Statement of Faith Current Teaching Teaching Index
God's Roadmap to Maturity
August 2012

            In their book, "In His Image," Dr. Paul Brand and Philip Yancey describe the problems that people who have been blind from birth have, when they can suddenly see.  Basic notions of space, motion, and shape are incomprehensible at first.  It may require up to four weeks of training for these people to learn to distinguish between round, square, and triangular shapes.  One patient mistook an apple for a key, a loaf of bread for a hand.  Another, grasping for some clue to please her teacher, seized on color.  She learned that a matchbox was yellow; from then on she called every yellow object a matchbox, whether it was a banana, or a book.

            If it takes time for a newly sighted person to adjust his or her vision, then the same process is possible for those who have suddenly gained their spiritual sight.  It takes time for a person to mature spiritually.  To illustrate this let us look at a number of events in the life of one of the Bible's greatest characters.  Moses! 

            Moses from his birth was a man that God had His designs on.  He was created for God's will and purpose, just like each of us (Deuteronomy 10:12, Micah 6:8). Look at what Solomon the King of Israel and the smartest man who ever lived had to say regarding the will and purpose of man. It can be found in Ecclesiastics 1:1-3, 16-17, and 12:13.  “The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.  "Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher; "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity."  What profit has a man from all his labor In which he toils under the sun?  I communed with my heart, saying, "Look, I have attained greatness, and have gained more wisdom than all who were before me in Jerusalem. My heart has understood great wisdom and knowledge."  And I set my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is grasping for the wind.  Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man's all.”

            Moses like many of us was searching for a way to fill the void in his life, and in that search he saw something that was different and began to investigate it (Exodus 3:1-3).  Curiosity drove him into the presence of God and God called to Moses.  Moses’ response was to draw nigh to God and God met him (Exodus 3:4-6a).  After hearing the call of God, Moses bowed before Him.  He then faced the same decision that all of us do when we come to that point; what will it be, your will or my will, your way or my way.  Joshua 24:15: “And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”  Moses chose to do God's will.  But this was only the start of the roadmap to maturity.         

            Notice that the roadmap starts with a searching heart.  When God sees a searching heart He then calls that heart to Himself. If we respond by drawing nigh to God He then will draw nigh to us.  Then a need for a decision comes. We must choose this day who we will serve, will He become our Lord, or just our Savior?  My will or yours, your way or mine, which will it, be?  Moses decision was to bow to God's will!

            Now that Moses had bowed his will to God, God commissions Moses for a great work (Exodus 3:7-10).  “And the LORD said: "I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows.  “So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites. “Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them.  Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”

            Each one of us gets the same commission.  You may not be called to be a Missionary or an Evangelist, but the Great Commission was given to all that believe.  Matthew 28:18-20 is called the Great Commission and it says: “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, all authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.”  At this point there are no "buts"! God knows more about us then we do and God will not send us out unprepared or without the proper equipment and empowerment for service.  God, in all His power and wisdom is living in us (Revelation 3:20).  He is equipping and empowering and encouraging us to serve Him unconditionally (Acts 1:8).

            Moses was no different then we are!  He doubted God's choice of instrument (Exodus 3:11-4:11).  God in His unmerited favor confronts and then comforts all Moses’ concerns.  God then told Moses to cast away his staff, which represents all the cares, weaknesses, and burdens that Moses was using as a crutch (staff).  The staff then turned into a snake, revealing to Moses what was behind his excuses.  Notice, once God revealed to Moses what the staff was, he fled from it.  Are we willing to allow God to reveal to us what our cares, weaknesses, and burdens are?  You know those excuses we justify our disobedience with.  If God revealed to you what was behind those convenient excuses would you flee in fear, like Moses did?

            God then told Moses to take control of the staff, now turned snake, and God turned it into an instrument that God could now mightily use (Exodus 4:1-4).  God uses our weaknesses and shows Himself strong in them.  Notice what 1st Corinthians 1:27 and 2nd Corinthians 12:9 says:  “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty.  And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”  Is this a prayer that you can pray without hesitation or a second thought or is it stumbling block?

