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Being Spiritually Prepared - Life of Moses Part 10

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
May 21, 2024 7:00 am

Being Spiritually Prepared - Life of Moses Part 10

So What? / Lon Solomon

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Hey, you know, in Antietam, about 80 miles from where you're sitting today, there occurred one of the greatest lost opportunities in all of American history. In September 1862, Confederate General Robert E. Lee invaded the state of Maryland. And when he did, he did something that every tactics manual tells a general never to do. And that is, in the face of a vastly superior force, Robert E. Lee divided his army. And the details of his plan to divide his army and then reassemble it were contained in what we know today as Special Order 191, nine copies of which were sent to his generals.

Well, somehow, two Union soldiers found a copy of Special Order 191 lying on the ground wrapped around three very expensive cigars. And they rushed the order to Union General George McClellan, who there in front of him had all of Lee's entire troop movement plan for the next 24 hours. If he acted quickly, he could drive a wedge between the components of Lee's army. He could destroy the Army of Northern Virginia. He could have ended the Civil War. And he probably would have gone on not only to be a national hero, but very possibly the next president of the United States. But for some unknown reason, McClellan hesitated. In fact, he hesitated for 24 hours making no movement at all and foolishly, allowing Lee to reassemble his army once again. Well, the result was the Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest single day in the history of American warfare. The result also was three more years of brutal Civil War. What we see here is a man, General George McClellan, who was totally unprepared to seize the greatest opportunity of his life.

In fact, I love what one Union officer later said, and I quote, he said, I just hope that some capable smoker derived more good out of the three cigars than McClellan got out of the order in which they were wrapped, end of quote. Well, this is what we want to talk about today. We want to talk about being prepared, being spiritually prepared to grab the opportunities that God sends our way. And we want to go back into the life of that great man of God, Moses, to see this principle in action. And then we're going to bring it forward and we're going to talk about, well, what difference does that make to you and me? So if you brought a Bible today, I'd like you to open it with me to Exodus chapter three.

And while you're turning, let me give you just a little bit of background. Remember that for the first 40 years of his life, Moses lived in the palace of Egypt, but he decided at age 40 to forgo all of that and instead to devote his life to serving God. Now he went out in his own energy and power and tried to lead an exodus. He tried to lead the Israelites to freedom. And as part of that process, he killed an Egyptian foreman, the result of which is that he was forced to flee from Egypt into exile. And he lived the next 40 years of his life in exile in the southern portion of the Sinai peninsula. What did he do for these 40 years? Well, he tended the sheep of his father-in-law, a man named Jethro.

Now that's as far as we've been. So let's pick up in Exodus chapter three and see what happens. Verse one. Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro and he led the flock to Mount Horeb, that's the same as Mount Sinai, the mountain of God. And there the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire, it did not burn up. So Moses thought, I will go over and see this strange sight, why the bush doesn't burn up. Now would you notice that what caught Moses's attention was not that this bush was on fire. What intrigued Moses about this bush was that it didn't burn up.

In other words, Moses sensed that there was something supernatural here going on, that there was something from God here going on, and Moses was interested to know more. Verse four. And when the Lord saw that Moses turned aside to look at the bush, God called from within the bush and said, Moses, Moses. Moses said, here I am. Then God said, verse six, I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. And the Lord said, I have seen the affliction of my people in Egypt.

And I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them to a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey. Verse 10. Therefore, Moses, come now, I will send you to Pharaoh, so that you may bring my people Israel out of Egypt.

Now, folks, Moses had been out in the Sinai wilderness for 40 years for 14,600 days. And here on day 14,601, it started off like any other ordinary day, Moses got up and stretched, he had his breakfast, he got dressed, he drank his coffee, he pulled his sheep together, and he set off to have another ordinary day number 14,601. But this day was not going to be like all the rest of those days, because on this day, without warning, God was going to present Moses with the greatest opportunity of his life, an opportunity that would alter not only the entire course of Moses's life, but would also alter the entire course of human history. You know, folks, this is how God's opportunities often come into our lives, how they normally come into our lives.

They normally come on ordinary days, they come suddenly, they come unexpectedly, and they come without prior warning. I mean, think about it, it was on an ordinary day, without any prior warning that God appeared to Abraham and said, I want you to leave or and I want you to follow me. It was on an ordinary day that Daniel was thrown into the lion's den without any prior warning. Elisha was out plowing the field on an ordinary day when Elijah the prophet walked up and without any warning threw his mantle on Elisha and called him to be the next prophet of Israel. It was on an ordinary day that the Lord Jesus walked up to Peter and Andrew when they were tending their nets and said to them, follow me.

