp the insights to the Kingdom pertinence of the generational passage of leaders.
The Battle for the Legacy
With a long track record of exploits in Israel’s deliverance from bondage and journey to the Promised Land, despite the Lord’s warnings, Moses was being called on to operate beyond his natural, albeit esteemed capabilities. In Exodus 23:30 the Lord explained that He would drive out their enemies from before them, but that it would be a gradual process, until their strength and numbers had increased. Yet, it often seemed that the subtle and sometimes more serious challenge was the enemy within.
Indeed, there were times when the response of those Moses had led out of bondage not only fell short, but cratered. Moses the great deliverer, whose grasp of God’s parameters to establish a society of leaders had a serious blind-spot as a leader.
While Moses was engaged in long-term, higher-level interactions with the Lord on Sinai, there erupted a contagion among the people who were discontent in waiting that scripture describes as murmuring and rebellion. However, it was an issue that had been brewing since they had faced the realities following the exuberance in the remarkable Red Sea crossing and their deliverance from the bondages of Egypt.
In short, what emerged after so dramatic a deliverance has consistently been the trap faced by God’s people over the centuries: that in having tasted an element of premature, interim success, they fall into old patterns of behavior and culturally begin yearning to be like the world around them. For those Moses was leading, it represented the seductive lure of the demonic powers from which they had just been delivered, tapping the root of Moses’ leadership problem.
We get a clue as to the growing rebellion and root of Moses’ blind-spot in Numbers 12, when Moses’ siblings, Aaron and Miriam, were murmuring against him. From their positions as slaves in Egypt, they had been thrust into becoming a part of Moses’ inner circle and leadership, as priest and prophetess to the people. God’s response to their murmuring was to judge Miriam with leprosy. Despite the awareness God had initiated with these issues, Moses’ focus was in immediately interceding for her.
These events proceeded the time when Joshua and Caleb became the only two of the spies (Numbers 13:1-2, 8, 16) sent ahead into the Promised Land who responded in faith rather than fear. Yet the ripples of the influence due to the loose tongues in Moses’ inner circle continued to amass. Numbers 16 points to Korah’s rebellion when 250 leaders, that scripture describes as being representatives of the people, men of renown, challenged Moses’ and Aaron’s leadership.
All of this proceeded the time in Numbers 25 when the insights Balaam had sold to Balak took root and Israel combined their whoring with the women of Moab with sacrificing to the Moabite pagan gods. All of these factors were connected. While Moses was on Sinai, those lured by their worldly lusts in their return to the spiritual bondages of their deliverance, appealed to Aaron’s weak leadership with frivolous demands. Their reckless and idolatrous course then released a plague of judgment that began ravaging their ranks.
The result of this sequence of poorly dealt-with leadership issues was, with the exception of Joshua and Caleb, a generation who lost the potential of what could have been their legacy.
Leadership beyond Self
Moses’ leadership plight was by no means an isolated issue. Serving together with God in higher levels of leadership that demands the supernatural … involves operating beyond even the best of human capabilities. In spite of Elijah coming to the plate so boldly and effectively in calling down the fire in his encounter with the prophets of Baal and Asherah, it wiped him out. Despite being strengthened by an angelic encounter that followed, he retreated to the solitude and solace of his cave until God challenged him with “what are you doing here Elijah?”
Even then, his response revealed his blind-spots, short-sightedness and human limitations. Simply ignoring these human short-falls, God gave him the direction that set things in motion for the transition of the leadership passage needed to establish his legacy. Again, it involved Elijah operating in capacities beyond his human capabilities.
These examples point to not only recognizing that Kingdom leadership requires a great deal more than the superficial desire to be a superstar, but rather a distinct sacrifice, discipline and dimension that only God may fulfill for what in the natural are impossible assignments.
The Subtleties and Standard of Kingdom Success
Success for Kingdom leaders involves subtleties, differences and a higher standard than that of the world’s grasp of success. I’ve been acquainted on both a personal and professional board-level and consulting basis with generational ministry and business transitions of leaders. Some have worked quite well. Others fulfilling part of a desire of the founders have fallen short of the standard they originally established, while there have probably been too many that have resulted in shipwrecks.
Biblically, Joshua and Elisha are sterling examples of how the preparation and mentoring of generational passages of leaders should take place: in each case exceeding the exploits of those who had been their spiritual fathers. Likewise, Jesus expressed to his inner circle the expectation that they would do greater works than He had. So it was that Paul in his letter to the Corinthians implied the importance of assuming this responsibility as spiritual fathers and as Jesus had done, in upholding the basis of Moses’ foundations for a society of leaders.
