Spiritual Oases

by Morris Ruddick on June 4, 2012


© Morris E. Ruddick

“O house of Jacob, come and walk in the light of the Lord. Because they are filled with occult ways and influences of the east, the Lord has forsaken His people who have become as soothsayers. The land is filled with treasures. They worship idols made with their own hands.” Isaiah 2:5-8

This last fall, I had a series of spiritual assignments that in the aggregate involved more than I was expecting. As I traversed four nations, including my own, I was exposed to a far wider range of the occult and its influence on both the cultures and those known by His Name, than I have seen anytime recently. Having become spiritually spent, as I took some time for recovery, I encountered a spiritual oasis.

An oasis is a place of refuge. Spiritually, an oasis is a fertile place amid spiritual barrenness. It provides refreshment, relief and a contrast to the spiritual desert surrounding it.

My awareness of this oasis took place in a simple Christmas-season church service and then later in a small fellowship gathering. But the oasis-dynamic had less to do with the service or the fellowship. It was defined by the couple who pastor this small church on the east coast. Their love for the Lord simply spills over to those around them. So, in their wake was this oasis, a safe place spiritually. Its context was really nothing out of the ordinary, except that in its simplicity and purity, the Spirit of the Lord was there.

As I’ve prayed about this experience, I’ve begun realizing the significant role that marketplace ambassadors have to establishing spiritual oases in barren spiritual atmospheres. Both Joseph the Patriarch and Daniel created spiritual oases at each juncture during their tenures within environments of idolatry and sorcery.

Creating a spiritual oasis flows from who we are, wherever we are, as we impart the reality of the Lord within the context of what we are doing to who we are with. A spiritual oasis can take place in just about any setting, being led by any whose spiritual maturity and walk with Jesus is grounded in God’s word and led by His Spirit.

My unique oasis experience brought a refreshing from the Lord as I recovered from the role I had served in planting oases in tough spiritual environments. With this concept of an oasis in mind, I soon afterward had a most unusual contrasting observation made to me. In a land known for its lawlessness, corruption and poverty, a genuinely-called modern-day Joseph explained to me the fervency of the brethren of his nation to find transformation opportunity for the Kingdom.

Oases within the World’s System
His explanation continued with the observation about many brethren, who eventually discover gateways to that opportunity. This opportunity typically carries the requirement, like Joseph, of working on the inside of the world’s system.

With tears in his eyes, this brother noted that more often than not, the ones finding opportunity in the world’s system, rather than becoming oases of influence, are soon exhibiting the subtleties of corruption, with the caveat that you’ll see them in church the next week mouthing what now have become empty words.
“No one calls for justice nor does any plead for truth. They trust in empty words and speak lies; they conceive evil and bring forth iniquity. They hatch vipers’ eggs and weave spider’s webs. He who eats of their eggs dies and from that which is crushed a viper breaks out.”
Isaiah 59:4-5

The issue is not so much in the spiritual barrenness, which indeed is very real, but rather in the places that should be spiritual oases, but are not. Those exhibiting the mantle of ones anointed to create the oases, instead become just like the world around them. In short, the path into the release of spiritual oases in seats of power is laden with snares and entanglements that seduce the very elect.

Jesus said, “You’re going to be in the world, but not of the world.” (John 17:15, 16) Jesus also admonished us to “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

Mature Identity in God
The foundation to establishing spiritual oases begins not with the opportunity, but with our identity in God. Similarly, our identity in God has to extend to being operationally true, with more, much more than a doctrinal stance driven by the precepts of men. That something more is the maturity factor, without which the unprepared become like the world around them.

Genesis 39 demonstrates that the Egyptians witnessed the reality of God through Joseph because of the blessings they observed that came through Joseph. For Daniel, it involved a miraculous deliverance from death as he refused to compromise the stance of his identity in God.

Yet, when working on the inside of the world’s system, misguided zeal begins enticing acceptance of the world’s cultural premises, rather than staying the more difficult course of the Kingdom pathway. Confusion ensues over embracing what the world defines as success, as the original opportunity begins to fade and mesh into having its own purpose, rather than serving the Kingdom’s.

Humility and Single-Minded Purpose
Resisting the seduction of the system begins with simplicity. Joseph’s witness began in the lowliest of positions by the way he stewarded his responsibilities and brought blessings as a result. He was a spiritual oasis who bridged the cultural gap, as he demonstrated the reality of God within the Egyptian system.

