For majority of us, majority of the time we are concerned about whether people will believe what we say.
‘Will people believe that God recently spoke to me?’
The uncertainty of others not believing us can cause uncertainty on whether our report is actually true.
Most recently for me, I wanted to talk to someone about a job that I had applied for but my first instinct was
‘Would someone really believe that God told me that my time of struggling to get a job is over?”
“Did I really hear God say that the job is mine?”
“Am I certain it was God who said, “the time is now”
Or was it my sub-conscious taking pity on me and putting me out of my misery?
Like me, Moses doubted that people would believe his words regarding his encounter with God.
An encounter that led to a significant period in history: the leading of hundreds of thousands of Israelites from slavery “to a land flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:17) …signally spatial and financial freedom among other things.
Moses’ first physical encounter with God was in the Sinai desert by Mount Sinai/Horeb and with a burning bush that God spoke through.
A burning bush.
This encounter could have easily been dismissed as a mirage then and most definitely, now.
An optical illusion caused by atmospheric conditions, especially the appearance of a sheet of water in a desert or on a hot road caused by the refraction of light from the sky by heated air.’ – Oxford Dictionary
Oxford Dictionary even refers to the desert as being the optimum place for a mirage to happen.
Possibly akin to Moses experience of going about his day, tending to sheep in the Sinai desert and then hearing a loud booming voice from out of nowhere, is us going about our day and hearing a voice that does not sound like ours, boom in our mind.
In my experiences, I hear God’s voice when I am praying or lost in thought. When my thoughts take a negative turn, I hear God’s voice interrupt me and stir me away from the window ledge.
This is not all the time as I still struggle with discerning God’s voice from my own sub-conscious. Also, many a times when I am thinking bad thoughts, I wallow in those thoughts by dismissing positive thoughts only to replace them with an even worse thought.
Here is an example:
Me: ‘I am a failure’
The Holy Spirit: ‘But the thoughts God towards you and His plans for you are to give you a future and to bring prosperity in your life’ (Jeremiah 29:11)
Me: ‘I am not worthy for God to think about me or give me good things. I do not deserve a better life. I am a failure’
Here I just totally dismissed the leading of the Holy Spirit to perpetuate my self-defeatism, harming myself even more; harming my mind, my self-esteem even more and unnecessarily.
God WANTS YOU to WANT to fight.
Not to WANT to give up.
Moses asked the first ‘what if?’ that I have come across in my studying of the Bible.
Side Note: I am not theologian or Biblical scholar, just someone who is trying to learn and internalise God’s thoughts on all areas of my life and how to live, all from His Living Word. So someone else may have presented God with a ‘what if’ question before Moses, I just have not come across them yet.)
Moses protested again, “What if they won’t believe me or listen to me?
What if they say, ‘The LORD never appeared to you?”
Exodus 4: 1 NLT
When reading that scripture, I immediately thought of the times that I have hesitated talking to people about Christ such as:
- Telling an unbeliever how Jesus Christ saved me.
- Telling a believer how Jesus Christ saved me.
Talking to other Christians about God is surprisingly harder for me than an unbeliever.
For example, things such as
– sharing my faith
– sharing what I have been learning so far in my journey
– my perspectives on God or anything from the Bible
– experiences with the Holy Spirit
Like Moses, I hesitate.
However, it does not mean I do not say anything eventually but what speaks loudly to me are the moments of hesitation where I think that they may label me as ‘too spiritual’, a ‘baby Christian’, or think that I am trying to pastor them or even worse question my audacity to talk to them about God when I am just a ‘baby Christian’.
Sometimes, I say nothing at all….
- Not how God is helping me in a certain area of my life.
- Or how I am only at Church today, not because I want to but because I need to. That God does not want me to be alone wasting away with my thoughts.
- Or how I am only standing because of God’s mercy and strength, even though I feel weak and want to give up. Even though, I get on my knees to pray without hope.
I learned this week that praying without hope is not a prayer but learned behavior and evidence of the religious doctrine, which God is not impressed by.
Side Note: God dislikes religious acts motivated by religious doctrines that men have elevated under the presumption that this is what God wants etc.
In Matthew chapter 6, Jesus talks to us about the practices synonymous (well I hope so) with being a true follower of Christ Jesus, such as praying, charity, fasting.
What to pay attention to is that Jesus is instructing us how to do these things – with a good heart from the heart.
God is not looking for a performer or at the performance but your heart.
1st Samuel 16:7 “People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” NIV
Moses posed the ‘what if’ question from the same fear that I had (Amen) that people would look him up and down, and judge him for his:
- job which involved tending sheep
- living conditions as he was living in exile after all for killing someone when he was the prince of an Egyptian King
- his spiritual authority to talk to them about God
All of this may have possibly ran through Moses’ mind and maybe what prompted him to plead with God to ‘send someone else’ to carry out Go’s Will. And Moses probably breathed a sigh of relief when God irritated with Moses’ lack of confidence in himself even with God helping him, said ‘okay’, ‘I will let your brother, Aaron in on the action and be a buffer between you and the elders’ (I’m paraphrasing here).
