Reflections from Sunday’s Teaching
Hello everyone. Thanks for you service and labors of love to our people at Arrowhead. Below is a ‘devotional’ for you reflecting on Sunday’s teaching. I hope you find it encouraging.
Lessons From an Epic Fail
Exo 2:11 Now it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out to his brethren and looked at their burdens. And he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren.
Exo 2:12 So he looked this way and that way, and when he saw no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.
Exo 2:13 And when he went out the second day, behold, two Hebrew men were fighting, and he said to the one who did the wrong, “Why are you striking your companion?”
Exo 2:14 Then he said, “Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you intend to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” So Moses feared and said, “Surely this thing is known!”
Exo 2:15 When Pharaoh heard of this matter, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh and dwelt in the land of Midian; and he sat down by a well.
Epic fails are part of the process God uses to make His best servants because of what they teach us.
I see in Moses’ story four big lessons.
1. SPIRITUAL ENDS ARE NEVER ACHIEVED BY CARNAL MEANS
· As Moses was sitting by that well, I can imagine a still, small voice cutting through his musings. “Don’t blame Me, Moses, that an Egyptian lies buried in the sand. You did that. And fleshly acts like that can never advance My plans. It was carnal, Moses, from start to finish. And you know it.”
· In God’s work it is always God’s Man (woman), God’s Way, God’s Time. Getting ahead and using our own ingenuity often brings disastrous results.
2. TIMING IS AS IMPORTANT AS ACTION
· In comedy they say when delivering a punchline ‘timing is everything’. If the timing’s not right, the joke falls flat. So, too, is timing critical in doing God’s work.
· Moses knew what to do – deliver… rescue… lead an Exodus.. but he didn’t know how or when.
· Knowledge tells me what to do but wisdom tells me when to do it and how to carry it out.
· Jas 3:17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.
· Moses’ natural wisdom brought about violence and cost a man his life. I would say that’s forcing the issue. When God’s in it . . . it flows. When the flesh is in it . . . it’s forced.
· God has no limitations in His ability to pull something off, but He’s going to do it in His time and in His way, not before.
· The problem, of course, is that for us, God is moving at a snail’s pace. And we…
· Are Like a dog straining at a leash. Ever see that? Someone is walking a dog, their arm is about to pop out of its socket as the dog strains forward, coughing, drooling, eyes bulging, front legs lifted off the ground.
· That’s us… well, often that’s me at least. I want to get way out ahead of God, pulling and straining, choking on my own eagerness. I hear God speaking to me in the voice of Dr. Phil… “how’s that working for you? Having fun?” No, not really! And God is saying, “Dude, heel!”
· Moses was too strong. Too educated. Too cultured. Too gifted. Too advantaged. He was straining at the leash and had to learn that waiting— pacing himself—was not a sign of weakness but of strength.
· “I don’t know if you have noticed this or not, but life will move along at its own pace. No matter how much you may will it to be so, circumstances will simply not conform themselves to your expectations or time schedule.” (Chuck Swindoll)
· So, in God’s economy, Timing is as important as action.
3. HIDING WRONG DOESN’T ERASE WRONG; IT ONLY POSTPONES ITS DISCOVERY
· Moses sought to hide his moral failure, his crime, by burying the Egyptian in the sand… but as I shared last week, in time the sand will reveal all its secrets.
· Chuck Swindoll says: “The most Adamic muscle in all of us is the ‘hiding muscle.’”
· We hide the consequences of acting in the flesh. We hide from ourselves the truth about ourselves.
· As Mark Twain put it, “We’re all like the moon. We have a dark side we don’t want anybody to see.”
· But God sees all and knows all.
Heb 4:13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
· I hear groans. “Nothing is hidden?! We must give account?!” Freaking you out? Keep reading…
14Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven,fJesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
· I’ve got a hunch that this might prove to be a major encouragement to some of us who feel all alone in our struggles.
· So many of us feel as though we have to hide our failures, believing no one else could have possibly failed as we have. Some are even afraid to tell God about it, fearing He might be as put off as we imagine others will.
· But He is not put off. Instead He offers mercy and grace to help you in your time of need… just like Ol’ Mo’
4. SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP IS GOD-APPOINTED, NOT SELF-ASSUMED
· Moses started on the yellow brick road of deliverance ministry by self-assumption; he quickly, and painfully found himself in a pathless, barren, arid desert – self-abased.
Lesson: You don’t appoint yourself to leadership.
· Dan 4:17 “… the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, Gives it to whomever He will, And sets over it the lowest of men.’
· When you meet someone who is significant in spiritual leadership, invariably they are someone who has endured affliction, loss, disappointment, setbacks, failures, and incredible pain through the years.
· These are people who seem to listen carefully to God— people whose hearts are especially sensitive to the Holy Spirit.
· Because they know what it is to be broken and bruised. They have the scars to prove it. I guarantee it.
I’m grateful that in this one area of life—no matter who we are and no matter what our backgrounds—we are all on the same level. We all qualify as epic failures. All of us!
This very moment, you and I are the recipients of a gift from One who loves us just the way we are, warts, cracks, failures, and all. Since it is a gift, you might as well open your hands and receive it. Look, there, behind the tree—there’s a box and that’s your name on the tag, just underneath the ribbon. The gift is called grace.
There was an executive who worked for a very wealthy business owner. The executive made a bad decision concerning investing the business’ profits. It cost the company over a million dollars. Knowing the owner was aware of his immense failure, he walked into the man’s office, hat in hand, head bowed expecting the inevitable. He said to the owner, “I guess you’ll be firing me. I just came in to say I’m sorry and I completely understand.” The owner, not missing a beat, replied, “Fire you? Why would I fire you? I’ve just invested one million dollars in your training! You’re too valuable to the company to fire. Get back to work!”
Life in Christ is real. It isn’t plastic, it isn’t stained-glass, it isn’t saccharine, it isn’t fantasy-land.
It has its ups and its downs. The ups don’t teach us much, but the downs… Oh, the downs, the epic fails, can teach us sooo much.
“Success is moving from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”