The apostle Paul went to sleep on an ordinary day in Troas, Acts chapter 16, when he had a dream in the middle of the night of a Macedonian man calling him to Europe, and he woke up and said it's time to take the gospel into the heart of the Roman Empire. That was on an ordinary day. And finally, it was on an ordinary day when David's father asked him to carry some cheese and some bread up to his brothers who were fighting the Philistines. And David set off on just another ordinary day, not having any idea that the greatest opportunity of his life, a nine and a half foot tall opportunity named Goliath was waiting for him when he arrived and so it was for Moses. On day 14,601, no trumpets blew when the sun came up. On day 14,601, no angel appeared in the morning and said to Moses, Moses, today is your day, son. Moses was just trudging along the slopes of Mount Sinai, like he had done so many other days, when suddenly, without warning, God handed him the greatest opportunity of his life.

But here's the point I want you to see. The thing that made Moses and David and Daniel and Andrew and Peter and Elisha and all the great men and women of God that God used down through history, the thing that made them different is that these people were spiritually prepared. These people were spiritually poised and ready in each case to seize that great moment of opportunity when God finally handed it to them.

To put it another way, when the burning bush appeared in the middle of the road in every one of these people's lives, even though they weren't expecting it, they were spiritually ready and prepared and able to grab it right then and there. Now, that's as far as I want us to go in the passage right now, because I want us to stop and ask our most important question of the morning. And you know what our question is. So are we ready? Okay, here we go.

Nice and loud 123. Yeah, you say long, so you know, I've never been to Mount Sinai. I've never seen a burning bush. What difference does any of this make to me? Well, I think it makes a lot of difference to you and me, because as followers of Jesus Christ, I believe God is still presenting great opportunities to people today. I mean, when your child walks up to you and says, Mommy, Daddy, will you read me a Bible story? Friend, God is offering you a great opportunity. When your child comes up to you and they're struggling and says, Mommy, Daddy, will you pray with me about this problem? Friend, God is offering you a great opportunity. When someone offers you the chance to volunteer in some ministry here at McLean to teach Sunday school to work with children with disabilities. When somebody comes up and says, you know, there's a ministry we have here that we really believe you'd be perfect for.

Are you willing to give it a shot? God is handing you a great opportunity. When somebody prays with you and challenges you and said, would you be willing to walk away from your job?

And would you be willing instead to serve Christ with your life full time? God is offering you a great opportunity. When somebody walks up to you at the water cooler at work and says, what is all this personal relationship with Jesus stuff about anyway? Friend, God is offering you a great opportunity. When your teenager comes home or your college student comes home, and they say, Mom, Dad, I believe God is calling me into full time ministry.

Would you help me? God is offering you a great opportunity. In 1997, when we got a phone call, and someone said I heard a rumor that 43 acres might be for sale over on route seven that the National Wildlife Federation owns is McLean Bible Church interested in it.

We knew God was handing us a great opportunity. And 26 years ago, I was teaching Greek and Hebrew over at Capital Bible Seminary in Maryland, when Bill Poston, who's still one of our elders today, invited me into his office sat me down and said, Lon, would you have any interest at all in becoming the pastor of McLean Bible Church? I came home and said to my wife, Brenda, I want you to start going up to giant food and collecting boxes we're moving to Virginia.

She said what? I said, I'm serious. God offered me a great opportunity today. And if it works out, I'm planning to take it. Friends, don't tell me God doesn't offer people great opportunities today in our world.

He does. The question is not whether God is offering opportunity. The question is whether or not you and I will be spiritually prepared to seize those opportunities when they come our way, whether we'll be spiritually prepared to grab a hold of them. And so I want to talk to you today in the little bit of time I've got left about how to be spiritually prepared to grab a hold of God's opportunities when they do come. There are three parts of being spiritually prepared. They're all illustrated in Moses right here in Exodus three. Let me tell you what they are.

Number one, if we want to be spiritually prepared, number one, we must be spiritually available. Isn't it interesting? Think about it now. Exodus chapter three.

Think what happened. Isn't it interesting that God did not speak to Moses at all? Not one word until after Moses turned aside, until after deliberately Moses went out of his way intentionally to come over to the burning bush and see what it was all about. Then and only then did God ever speak to Moses. Why is that?