Spiritual Fathers Who Assume the Responsibility. In a world overwhelmed and seduced by the clutter of input, it begins by going back to Paul’s observation to the Corinthians, that they might have ten thousand trainers, but there would be a limit to those who truly assumed the responsibility in being their spiritual fathers. It is the one-on-one engaging that gets past the surface issues and facades of performance … and provides the wisdom and harmony needed to tap what is needed in order to mature into becoming true servants of Messiah and stewards of the mysteries of God.
Servants of Messiah and Stewards of the Mysteries of God. This vital orientation reveals the gates and passage into Kingdom leadership. Through them are unlocked the supernatural dimensions that can be expected as a response to the impossibilities tied to possessing the land in uncharted territory. What Paul was imparting to the Corinthians with his description of the limitations of the ten thousand trainers was that spiritual growth comes from a mix of wisdom gained from experience and relationship rather than information.
The Power Released When Generations Align. The subtle issue Paul was addressing was the inclination of the spiritually hungry to become information junkies, seduced by facades and short-sighted images of success. It is a dynamic that entices and overshadows the depths that need to be touched when facing the challenges of generational leadership passages. It is the issue within the days of Moses that blinded a generation, despite seeing the consistency of the supernatural operating in their deliverance from Egypt’s bondages.
The Resistance to the Generational Connection. The snare in today’s emerging season is when there is a premature disconnection between the generations. Not so much as the lack of spiritual fathers, but rather the inclination … not unlike the ones delivered from the bondages of Egypt … who fail to see beyond their own discordant generation and need to be connected to and guided by spiritual fathers.
Moses learned from the role he had entrusted to his siblings, Aaron and Miriam, before he selected Joshua in his role as his spiritual father. Likewise, despite Aaron’s misfires and weak leadership, he eventually got it right … as it was Aaron’s leadership of the tribe of Levites whose actions quelled God’s judgment following the heresy at Peor.
Moses’ Greatest Feat as a Leader. Indeed being the long-awaited deliverer, despite his earlier leadership short-falls due to his inability to deal with the murmuring and rebellion among his subordinate leaders, Moses’ greatest accomplishment was in establishing the framework and foundation as a trans-generational society of leaders for God’s people to inherit the promise that God had made to Abraham.
Leadership Dynamics for Generational Passages
Moses trained Joshua to confront their enemies as a warrior, but with that imparted to him the spiritual ability needed to release the God-factor dynamics he described in Deuteronomy as: one would put a thousand to flight and two, ten thousand. That is the advantage when God’s presence is at the helm. Only two of the twelve sent to spy out the Land … from the second generation … proved to have faith to grasp what God required in the face of overwhelming odds, to provide the leadership to possess the Promised Land.
Key aspects of what made Joshua the leader Moses invested his anointing into were: 1) he was addicted to God’s presence, 2) he was groomed to face his enemies as a warrior and 3) like Moses, he assumed responsibility for the people.
“Whenever Moses entered the tent, the column of cloud would descend and station itself at the entrance to the tent; and Adonai would speak with Moses. When all the people saw the column of cloud stationed at the entrance to the tent, they would go and prostrate themselves, each man at his tent door. Adonai would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. Then he would return to the camp; but the young man who was his assistant, Joshua the son of Nun, never left the inside of the tent.” Ex 33:9-11 CJB
So, a key distinguishing characteristics of the generation that Joshua led was in fearlessly being willing to face their enemies, in being led as game-changers in harmoniously listening to and being immersed in God’s presence. Joshua’s leadership triggered the faith and unity needed to release the God-factor that had delivered their parents from Egypt. As a generation they seriously embraced Joshua’s leadership.
“All that you have commanded us we will do and wherever you send us we will go. Just as we obeyed Moses in all things, so we will obey you. Only may Adonai your God be with you, as he was with Moses! Whoever rebels against your command and does not obey your words in all that you command him, he will be subject to death. Just be strong and courageous.” Joshua 1:16-18
Following their conquest of the Promised Land, scripture emphasizes the pertinence of this warrior spirit willing to face and displace their enemies:
“Now these are the nations which the LORD left in order to test Israel that is, all the people of Israel who had not previously experienced any of the wars in Canaan; in order that the generations of the sons of Israel might be taught war, those who had not experienced it.” Judges 3:1-2
Likewise, like his mentor Moses, Joshua upheld God’s standard and direction while assuming responsibility for those he led. Moses having been raised in knowing how to petition royalty was consistent in his intercession on behalf of the people.
“If your presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. For how else is it to be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people, other than by your going with us? That is what distinguishes us, me and your people, from all the other peoples on earth.” Ex 33:15-16
The psalmist (Ps 24) after inquiring who could possibly walk together with the Lord in the way Moses did, embracing His presence and power, discerned that the generational leadership passage was for those prepared and properly poised spiritually and in the natural to do so; as did the third generation from Moses as they became the followers of Joshua in possessing the Land.
“Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors that the King of glory may come in.” Ps 24:6-7 ESV
The Leadership Distinction for the Passages
Again, we are reminded of the psalmist’s words of “this is the generation,” as we discern the times and the seasons. This is the generation of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The generation that Daniel discerned when the angel told him to seal up the words of the book is the same that John the Revelator envisioned and now lies close before us.
“At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time. At that time your people shall be delivered, everyone who is found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book until the time of the end; when many shall run to and fro and knowledge shall increase.” Dan 12:1-4
These coming into the time of this prophecy are those who will tap the maturity and with that the unity Paul spoke about in his letter to the Ephesians to become the society of leaders that reflected the foundations outlined by Moses in the Torah. It will require spiritual fathers like Moses and Elijah to mentor the Joshuas and Elishas whose mantles will in turn conquer the cultural deceptions and idols resident in the minds of those tainted by the influence and rigors of Egypt.
The mentoring of Joshua and Elisha involved regular, interconnected relationships that extended until Moses’ and Elijah’s time on earth had culminated. It was not something they embraced over coffee in a year-end conference or interacted with in seminars during the early stages of their lives. It was based on working together in addressing needed spiritual responses to real-life enemies and challenges that they faced together with God.
It involved the level of leadership needed to overcome the greatest challenge faced by Moses with those he had assumed responsibility for: that of conquering these cultural deceptions and predispositions that had defined those delivered from the bondages of Egypt.
With Moses’ mentoring of Joshua, was the training and influence imparted to the emerging generation. The word Joshua gave to this emerging generation at both the inception of their efforts in conquering the Promised Land, as well as upon the significant defeat of the five kings of the Amorites was: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed!”
Following the defeat of the Amorites, which scripture describes as “wiping them out,” after Joshua commanded the sun to stop in order to do so, Joshua summoned all the men of Israel, charging the men of war to put their feet on the necks of the five captured kings before putting them to death; proclaiming that this is what they could expect the Lord to do to all their enemies who would attempt to withhold from them what God had promised.
“The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will renew and calm you in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” Zeph 3:17
The Cultural Distinction Leading to a Society of Leaders
Joshua’s actions reflects the two-edged sword of being a society of leaders who are representing God. Jesus affirmed this to his disciples when He said: “I came not to bring peace, but a sword.” In the process of establishing the way of the Kingdom, there will be confrontation and as John the Revelator foresaw, great end-time conflict before the Prince of Peace can fully reign.
Which points to the part of the two-edged sword, which Paul admonished to the Galatians in their relationships between one another: “Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Messiah.” Gal 6:2
A full grasp of this mandate brings us to the distinction that determines whether the role of spiritual fathers is reaping its full intent or just a mediocre result or even less. It is when Paul bared his heart with the words: “My children in whom I travail until Christ be formed in you.” This deep longing on Paul’s part conforms to what Jesus expressed in noting that the basis of true Kingdom friendship is that “a man will lay down his life for his friends.” It reflects the depth of the responsibility of spiritual fathers for those in their charge with the example that caused Moses’ petition for atonement from God to be: “If You will not forgive their sin, then blot me out of Your book.”
This mandate and responsibility of generational unity is graphically illustrated by everything being on the line in facing the realities of the confrontations … when those Joshua led into battle had Moses at the top of the hill, drawing fully from the anointing he possessed, with Aaron and Hur upholding his arms. It is when the heart and prayer of travail meets the humility of the generation in-passage to recognize the anointing and in being willing to sacrifice and be led in facing the enemy. It is an issue of understanding the distinction of genuine Kingdom success factors and then extending honor to whom honor is due.
“The noble devises noble plans, and for noble causes, he stands.” Isaiah 32:8
So it is for this hour that the needed leadership distinction for the generational passage conforms to the central message of the first pastor my wife and I had as new believers in the early 70s, a man whose congregation crossed the boundaries in drawing Charismatics and Evangelicals together as one: “I can’t, but He can.”
“Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when the plowman shall overtake the reaper and the treader of grapes him who sows seed; the mountains shall drip with sweet wine and all the hills shall flow with it. I will bring back the captives of My people Israel. They shall build the waste cities and inhabit them. They shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them. They shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them. I will plant them in their land and no longer shall they be pulled up from the land I have given them, says the LORD your God.” Amos 9:13
Morris Ruddick has been a forerunner and voice for the higher dimensions of spiritual game-changers and intercessors since the mid-90s. As founder of Global Initiatives Foundation and designer of the God’s Economy Entrepreneurial Equippers Program and the Jewish Business Secrets YouTube series, Mr. Ruddick equips economic community builders with strategy 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.
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