by Morris Ruddick on August 12, 2014


(c) Morris E. Ruddick

“I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.” Isa 22:22 NIV

Just prior in this sequence of scripture, the prophet had spoken words of judgment against a leader who had fallen short, who was misusing the authority of his office. In establishing Picture13his replacement, a unique mantle was bestowed, with an authority that dovetailed with that of David’s line, an authority to lock and unlock spiritual gates.

David’s greatest exploit was in overcoming the divisions within the community of God’s people and aligning them to pursue God’s Kingdom purposes, as one. That factor is the substance of a genuine Kingdom leadership mantle.

The significance of rightly shepherding God’s people is illustrated by this Isaiah 22 story of the mantle being stripped from Shebna and then bestowed to Eliakim. The change involved one whose stewardship, on behalf of God’s people, fell short as it passed a subtle threshold, losing its focus — from its design to mobilize and align God’s people — to Shebna becoming obsessed with power and the personal benefit from his position.

A full grasp of the scope of this Kingdom leadership dynamic is vital to the preparation of the Body needed for this hour. It is vital to wielding the key to unlocking the bondage of corruption and releasing the transformation that affects societal change.

The Hurdle to Unlock
One of the biggest, if not the biggest gap in the Church today — is the need for something practical and engaging, to enable each believer to WALK OUT A CALL OF GOD.

We’ve emerged at a change of generations with a “me-too” orientation. We’ve confused the tactical with the strategic. We’ve made models out of what may have been simply successful stepping stones for a time, stepping stones never intended as the standard or the model to be followed. Short-sighted misuse of tactical means for strategic ends can impede the unlocking and passage into new gateways.

Volunteerism, for example, is not an end in itself, but rather the steps in the path toward its adherents correctly identifying and then being prepared for release to walk out their own callings. Mimicking success, instead of following the move of the Spirit, of the cloud by day and the fire by night, can be a trap. It impedes maturity within the Body needed to rightly discern and engage in God’s strategies for the times.

The blind-spot at the core of such subtle snares is akin to the downfall of Shebna, of becoming in-bred and self-serving. This deception short-circuits the big-picture purposes of the Spirit. The momentum for this misaligned zeal is driven by the overuse or misapplication of early-stage successes and priorities.

This in-bred myopia can breed lone-ranger congregations. Progressively misaligned priorities result in a failure to interact with, pray with and work together with other believers within the surrounding community. It waters down the important factor of how we seek the Lord together. It results in falling short in mobilizing God’s people to discern and walk out the calling of God for the day at hand.

In-bred myopia masks the keys needed to unlock the strategies needed to avoid the mix between the collisions taking place due to the “me-too” and “Shebna empire,” lone-ranger, short-sighted expenditures of energy and anointing.

There have been almost overwhelming inroads of darkness operating within our cultures, seats of power and economies. However, as God’s people, we have a disproportionate advantage. David identified and unleashed that advantage.

The goal is the alignment and mobilization of a people who become the true demonstration of the reality of God for which the world longs. The strategy was soundly implemented by David. Its dimensions are so significant that reference is given to them from the Prophets. to the Book of Acts, to Revelations.

These dimensions are referred to as the key of David and the tabernacle of David.

The Mantle of David
David’s role in overcoming all the strife and division — in bringing the community of God’s people together carries significance very close to the Father’s heart. It is the standard for the Kingdom. It is the standard to release Body maturity. It represents the crux of turning, the key that unlocks the power in which Light disperses darkness.

This unlocking is also uniquely tied to another dimension tied to the mantle of David, referred to as the tabernacle of David. The tabernacle is the place where God’s presence resides. Yet, this dynamic embraces much more than the warm glow from worship. Worship is certainly a significant part, but again is a means to an end.

The goal is the progressive consciousness of God’s presence that guides the community as a whole, and becomes the pathway through which the community is built and serves as a Light on a hill.

It is when the infectious reality of God’s presence results in the unified community itself becoming spiritually contagious, that the attention of the surrounding community is attracted, being drawn into its sphere. When in operation, it overwhelmingly challenges the gatekeepers of darkness.

The Impact of Unity and God’s Presence
Acts 15:12-17 tells of a time of major turning in the early Church following Jesus’ resurrection and the outpouring of the Spirit, when a move of God began the unlocking of gates, which previously had been locked. A very key part of this unlocking was opening the gates for the Gentiles to partake in the promises long held by the Jewish people.
“So open the gates, so that those who are righteous may enter.” Isaiah 26:2

It was a time marked by the reality of the wonders of God’s presence. This was another gate unlocked in which the anointing became available to all believers. It was a time of true revival, a time in which believers and non-believers alike, recognized and were being drawn by God’s manifested presence. A great fear of the Lord fell upon not only all the church, but also upon all who witnessed and heard about these things (Acts 5:11; Acts 6:8; Acts 8:6). It was a time when the impact was described by members of the world, as “the world being turned upside down” (Acts 17:6).

Scripture (Matt 24:36; Acts 1:7) refers to set-times determined by the Father alone. Paralleling the above examples from the early Church, we have entered times strategically mapped out in the heart of God. Since the time of the resurrection and outpouring of the Spirit, God’s people — both Israel and the Church — have encountered new things, sovereignly unlocked by moves of the Spirit.

