The Passage, for Even the Elect
It was swift and unexpected, when the bottom dropped out for Job, simultaneously losing his health, his wealth and his sons and daughters. There initially seemed to be little insight into what had just happened. Other than the growing whispers that the fault was likely something hidden in Job. Even the one who should have been his most trusted support, his wife, challenged his continued existence.
No question that Job was different. Apart from his success and godly example, he was out-of-sync upholding a spiritual and moral standard that not even his sons and daughters chose to follow. Then came his circle of friends with what heretofore had been what most had been thinking. Their intent being to expose what most certainly must be deep-seated flaws in this sterling community leader and model of righteousness.
Within the household of faith is an unspoken standard that is drawn to being accepted by the broader community. Fitting in. Tolerance. When you really came down to it, it is being more like the surrounding worldly cultures. Yet there comes a time as it did for Job … a time when deep calls to deep … a time that calls for something more …. when getting past the cratering and blockages can take on a life of its own.
Despite the painful disruptions he faced, Job was being used to raise the bar, to break the invisible ceiling of the unspoken, more widely accepted standard held by those who at least were giving lip-service to these higher dimensions.
Job’s story contains much more than realizing the limitations of his faith. His passage through the turmoil is instructive to understanding the times and the shift underway in the season now upon us.
Biblical community in its design represents not just the safe place for the household of faith, but the advantage God’s people have to make a difference in a world wrought with chaos and evil. A grasp of this premise ties to why Jesus took such a hard line with the Pharisaical religious leaders.
It was because these were those who viewed themselves as elite. Along with missing the point on issues of truth, justice and mercy, their influence was undermining the intent of community; in their role as community voices. It was to similar voices, elite leaders who also had become blind to the intent, that Isaiah addressed his message in Isaiah 58. Whether it was the privileged ones targeted by Isaiah or the voices of the religious leaders in Jesus’ day, each conformed to the mode reflected by Job’s friends.
This mode of thinking bears significantly on the design for the advantage and protection of the community. A design that not only is lost but evolves into a creeping blindness that exposes a soft underbelly, a vulnerability to the fiercest infiltrations of enemy tactics.
Most within the persecuted Church are acquainted with these realities. Unfortunately, the mode that results in missing this point was reflected in the rampant discord evidenced in Israel prior to Hamas’ October 7 attack. It was embedded in the rebuke Jesus gave Peter on the Mount of Transfiguration: “You are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”
Throughout Scripture there have been instances ranging from outright rebellion of leaders to ones acting on decisions to serve their own advantage that have undermined the protection inherent in community. When these instances have defied God’s specific instructions, the judgment has proven swift and severe.
In softer instances of misguided influence, the admonition has ranged from marking and avoiding those sowing division, to a category of ones who would be held accountable for their idle words on the day of judgment.
Discord that comes from misguided words can be subtle. It came to Job through ones he trusted. It is an influence that defies the wisdom of God-established authority or simply misconstrues truth. It can manifest from leaders who fail to grasp and adhere to God’s standard or it may erupt from fleshly responses, consciously or unconsciously, that challenge what is right and true.
As in the case of the Pharisaical leaders in Jesus’ day, it can overshadow otherwise righteous behavior. Yet the reality of this mode, when it prevails among the righteous, was the catalyst for one of the most frightening statements made by Jesus. It targets ones considering themselves His followers: “I never knew you. Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” Matt 7:23
Diligence for the Choice
Diligence is required to maintaining the choice of being Jesus’ disciple as Jesus pointed to a time when even the elect, like Job, would be in the enemy’s cross-hairs. However, yielding to the influence of misguided, blind guides, or in becoming one, carries a serious accountability …. due to the presumption of idle words.
The Bible has many examples of those who have mixed their motives in pursuit of goals outside that of their mandate or calling. It involves losing sight of the higher purposes and perspectives that God has for a situation or community. Then due to yielding to fleshly promptings and perceptions, it goes against the grain of the standard or the established authority or both.
Paul’s warning to the Romans conforms with Jesus’ similar warning concerning the misguided words of the Pharisees.
“Watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.” Romans 16:17 NIV
The Tripping Points
These obstacles and divisions are tripping points which undermine the protection and advantage inherent in God’s design for community. With a ring of truth, they are snares.
While divisions can arise due to voices that challenge the standard being upheld by righteous authority, a glimpse at the study of revival provides deeper insight into the process or path that gives access to these tripping points.