            Despite Moses’ excuses God still went the extra mile with Moses and appointed his brother Aaron to go with Moses as an appointed spokesman.  Aaron was appointed to go with Moses to help Moses get over his weaknesses and fears.  God does the same for us if we ask him.  Someone will always be there to fill the weak areas in our natures and strengthen them.  That is why we are sent out two by two.  And just as Moses grew into his appointed position filled with power and purpose, so will we. 

            The next thing that happens is that Moses and Aaron go forth obeying God's call to free God's people from their bondage.  Immediately trials and troubles come their way.  The results that they were expecting did not come about right away.  In fact, the complete opposite results occurred.  The people were put into more bondage; they were given more work; burdened with additional hardships.  But what did Moses do.  He returns to God and falls prostrate before Him.  He starts to question God (Exodus 5:22-23).  But his questions are based on what he perceives as his own inability.  He questions God with a humble heart.  This is the case throughout Moses’ ministry.  He always did the same thing, he returned to the Master with a humble heart of curiosity, awe and respect.  Moses always kept the lines of communication open and the Lord always spoke to him as a friend.  God then reveals to Moses that a new level of revelation was to be given to God's people.  Notice Exodus 6:1-3. “Then the LORD said to Moses, "Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh. For with a strong hand he will let them go, and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land” And God spoke to Moses and said to him: “I am the LORD.  “I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name LORD I was not known to them.”           

            So far the roadmap has taken us from a searching heart, to a call from God.  We respond to that call by drawing nigh to God, and He draws nigh to us.  But then comes the fork in the road, the big decision, choose this day who you will serve.  If we choose to stay with God He commissions us.  But immediately the excuses, doubts and fears come.  Once we conquer those we face roadblocks, breakdowns and detours all of which should lead us right back into the arms of our loving Father.  It is at this point that God reveals to us a new and deeper revelation of Himself.  But the commission and call has not changed.  It has now intensified.

            The old knowledge of God was based on God or El-Shaddai, which is translated "God almighty." The Jews understood the significance of the name as being ever-existent, the eternal, the ever becoming One.  That is, the One who is continually revealing Himself and His ways and purposes in His mighty works.  But now God wants to reveal Himself as “LORD,” or Jehovah.  The name Jehovah is translated “LORD” in capitals in our Bibles in order to distinguish it from other words which are translated "lord".  Jehovah always refers to the God of Israel.  Jehovah is derived from the Hebrew verb “havah” which means "to be" or "being."  Therefore, when we read the name “Jehovah” or “Lord” in capitals in our Bibles we think in terms of “being or existence and life,” and we must think of Jehovah as the Being who is absolutely self-existent, the One who in Himself possesses life, and permanent existence.

            This change of revelation has several meanings. 

1.      Is that though the name Jehovah is frequently used as the title of the Elohim of the Patriarchs, Jehovah’s full significance was not revealed to them

2.      It was now revealed in connection with God's covenant and promise to a people

3.      Now, after hundreds of years the true significance of the name was to be unfolded by the manifestation of God as a personal, living being, fulfilling to God's people the promises He made to them.  So it is at this point that the ever‑living God reveals Himself to His covenant people, as the unchanging God who remains faithful to His word through many generations.  "God's personal existence, the continuity of His dealings with man, the unchangeableness of His promises, and the whole revelation of His redeeming mercy gathers around the name Jehovah."[1]

            We need to choose which of these two covenants we wish to live under.  Many of us are standing between these two covenants; the covenant that puts God in a position only as a powerful ally; or the covenant that establishes Him as LORD of our lives.  The later one is where God wants to be known as a Being who is absolutely self-existent, the one who in Himself possesses life, and permanent existence.  Jehovah the ever‑living God reveals Himself to His covenant people, as the unchanging God who remains faithful to His word through many generations. He is the God who will bestow all manner of manifold blessings on those that through love and obedience show themselves as one of His.

