Acts 7:21-22, Castaway, discomfort, John 10:27, Moses example, obscurity, Socrates, solitude, time and patience, Tom Hanks
I blogged last Friday the Wilderness Experience is about preparing us to walk in maturity. In order to facilitate real growth in our life, the Lord also focuses upon improving our environment.
– The Wilderness Is About Habitation –
If you have ever looked through a college brochure you know that most colleges offer a long list of possible majors. God’s Wilderness University offers them as well. They are not very popular. In fact, most try to avoid these majors altogether. But, if you really want to grow and are submitted to God’s process, then you will sign-up and be in attendance.
Moses is our example in this area because he had to major in the following four. If we follow in his footsteps, we will be required to do the same.
“When he was placed outside, Pharaoh’s daughter took him and brought him up as her own son. Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.” (Acts 7:21-22)
Moses was adopted and wouldn’t be raised in anonymity. Pharaoh’s palace became his playground and the best educational system was at his disposal. He was trained in all the wisdom of Egypt, the greatest nation of the day.
Yet, through the providence of God, he spends forty of the best years of his life living in relative obscurity. In obscurity the Lord “uncorked” what Moses had learned and he began to learn of the ways of the Lord.
Here is a man who by all rights should be leading the nation of Egypt. Yet God couldn’t use Moses when he first came out of Egypt. God could only use Moses after he spent years on the backside of the desert. “Moses didn’t live at the end of the world but you could see it from there.”
- Have you ever felt like you were living in obscurity?
- Have you ever felt that no one would ever know about your talents or abilities?
- Moses’ talents and abilities were known and then promptly disposed.
The truth is God can’t use anything we bring into His educational process. He tells us time and time again to repent and rid our hearts and minds of the things of the world. What we will not do by our own hand, the Lord can do through leading us to live in obscurity.
– Time –
Maybe a better word for this major is patience. God uses the element of time to speak to the issues of patience in our lives.
Moses spent forty years in the wilderness before he was even approached by God to be used. The bell never rang to end this class. The Bible records that Moses was the “meekest” man on the planet.
I have never attended a “patience class” I thought was too short! I have never begged for a little more. I have screamed, “Lord, will this ever end?”
As you know, we live in a microwave society. We are used to getting what we want right away. There is very little in our world that trains us to wait and be patient. This is especially true when it comes to helping and serving others.
We both know that God’s lesson plans do not include one-hour cram sessions. There are no “Klep” classes or short cuts.
A young man once approached Socrates to ask if the philosopher would teach him the gift of oratory. His request was then followed by an incessant stream of words until finally, Socrates placed his hand over the inquirer’s mouth and said, “Young man, I will have to charge you a double fee.”
When the fellow asked why, Socrates replied, “I will have to teach you two sciences. First, how to hold your tongue, and then, how to use it.” You cannot speak and learn at the same time.
Moses learned the importance of solitude during those forty years in the desert. This is a major many others could use as well.
Many believers are actually afraid of being alone with God. This type of solitude will induce God’s voice to come alive in our hearts. Like the story above, solitude teaches us first to be quiet. As someone once said, “Solitude is the beginning of all freedom.”
I have had many people speak to me about hearing too many voices. This is an ever-increasing problem. No one ever said to me “My mind is just too peaceful and quiet.” The competing voices will only increase as time moves forward. The desert quiet calls us to settle the competing voices and focus totally on the One voice. Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them and they know Me.” ( John 10:27)
– Discomfort –
Here is a major you will certainly not find in any college catalog. Can you imagine a major in discomfort? I wonder what the classes would be like if you had to enroll in discomfort. Maybe there would be activities like sleeping on the floor for a semester or being yelled at by your boss or professor. How about living with no heat/air, water, or living with rodents.
I think Moses experienced most of these on a regular basis. What could have been more uncomfortable than spending forty nomadic years in the desert without running water, air conditioning, or permanent shelter?
The fact is God has to often make us uncomfortable where we are so that we will move on to where He wants us to be.
During Superbowl XXXVII, FedEx ran a commercial that spoofed the movie Castaway. In the movie Tom Hanks played a FedEx worker whose company plane went down, stranding him on a desert island for years. Looking like the haggard Hanks in the movie, the FedEx employee in the commercial goes up to the door of a suburban home, package in hand.
When the lady comes to the door he explains that he survived 5 years on a deserted island, and during that whole time he kept this package in order to deliver it to her. She gives a simple, “Thank you.”
But he is curious about what is in the package because he has been protecting it for years. He says, “If I may ask, what was in that package after all?” She opens it and shows him the contents, saying, “Oh, nothing really. Just a satellite telephone, a global positioning device, a compass, a water purifier, and some seeds.”
The point is… God doesn’t want us to feel like a “castaway or cast off.” God didn’t bring us to and through The Wilderness Experience to crush us into oblivion. The time, obscurity, solitude, and discomfort are merely means by which God uses to mature us.
God is seeking to make us into Gold and Diamonds. More specifically, The Father is conforming us to the image of His Son. The heart of God wants us all to quickly graduate with HONORS. Like Jesus, God wants us to exit the Wilderness Experience having defeated Satan and full of the Holy Spirit!