“I Did it my Way”
Chuck Swindoll said that when their youngest son was about 4 or 5 years of age that he was always getting his shoestrings tied in a knot and never could get it out. So like kids will often do he would pull on the string with everything he had trying to pull the knot out but you guessed it the knot just go tighter. Rather than bringing the problem to his father when it first happened he would bring it to him after he had tried to fix it, after the know was so tiny and tight it would almost take an act of God to undo it. So Dr. Swindoll would tell his son over and over, son when you pull the strings and it won’t open, don’t pull harder, come and get me and let me help you. And his son would say well dad I kept thinking I could get it out by myself so I just kept pulling harder.
Our walk with Christ can be a lot like that. Many times we get ourselves into a tangled mess and we don’t want to admit the real problem. We caused it. We’re responsible. So what do we do? We just pull harder and harder and it takes an act of God to get us out of it. At those moments it is as though God is saying Be still…be quiet…just let go and I will untie the knot. I will get you out of this mess.
Moses was no doubt a hard worker. He put a lot of effort into the things he did but Moses had a problem and many of us have the same problem. When things in life got all tangled up he always thought he could take care of it all by himself. You know “I got myself into it, I can get myself out of it.” And when we get to that point we are in great danger. This is the danger. It is one thing to do God’s will. But it is another thing altogether to do God’s will in God’s time. Not in ours.
We get ourselves into situations where we have made some major decisions but we have left God completely out. We took a job without praying about it first or we made a large purchase without consulting Him or maybe we even jumped in and married someone without even asking for His advice. Then…we say oh yeah God would you come to the altar with me today and bless this mess that I’ve gotten myself into? The thing is this…this is nothing new.
God called Jonah, told him to go in one direction and so he went in just the opposite direction. Then he had a whale of a time getting back on track.
God called David and he got himself into a real fix-got involved with Bathsheba –committed adultery and then to solve it/fix it he committed murder. Which is exactly what Moses did. When God is working in our lives we often grow impatient because we can’t follow His hand. He’s not working fast enough so we attempt to take matters into our own hands. The problem is our hands are no match for His. The scripture tells us that He has held the very oceans in His hands. In John the Bible says he holds us in the palm of His hand and no can snatch us out. (John 10:28) So we are much better off when we leave things in His hands and stop trying to do His job for Him.
The NT in referring back to this story tells us that Moses was about 40 years of age when this took place and it was at that point that Moses entered a very dangerous time in his personal life. He was anxious and he was impatient and so he took matters into his own hands and killed a man. Now here’s the thing. Moses was sincere. Moses was a good man. And the man he killed probably deserved what he got but it wasn’t Moses’ place to do it. Good intentions are not always right.
So the following day Moses goes back to the people and when he gets there the Israelites are arguing and fighting with each other and when Moses tried to step in and calm things down this is how they responded, “who made you ruler and judge over us? I would say that I can’t imagine how much these words must have hurt Moses but the truth is I have experienced the same kind of thing. Every leader has. At one time or another for one reason or another sheep often decide to stop following the shepherd. They leave and they can say hurtful things when they do.
Phyllis Thompson says I suppose if you really want to know whether someone is a spiritual leader or not you ought to look around and see how many who are spiritual are following them. This is how we ultimately judge a leader…by how many people are following them. John Maxwell says if you look around and no one is following you’re not a leader; you’re just taking a walk in the park. Moses realized he had made a huge mistake and on top of that he had been “found out.” The bible says in Exodus 21:14 then Moses was afraid and he said, “surely the matter has become known.” At that point he ran. He ran until he reached the land of Midian and then sat down by a well. This area is one of the most dry, desolate places in the world. Barren. Sand. Gravel. Rock. And as he ran he must have thought Life is over. God can never use me now. I’m finished. Ever felt that way? You work, you try so many things; you push yourself but it just gets you nowhere. (Pause)
Here’s some good news. When you get to that point you may be closer to a spiritual breakthrough. Two quick thoughts. (1) When we attempt to live our lives in our own strength, when we take matters into our own hands ultimately we end up in the desert. Alone. Wondering, will God ever use me again? And you sit there and it can be for a very long time.
(2) But did you notice where Moses sat down? Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian where he sat down….. right by a well. Listen if you have tried to live in your own strength …if you have ever tried to lead in your own strength let me give you some advice. Stop and just sit down. Because then God can have your full attention. “Be still and know that He is God. And notice what God has placed right next to you. A well, fresh, full of living water.
And God says sit there for a while and drink deep of this living water …..only God can provide.
Without it we cannot live as God intended….we cannot lead as God intended. So drink deep. And let God speak.