The Reach and Rhythm
Insightfully, the Psalmist captured a vital dimension of our response to the journey of life we face when he mixed his metaphors with the admonition to taste and see that the Lord is good. The conclusion of the counsel of this Psalm aptly fits the context and spiritual reality we need in this season: “Blessed are all those who take refuge in Him.” Ps 34:8b
This “tasting and seeing” wasn’t written when everything was pristine and going well, but rather when the pressures were over the top with a need only satisfied by truly abiding in God … with the gist of this psalm perhaps better expressed by the words in the Passion translation: to drink deeply of God and experience the depths found by all who hide themselves in Him.
Tapping a parallel reality on the Mount of Transfiguration, Jesus noted that among those standing with Him were “some” who would not “taste” death until they saw the Kingdom coming in power. Having spent a significant time seeking the Lord to better understand the dynamics of the lives of Enoch and Elijah who bypassed “the taste” of death, I’m reminded of a glimmer I have previously used in describing the Kingdom pathway: of it being a narrow corridor between Life and death.
With that description of the pathway and intensity of the season and these words of Jesus to those who were with Him at the time of His transfiguration … in standing between the natural and spiritual worlds … I similarly find myself reminded of a distinction and depth in the grasp that John’s Gospel had for this Kingdom pathway.
There is no question that in that pivotal stage in their walk with Jesus, that Peter, James and John …. in being brought with Jesus to this encounter with the spiritual world being unveiled, that they were there first because of the intensity of their reach and then because Jesus had the blueprint of what lay ahead in their assignment and destinies.
For the coming assignment, there was more required, uniquely captured in John’s Gospel … of the spiritual rhythm and rest needed to live at the brink of this spiritual threshold they had experienced at Jesus’ transfiguration. John’s Gospel captures what the Psalmist described with the “tasting and seeing” …. of “drinking deeply of God and experiencing the depths found by all who hide themselves in Him.”
John’s Gospel uniquely taps the depths needed for believers to operate as sons of Light …. in what for Enoch and Elijah involved facing brutal extremes of darkness …. for what David described as the valley of the shadow of death …. what for Daniel and his companions was a series of encounters in facing death head-on … and the fact that the intensity of the spiritual atmosphere for Jesus’ faithful inner-circle, following the resurrection, was such that it was only John who ultimately was not martyred.
In gaining a grasp of what was different for Enoch and Elijah, as well as the realities faced by those who walked with Jesus faithfully, there is no question that the distinction begins with the reach …. the poise of the soul in response to the surrounding darkness … and the seriousness of the reality of walking in-sync with God along this narrow path.
Following the transfiguration encounter, not unlike the Mary-Martha priority, John is pictured reclining close to Jesus, embracing a dimension defined by the rhythm of his response; then following the ascension, in the balance he maintained traversing that narrow corridor between Life and death. The significance of the reality tapped by John is dramatically illustrated by Jesus entrusting to John His most valued earthly possession, His mother, while in the midst of the pain of dying on the cross.
There exists something of the fervency of the reach that releases the God-trust for the uniqueness of the assignment imparted to not only Jesus’ inner circle but to each follower abiding in the rhythm of His presence. This factor of God extending His trust has a history. It coincides with the assignments of ones like Enoch, Noah, Elijah, Moses, Joseph, David, Daniel and a handful of others described in Scripture as tapping His presence.
“I have found in David, son of Jesse, a man who always pursues my heart to accomplish all that I have destined him to do.” Acts 13:22 tPt
Better understanding this “reach,” taps two levels: first relationally with God and then with the grasp of one’s assignment. It is the difference captured by the Psalmist between tasting and seeing … in order to find and enter that place of refuge.
The accompanying rhythm represents the balance required to operate between the natural and supernatural worlds. It took Peter a little longer than John to sufficiently get beyond himself in being able to find the rhythm to abide in that place of His presence … in that narrow corridor between Life and death.
