When God Arises
In matters concerning the balance between the role of the household of faith and when God sovereignly arises in power, discerning the stage in the journey and the timing are critical. Historically, there are patterns that give us a glimpse into this unique balance. These patterns bear on understanding the dynamics of our day, as we embrace a major change of seasons. The unfolding changes together the the onslaught of evil from just the last year and a half have been monumental. With the need for a greater sensitivity of the timing and balance in our response to cooperating with God’s sovereignty is the need for the courage, obedience and discipline in responding to the adjustments.
One of the milestone words the Lord spoke to me as a young man many years ago comes from words God once spoke to Jeremiah. Originally, it became the foundation to my call as a leader of intercessors. In light of the current change in season, it now provides a penetrating glimpse into our grasp of the dynamics and our role in discerning this critical timing factor.
“You are my battleaxe and weapon of war, for with you I will break nations in pieces, with you I will destroy kingdom and strongholds … and with you I will break in pieces governors and rulers. And [then], I will repay Babylon and Chaldea for all the evil that have done.” Jer 51: 20,23,24
In the beginning of Revelation 6 we have a glimpse from a heavenly perspective, as the first four seals of the scroll are opened, paralleling the recent global swirls that the world has been attempting to adjust to. The context from the previous chapter of Revelation describes the groundswell taking place in heaven, as those described as kings and priests are prepared to respond to a time of a major shift and the ensuing evil developments: of peace being taken from the earth; of the upsets in the economies and distribution of basic sustenance supplies; and then of the release of death, with the power to impact a fourth of the earth through the sword, hunger, pestilence and what amounts to uncontrolled, hidden creatures.
Despite the calamity, the view from heaven in Revelation 5 is well described by these insights from Jeremiah 51, as the anticipatory response of Heaven not only prepares a mobilized remnant described as kings and priests, but ones whose actions represent the prelude to God’s sovereign response to this confrontation with the very core of this seemingly uncontrolled release of evil, with: “And I will repay Babylon and Chaldea” … the unholy alliance between the world’s system and sorcery.
The Covenant of Death
Isaiah provides a more penetrating glimpse into this matter with God’s indictment of the band of insiders within the leadership of the household of faith. These are those who in maintaining their quest to maintain their leadership positions with a watered down faith, are marked by Isaiah’s word from the Lord described as the covenant of death.
“Because you have said: ‘We cut a covenant with death, we made a pact with Sheol, so when the overflowing scourge passes through, it won’t come for us, for we have made lies our refuge, and hid ourselves in falsehood’“ Is 28:15
Isaiah goes on to describe the amazing response of the Lord. It begins with Him laying in Zion a cornerstone, of what is a firm foundation for the believing community’s response. With this cornerstone would come the courage for the response, as Isaiah states: “whoever trusts will not flee in haste.” A loose interpretation implies that whoever believes will not be running around in circles!
So God deals with the issue of watered down faith with this unique foundation and the courage to stand. From this will come the restoration of the standard and of righteousness.
“I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line. Hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and water will overflow the hiding place.” Is 28:17
Truth Is Our Refuge
God is saying that Truth is our refuge. It is our refuge and protection from the onslaught of the evil now swirling around us described by the noted seals of the scroll in Revelation: of the removal of peace; the economic turmoil and lack of basic sustenance for many; and the release of death.
But with God’s refuge comes more. It is a great deal more that entails a promise. God indicates that He will annul this covenant of death. With that promise is a very graphic illustration of what will be taking place.
“For the LORD will rise up as at Mount Perazim, He will be stirred up as in the Valley of Gibeon, to do His work, His unusual and incredible work; to accomplish His work, His extraordinary work.” Is 28:21
David’s defeat of Baal-Perazim was so strong, it was described as like the breaking through of great waters. Joshua’s battle in the rescue of the Gibeonites was when the sun and the moon stood still so that the effort would be complete. When God arises, everyone will know!
Yet there is still more. With God arising and annulling the covenant of death He will be establishing a covenant of peace for those who have prepared, and like those Joshua took with him to rescue the Gibeonites, those prepared for war who were standing with Him.
God’s arising also coincides with Him simultaneously judging between the fat and lean sheep, those who serve God and those who do not. The pattern held true for the time Joseph served such a key role in the strategy development in overcoming the impact of the famine … which included protecting not only his brethren in Goshen, but the people and resources of his host nation, Egypt. It was the same with Daniel and his companions as they served in the seats of power of Babylon.
