To the Called-Out Ones of Jesus Christ,
Last week we started to explore the subject of hearing from God. We saw that even though it may seem at times that God is distant, even hiding from us, that it is we (all of mankind) who have been hiding from Him. And, that any distance that we feel between us and Him is most likely due to our hiding from Him, not because He is not there for us. In fact, He has been pursuing us, speaking to us, since the beginning. (Please see last week’s post if you haven’t read it.)
Even so, even if He is speaking today, I’m afraid that many of us feel like He must be only speaking to the “special” people; the “good” Christians who have their act together, or leaders such as pastors and other important people in the Church. And we feel this way because we don’t experience God speaking to us that often, if at all. So, we conclude, if He is speaking, He must be speaking to others – others who are “better” than we are. Have you felt this way? I have.
So, who does God speak to? What does it take to be someone that God would speak to? Really special people? Super Christians? Sometimes I think we think this may be true because who we imagine the “heroes” of the bible to be. Perhaps we idealize the people who God spoke to and used to do great things. But, were the heroes of the Bible really Superheroes? Let’s consider the life of one of the greats, Moses, the great Moses who led the children of Israel out of Egypt, performed many signs and miracles, was led by the pillar of cloud and fire, and even stopped the sun. Surely, He was a superhero from the beginning and that’s why God spoke to him so much and did so many great things through him. Right? Let’s see.
Moses’s story is in the book of Exodus. He was “special” in that a deliverer had been promised and his life was saved as a baby and he grew up as a prince in the house of Pharaoh. However, when God calls him, we find him in the dessert at the age of 80, because he had fled there after blowing it in Egypt by killing an Egyptian task master out of anger and his own attempt to save the Israelites at the age of 40. So, he’s been hiding out in the dessert tending sheep for 40 years when God calls him. Not exactly great credentials.
Despite being visited by the Lord, shown miraculous signs, and being given a specific assignment with assurances of guidance and victory, Moses is far from confident or acting like any kind of superhero.
His first response is, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?”
Then, after more assurances and signs, Moses points to his speech as evidence that he’s not the right guy for the job.
“Pardon your servant, 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.”
Then, after the Lord rebukes him and says, “I am the one who made you, so, I know you can do it,” (Paraphrased) Moses actually tries to completely cop out when he says,
“Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”
Moses practically begs God to send someone else. Imagine that, the great Moses trying to get out of his assignment. Does that sound like a superhero? Obviously, Moses goes on to become the Moses we typically think about but that was because God agreed to make Aaron, Moses brother, the spokesperson. So, No, I don’t think Moses was quite the superhero / super Christian that we might be thinking he was, at least not at the beginning. And, it certainly was not the reason God spoke to him and chose him for this role.
I don’t know about you but I tend to identify with Moses in this story. I tend to think of all my faults and failures as reasons God doesn’t (or shouldn’t) speak to me or use me. And, I believe it has kept me from hearing God and following Him more closely, especially on more “faith required” assignments. My self-doubt and listening to the lies of the enemy about my identity can be and often is a barrier to hearing God.
Therefore, our beliefs about who we are – our identity – who we see ourselves as and what we think God thinks of us – is critical to our ability to hear God. They can either encourage us or keep us from hearing God. But it’s not what we think God thinks of us that matters most, but of what God actually thinks of us, just as it was for Gideon and Moses. As Paul would tell us:
“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?… No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k]neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:31-39
Our standing before God and our ability to hear from Him is based on who we are in Him and He makes us worthy and able. And, it doesn’t matter what our past is – what mistakes we’ve made, sins we’ve committed, or assignments missed. Paul makes it clear:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
And, if we have a past, then we follow the advice of the Apostle Paul, who also had a past he would have liked to forget, when he says:
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14
Finally, let me say, that the bible is clear that God’s love, His loving relationship, His communication, His Holy Spirit is available to everyone, to all people. Listen to these words from the prophet Joel:
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your old men will dream dreams,
your young men will see visions.
29 Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days….
32 And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Joel 2:28-29,32
I like the way Jesus said it so often. He uses the word, “whoever.” “Whoever has ears, let them hear.” Matthew 11:15. Jesus also says this in His letters to the churches found in the book of Revelation. (See Revelation 2:7,11,17, 29; 3:6,13,22; 13:9) And very explicitly:
“Whoever belongs to God hears what God says.” John 8:47
This is all-inclusive. It means everyone and anyone. As the King James version says it, “whosoever will,” meaning, ‘whoever wants to.” There’s no limitation except what we put on it.
SO, what’s the conclusion?
“The Lord has spoken.
Proclaim this among the nations:
Prepare for war!
Rouse the warriors!
Let all the fighting men draw near and attack.
Beat your plowshares into swords
and your pruning hooks into spears.
Let the weakling say,
“I am strong!”
God isn’t looking for Superman. He’s looking for Clark Kent’s that He can make into Superman through faith and His power dwelling in us.
For the sake of the world and the glory of God, let us heed these words.
Saturdays At Centro De Fe – 8:30am
We are moving to Centro De Fe to meet every Saturday, 1705 W Chestnut Avenue, 98902 from 8:30 – 10:00am.
Please call or text Dennis Crane, 509.910.7772, if you have any questions.
Please invite others to come that share their desire for Transformation in the Yakima Valley.