All quotes in this blog post come from Larry Crabb’s Waiting for Heaven Chapter 6: “Foolish Choices”
In the previous post, I present three things that Moses turned away from in his journey of faith. In this writing, I want to consider three things Moses turned toward. Considering all the many mighty movements/miracles and signs God demonstrates in Exodus, have you ever considered the miracle of Moses’ faith? For an Almighty God who created the entirety of the universe and world in six days, the multiple signs of Exodus would have been easy! Yet, the real work and miracle of God comes about in creating faith in people! I want you to carefully meditate on how God enabled Moses to make the choice to turn toward to Him. Each morning when God graciously provides us with a new day, we too must choose to turn to God or follow our own way or the world’s. May these quotes and reflections encourage you! I would recommend reading them multiple times and making notes on how they apply to your particular life/situation.
Moses Turned to Suffering and Mistreatment
“First Moses chose suffering, misfortune, and abuse or as Hebrews put it, he chose mistreatment. (pg. 42)” Moses suffered from the Egyptians and even his own people when he first struck down the Egyptian abusing Hebrews. After God delivered the people from Egypt, the Hebrews frequently complained against Moses and accused him of leading them to their deaths in the desert. Moses endured much during his forty years as shepherd to the people!
Larry asks an important question: “I wonder: had Moses known what was coming, would he have chosen a path that would lead to suffering, such mistreatment and abuse, with so little apparent help from God (pg. 44)?” Perhaps it’s a great mercy that God doesn’t reveal what we will have to suffer lest we walk away in fear and doubt!
“Every Christian who demonstrates his or her faith in God by persevering, every Christian who waits for tomorrow committed to living faithfully today will in some measure be blessed by the “privilege of suffering” for Christ (Philippians 1:29). Is any privilege less desired? Less welcomed? Will we endure? Will we wait in hope of the glory to come? Waiting is not easy” pg 44.
This is a universal truth that scripture presents from Genesis to Revelation: there is a cost for having faith and following God! History and scripture presents multiple saints who faced all types of hardships, abuse, neglect, and murderous hatred from the world for the sake of Christ. Do we recognize our modern tendency to seek comfort, certainty, and prosperity? Perhaps God has something much better for us! I am certain that God will when we submit to His way of suffering instead of self-fulfillment.
Larry reminds us of two great truths that will help you when suffering (page 45)
“Two truths will help us gain perspective that a long difficult season can be viewed as both welcomed and short.” Paraphrase: first the time between the Cross and the Coming, not just time between our birth and death, our years spent living in a broken world is short compared to all of eternity. “It is then that life as fully healed people in a fully healed world begins, when Jesus returns. And two, we can trust that God’s Spirit is always doing eternally significant work in our souls, even during the worst of our “little while.”
In other words, we can find peace in knowing that our lives and suffering moments are “short” compared to the eternal glory and happiness we will enjoy with Christ. Also, we can have hope knowing that God is working in our souls even during the most difficult moments.
Second, Moses chose the company of a despised and broken people.
“Moses chose a difficult life.” Even after forty years away from the Hebrew people, Moses endured forty years of complaining, false accusations, and rebellion against him. “Moses kept ministering to people who everyday annoyed him, simply because God wanted him to do so. Moses waited for tomorrow while remaining faithful today pg 46″. Larry reminds us that from a worldly perspective Moses would have been better to remain in Egypt and use his position as prince to lightened the load on the slaves. Yet he waited on God as God had a greater deliverance in plan! The patience and long suffering of Moses is evidence of God’s miraculous work as Moses never truly gave up. This is something that’s easy to miss when reading Exodus and Deuteronomy.
What might God have you to endure in order to serve Him faithfully? We too will face disrespect, rebellion, and complaining when trying to lead and serve others. Personal experience serving (teacher and minister) reminds me that the people who need love and ministry often resist the most.
Third, Moses chose reproach and rebuke; he chose personally humiliating suffering.
