PART 3 THE CHRISTIAN’S DESIRE
As He Is So Are We in This World
You might be thinking, what if I allow God to change my thoughts, speech, and actions, then what? Then you will be used by Him to be a witness to others of His inner working in your life just like those people who we are about to look at.
Moses, a Jew, was a family member in the house of Pharaoh, being the adopted son of Pharaoh’s daughter. Seeing the affliction of his people, the Jews, he subsequently killed an Egyptian oppressor.
And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand. (Exodus 2:12)
When he became aware that Pharaoh had been informed of his transgression he left the country of Egypt, and eventually settled down in a place called Midian, where he married a woman named Zipporah, and subsequently tended to her father-in-law’s sheep. Moses stayed here for 40 years. It is believed that during this time, God was preparing him for his calling. On a particular day, the angel of the Lord spoke to him out from the midst of a burning bush unveiling to him a plan which involved using him to lead his people out from their slavery in Egypt.
And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt. And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations. (Exodus 3:2, 10, 15)
Moses being informed by God that he would have to go before Pharaoh and convey His word to him, immediately looked at his weakness of not being a good speaker, because of having a speech impediment, known as stuttering, and conveniently used this as the excuse as to why he shouldn’t be the one to carry out this directive. The angel replied to him and said, don’t focus on your weaknesses, but focus on me. I will be with your mouth and teach you what you should say. This however, didn’t provide Moses with the assurance he needed. After some contemplation, he recommended that his brother Aaron assist him in this endeavor to which the angel concurred.
And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. And the Lord said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say. (Exodus 4:10-12)
Not only did God use Moses and Aaron to bring his people out from their slavery in the land of Egypt, he also decided to use just Moses to bring forth signs or miracles, which were divinely initiated, before Pharaoh with the hope of convincing him to allow the Jews to leave Egypt.
It took 40 years for God to convey this calling to Moses. Do you think that 40 years was too long for God to prepare Moses to receive his calling? What is your area of weakness that you believe will inhibit God from using you? When we rely upon God, he will provide us with what is needed in our life in order to be used by Him according his plan and according to His timetable. When God calls you, will you respond to his divine prescriptions for any area of weakness that you have?
The next person who we will look at is a man named Jacob.
Isaac, the son of Abraham, married a woman named Rebekah, who had twin sons. The oldest son was called Esau, and the youngest was called Jacob. Jacob was a shepherd, and Esau was a hunter. Over the course of time Jacob swindled the first born, his brother Esau, out of both the family birthright and the family blessing. What is the family birthright and the family blessing?
…for he hath supplanted me these two times: he took away my birthright;… (Genesis 27:36)
The family birthright, which was allotted to the first-born son, consisted of three advantages:
~ This word denoted the special privileges and advantages belonging to the first-born son among the Jews, who would eventually become the priest of the family.
~ The first-born son had allotted to him a double portion of the paternal inheritance.
~ The first-born son inherited the judicial authority (rule over the entire family) of his father.
The family blessing referred to a "blessing" that the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob’s 12 sons, who are the progenitors of families) customarily extended upon their first-born son before they died.
Esau, because of these injustices, determined in his mind to kill his brother Jacob, after his father Isaac died. Rebekah, upon hearing about this plot, sent Jacob away to stay with her brother Laban. Laban has two daughters, Leah the elder, and Rachel. Jacob falls in love with Rachel. Laban will allow Jacob to marry her, but he must first work for him for seven years.
After 7 years, have gone by, Jacob and Rachel are about to get married. After much festivity, perhaps involving drunkenness, Laban substitutes Leah for Rachel in the marriage tent. Unbeknown to Jacob, he thought that he had relations with his new wife Rachel. However, he found out the next day that it was Leah and not Rachel, whom he had relations with. He had been misled by his father-in-law. Laban said to him that the reason for this switch was because it was custom that the elder marry before the younger, and if he was still interested in marrying Rachel, he would have to work for him for an additional 7 years.
Jacob had two choices. He could leave the premises with bitterness or he could work an additional 7 years with patient gladness by abiding in the assurance he had received from God that He would bring him back to his homeland of Beersheba at His appointed time. He decided to stay fulfilling his obligation to Laban and subsequently marrying his daughter Rachel.