So it is for all who God extends this trust to: of it being worthy of taking a closer look into this place of rest that John uncovered, operating between the natural and spiritual worlds.
This closer look at this place of His presence, found through the rhythm of abiding in His rest bears first on the grasp of the assignment. Overriding the specifics of an individual or community assignment is a God-priority and perspective … such as it has been from the beginning: of restoration. It is the restoration from the Genesis 3 fall, the Genesis 6 release of wickedness that came through the creation of hybrid celestial/human beings and the Genesis 12 power-play with the Tower of Babel. These combined events were key parts of the rebellion and attempt to overthrow God’s intentions for mankind. They tap big-picture dimensions, individually, community-wise and from God’s perspective of the assignment.
This God-priority and perspective unveil subtleties …. that exist between our grasp of the goal versus the strategy. Strategies shift with the times, whereas goals, properly defined tend to be more constant. Restoration represents the overarching big-picture goal.
So it is that the drama being played out from the time of these events in Genesis offer a glimpse triggered by the steps toward restoration that God has entrusted to key players over the centuries … the focus of the assignment of which we now face our part.
Unveiling a key to the reach and the assignment are the words God spoke to Solomon when he became king and was entrusted with David’s legacy. Those revealing words were:
“If you will live in my presence, as did David your father, in pureness of heart and uprightness, doing everything I have ordered you to do, observing my laws and rulings; then I will establish the throne of your kingdom.” 1 Kings 9:4-5 CJB
There’s no question that both David and Solomon had times of serious faltering, but each penetrated the veil in their accomplishment of the reach and the assignment … and the order between the goal and the strategy. It was a reach and assignment preceding Kingdom building, reversing the impact created by God’s enemies in Genesis 3, 6 and 12: with the authority over death.
David repeatedly set the stage for his legacy during his encounters in facing death …. from the time of Goliath to his years of being chased by Saul to the time of assuming his role as king in simultaneously bringing all Israel together … and then with his battles in defeating the tribes of celestial-human hybrid giants warring against God … as scripture unveils as the reach David gave in accomplishing his assignment: “living in God’s presence, uprightly doing all God wanted him to do.”
As the shepherd boy who faced King Saul’s nemesis, David’s time in God’s presence had revealed to him that “though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.” It was these victories over death that affirmed his big-picture authority. Time and again, David understood what it meant to simultaneously live in God’s presence as he traversed that narrow corridor between Life and death in the accomplishment of his assignment.
However, there is more. It might best be understood as the rhythm of the assignment. This rhythm is uniquely linked to relationships. That link begins and has to remain irretrievably constant with God … but then bleeds into the indelible bond and purpose operating with those being fitted together by the Spirit for specific Kingdom assignments.
This bond and purpose that is fit together by the Spirit represents the most foundational basis of biblical community. It was modeled by what Jesus formed with the small-group intimacy of His inner circle; with ties to the secret components revealed in John’s Gospel. It bears a spiritual rhythm that begins with the cultural identity of the Kingdom. It reflects the potent strategy of intimate, small group dynamics needed for the warfare dimension of this season.
Culturally, far too many around the globe have embraced diminished worldviews, not to speak of confusing goals with strategies, that have reduced their assignments from being a part of a supernatural movement orchestrated by the Spirit that turns a corrupt world on its ear. It is that subtle reflection gleaned from Paul’s wisdom that “That which is begun in the Spirit cannot be worked out in the flesh.”
Glimmers from John’s Secret Place
More so than his compatriots in Jesus’ inner circle, John captured and grasped the glimmers of this secret-place tied to the rhythm of the assignment. It reflects the flexibility and power tied to the mode of the early church in meeting house to house. It transcends such gatherings digressing into spectator events; instead engendering and mobilizing each participant, by the Spirit, in the nurture of their anointing and gifts.
“Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, a teaching, a tongue, a revelation, an interpretation.” 1 Cor 14:26
It enhances the pathway into the depths required for walking in the Light needed to disperse darkness.
“Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness but will have the Light which gives Life.” John 8:12 CJB
It is this perspective – of the interactive secret place of His presence – that resulted in Jesus admonishing the religious rulers of His day against the seductive nature of what he referred to as the precepts of men. The result of yielding to the precepts of men is the diminishing of the essential spiritual truths to where the assignment is reduced to majoring in minor issues and minoring in major issues. Keeping in mind the big-picture goal of the authority to restore, John lays out the foundation of Jesus’ message with:
“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” John 11:25-26 ESV
Then, expressing one of those amazing Kingdom oxymorons, John punctuates the truth of Jesus’ words with:
“Whoever loves his life loses it and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.” John 12:25-26
Honor indeed, it being one of those subtle dimensions from on High accompanying the authority and power for the assignment.
In John 12, in response to the voice of thunder coming from heaven, Jesus noted it was not for His sake but theirs that it came and explained: “Now is the time for this world to be judged, now the ruler of this world will be expelled. As for me, when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” John 12:31-32 CJB The Passion translation of verse 31 better stresses this truth regarding the authority and power for the assignment: “From this moment on, everything in this world is about to change, for the ruler of this dark world will be overthrown.”
Then John captures the famous truth tied to Jesus being the Light of the word with the admonishment to “walk in the Light while you have the Light, lest darkness overtake you.” He further explains that “the one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the Light, believe in the Light, that you may become sons of Light.” John 12:35-36
John’s gospel then unfolds a significant transition with the importance of the Passover, the institution of communion and in washing the disciples’ feet, the combined focus undergirding servant leadership. Following that, Jesus punctuated the truth of Him being “the way, the truth and the Life.” John 14:6
The Place of Abiding and Greater Works
With that came the truth and power, not unlike what God spoke to Solomon of abiding in His presence: “Truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” John 14:12-14 Being able to ask “anything” is found in the abiding.
Jesus then explained the dynamic of what would happen with His resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit: “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14-26-28
John’s gospel then takes a leap with its depth … explaining not just the essential nature of abiding, but the result that comes from the transition in the relationship John so intimately grasped … from being a servant to one who understands what his master is doing … in becoming a friend. What Jesus was explaining about abiding was stressed with the analogy of Jesus being the vine and the Father the vinedresser. In this truth is the intent of those who believe … of becoming fruitful as carriers of His presence and authority.
“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, then you will ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” John 15:7
Persecution, Judgment and Birthing
Then in the chapter 16, John notes the truth Jesus explained to the disciples of the correlation between the persecution and judgment to come. He spoke of the impact from the colliding of sin, righteousness and judgment …. and described this impact with the analogy of birthing.
This is pertinent for the times now upon us, as with the increase in persecution, is the expectation of a birthing underway. This sequence in John 16 … the birthing that results from the colliding of sin, righteous and judgment is in itself worthy of a far deeper look. It taps the authority for judgment. But for now, it is the catalyst for the release of the power of the Holy Spirit which followed the resurrection …. and with that, enhanced the secret of abiding in His presence in order to wield the “greater works” that were promised in John 14.
It is the trigger that caused a crowd in Thessalonica in Acts 17:6 to drag a number of believers before the rulers with the accusation that: “These are those who are turning the world upside down.” It is the transition that will distance us from the unscriptural concept of “the laity” …. to becoming a Body singularly mobilized and empowered as a society of leaders and game-changers, albeit a remnant.
It all combines into the rhythm, the pulse of the Life that comes from His presence that takes one like Peter, who went from a stance of one who couldn’t keep his mouth shut because of what he thought he knew, to becoming the vessel and game-changing leader-of-leaders whose simple shadow people sought because of the Presence and power that it carried.
So it is, in that place of refuge when the intensity of the season makes the best of human effort insufficient …. that we are admonished to taste and to see …. as we become the vessels of His blessing. Indeed, may we find that secret place of the reach and rhythm to drink deeply of God and experience the depths found by all who have hidden themselves in 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/
2022 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