Read His Words Before Ours!
“‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways.’ This is the Lord’s declaration. ‘For as heaven is higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
Who but God would invite an ex- murderer to lead an entire nation? Humans use the past to judge the present, but God sees beyond the past. Regardless of our history, He longs to make us radically new and use us to build His kingdom.
Consider Moses, who grew up in the palace of the Egyptian pharaoh knowing he was a Hebrew. One day, he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew slave, and, after carefully ensuring no one was watching, Moses killed the Egyptian. Still, Pharaoh learned of Moses’ crime and sought to kill him, so Moses fled to Midian. Welcomed into the family of Jethro, a Midian priest, Moses planned to live out his days in the wilderness as an isolated shepherd caring for mangy sheep.
Like Moses, there was a time in my college life when I felt like running away. My boyfriend spent the night with another student in his home, and someone told the school authority I was the student. I was innocent, but unable to convince school leadership. My punishment was a warning; a repeat would earn my dismissal.
I was devastated. In time, bolstered by God’s merciful strength, I ended the relationship. God gave me a new beginning altogether: since then, I have been following Him, and am now in His service.
Similarly, Moses was in desperate need of a new beginning. Moses was content with a shepherd’s life in the bush; one day God appeared to him in a literal bush bursting with fire. God called Moses to Egypt to bring His people out from slavery and into a land of freedom and plenty, a land of promise.
Dismayed, Moses gave God a slew of excuses:
“Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh?” (Exodus 3:11)
What if they ask Your name? ( Exodus 3:13-15)
“What if they don’t believe me?” (Exodus 4:1)
I am not eloquent (Exodus 4:10); send someone else (Exodus 4:13).
Looking through the lens of his past, Moses saw himself as unfit for the work God was calling him to do. But despite his resistance, God was not deterred. He promised to be with Moses, and commissioned Moses’ brother, Aaron, as his spokesman. God also understood the physical fear hiding behind Moses’ excuses, and assured him those who sought to kill him were dead.
We cannot mess up God’s plan for us, even if we push against Him!
He refuses to give up on us because He looks not at our mess, but our potential in Him.
As Moses’ heart turned toward trusting obedience to God, he encountered God in a personal and powerful way. He received instruction and clear direction from God for his next steps. When he met resistance in Pharaoh, he sought God who faithfully met and guided him. Soon, the naïve and fearful man became a threat to Pharaoh and all of Egypt, until Pharaoh released the Israelites.
Sometimes, our past failures threaten to hold us back from following God. The past upsets us, and we lose confidence. Like Moses, we easily conclude we cannot be useful to God. Moses didn’t have an organized plan, talent, or the confidence of a leader, but God still invited him to follow. It was not about Moses, but about God. He chooses the foolish, the weak, and the despised to shame the wise and the mighty, so we boast in Him alone. (1 Corinthians 1:26-29)
Regardless of our past, God forgives completely, and equips us by His power for His service as we choose to follow His way. We see this truth in the lives of the apostles. Some were mere fishermen; one was even a tax collector, considered by the Jews as the most sinful; yet Jesus called each of them to follow Him. When the Pharisees grumbled about Jesus dining with sinners, Jesus replied His call was precisely for sinners such as them. (Mark 2:15-17)
Consider the Apostle Paul, a persecutor of the Church; yet God called him out of slavery and empowered him with the Holy Spirit to follow Him in freedom. As a result, Paul became a great preacher of the gospel. His Spirit-inspired writings continue to guide our lives today, comprising a large part of the New Testament.
Hear Paul’s own testimony, “This saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance: ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–and I am the worst of them.’”
(1 Timothy 1:15)
Moses’ story, the first 12 apostles, Paul, and even my own life, join together to declare in wondrous chorus . . .
Where we see a mess,
God sees an opportunity for transformation.
God simply requires hearts willing to accept His invitation to follow Him, one step after the other.
Sisters, let us turn our eyes from our pasts to the One who holds our tomorrows and whisper, “Yes.”
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!