Sunday, June 17, 2007 (Date written)
This edition is Part 5 of the series I began a few weeks ago on the phenomenal promises contained in Psalm 112. If you did not read the previous editions, I urge you to do so.
Please understand that I am not one of those “prosperity preachers.” I do believe the modern “Prosperity Gospel” has brought immeasureable spiritual harm to the Body of Christ at-large on a global basis. However, too often we tend to “throw out the baby with the bathwater.” There are a great number of passages of Scripture telling us how much God indeed does want us to “prosper and be in (good) health even as our soul prospers.” But, the last part of that Scripture is the weightier and balancing part. Prosperity, success, and divine healing and health taken out of context of the rest of Scripture that speaks of seemingly antithetical and counterbalancing matters becomes erroneous teaching that is an abomination to God because that is precisely what God calls “a false balance,” which is “an abomination to God.”
There is no doubt that the pendulum has swung too far to the extremes concerning prosperity and success in the preaching and teaching of some, especially among the “name it and claim it,” “blad it and grab it” crowd — the so-called “Word of Faith” camp. Unfortunately, when that happens the swing of the pendulum is equidistant in the other direction as well. I’m for the true or correct balance in all things; and I believe God is too.
The problem is that when writing about such matters where there is controversy, error, and excess on both ends of the spectrum, it is difficult to speak the truth without sounding to those who favor one extreme of the pendulum swing that you are part of and aligned with those favoring the other extreme. In my own case, I’m not part of any particular doctrinal camp except God’s. My desire is to be aligned with the Truth. Of course many would make the same claim, but any truth taken to extremes becomes error, yet the error of the extemists does not make the truth any less true.
I really believe the only safeguard against error in matters of truth is that we must have a contemporaneous co-existence of the Spirit with the Truth in order to come down on God’s side with a correct, rather than false, balance. As the Spirit said through the Apostle Paul, matters of truth are “spiritually-appraised” or “spiritually-discerned.” That’s why Jesus called the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth. May we all seek and possess the “Truth” of the Spirit in all these vital matters of the Kingdom.
With that preface, let’s move on to the message of this post. For those who have not read it in previous posts, here again is this powerful Psalm 112, on which this series is based, in its entirety.
1 Praise the LORD. Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who finds great delight in his commands.
2 His children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.
3 Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever.
4 Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man.
5 Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice.
6 Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever.
7 He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.
8 His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes.
9 He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor, his righteousness endures forever; his horn will be lifted high in honor.
10 The wicked man will see and be vexed, he will gnash his teeth and waste away; the longings of the wicked will come to nothing.
The entire Psalm 112 is speaking about the righteous man who fears the Lord and who finds great delight in his commands. Yet, in speaking about this man and his life, the focus is not only on him, but also on his children, his household, and the inheritance and legacy he leaves behind that continues to live long after he is gone. Thus, this man is a father and grandfather, and the patriarch of a lineage that follows after him.
As I was musing upon what I would be writing next in this series, the Lord suddenly and unexpectedly began giving me some prophetic revelation concerning the topic reflected in the title of this post. On this Father’s Day of 2007, I am making a start at sharing some of what He showed me, in the context of the current series.
Reclaiming Fatherhood and Restoring Fathers!
It simply cannot be an accident or coincidence that the Old Testament concludes in the last two verses in the last chapter of the last book, Malachi, with this prophecy:
“Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. And he will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children, and hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the land with a curse.”
As I stated at the beginning, I believe the primary purpose of the prophetic, or at least the Elijah-type of prophetic ministry, those who operate in the “spirit and power of Elijah” (Lk. 1:17), is to restore fatherhood and reclaim fathers, both in the spiritual and natural realms (more on this in the next post).
Reflected in the substance of this Malachi prophecy that culminates the Old Testament is the fact that the primary purpose of the prophetic, despite the fact that the modern prophetic restoration movement seems to focus on everything but, is to restore fatherhood and reclaim fathers, both in the spiritual and natural realms. As we discussed in the previous post, there is a major dearth of fatherhood manifest in the land today that is producing numerous curses in the land, just as Malachi’s prophecy predicted.
The purpose of the restoration of the prophetic is not to use it for self-aggrandizing purposes such as to build a large ministry base of people who share an interest in the prophetic, or prophetic organizations and networks comprised of “prophetic people,” as some have seen it as being. In fact, my personal view is, all that is a bastardization of the prophetic restoration. I personally believe it is blasphemous to “use” any move of God for self-aggrandizement, and that those who do so heap judgment upon themselves.