            When this choice was given to the people of Israel the murmured and complained about their circumstances (Exodus 5:9).  But God spoke to them and commanded them as a unified body to go to Pharaoh and demand freedom (Exodus 5:13, 27-30).  We as God's children should adhere to this command.  In unity of purpose and Spirit, we and our leaders should speak to him that is using evil circumstances to hold us bound, and demand our freedom.

            Moses then goes and demands freedom from Pharaoh.  Do to his obedience he went forth in demonstration of the Glory and Power of God.  Ten plagues, God's presence in a pillar cloud by day and a pillar of fire at night, the parting of the Red Sea, Manna, Quails, Water from a rock and many more miracles later, God calls Moses and his people to the Mountain of God; where Moses spent forty days of intimate time alone with God.  During this time came the rules to establish a righteous and Godly nation.  Rules that would last forever.  And for Moses a deeper more intimate knowledge of the Most Holy One. 

            The lesson that we see here is that the roadmap to Christian maturity is one that starts and ends in the presence of God.  Each time you obey His commission and return to Him the relationship becomes deeper and more fulfilling.  Your actions become more like God's own actions.  Your face and your actions reflect that deeper relationship.  And the people will respond and follow you to as you draw nigh unto Jehovah. 

            But this roadmap has one condition attached to it!  We must want to travel along its route.  Because without continually returning to God and maintaining a viable relationship with Him there is no ministry.  The call is there.  The power is there. The need is there, but in our own failures and weaknesses whatever they may be God will still use us mightily if we give Him the chance.  You can even lie to yourself about the excuses that are keeping you from being mightily used by God but God is patient and persistent He will reveal you weaknesses and give you the strength to overcome them; then He will use you mightily.  No matter what we are doing for the Lord, whether it is a lot or a little, like Moses, we must always return to the loving presence of God and keep a continual open line of communication with God.  God desires that kind of relationship!  Do you?

            God through His obedient servant Moses saved God's chosen people and established a nation (Exodus 35).  We are God's chosen people and through the relationship that Christ desires to establish with us, we can and will be used to do the same.

            Moses’ roadmap to maturity is not any different then our own.  We as sinners know that there is something more then just being born, living, and dying.  We are searching for the answer to the question, "Why are we here?" God knowing the cries of the innermost being is throughout our lives calling us by His Spirit.  When we acknowledge His gentle calling and we draw nigh to God, He will draw nigh to us (James 4:8).  When that happens and we bow our knees to His will and do away with our own wills, we become His children.  God then commissions us for duty.  Where like Moses, we will undoubtedly question and fight that call.  But through God's mercy He assures us, equips us, and empowers us for service.  Then and only then can we go forth in the power and Glory of God.  Once we go forth, we run into trials.  These trials and tribulations should drive us into the presence of God; where we should bring our concerns and questions to God just like Moses did.

            God will then fulfill Isaiah 61 in us just like He fulfilled it in Christ.  And because Christ is now living in you, you will be able to say that, “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified."  And they shall rebuild the old ruins, They shall raise up the former desolations, And they shall repair the ruined cities, The desolations of many generations.  Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, And the sons of the foreigner Shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.  But you shall be named the priests of the LORD, They shall call you the servants of our God. You shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, And in their glory you shall boast.  Instead of your shame you shall have double honor, And instead of confusion they shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess double; Everlasting joy shall be theirs.  "For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery for burnt offering; I will direct their work in truth, And will make with them an everlasting covenant.  Their descendants shall be known among the Gentiles, And their offspring among the people. All who see them shall acknowledge them, That they are the posterity whom the LORD has blessed."  I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.  For as the earth brings forth its bud, As the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, So the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.”

            What a tremendous revival will burst forth if only we would catch this vision.  The world would never be the same.  This writer believes that is exactly what our Lord Jesus is waiting for; we need to catch this vision.

[1]   Girdlestone, Old Testament Synonyms, pg. 62

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