(This is a new Bible study, for a personal update, see here.)
“I don’t know what it is God wants me to do.”
“I’m just waiting for His call.”
“He hasn’t given me a sign yet.”
“I think because I’m good at (A), that’s what God wants me to do.”
How often have we said things like this? Or worse, lived them?
We have a tendency to not want to do what God wants us to, even when we really know what it is, and we just say things like this as an excuse. We lie to ourselves. We try to convince ourselves that God really doesn’t want us to go to the guy we hate (sorry…dislike) at work, and be nice to him. We try to say to ourselves that God couldn’t possibly want us to say hi to the dirty homeless dude on the walk to church. He couldn’t possibly mean that maybe, just maybe, He would like you to stop paying that 25 cents for whipped cream on your daily coffee, and put it in the tithe plate instead. Nah…God couldn’t possibly want that.
It’s so much easier for us to believe that He would call us to drop life, sell everything, and go to Timbuktu to teach little African kids about Him. We hate the idea that His message and love in our hearts should change OUR HEARTS. Why? We’re scared. We’ve lost our first love. We’re running from the truth. Call it what you may, but we forget the simple words of Jesus: “If you love Me, you will obey what I command.” (John 14:15, NIV) And if you really are following Christ, and allowing Him to change your life, and if you believe that Christ is God, and that God is love…”There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (I John 4:18, NIV) And right before that: “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like Him.” (I John 4:16, 17, NIV)
But the truth is, most of us know what it is God wants us to do. And even if we have pushed past self deception or fear or backsliding, we just don’t always know how to do it. We flounder around, not sure of what to do. Still, we are forgetting, “You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” (James 4:2-4, NIV) We just need to ask. “For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:8, NIV) & “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” (Matthew 21:22, NIV)
So, what if we do ask? What is He going to say to us? What answer is it that we fear so much?…Moses was in a similar position. He was atop Mt. Sinai, and the Isrealites had just had the “Golden Calf Incident.” So, Moses was probably a bit stressed, seeing as how God had said “…I will not go ith you, because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way.” (Exodus 33:3b, NIV) Wow. God was pissed. (And rightfully so…He is the only one deserving glory after all.) Obviously, God didn’t destroy them, He probably just wanted them to understand the gravity of the situation.
But now Moses is here, talking with God, and he says, “ ‘ You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but You have not let me know whom You will send with me. You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with Me.’ If you are pleased with me, teach me Your ways so may know You and continue to find favor with You. Remember that this nation is Your people.” (Exodus 33:12b, 13, NIV)
That probably took a lot of guts on Moses’ part. After all, most people would have been prideful and stubborn. “How could You have stuck me with these God? Why did You let them do this? Why didn’t You make this work?” But instead, he repeated to the LORD what He had told Moses to do, and then asked for help (sure, Moses was afraid here, but he pushed through it). He acknowledged how the LORD had blessed him, and then, he asks God to help. He realizes with his words to God his need for help. (As Christ said a few thousand years later: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5, NIV))
Wow. Moses has let go of his fear, knowing that God loves him. He’s pushed aside what other people think. He’s stepped over himself and his pride.
God’s simple reply? “The LORD replied, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’ “ (Exodus 33:13, NIV)
Imagine that. Wherever you go, the God of all creation, the One who knows everything, made everything, and has all power, will be with you. And, He will give you rest. Reminds me of more of Christ’s words…”Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matt. 11:28-30, NIV) And “ ‘…the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.’ “ (John14:26b, 27, NIV)
And keep in mind, we’re always telling ourselves that if God asks us to go across the world, then we’ll do it. Then we’ll listen. Then we’ll give up our Starbucks…But, here, God was asking Moses to do just that, and it was still hard for him. There were times when Moses was afraid, skimped out, or failed to obey. He didn’t all of a sudden become the amazing soldier God needed. He still had to work through everything. He still had to ask for help. Someone once told me, “If you can’t trust God with the little things, how can you trust Him with the big things?” If you can’t trust him to take care of you when you give up your whipped cream, how can you trust Him to keep you save from maleria and raiders and death by persecution? If you can’t trust Him to take care of you while you tend the flock of sheep in the desert, how can you trust Him to take care of you when you have a whole nation to be responsible for?
I guess the real question is: are we willing to ask, truly ask the Lord, to be with us, and to trust that He will be. Are we willing to say to God, “If you are pleased with me, teach me Your ways so may know You and continue to find favor with You.” And, even more importantly, are we ready to hear the answer?
“My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
“For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
“…the Counselor, the Holy Spirit…will teach you all things and will remind you…”