Historically, self-aggrandizement was the primary reason for God writing “Ichabod” over former movements and so-called “revivals” of that past after only a few years of duration or less. Most former moves were only short-lived, though those who “hitched their wagons” to what God was doing attempted to “ride the wave” many years after God brought cessation to a movement and the cloud by day and fire by night had already moved on. Unfortunately, there are always those who believe God has delegated “ownership” of a move, revival, or emphasis of the Spirit, that leads them to construct man-made wooden carts through which to capitalize all they possibly can on what God is doing. And, inevitably such attitudes of entitlement and ascendency opens the door wide to evil spirits that eventually will corrupt both the movement as well as its principals and participants.
Virtually all former movements of the Spirit were attended with “camps” who refused to break camp long after the Spirit had moved on, but continued to build the three tabernacles per the “Peter Principle” proffered by Simon Peter as he, James, and John were “coming down” (both physically and emotionally) following the Mount of Transfiguration experience: “let us build three tabernacles.” There are always those who want to capture and incarcerate the Spirit in their man-made tabernacle of dwelling, and confine Him to their exclusive and elite camp.
But the Spirit will have none of that! He no longer dwells in human tabernacles and temples, organizations and networks, made with human hands, but in human hearts. The Glory of God still cannot be carried on wooden (symbolizes man-made), ox-drawn (oxen typify human ministers) carts, but must be carried on the shoulders of the Levites, for the government (of the Church Jesus is building) “shall be upon HIS shoulders” [Is. 9:6] (apostles and prophets, in particular).
The purpose of the prophetic is far greater and of a much higher level than what many claiming to be prophets are operating in today.
As I stated in an article I authored and published in 2003 concerning prophetic purpose:
“It’s not to use the prophetic to build a name for oneself, or to promote and proliferate a ministry, a minister, or a movement, or to develop a means of support or income for a ministry or minister, or to sell books, or to become well-known or famous, or to build a church, a following, or a prophetic organization, or to achieve personal ambitions. The true Purpose of the prophetic is none of those things.”
The foundation of the Kingdom of God is fatherhood. In essence, all Kingdom principles are fathering principles, rooted in fatherhood. There is no higher office or function than fatherhood. Our relationship with God is a relationship between a Father and His children. Yet, God delegates to human parents the role and tasks of parenting His children while they are minors. Though it seems to be such a difficult concept for human parents to grasp, “children are a gift of the Lord.” Children come from the Lord. Human parents are not the “owners” of their children, but they are merely on loan to them while they are minors, and are given the assignment from God to rear them in the fear and admonition of the Lord. In the final judgment, parents, will have to give account to God for how they reared their children.
So also, as it is in the case of the natural family here on earth, there are those in the Church to whom God assigns the task of spiritually rearing His spiritual offspring, i.e., Born Again believers. Just as God designed the human family with parents, so also He designed the spiritual family with spiritual parents. There are numerous scriptures that support the concept that the Church is the family expanded and the family is the Church in miniscule. The government God has ordained for the Church is the same as that for the family — that is the import of the Apostle Paul’s dissertation in Ephesians 6. The role of human parents with their children while they are minors and living under their covering and care is fourfold: 1) govern; 2) guard; 3) guide; and, 4) groom (prepare). The role of spiritual parents in the Body of Christ — Fivefold Ministers — is similar (cf., Eph. 4:7-16; 1 Cor. 12:28). Morever, as human parents are the foundation of the natural family, Apostles and Prophets are the foundation of the spiritual family of God, the Church (Eph. 2:20).
Fathering failure, or the dearth of fatherhood, produces dysfunctional and self-destructive familial relationships, both in natural families as well as spiritual families, i.e., churches. The profile of dysfunctional families is fraught with rivalry, competition, jealousy, contentions, strife, and such things. Beyond the pews and behind the platforms, churches, because they are spiritual families, are likewise fraught with such things. So it is also within the ranks of fivefold ministers. The primary cause of the lack of collegiality and collaboration, or colabor, that God intended to be manifest among fivefold ministers is the lack of godly and effectual spiritual fathering in the Body of Christ. Indeed, the blame for dysfunctional spiritual relationships and families must be laid squarely at the feet of Fivefold Ministers. Dysfunctional leadership produces dysfunctional progeny (offspring). The unfortunate result of the dysfunctional leadership in the Body of Christ is the spiritual immaturity, impotence, and poor productivity now generally manifest in the Body of Christ (cf, Eph. 4:7-16).