“Heaven’s Solution to Our Emptiness” Part IV
“Gardening is an exercise in optimism. Sometimes, it is the triumph of hope over experience.”
Visions of Paradise
What ways has God used to train me to be what He wants me to be?
Today our “Master Planner” wants to give us a glimpse into some of the methods He uses to fill our empty lives with His purpose for us.
I want to look at God’s plan by examining the life of one of the greatest men ever to walk planet earth. His name was Moses and we find the details of his life story running through four books in the Old Testament – Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy which we have already studied.
Anyone studying Moses’ life will observe that his journey on earth, and the way God prepared him for every stage in his life, was divided into three distinct forty year periods of time.
Moses experienced a:
1. Time in the palace.
2. Time in the pasture.
3. Time in the “Pillar.”
I’d like to look at each of these phases of Moses’ life separately.
“Time in the Palace”
When Moses was born, an edict had just been issued that all Hebrew boys who were born, were to be killed at birth. The ruling Pharaoh, intimidated by the mighty strength of the children of Israel, decided that by destroying the young boys, he would annihilate his problems. Unbeknown to him, his daughter, the princess, rescued one of the targeted children from a basket hidden among the reeds of the Nile River. Growing up in the palace, among royalty, was a young Jewish boy. The son of Hebrews was raised as a grandson of Pharaoh, ruler of Egypt. During this forty year period, the discipline of study, the regimen of army life, and the requisite strength of leadership were qualities that became second nature to a maturing young Moses.
But during this period of his life, Moses also came face-to-face with the weakness of a short fuse, call it a temper in overdrive which eventually led him to take things into his own hands and slay an Egyptian, risking the entire plan God had for his life. However, even when we, personally, veer off course from God’s path, He is ready to guide us and bring us back into His design for our lives, a place where He will fill us up.
“Time in the Pasture.”
In Exodus, chapter 3, we find Moses living in the foreign country of Midian, herding sheep, after fleeing the wrath of a grandfather who realized there was a traitor under his own roof – living right in the palace. For forty long years, Moses, with rod in hand, wandered around with wooly lambs – not the preparation you and I would choose if we knew God wanted us to eventually lead hundreds of thousands of people. But remember, this was God’s road Moses was on. It wasn’t some corporate strategic leadership path to the top. This was God’s refining road to the Promised Land and Moses followed. Forty years with “Ba Ba Black Sheep” taught him the patience he needed to follow God’s direction in stage three of his life.
“Time in the Pillar”
The time in the palace as well as the time in the pasture prepared Moses for the “ultimate” task God had for him – time in the “Pillar” leading the children of Israel across a desert from Egypt to Canaan – their Promised Land. Exodus 13: 21 (K.J.V.) contains this record: “And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them by the way; and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light; to go by day and night.”
In getting His people out of Egypt and into the Promised Land, God directed their steps by the “Pillar.” But keeping all those thousands of people in step with the guiding “Pillar” was a man named Moses whose own training in the palace and pasture prepared him to walk in the Pillar, wherever God led.
Today, you may find yourself under God’s leadership and discipline – training in the palace. Or perhaps, you’re in the pasture, thinking you are wasting your time chasing a bunch of dumb sheep. Yet, God is working to teach you patience in preparation for the day when you have learned all you need to know – and that is the day when walking with the “Pillar” gets you into the “Promised Land.”
In his terrific biography of Moses, teacher and Pastor Chuck Swindoll writes:
“God does his most magnificent work when the situation seems totally impossible from a human point of view and we feel absolutely unprepared and unable to do anything about it, yet our eyes are on Him…
“If you are God’s …you’re right where you ought to be…
“Remind yourself that God is sovereign. He has everything under His control. He will have His way in His time, for His glory, which includes your life, your position, and your future. Worrying over any of this is a waste. He’s got every detail covered – every one …
“Think of it this way: There’s no such thing as God’s being almost sovereign.”
Doesn’t this give you the confidence to know God can take care of our problems!
Speak gently in my silence, when the loud outer noises of my surroundings and the loud inner noises of my fears keep pulling me away from You, help me to trust that You are still there even when I am unable to hear You!
Give me ears to listen to your small voice saying: ‘Come to me.”
Henri J. M. Nouwen
With Open Hands
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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