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Facts of the Matter

A weekly letter of encouragement and challenge to business and professional men and women
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Dear Colleagues,

FIVE WAYS WE CAN MISS GODS CALLING FOR OUR LIVES

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After killing an Egyptian, Moses flees to the desert, marries, and takes up shepherding. (Ex. 2:11 22) One day he encounters God at a burning bush and is commissioned to lead Israel out of the bondage of Egypt. Most of us can easily identify with Moses struggles and fears in his response to Gods calling:

#1 Initial availability: Upon seeing the burning bush, Moses goes over to take a look. God calls, "Moses! Moses!" to which he replies, "Here I am." Moses is curious and probably startled, yet responsive. (Ex. 3:1-4) I am reminded of the shallow seed in the Parable of the Sower that springs up out of the ground, and then withers from the heat of the sun, for lack of an adequate root system. (Mk. 4:5,6,16,17) Curiosity and responding to something new may carry us at the front end, but it is not enough to help us persevere through to the end. Are you committed to Gods call after the novelty wears off when you must settle into the long-term hard work of laboring?

#2 Debilitating fear: God informs Moses that he has seen the misery of his people and intends to use him to rescue Israel by approaching the powerful Pharaoh to secure their release. "But Moses said to God, Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?" God then informs him that he will be with him and give him a sign. (Ex. 3:7-12) Later in the exchange Moses again murmurs, "O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue." (Ex. 4:10) With that God retorts, "Who gave man his mouth?Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say." (Ex. 4:11a, 12) Moses intrepid spirit is reminiscent of the man with two talents who was punished for fearfully burying them. (Matt. 25:14-30) Hebrews 10:38 is instructive here, "My righteous one will live by faith, and if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him." A close friend of mine lived all her adult life regretting the fact that in fear she disobeyed Gods call to missionary work. How tragic. Are you paralyzed by fear or choosing to be liberated by faith?

#3 Spiritually unprepared: Moses then asks God, "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, The God of your fathers has sent me to you, and they ask me, What is his name? Then what shall I tell them?" Gods answer: "I am who I amI am has sent me to you…Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers–the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob–has sent me to you.’" (Exodus 3:14,15b) Up to this point in the Exodus narrative there is no evidence of Moses possessing any spiritual awareness. Having been raised and tutored in Egypts godless court, I suspect his question to God reveals his severe lack of knowledge of the Holy God of Israel. We must ask ourselves, do we really know God? Can we speak of him from a deep well of personal, intimate experience?

#4 Fear of rejection: Moses then answers, "What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you"? Many of us are paralyzed into ineffectiveness by the fear of ridicule or rejection. Could it be that we would rather be accepted by others than used by God? Paul summed up the fear of man issue in stating, "Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ." (Gal. 1:10) Tell me, are you in bondage to what others think when it comes to identifying with and being used by Christ?

#5 Resisting the call of God: Finally in desperation Moses cries out, "O Lord, please send someone else to do it." (Ex. 4:13) "Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses", informing him that God would send Aaron to speak on his behalf. (Ex. 4:14-17) After an unrelenting illness that weakened Paul, God informed him that, "[His] grace is sufficient for [Paul] for [His] power is made perfect in weakness." Pauls conclusion? "I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me." (2 Cor. 12:9) Weak as you may feel, are you willing to allow God to use you for his glory and purposes? The weaker you feel, the more qualified you probably are!

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