Friends, I'll tell you why. It's because God wanted to know first whether Moses was spiritually interested. He wanted to know first whether Moses was spiritually available for an opportunity that God might have for him.

And do you know if Moses would have walked over, looked at that bush from a distance, gone ho-hum and kept on walking with his sheep, he never would have heard one word at all from God. Because God is looking for people who are spiritually available and interested for whatever opportunity he's prepared to give them. What does it mean to be spiritually available? Well friends, it means that we are interested in God's opportunities. It means that we are asking God to send great opportunities our way. It means that we are actively aspiring to do great things for God. It means that we are anxious to step up and say yes to the call of God on our life. I love what Hudson Taylor wrote in his journal.

He was 17 and I quote the great missionary to China. He said, well do I remember how I poured my soul out before God. I begged God to give me some work to do for him as an outlet of my love and gratitude. I remember the deep solemnity that came over my soul assuring me that my offer had been accepted. At that point I did not know for what service I had been chosen yet. But a deep sense that I was no longer my own took possession of me a feeling which has never since been erased. Now this was a spiritually available person. And one more thing, being spiritually available finally means that when God does call on us to do something that we are prepared to accept his offer immediately.

Immediately. Hey this is exactly what Moses did. Immediately after the burning bush he went back to his father-in-law Jethro Exodus 4 18 and said I need to go back to my own people in Egypt. The Bible says Matthew 4 20. Immediately Peter and Andrew left their nets and followed Jesus. First Kings chapter 19. The Bible says Elisha immediately left his oxen and ran after Elijah.

Acts 16 10 after Paul had seen the vision of the Macedonian man immediately we prepared to leave for Macedonia. When God asked Hudson Taylor to go to China. When God asked William Carey to go to India. When God asked Adoniram Judson to go to Burma. When God asked Billy Graham to preach the gospel around the world. When God asked Mother Teresa to take care of poor children. When God asked Moishe Rosen to start Jews for Jesus.

All these people stepped up and they were available immediately. And folks in our modern world today God is still calling people. God is still asking people to let him use them in mighty ways. The problem is so often we're just not available. We're too busy working. We're too busy making money. We're too busy trying to become big shots.

We're too busy enjoying leisure pursuits and trying to shoot scratch golf. We're too preoccupied with other things and we're too spiritually distracted. And I want to tell you that a huge part first of being spiritually prepared for God's opportunities is cultivating an attitude of active availability.

Meaning that we walk out of our house every day saying Lord here I am. Send me. I'm ready to go. Call me to do something God. Here I am.

Number two. Want to be spiritually prepared? Then we have to have a big view of God. We have to be cultivating a big view of God. Would you please notice here in Exodus chapter three that the very first thing very first thing that God said to Moses from the burning bush was not I want you to go back to Egypt and swack Yul Brynner. That was not the first thing God said. What was the first thing God said? The first thing God said is Moses I am the God of your fathers. The God of Abraham.

The God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Now why would God say that first? I mean God had to pick something to say first.

Why is that what he picked? Well because he was trying to tell Moses something. He was trying to say hey Moses I am the same big God who called Abraham to leave Ur and supported him everywhere he went and took care of him. I am the same big God who gave Abraham and Sarah that miraculous child Isaac. I am the same big God who protected Isaac who provided for Jacob. I am the same big God who turned evil into good for Joseph and Moses being that I am that same big God all the powerful things I did for all of those folks I am capable of doing for you. You have the same big God that they had Moses. Let me tell you why God started here with Moses because friends God knows something. God knows that the size of the opportunity he can give us can never rise higher than the size of our God.

Let me repeat that. The size of the mission or the assignment that the Lord calls on us to do can never rise higher than the size of God in our own heart and mind. It was because David had a big view of God that he was able to walk out there and face Goliath unafraid. It was because the apostle Paul had a big view of God that he was able to cross into Europe and take the gospel into the heart of the Roman Empire.

It was because Daniel had a big view of God that he was able to go into the lion's den without fear. And it was because we here at McLean Bible Church have a big view of God that we stepped up and took on these 43 acres when every single real estate agent and financial person in Washington DC said there is no way under heaven you people can pull this off. We said sorry we have a big God.

Don't tell us what God can't do because if God wants us to have this property it doesn't matter what your financial model show and it doesn't matter what your real estate model show we have a big God. And you know what? Here you sit. Here you sit.