Moves of God are more often prompted by the change in the spiritual atmosphere due to the community of God’s people as a whole reaching for more of Him. As the momentum of revival grows and spreads, the blessings of God increase. Such dynamics are correlated with humility and the reach represented by those gathering to seek God beyond the mundane. Likewise, as the momentum grows and spreads, so does the spontaneity of the supernatural in the context of the gatherings for prayer and the spiritual hunger to seek more of Him. This was the pattern for the early Church, along with biblical revivals such as Nineveh, as well as with the more modern-day revivals.
Along with the supernatural answers to prayer and His presence has been the unity among those participating in reaching for more of God.
On the other hand, the history of the waning of revivals has been marked by the potency of the spiritual atmosphere being overshadowed by complacency and comfort. The lack of the needed diligence in spiritual maintenance. In other words, the increase in God’s presence brings His blessings and when the blessings reach a level of being commonplace, those on the peripheries, drawn perhaps simply by the blessings, become detractors to the unity that results from His presence and the spiritual atmosphere ….. or as those who once were all-in relative to their reach for more begin waning and digressing into spiritual complacency and carelessness.
Again, Jesus’ warning pointed to a time …. when the spiritual turbulence would become such, that even the elect would become vulnerable. A time perhaps at hand.
It was to those who had become embedded in the religious community for their own personal gain, that Jesus was the hardest. These were ones who had begun missing the forest for the trees, living by the precepts of men, feathering their own nests and digressing into the letter of the law, while missing its intent for the community standard of mercy and justice. These are those whose diligence in maintaining their spiritual borders and choices had become blinded to the degree that relegated them to being like Job’s friends.
The Responsibility of Being a Voice
It bears on one of the more profound observations of leadership, of being a voice, found in the words of Jesus: “Everyone to whom much is given, of him much more will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand even more.” Luke 12:48
Likewise, James advised that the responsibility of being a teacher of Truth carries a higher standard. Being a voice of the Lord carries a responsibility that should constantly trigger the fear of God. Even in his deepest despair, Scripture indicates that Job did not waver in his fear of God.
To the ranks of the righteous came Jesus’ warning which should give pause and deep reflection. It is His admonition (Matt 12:36) of accountability on the day of judgment for every idle word. This is not intended to constrict wholesome exchanges in search of truth and the mantle of being a voice, but rather to avoid the reckless misuse and abuse of spiritual authority and prophetic admonitions.
The context provoking this warning was to leaders who in their spiritual pride and blindness misused their positions and authority …. who with their words of influence sowed division and misdirection, which undermined God’s intent for the community..
“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.” Matt 12:25
The intent was for the increase in spiritual maturity being evidenced with unity within the household of faith. Indeed it was for more; for greater dimensions than Job had yet to be exposed to. It was for the equalizers releasing the supernatural and the authority to wield it. That involves higher dimensions with the choices and priorities in maintaining a sharp focus to God’s heart and priorities.
The Passage and Raising the Bar
Jesus came that we might have Life and have Life more abundantly. Throughout His earthly ministry, He consistently raised the bar for those who would embrace His message. On the other hand, those who sow discord, confusion and obstacles through presumption and misguided words yield to a force that encompasses a life of its own.
And so it was, that with Job’s deeper revelation of God came a new season; for Job and for his community. It was a passage into greater responsibility for those opening the gates, spiritually and materially.
With the passage into the new season came not only restoration, but an overflow from the higher dimensions Job embraced in God. Scripture indicates the restoration to be double what he had had before …. along with higher levels of the linking of honor and authority as Job’s friends were abruptly made aware.
Significantly, it was Job’s prayer for their deliverance from the consequences of their idle words that became the catalyst for the restoration. The restoration trickled down with the blessings that result from the community standard and intent being intact. Then, with the greater honor bestowed upon Job by the community, he also was given seven more sons and three more daughters …. together with whom he progressed into his old age enjoying the blessings of God with four generations around him.
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Morris Ruddick has been a forerunner of the Joseph-calling and God’s economy message, being an international voice for the higher dimensions of spiritual game-changers and intercessors since the mid-90s. As founder of Global Initiatives Foundation, the Strategic Intercession Global Network [SIGN] and designer of the God’s Economy Entrepreneurial Equippers Program and the Jewish Business Secrets YouTube series, Mr. Ruddick’s messages equip leaders and 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.
Global Initiatives Foundation (www.strategic-initiatives.org) is a tax-exempt 501 (c) 3 non-profit whose efforts 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 3838 South Wabash Street, Denver CO 80237 or by credit card at https://strategic-initiatives.org/donate/
2023 Copyright Morris Ruddick — email@example.com
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 more information go to https://strategic-initiatives.org