There was a clear distinction between those who served God and those who did not. At its foundation of those who did not was the self-absorbed and misguided behavior obvious to even the world around them. It was the distinction that marked the ones who landed in Goshen and the sidelines of Babylonian captivity. It’s no different among those called by His name in today’s world. Ezekiel describes it well.
“You eat the choicest meat, you clothe yourselves with the wool and you slaughter the best of the herd; but you fail to feed the sheep! You neither strengthen the weak, heal the sick, bandage the broken, bring back the outcasts nor seek the lost; on the contrary, you tyrannize them with crushing force.” Ezek 34:3,4
Jesus modeled the example sought by God for His leaders, as a leader who truly served. In these passages of Ezekiel, the Lord specifically indicates that what He is doing will involve him rescuing his sheep and then providing the care that should have come from those entrusted with leading them.
It is a pattern over the ages punctuated by Jesus’ sharp response to the role of the religious leaders of His day. The prophecy in Ezekiel is the pattern for the process of the rescue of God’s people historically and for what lies ahead, marked by the Lord leading His people into good pastures and His rest. In this case, it involves the culmination of the age-old conflict between good and evil. This process includes a significant replacement of the illusion of safety provided by the misguided, fence-sitting leaders … with the protection that can only come with His presence.
The Covenant of Peace
There is a reason that the epistles of Paul the Apostle have so much to say about the faceoff that we as believers have with death. He explains that sin, which in the Greek literally means to miss the mark, rules by death. He explained to the Romans that having one’s mind controlled by the old nature is a lure of death, but having one’s mind controlled by the Spirit is life and shalom.
On the other hand, as believers we share in path of Jesus’ confrontation of death, as in doing so He fully faced and conquered death with it having no power over Him. All of which addressed the sin-death issue head-on, conforming to the historical pattern of God’s rescue from the hands of those leaders who had been seduced into an unholy alliance with death.
So in this historical stage of God arising, in annulling the covenant of death promoted by misguided leaders, God promises a more powerful alternative: His covenant of shalom, the covenant of God’s order. It is what Jesus employed in speaking to and calming the storm.
“I will make a covenant of peace with them and cause the hidden creatures to cease from the land. They will dwell safely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods.” Ezek 34:23-25
God’s covenant of peace is not only His protection, but the order needed for His restoration, which is the trigger for His blessings.
“I will make them and the places all around My hill a blessing. I will cause showers of blessing to come down in their season. Then the trees of the field shall yield their fruit and the earth shall yield her increase. They shall be safe in their land and they shall know that I am the LORD when I have broken the bonds of their yoke and delivered them from the hand of those who oppressed them. They shall no longer be a prey for the nations nor shall the hidden creatures devour them; but they shall dwell safely and no one shall make them afraid. I will raise up for them a garden of renown. They shall no longer be consumed with hunger nor bear the shame of the Gentiles. They shall know that I, the Lord, am with them and they, the house of Israel, are My people.” Ezek 34:25-30
The Blind Spot and the Triggers for God Arising
Having spent many years working with believers in lands of persecution, I ministered a unique economic development program designed to break the back of poverty among believers. The program is based on restoring an age-old biblical model that draws heavily from the Jewish heritage of our faith. Those who put these principles into practice were blessed, many very much so.
However the greatest challenge I had was with the pastors who viewed the success of the Western church as being the model to follow. It was a serious blind spot in recognizing the potential from operating an economic community with God as its head. God’s view of success involves a higher standard based on what have become predispositions within Jewish culture that are the result of the reason Scripture tells us that God chose Abraham.
“For I have chosen him that he might instruct his children and household after him to keep the way of the Lord.” Gen 18:19
This blind spot represents a subtle but very key pivot point in God arising. It embraces God’s age-old response to the Jews as a people. In other words, when the thinking and actions of believers crosses into realm to where the greater quest is in the response of the community as a whole to God, then God will arise. It will be when the Body of Messiah is responding to the Lord with one heart. It is when leaders learn to serve as many already have in truly persecuted lands, to the point of yielding their lives rather than preserving or promoting them, that God will arise.
Jesus’ life and sacrifice represented a raising of the bar for the process of God’s rescue when the leadership of God’s people stumbled and fell short of their responsibility. It was an alignment, setting the stage for the process of restoration that would follow. This raising of the bar is a two-edged sword, not only for what we need to understand in terms of the redemption and rescue on God’s part, but in keeping with understanding the times now upon us, of our role in advancing the vibrancy of this combination of this age-old and new covenant. It is the Jeremiah 51 pure response of “through you” that God expects prior to His arising to address the age-old alliance of Babylon and Chaldea. This “through you” is not the mark of becoming a superstar, but rather conforming to that of Jesus’ disciples whose passion in serving and leading modeled loving not their lives unto death.
