Lessons from Midian

My pastor is currently preaching through the Book of Exodus. I really enjoy digging deeply into a book of the Bible, so I'm studing Exodus on my own during the week - with the help of Philip Graham Ryken's Exodus: Saved for God's Glory. Ryken's commentary is a wonderful supplement to my pastor's rich teaching. I have been caught up in this Gospel of the Old Testament, struck by the parallels between the lives of Moses and Jesus.

While I've been studying Exodus 2:11 - 3:5, the Holy Spirit has shown me that what God did during this period of Moses' life can be extrapolated to my own.

The Bible is God's direct revelation of Himself; it is not about me. Looking at a the Word through the lens of my life is a gross error. One I'm guilty of committing too many times. I should look at my life through the lens of God's Word. When I do that - come to God's Word with no objective in mind other than to know Him more - I'm often amazed at what I learn.

Moses took matters into his own hands. Moses watched the Israelites toil in their slavery. He witnessed an Egyptian beat one of them, and took it upon himself to murder the taskmaster.  My pre-conversion days aside, there have been many - too many - times that I have appointed myself as judge, jury, and savior. I've tried to solve a situation in my own strength, never considering that I should consult others, let alone God.

Although most of the time I think things through (perhaps too much), when I feel strongly about something I am prone to dive in headfirst without much thought of the consequences. This has been especially true in ministry. I'd get an idea and immediately begin devising plans to bring it to fruition. In my sinful quest to bring glory to myself - under the guise of bringing glory to Him - I tried to skip over the preparation and get right to the finish line. I approached God's Word as something to be felt, an ever-changing work to be viewed in light of my emotions. I have short-changed those in my care because of my casual approach to God's Holy Word. Perhaps that's why God hasn't allowed me to have the speaking, teaching, or writing ministry that my heart was set upon for such a long time (and, in the interest of total transparency, still is to some extent).

God prepared Moses for his calling.  Moses soon learned that the Hebrews didn't respect his effort to rescue them; in fact, they scoffed at him. What's more, Pharaoh wanted to kill him. Moses fled to Midian in fear for his life. He wanted to deliver the Hebrews, but he wasn't ready. God brought Moses to a place where He could use the next 40 years to prepare him to lead the people out of Egypt.

Ryken points out that God used Moses' location, family, and job to strengthen him to lead God's chosen people. In the same way, God uses the circumstances of our lives to prepare us for our calling. As my pastor encouraged us, there are no insignificant moments in our lives. God can, and will, use even the mundane to teach us and use us for His glory. Moses was tending his sheep when God revealed Himself; he wasn't expecting a burning bush experience. I think one of the biggest problems believers of today must overcome is our expectation that God will show up in some monumental way to tell us what we're supposed to do. I wonder how much we miss because we don't suppose the ordinary days have any significance. Maybe I'm the only one.

I can't help but think how different my life might be if I realized that God is using my present circumstances to prepare me for things to come. Would I be as easily frustrated? So impatient? So quick to anger? Would I trust that even ordinary days are extraordinary if lived with God's glory as the objective?

I have no idea that God is training me for a "big" ministry. I do know that He has put me where I am now - in this community, this job, this family, this church - to teach me and prepare me. Like Moses, I want to be faithful in the tasks He gives me each day, so that I will be ready for whatever the future holds.


Anonymous said…
"Looking at a the Word through the lens of my life is a gross error. One I'm guilty of committing too many times. I should look at my life through the lens of God's Word." Love this! And this: "God can, and will, use even the mundane to teach us and use us for His glory." Encourages me as I sigh with frustration at the mundane every day of most of my days right now (the picking up cheerios, vaccuuming, scrubbing toilets, reading Dr. Seuss for the 10th time ...). Thank you for this reminder. And if it's an encouragement, I can see God using you in the ways you long for - in writing, speaking, teaching ministry. Isn't He already doing so through this blog? And certainly through your testimony last weekend.

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