Larry reminds us: “Loving others as Christ loves us too often takes a back seat to protecting ourselves from relational pain. It is a rare person so centered in God’s love that reproach is perhaps difficult to handle but not devastating at some deep internal level. Jesus suffered far more that Moses ever experienced: three years of apparently failed ministry. pgs47-48″
Have you ever been emotionally distant or uninvolved with others because you knew that getting close might be painful, undesirable, or involve rejection? This is one of our worst fears: to be ignored, rejected, publicly ridiculed, despised by others! It can keep us from being truly free to love and minister to others. If we are honest, we will admit that often this is the case and why that we fail to love others like Christ.
I would be dishonest if I claimed that I haven’t fought this battle myself. Yet, we can overcome this by reflecting on Moses’ and Jesus’ examples. We can daily trust His Holy Spirit to guide us through our fears, doubts, and uncertainty! Larry gives some encouraging insights into Jesus and Moses (pages 48-49).
First, “Jesus never lost confidence that a story of fathomless love, matchless goodness, and stunning mercy was unfolding. He believed the climax would be worth the cost. Jesus waited.” Jesus had confidence in His Heavenly Father’s plans for Him. So can we! Even when others reject and despise us we can remain faithful and true to the One Who Paid for All our Sins!
Second, Larry refers to a process of “the emptiness of self, the loss of pride, releases us to receive fullness of soul as we undertake His business.” Moses’ time in the desert and doubts at the burning bush were part of his journey. God calls the unworthy and doubting! It is better to know that we’re unworthy, powerless, and to doubt our own abilities than to be prideful and self-assured!
Third, even our broken dreams can’t stop God’s plans. Even though Moses was faithful and patient many times, God denied him the privilege of going into the Promised Land because he struck the rock instead of speaking to it. From a human perspective, this seems unfair, but from God’s perspective this punishment was necessary. The following Got Questions blog provides a good explanation for God’s punishment:
Larry rightfully states: “Shattered dreams can make faithful perseverance especially difficult. But Moses still waited. . . No doubt Moses was waiting both in sorrow over disappointment and in hope of a greater reward yet to come: a wonderful picture of what it means to wait. pg 49″ The message here is that even when we fail horribly, God’s not done! In talking with various people over the years, I have encountered some who run from God because of their sins/failures. The greatest miracles of God are worked in our hearts! When we choose to trust Him and abandon ourselves to His Great Grace and Mercy we find Abundant and Eternal Life!
God showed Moses the Promised Land from Mt. Nebo. God brought Moses and Elijah to meet Jesus at the Transfiguration of Christ. Moses meets the Promised One/Messiah in person! This is very important to remember as Moses and Elijah were the Prophets of God! They were foreshadowing the Great Prophet Jesus!
Closing Quote and Remarks
Larry identifies God’s call to each of us as:
To resist quitting on obedience and on arranging for our own relief and pleasure when life gets rough. With resolve fueled by faith, we are to wait for the Lord’s return, with even greater fervency when our dreams for this life shatter. Waiting for the Second Coming can go a long way in helping us quit looking for pleasurable relief as an entitled pursuit. Relief is coming. And Joy forever.” pg 49
We each face a choice in life. We can walk by faith knowing that there will be difficulties and persecution or we can make “peace” with our world and live for ourselves. Moses and Jesus’ lives give us insight into what’s possible when God lives through us! I hope and pray that we will be found living in faith and joyful anticipation of Christ’s return when He appears in the sky!
In the coming months, I plan to write on the topic of broken dreams. It would be easy for you to assume that since I study and write that I have overcome broken dreams and fears in my own life. I share with you valuable insights that God has both blessed and convicted me. I am on a journey of faith. At times the journey isn’t easy, but it is worth it! God is Good and He has never forsaken or abandoned me even in my failures and dark moments. I write these words with the purpose of glorifying God through encouraging His people! May you personally experience His love and grace!
In Christ Alone I stand,