And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured. And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter. And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast. And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her. Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years. And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also. (Genesis 29:16-18, 22-23, 27-28)
Laban confessed to Jacob that he has been blessed materialistically, because of Jacob’s allegiance to his God. Realizing that Jacob had fulfilled his work related obligations, Laban offered him another financial proposal with the hope that he would stay with him longer. Jacob in turn made a financial proposal to him that would allow for some of his flock to be his following an agreed upon extended period of time. Little did Laban know that God had given Jacob favor in this agreement. In a providential manner, God took away the best cattle of Laban and gave them to Jacob.
And he heard the words of Laban's sons, saying, Jacob hath taken away all that was our father's; and of that which was our father's hath he gotten all this glory. (Genesis 31:1)
Throughout all that was happening, Jacob was aware that God was in control providing for him insight into His plan for his life.
Earlier in his life, Jacob by trickery swindled his brother Esau. Later in his life, he was swindled by Laban. However, he didn’t respond to Laban in the same way Esau responded to him because his life was in fellowship with his God.
Jacob would eventually have 12 sons, each of whose names would signify a tribe of Israel, there being 12 in all. The very sin that characterized Jacob’s life was allowed to be perpetrated upon him by someone else. When we rely upon God to work in that area of weakness in our life, we will eventually be used by Him to assist a fellow believer in this same area of weakness by providing them with the same divine viewpoint which God had provided for us.
What is your area of weakness? You can choose to let it continue to characterize your life or you can replace the thoughts that produced it with God’s word. The choice is yours.
The next person, whom we will look at, thought he was doing God’s will by killing Christians. Little did he know that while he was on his way to continue in this endeavor he would fall from his high horse and become one of the followers of Jesus.
Before Paul became an apostle, he was a member of the Pharisees, which was considered to be the strictest sect in Judaism. He was consumed with violent anger and subsequent violent threats and murderous desire toward Christians. He persecuted them and gave approval of their condemnation to be put to death. While on his way to Damascus desiring to apprehend Christians and bring them bound back to Jerusalem, he had a conversion encounter with the Lord Jesus.
And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. (Acts 9:1-5)
His life changed from being a persecutor of the faith to preaching the gospel of this faith to both Jews and Gentiles.
And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles. (Acts 14:27)
It was said of him by his enemies that his bodily presence was weak (small in stature, body crooked, hooked nose, and a bald head). They also considered his speech to be good for nothing. God used him to preach the gospel throughout the known world; to start many churches; to instruct many according to the mystery doctrine of the church age; to perform extraordinary miracles; and to write most of the New Testament.
What do you think about God using someone, who was a religious zealot that murdered Christians, because of their faith? Do you think there are certain sins people commit, which would prevent God from approaching them for salvation?
The scriptures state that many are called, but few are chosen. Another word many are called, but few respond especially those who are wise after the flesh, mighty, or noble. Therefore, God had chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the things that are wise; and things that are weak to confound those things that are strong; along with base things, things which are despised, and things which are not, to bring to nothing things that are.
For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in it. (1 Corinthians 1:26-29)
Out of the mouth of babes and suckling (those who are dependent on someone else) had God ordained His strength. He wants to use us in spite of the reasons why we think he is unable to do so. He knows all of our weaknesses and strengths. He wants us to give all of them over to Him. Don’t let whatever you have thought, said, or done cause you to think you are not good enough for God to work in your life. Being good isn’t the pre-requisite for God to use us. It’s allowing Him to produce his spiritual qualities in us as the basis for him using us.
Are you willing to learn how to walk with God and no longer continue on in your own way? If you are, then you will be known by others even as He is known. You will be established on a rock, dependent on God the Father, and empowered by the Spirit. I hope you enjoyed this study. I have left you with some parting words.
To Be Conformed to the Image of His Son
As we are transformed in our inner heart life to resemble Jesus, this inner change will result in a change of outward expression that reflects the beauty of the Lord Jesus.
As we desire to be filled with the Holy Spirit, by putting on the new man whom we have become on a daily basis, watch God use us to be His witness to both men and angels.
Don’t let your past or present sins convince you that God can’t change you. The changes which are to occur in your life should not be based on looking better in your outward appearance, but on God’s word and power. Working out your own salvation can only come by means of intense effort.
In order for real spiritual changes to take place in your life you will need to:
- Attend a Spirit-filled church on a regular basis.
- Attend a Spirit-filled church that teaches personal sanctification.
- Start your day by appropriating for yourself your new image in Christ.
- Meditate on scripture throughout the day.
- Confess known sin.
- Replace sinful thoughts with Godly thoughts.
- End your day by reading God’s word.
If you follow these guidelines, you will see the fulfillment of the apostle Paul’s desire, which he expressed in prayer, take place in your life.
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; (Phillippians 3:10)
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