Moses’ fear may have meant that he was only too happy to accept Aaron as his personal buffer because the religious elders may dismiss him based on all the things mentioned above…and more (I wasn’t in Moses head).
But God is funny, in that he still sent Moses to the religious elders that he did not ‘measure’ up to and Moses became a leader and governed the Israelites, including these elders.
When I read things like that, I have to remind myself that God will use the least to carry out the greatest work.
I have to remember that God has used even a donkey to carry out His Will. (Read Numbers chapter 22)
I urge us all to gain hope from this that even though, you may be far from where you had hoped to be right this moment or your future may not look like it will peak at all, remember that if God can use a donkey what more can and WILL He do with you, who are His children.
If like me, you have had a terrible couple of days, weeks, months, and years, and feel like the fight in you is just chipping away then …
Our next step is to WANT to fight.
That want has to come from you.
A lesson I have learned every time I am in this situation.
God has given us free will. He does not force us to serve, pray or do anything to for Him. (If anyone has told you that then they are wrong).
God will help to facilitate our desires to seek Him like giving you that extra strength to turn the page in your Bible, but you have to open the Bible first.
Before he became King David, David exhibits this desire to want to fight, both physically and spiritually. (Now I am not advocating physical violence)
When David challenged the Philistine giant, Goliath, with only a sling and a stone, he did not know his future, that he would be a leader and king of Israel. He just had a desire to want to fight against his enemy’s reign of terror over his people.
Some of us have let our situations, circumstances to break us down and become a victim while our number one enemy, the devil is rejoicing over the increasing success rates of his attacks. When we fight in spirit and with our actions, we reduced his success rates.
I would confidently battle Goliath, if I God told me beforehand that I would win. (Although, a part of me may doubt my abilities even if God told me I would win. What about you?)
David, a young shepherd, challenged Goliath with confidence built on the strength of God’s Name and power as his Father, and David as God’s child.
Some of us need to walk up to our problems and challenge them straight on, on the strength of God’s strength and not our own.
David’s epic declaration shows his faith and boldness in God:
45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.
46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.
47 Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.”
1ST Samuel 17: 45-47 NKJV
God gave him power, but David picked up the stone first.
God did not all of a sudden pump David with super strengthening spinach like Pop Eye right before the fight. Rather, David walked in the knowledge of the power of God, and God already packaged that power in him. David relied on God’s power in him and in faith declared that this fight was for God to win, not David.
We need to be bold in our desire to fight depression, financial stability, take back control of our thoughts, etc all the time remembering that the battle is God’s and not ours, when we do not believe in this in our heart or exhibit this truth through our actions, we start to make ourselves sick with worry and fear.
49 Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth.
50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. But there was no sword in the hand of David
1ST Samuel 17: 49-50 NJKV
God will orchestrate the opportunity but we decide what we do with that opportunity.
Look for these opportunities even in the mundane opportunities.
Here is one:
17 Now Jesse said to his son David, “Take this ephah[d] of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread for your brothers and hurry to their camp.
18 Take along these ten cheeses to the commander of their unit. See how your brothers are and bring back some assurance[e] from them.
19 They are with Saul and all the men of Israel in the Valley of Elah, fighting against the Philistines.”
1st Samuel 17: 17 -19 NIV
David was only at the battle area to deliver CHEESE to his older brothers who were soldiers. He was a delivery boy running errands.
For those who already possess the WANT to fight, the next step is to keep on going and fight even more passionately for the promises of God to come into fruition in your life on Earth.
Whether it is His promises of prosperity, peace, joy etc. Seek God even more for what HE promises His children that obey Him.
If you were with me, pumped and ready to fight right until you read the words ‘that obey’ then instantly you have the answer for your next step – seek God about your issues with obedience by:
- Looking for scriptures on the topic
- Write them down and mediate on them
- Do Research on yourself by examining your at past experiences in this area
- Map out real life scenarios where being obedient to what God says is difficult.
If you have lots scenarios, like moi, focus on the extremely difficult situations first and foremost, and note how you can avoid such situations that may cause you to disobey
- Pray to God to help you love His commandments and instructions especially the area you are struggling in
Remember that there is always a way out of every tempting situation as much as we tell ourselves otherwise.
13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV
When praying, pray with a hope that your prayer will be answered. Even faith of a mustard seed moves God to act.
20 So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.
Matthew 17:20 NJKV
If you are struggling with hope then do all the steps mentioned above but for hope.
Just like a closed door, we will not know how much more we are capable of overcoming, if we do not even attempt to turn the handle and see what lies beyond what we can physically see.