Yeah. You say Lon okay I got the point. So how can I enlarge my view of God like this? Well that's a great question and let me tell you the answer. It's by saturating your heart and your mind with this book the written word of God. One of the key reasons that God gave the human race the word of God the Bible is to teach us who God is.

Luke 24 verse 27 in beginning with Moses meaning the book of Genesis and going all the way through the rest of the Bible Jesus explained to his disciples what was said in all the scriptures about look look at the last word himself. Friends every miracle Jesus performed every word he spoke every action he took every biblical event is all meant to teach us something about who God is about his nature his person his power his majesty his awesomeness. Now your vision of God and your concept of God will not grow bigger from Time magazine. Your concept of God will not grow bigger from the Washington Post. Your vision of God will not grow any bigger from watching American Idol.

I love American Idol but it won't expand your view of God. You want to expand your view of God let me tell you where that happens one place in one place only in the word of God. And the second huge part about making ourselves spiritually prepared for God's opportunities is saturating our hearts and our minds with God's word because this is how we actively enlarge our view of God. This is how we actively enlarge our grasp of his size and his power so that listen now so that no opportunity God sends our way will be beyond our capacity to grab it because the bigger our God gets the greater our capacity to grab opportunity for God. Number three and finally want to be spiritually prepared for God's opportunities the number three we must be willing to take risks in obedience to God. We must be cultivating in our life a risk taking mentality for Almighty God. Think about it now friends you know tending the sheep of Jethro out there on the backside of the desert was not very exciting for Moses but you know it was one thing it was safe.

However going back to face Pharaoh the most powerful man on the face of the earth in that day going back to demand from Pharaoh that he let a million slaves go the people he depended on for all of his building projects and then taking those million slaves and walking through the Sinai desert with them and bringing them back to Mount Sinai. You talk about a job that's got some risk associated with it. I mean we're talking giga risk right here and this is the way it always is. Whenever we say yes to God's opportunity there will always be risk involved. But let me tell you something about that risk. It is only perceived risk.

Say what does that mean? What I'm saying is was there any real risk in Moses going back to Egypt? No. Didn't God already know about the ten plagues?

Huh? Didn't God already know about killing the firstborn? Didn't God already know he was going to open the Red Sea? Didn't God already know how he was going to provide manna and open the the rock and bring water out? Didn't God already know about all that? Of course he did. Was there any real risk for Moses?

No. There was perceived risk. Moses didn't know about it all yet but there was no real risk. Hey when God called Abraham and said follow me didn't God already know what he was going to do with Abraham? When God sent David out to face Goliath didn't God already know what he was going to do with Goliath? When God sent the apostle Paul into Europe didn't he already know what he was going to do in Europe?

There was no real risk. There was perceived risk and God is looking for the men and women who understand him well enough. God is looking for the men and women who know how to trust him deeply enough. God is looking for the men and women who have a large enough understanding of the power and majesty of God that they can distinguish the difference between real risk and perceived risk and they're willing to bust the bubble of perceived risk because if God is asking you to do it the risk isn't real.

It's only perceived. Those are the people God's looking for. You know I love to lead tours to Israel. I've led 30 and one of my favorite places in Israel is a place right up on the shores of the Sea of Galilee called Mensa Christi.

It's the site. Mensa Christi in Latin means the table of the Lord. It's the site of John chapter 21 where Jesus met with the disciples and they ate fish together and he called Peter back into the ministry and said feed my sheep.

Well one of the first years that I was here I noticed a little tiny plaque that was mortared into the wall one of the stone walls there at the little the little monastery the little church right there. It says the deeds and miracles of Jesus are not actions of the past. Jesus is waiting for those people who are still prepared. Oh there's our word. Who are still prepared to take risks at his word when he asked them to.

Why? Because they trust his power utterly. They understand the risk is only perceived. It's not real. And you know I was so blown away by that little quote that I had somebody take a picture of it for me. Another friend of mine framed it.

I have it in my house. I go by it at least once a day and every time I go by it I stop and read it and remind myself Lon Solomon this is the kind of man you've got to be if you're going to be the man God wants you to be. You have got to be the kind of man who not only has a big view of God but you're willing to act on it. You're willing to step out and take risk when God asks you to because you understand the risk isn't real if God's asking you to take it he already knows what he's going to do. And friend if you're going to be the woman of God God wants you to be or the man of God God wants you to be then these are the kind of people God is looking for.

People who are willing to step out and take risk when Jesus asked him to. That's what Abraham did. That's what Moses did. That's what Daniel did. That's what Paul did. That's what David did. That's what Esther did.

