How God Wants To Use Your Story

I love reading. Even from my youngest years, I could be found with a book in hand. I'd stay up late during high school, not doing homework, but deep in the pages and the story of a good book.

I learned back then an interesting thing about books; there's so much more to a book than a single reading can ever give up. Great writers manage to lace symbolism and deep thematic messages into their writing that, upon the first read, might seem to be only "a story."

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I'm learning too that there's so much more to my own story than my first experience of it.

The Scriptures are the ultimate example of what great literature can and should do. The Bible is the retelling of God's story, the history of how He has been taking care of His people since the time of creation until now. That's clear from a first reading. But it's so much more than this if we take the time to slow down and listen. When we go back and read it again and again, there's so much MORE to be found, to receive from the Scriptures.

This was really driven home for me today as I read through Acts 7, Stephen's speech before the Jewish Council. Stephen is wise in a supernatural way, and those who had rejected Christ could not stand his teachings. Instead of standing before them attempting to prove how he was not guilty, Stephen focused his opportunity on showing the Council and the others who'd gathered, how God had been working it all out for years, through the generations.

He speaks of Moses, who has been an interesting figure for me for a while. And this really stuck out to me:
And Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was mighty in his words and deeds. 
"Do you want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?" At this retort Moses fled and became an exile in the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons. --Acts 7:22, 28-29
Stephen points to Moses and the faithfulness of God, how He used Moses to lead the Israelites out of the bondage of slavery in Egypt and into the Promised Land. Now there's a story you can read again and again, always picking up something new! But that's a post for another day.

Moses is a unique figure in many ways. Moses is a foreshadowing of Christ. The similarities between the role Moses played in the deliverance of Israel and the calling of Christ to deliver all men from sin and death are astounding.

But I think what continues to make Moses unique for me is this: Moses questions God and His calling of Moses repeatedly. And it appears uniquely that God is unwilling to give up His plans to see Israel delivered, so when Moses continues to balk at his own fitness to be their deliverer, God makes a concession.

God makes a concession. WOW! Just simply WOW!

If you read the stories of the great men and women in the Bible, many failed to see how God could use them. Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Gideon...just to name a few. But in my recall (and this is why I read my Bible over and over again in addition to the commands to do so!), nowhere else does Jehovah make such a concession:

But he said, "Oh, my Lord, please send someone else." 
Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses and he [Jehovah, God] said, "Is there not Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. Behold he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart." --Exodus 4:13-14
I used to read this and think, "Okay, so this Moses guy had leadership qualities, but he wasn't much of  a public speaker." And today, the Holy Spirit revealed to me with fresh eyes that Moses was a good speaker; Moses just didn't think so.

Was it humility? Did Moses not see himself as able to speak well because he was humble? I think probably not. God honors those who are humble; we are called to be humble over and over again throughout Scripture. So my conclusion is that God wouldn't be angry with Moses for being humble.

So why would Moses fail to recognize himself as a leader? Or perhaps, a better question is this: Why does Moses reject the opportunity to be used by God?

The most powerful question though is this:

Moses was "mighty in his words and deeds." He was a prince of Egypt! He'd been raised by the Pharaoh's daughter and must have been given the best education and leadership training around. Certainly, there's plenty of indication that while he was raised in Pharaoh's palace, he knew he wasn't an Egyptian. He must have recognized that he was the "odd man out," and that there had to be some higher purpose involved.


Unless he was a dunce? I've never met Moses, but I've met plenty of people who are quite brilliant but have the emotional intelligence of a brick wall. Could it be that Moses was simply emotionally unwise? Perhaps. He did make the rash decision to strike down an Egyptian official...and then to attempt to judge between Hebrews where he hadn't been invited. That definitely seems to lack a certain amount of relational acuity (always ask to give advice or speak hard truth, people!).

So Moses runs. Perhaps he does recognize he's relationally challenged.

Perhaps instead though, he recognizes his position as being unique and is terrified of what that means. What does it mean really? He's a Hebrew man who was spared in a season of infanticide, raised by the Pharaoh's daughter. He's aware of this. My best guess is that many people are aware of this. Perhaps he's been mocked by the Hebrew people for his inability to do something even.

But the question I need to answer myself is this:

But Moses argues with God. "I'm not the right guy." Over and over, Moses says no. Not me. Not now. Not ever. I'm not the guy you want or need. 

Are you saying this to Jesus right now?

Not me. Not right now. Maybe not ever. I'm not the person you need for this role, for this message, for this family, church, community, season, whatever. NOT ME!

But this is where Moses was different. God conceded. "Take Aaron with you."

Was God giving up His power by conceding with Moses and allowing him to take Aaron, to lean on Aaron? Possibly; but I don't think so. 

Instead, I think God was so in love with His people that He needed to get them delivered from Egypt. He wanted to use Moses. That's why God had spared his life all those years ago; that's why God placed him in the Pharoah's palace to learn and grow. (Remember, Joseph was a Hebrew with power under Pharoah's reign, and I'm sure the Israelites had not forgotten about that!)

God had a plan that He needed to carry out desperately because of His love for His people. Truth be told, God still has a plan that He needs to be carried out desperately because of His love for His people. That's why He created you and me, why He allowed the things that have happened to us to be, and it's why He's called, healed, equipped and empowered us to be His hands and feet.

God placed me in those tough places to work off my rough edges, to make me kinder, gentler, able to relate to others better. He's done the same for you.

And each day He is inviting us into His plan. Will you come with me? He asks. Will you let Me use you to love others?

Who has God used to show you love? What special gifts or knowledge did they have that allowed them to love you? Where did those gifts and knowledge come from? 
Do you know their testimony/story? If not, consider asking them to share it with you. Where did God do amazing things in their lives so that they could impact your life and others for the Kingdom? 
Where is God working in your life right now? If you were willing and obedient, what kind of impact could this make in His kingdom? Will you be agreeable to Him using you there or even elsewhere if that's what He wants?
I'd love to hear your story. Please comment and share this post with your friends.


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