Maturity and Undivided Thinking
In the first-century church-world of Paul, the realities of simply embracing Truth as a believer with an undivided heart demanded growing up, and the need to do so fast. Paul made it very clear to the Ephesians of the need in facing the realities as adults, rather than as children. In another of his epistles he indicated that when he was a child, he thought and acted like a child.
The cost of discipleship takes maturity and the consistency of courage, discipline and obedience. Not the least of the reasons for Paul’s admonition for maturity was the dire persecution taking place from both the religious and secular communities, which included those within and outside the household of faith. It was a day of no middle ground. It demanded undivided thinking for those embracing the Truth and living as believers. It was and is as David’s quest in the psalms: “Teach me your ways O Lord and I will walk in Your truth. Unite my heart to fear your name.”
So, embracing our responsibility in this covenant relationship begins with abiding in Truth. It is the reason that Revelation indicates liars will be at the forefront of those who will miss the Kingdom. The book of James speaks of the need for a pure and undefiled faith, one of reaching out to those in serious need (mitzvah) and keeping ourselves unstained and uncorrupted by the world we live in. That entails the courage and discipline of one’s identity and lifestyle. In other words the foundation of being a witness is what unbelievers are looking for: “don’t tell me, show me.” It means, as the Book of Hebrews points out: of not getting stuck at the milk stage, but advancing to the meat.
The milk mode comes primarily from the preaching and teaching of others. The meat or proactive mode to maturity comes from a direct interaction with the Holy Spirit through deep immersion into God’s Word and prayer. The meat mode takes time, dedication and commitment … and the courage to be willing to be a sacrifice. Not the least of the reasons Jesus responded so positively to the heart of the Centurion was that He recognized a man who had faced death; and was willing to die for what he believed.
The needed transition takes place when the believer departs from absorbing information to entering a vibrant, ongoing interactive flow with the Spirit. This is a proactive process that leads into the pathway described by Jesus as having its entrance at the narrow gate.
Stewardship for a believer operates on both a practical and spiritual basis. Those embracing His truth recognize this. Being a believer involves much more than the adherence to a moral code or extending an extra measure of being conciliatory and nice; confusing that with extending shalom. Shalom at its most basic level is God’s order, rather than the absence of conflict.
This pathway that Jesus described as narrow and difficult, entails assuming the stewardship and employment of the gifts (natural and spiritual) that become a part of the nurture of the community. Peter explained: “As each one has received a gift, so use it to serve one another, as good stewards of the many-sided grace, or unmerited favor that we derive from God. Paul wrote Titus, with the admonishment: “Let our people learn to devote themselves to doing good deeds to meet urgent needs, so they will not be unfruitful.”
In short, living a committed, dedicated life as a believer involves discipline and the priority of recognizing that our life belongs to Him. In writing the Philippians, Paul noted that in sending Timothy to them, that few could compare with Timothy, who so sincerely cared for the welfare of their community … in a world of far too many, who in their immaturity, put their own interests ahead of the Lord’s. Doing so, involves dedication, focus and discipline.
Facing reality as a believer involves obedience of living godly lives. Paul actually wrote Timothy explaining that ALL who lived godly lives in Jesus could expect persecution. You can read that as being persecution comes from the conflict represented by the Truth and identity of being an undefiled, unwatered-down believer. He explained in his letter to Titus that as believers we are to distance ourselves from ungodliness and worldly lusts and passions, to live soberly, righteously and godly, within the context of the unfolding drama of this present world. Doing so, takes serious courage, discipline and obedience.
The expectation for God to arise involves the community growing up and facing the reality of the battles unfolding now in this season. There’s something about going into battle that will shift the priorities from the superficial and trivial … to a keen focus on matters that truly make difference. The Western Church, whose “success” has been so admired by far too many from the non-Western world, has been indulged with too many having their ears tickled with gatherings and an abundance of resources; while the admirers from lands of persecution hold the true keys to God arising, as did the Centurion whose faith amazed Jesus over that of anything He had witnessed from those around Him.
What we face now is as Jeremiah so long ago clearly perceived: “You are my battleaxe and weapon of war, for through you I will break nations in pieces, through you I will destroy kingdoms and strongholds and through you I will break in pieces governors and rulers.” When we grow up sufficiently as a community of God’s people to truly begin facing the realities of our part in this prophetic word, it will be THEN that God will arise.
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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