God is always near (no matter what)
Have you ever gone through a difficult season in life and found yourself thinking, or maybe even screaming, “What is up with this!? Why am I having to go through this? What is the meaning, what is the purpose?” If we are honest, there are plenty of seasons like that in life… Would it help you to know that God can and will use those difficult seasons of your life to prepare you for a future purpose?
Most of us remember Moses as the larger-than-life figure who lead the often obstinate Israelites through the wilderness to the promised land; but did you know that before he lead them through the wilderness, he went through his own personal wilderness experience?
Moses’ was born at a very difficult time for the Israelite people. They were being oppressed by a particularly cruel Pharaoh; in fact, he wanted the Israelites to abandon their infants so they would die! But Moses’ mom hid him away for a few months then carefully placed him in a basket on the side of the Nile River where he was discovered by none other than Pharaoh’s very own daughter. She took Moses home and raised him as Egyptian royalty!
But Moses would later discover that he was really an Israelite and he knew how terribly his people were being treated. He wanted to rescue them. But when he tried, things did not go well… in fact, he ended up killing an Egyptian. (Ref. Acts 7:23-29). He quickly discovered that his timing was all wrong. As a result of his actions, he had to flee to the foreign land of Midian to avoid being killed by Pharaoh. He stayed in Midian for the next 40 years before God called him from the burning bush to now lead the Israelites. Why? Because God had to prepare him for a future purpose.
So what life lessons can we learn from Moses’ experience? Let’s look at three:
Lesson #1 - There is always a season of preparation ahead of God’s purpose in our lives. Have you ever found yourself getting out ahead of God and as a result falling flat on your face? Maybe you thought that God was clearly leading you in a certain direction, then it just didn’t go like you thought it should. God can and will use those experiences to prepare us for a future purpose.
In Moses first, disastrous attempt to rescue the Israelites, he got out ahead of God. He decided it was the right time, but it wasn’t. God still had some work to do on him, not the least of which was shaping his character by humbling him. Early on, there was too much Moses in Moses. God wanted him to depend far more on Him! The same can be true in our lives. If you are a Christ-follower, we want more of Him and less of us.
Can you relate to Moses? At some point, most of us have made the mistake of pushing out ahead of God, hitting the accelerator when we should have hit the brakes. What do you do when you see a yellow traffic light? Hit the gas or the brakes? Be honest! Most of us gas it and hope we don’t regret it! Moses gassed it and he regretted it. The next 40 years were tough, but those years were training for the 40 years to come, when he would have the nation of Israel with him!
You may be going though your own personal wilderness experience right now, like Moses God will use it to make you and shape you into the person He wants you to be. He will mold your character and make you just like Jesus. The personal wilderness experiences you find yourself in can be very difficult, but God uses those experiences like a crowbar to pry His way deep into your heart and continue His transforming work in you!
Lesson #2 - Our stumbles humble us and allow God to transform us. No doubt God had humbled Moses. In fact, the Bible tells us: 3 Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth. Numbers 12:3. Moses had been transformed in his personal wilderness experience. His stumble had forced him into the place where God could change him into the man God needed him to be to accomplish His purpose in Moses’ life.
To be clear, Moses’ transformation didn’t happen in a day, or a week, or a month or a year; his transformation took decades! The truth is learning humility takes time… it doesn’t happen over night. But humility is the character trait that God most wants to see in us as Christ followers. (1 Peter 5:5). Humility was a vital attribute in Jesus Christ. When we are humble, we are much more likely to be attentive and open to the Lord’s leadership in our lives.
Lesson #3 - God is never more near than when He seems far away. After 40 years in Midian, Moses was settled into his life there. He was tending his father-in-law’s sheep when God suddenly showed up in a burning bush! There, God called Moses to help rescue and lead his people. (Exodus 3).
No matter how far Moses may have felt from God over those 40 years, God was always near, never really far away. Moses might have thought that God had abandoned him, or given up on him, but God hadn’t. God was using that wilderness season in Moses’ life to equip him for a future purpose and to prepare him for next steps in his faith journey. Moses was far more humble now and would be fully dependent, not on himself, but on God in the years to come. When we recognize how inadequate we are, that is when God can best use us.
For much more, click here to listen to Heroes: Part 3 - Moses.