And that's what made them the great men and women of God that they were. And a third part of being spiritually prepared for God's opportunities is actively developing this kind of risk taking mentality for God. You say well Lon how do I do that?

Where do I expand my my risk taking coefficient? Well I'll tell you where. Tell you what worked for me how I got there. Friends I began reading all the great biographies of the men and women whom God had called in the years past and down through the ages. You know remember this is exactly what God did for Moses at the burning bush.

What's the first thing he did? The first thing he did is to direct Moses's attention back to the people in the past that he had done things for. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And I believe if we will become students of what God has done in the past how God has called people in the past to take huge risks for God and then how God sustained them how God protected them how God met their every need how the risk was never really real. If we will read those stories friends I believe it will motivate you and me to step out in faith and take risks for God in our life like they did. As followers of Christ we owe it to ourselves to read the biographies of Hudson Taylor and William Carey and George Whitfield and John Wesley and George Mueller. The biographies of Mother Teresa and Adoniram Judson and Fanny Crosby and Dwight L. Moody of Robert Murray McShane and Praying Hyde and Charles Spurgeon. You say I never even heard of half of these people. Well duh that's part of the problem maybe.

One of the most powerful tools that God has used in my life I'm telling you this that God has used to teach me how to step out and take risk is reading the stories of what God did for all of these people and then reminding myself that if God did what he did for these people I've got the very same God and God is willing to do the very same thing for me and for you. You know I had our book store order hundreds and hundreds of copies of the biographies of these people and guess what? They're all gone.

I'm sorry. I thought we'd ordered enough. People literally went out and bought 10 and 15 copies. They came with stacks like this. Well that's good for them.

Not for you because they're gone but it's good for them. So here's what we're going to do. We're going to order hundreds and hundreds and hundreds more and next week Lord willing we'll have hundreds more copies of all these people's biographies out there for you to buy. So you come next week with your charge card or your checkbook and you prepare to buy these and you know what? We've also got copies of these for children because you shouldn't just read these you ought to read them to your children and from a young age teach your children what it means to step out and not be afraid to take risk for God. And so we have some children copies too. Well let me close.

Let me summarize. Friends I believe God is still offering life changing opportunities to followers of Christ today. I believe the secret to our being able to grab them is to be spiritually prepared. And how do we get spiritually prepared? Number one, we become spiritually available. We become people who are anxious and looking for God to give us opportunities saying Lord here I am. I'm ready.

Send me. Number two, we get into the Word of God and we begin actively enlarging our view of God by becoming a student of the book. And number three, we begin cultivating a risk taking mentality for God in our life by exposing ourselves to what God did to all the other great men and women of God down through history and reminding ourselves God will do the same thing for us today. Listen folks every one of these people we've talked about today David, Moses, Peter, Andrew, Elisha, these folks all had days of preparation that they didn't waste. Moses had 40 years of preparation on the backside of the desert. David had his days of preparation sitting on the hillside with his father sheep.

Elisha had his days of preparation out in the field behind a plow with two oxen in front of him. Peter and Andrew had their days of preparation fishing. And the thing about these people is they didn't waste those days. They use those days to get spiritually prepared so that when their moment came, they were ready to grab it. Many of you here today are in days of preparation.

God hasn't presented you with the greatest opportunity of your life yet. I'm here to beg you don't waste those days. Don't waste them watching television all the time. Don't waste them reading inconsequential nonsense all the time.

Spend those days really getting prepared and ready so that when the burning bush suddenly shows up in the middle of your path, you will have the spiritual capacity to grab it and seize it. Remember, these people we've talked about today, they were not made of different protoplasm than you and me. These people we talked about today, they did not have different genetic material than you or me. What made them different is they prepared themselves to be used by God. And they wanted to be used by God.

And they made the lifestyle changes it took to get prepared. And that's my prayer for you. I hope you'll do that. Let's pray. Lord Jesus, thanks for talking to us today about, well, what it really means to get ready for our moment with you. And I believe that you have a moment for every one of us. You have something you want every one of us to step up and do for the Lord Jesus.

But Lord, we will never be ready to grab that unless we take advantage of our days of preparation. And so I pray that you would change our lives by what we learned here today. Change our priorities. Change the very way we spend our time and our energy. That we might be ready to say, Lord, here I am.

Send me. Change our lives because we were here today and sat under the Word of God. And I ask these things in Jesus' name. And God's people said, Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-21 09:20:28 / 2024-05-21 09:32:50 / 12

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