Joseph became an example of faith, stewardship and steadfastness as he applied righteous power in a corrupt world system. He eventually became the right man at the right place at the right time, certainly not through his position or personal achievements, but through his unwavering identity in God.

Simultaneously, Joseph established trust through his stewardship. His righteous stance in Potiphar’s employ first won him promotion, but then came the backlash. Employing righteous power in a corrupt setting will have its risks.
“Justice is turned back and righteousness stands afar off; for truth is fallen in the street and equity cannot enter. So truth fails and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. But the Lord saw it and it displeased Him. He wondered that there was no one to intercede.”
  Isaiah 59:14-16

Yet, despite going from bad to worse, from slave to prisoner, Joseph remained a faithful steward whose identity in God never wavered. He gained the favor and trust of the jailer and again, within this lowly position he was recognized and promoted. It was then, from his position in prison, that his spiritual gift was called for when Pharaoh was troubled by his dreams.

Mantle and Authority to be an Oasis
At each juncture in his tenure in Egypt, Joseph was a spiritual oasis. He was a spiritual oasis demonstrating God’s righteous power and blessing.
“So, I also lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation. Whoever believes will not act hastily.”
Isaiah 28:16

Cultural gates employ variations of sorcery and death as their basis of power. Penetrating the gates with the employment of righteous power at these levels involves a cost. More often than not, a significant part of that cost will be a faceoff with death.
“Shall the throne of iniquity (destruction, corruption), which devises evil by law, have fellowship with You? They gather together against the life of the righteous and condemn innocent blood. But the Lord has been my defense, and my God the rock of my refuge. He has brought on them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness; the Lord our God shall cut them off.”
Psalm 94:20-23

Joseph’s penetration of Egypt’s corrupt power came not from status or accomplishment, but through God, from the most humble and unlikely of positions.

The strategy he employed remains the same when we are given the mantle of employing righteous power in a corrupt system: becoming a spiritual oasis. Within the oasis, God’s authority takes root. Yet God’s authority only operates through those who bear an identity as being known by His Name.

Imparting God’s Reality in Evil Times
The days upon us are evil. Psalm 94:20 describes the setting of evil around us. One translation describes it as the throne of destruction, another as a corrupt throne. Still another commonly used translation is the throne of iniquity; iniquity being the body of evil embraced by a generation within a particular culture. Iniquity is a covenant of power with death.
“I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line; the hail will sweep away the refuge of lies and waters will overflow the hiding place. Your covenant with death will be annulled and your agreement with Sheol will not stand.”
Isaiah 28:17-18

The paradigm has shifted. These are days in which the occult is coming out of the closet. The calling for the Body requires a great deal more than the superficial; a great deal more than just more-of-the-same harder; and especially a lot more than the agendas coming from a foundation of spiritual conceit.

Humility is the byword with the admonition from Isaiah 28 that “he who believes will not act hastily.” Righteousness is much more than our good thoughts, intentions and actions. It extends into the community dynamic that builds up those around us by means of the oasis defined by our sphere.

In terms of Body maturity, no one group has an edge. That’s both its strength and the weakness. It’s humbling to have to reach beyond ourselves. Yet, we each possess a piece with none who can point the finger in scorn. None of us can afford to become intoxicated with the consciousness of the spiritual reality of our own spheres. With the paradigm shifting, so have our roles.

The shift in roles will coincide with a shift in purpose. Operating an oasis within the world’s system will involve a delicate balance as alignments are made, new dimensions of purpose discerned and set-times revealed.

Body maturity actuates when the community is governed and moves in unison with God. Strength and momentum will result from God’s people with shared purposes in the world’s system regularly meeting to seek God and His wisdom as they strategize.

The pathway that pierces the darkness with His light pivots on the application of righteous power superseding not just the darkness, but the precepts of men with Truth as God plants oases in the heart of the spiritual atmospheres where iniquity and evil breed destruction and corruption.
“Then the fool will no longer be called generous, nor the miser said to be bountiful. The schemes of the schemer are evil; devising wicked plans to destroy the poor with lying words, despite the needy speaking justice. The generous man devises generous plans, and by generosity he shall stand.”
Isaiah 32: 5-8

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