Israel’s 1948 Independence and then regaining control of Jerusalem in 1967 are modern-day examples. Each was tied to new gates of revival and unity in God’s move toward the reestablishment of His order in the cultural, power and economic systems. Today, Israel and the Church are poised before another such unlocking.

The Model for Preparation
So, what are the steps to preparing for God’s next steps of progressively unlocking the cultural, power and economic systems? Avoiding the Shebna blind-spots and embracing the keys given Eliakim begins with the preparation needed for ALL to be fully engaged in walking out their callings. It begins in being prepared as a culture within a culture in being led by the Spirit to impart Life in the infrastructures of the world’s systems.

The preparation has got to dispel the unscriptural premise of the sacred and the secular that categorizes and separates ministers from the laity. The sin of Shebna, was also the sin of the Pharisees. Jesus’ choice of those He drew together as His closest followers broke the mold for religious leadership with his cross-section from every walk of life. These everyday people included people of business, professionals, military leaders, government employees, people of disrepute and people of society.

It challenged the premise of a distanced, leadership-elite and raised the bar for service and responsibility, along with extending the mantle of leadership to the community as a whole. With the big-picture model of God-centered, economic community development employed from the days of Abraham, leadership is the influence from everyday people operating in everyday domains for the common good. The key to unlocking these next gates will begin with the preparation needed to break the mold to release entire communities.

The Preparation
In the early 1970s, I left what was in its own right a calling, in order to prepare myself in the pursuit of a higher calling. Having spent almost eight years as a US Marine, I hungered for the opportunity, for the rest of my days, to be used by God.

There were steps in that process. As new Christians we were blessed to attend a church led by a man of God who opened to us the riches of God’s Word. Then as we became immersed in the application of God’s truth, together with wise counsel, we were released and sent forth to prepare for entrance into God’s plan, as I became a student at Oral Roberts University.

While the academics provided a discipline and depth in learning how to rightly divide the word of Truth, there was another, very essential and practical dimension. At the core of ORU’s mandate is training up young people to hear God’s voice to go where God’s light is dim.

Academics were only one part. Together with mentorships and a process of coming to know God and His heart, we were given the foundations for walking out a call of God. Functioning in a vibrant, interactive community, we were given the basics needed to live and maintain a lifestyle of faith, of being led by the Spirit.

The Nurturing and Application
Within this setting was a strong foundation in the living Word. The greatest influence on my future calling was the interactive nurturing that came through God’s Word, the testimonies, the times of praying with and the wisdom imparted by ones with their own track record in successfully walking out a call of God.

This foundation and nurturing became the launch-pad for the real-life applications in discerning God’s guidance and then stepping out in faith — to walk out the calling and pathway that lay before us.

The simplicity for this preparation was demonstrated by Jesus’ nurturing and application of the teaching He imparted to His inner circle during His earthly ministry. The process was very practical. There was teaching, observation and then real-life applications.

Jesus spent nights in prayer seeking the Father as His followers observed His life and how he ministered to the people. Jesus taught His disciples the basics of applying faith, prayer and how to apply righteous power in corrupt settings. The key in this process is the word “application.” Jesus taught His followers to be doers of the word and not just hearers.

Then there came a time when He released them. It was a significant transition. Jesus told them that no longer did He consider them disciples, but friends. Friends are those you trust. Friends are ones with whom you entrust your responsibility and share the keys. Not long afterward was the cross, then the resurrection and the outpouring of the Spirit. From that point, everything changed.

Unlocking the Pathway
In today’s turbulent spiritual atmospheres, the standard of Body maturity Paul outlined in his letter to the Ephesians is no longer an option. The greatest hurdle is from within. It is the in-bred, short-sightedness in which the means becomes the end whereby leadership fails in its Kingdom function of serving, taking on a life of its own.

During the course of the last generation, the rise of the parachurch movement, the influence and expansion of Christian media, distance learning and webinars, the mobilization of banners that bear on standards for legislation have all coincided with the acceleration of Body maturity, which in turn has met head-on, the inroads being made by darkness.

While the stakes are higher and the bar has been raised, God’s keys of unlocking can be expected to retain their unstoppable potency. The standard of maturity and need for alignment — not unlike what David actuated in bringing all Israel together — is bedrock to all that lies ahead for the Lord’s plans for the Church and for Israel. It begins with a faithful, strategically-poised remnant.

At the crux in this process is equipping the saints for the work of their callings. With the traction this yields, the mantle of David will be triggered in actuating unity for the revival-level manifested presence of God that mobilizes us as the community of believers needed for this hour.

During times of preparation, the focus will involve the infrastructures for timely life-training, from local congregations to Internet-based Kingdom-life programs to Bible schools and more, each preparing both individuals and the community for emerging as the Kingdom force that Jesus intended, to penetrate the darkness and draw all men to Himself.
“If you have run with footmen and they have wearied you, then how will you contend with horses. If in the land of peace in which you trusted they wearied you, then how will you do on the floodplain of the Jordan.” Jeremiah 12:5


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