Summary: Those who God uses have one common experience... brokeness.

“Sweet Bitterness From God”

March 21, 1999

Do people that are used by God have something in common?

Before we answer that question, you need to know that today’s topic will be bitter before it is sweet. However, if you embrace it, satisfaction will pervade to the depths of your soul!

The topic of this message is contrary to most of what is preached and taught on Christian TV and in Christian books today. Yet it is light years ahead in truth compared to the prosperity gospel.

Note this in 5 men’s lives… Moses was banished to Midian for 40 years; Isaiah lamented “Woe is me;” Nebuchadnezzer ate grass like a cow for 7 years; Peter wept bitterly after denying Christ, and Saul was blinded on the road to Damascus.

Those men had a traumatic spiritual event, a “crisis of faith.” Something so powerful it changed them for the rest of their life. This morning we only have time to examine Moses. But I want to strongly encourage you to study the other men yourself.

Let’s think about Moses for a moment. He was a man on a mission from God, called to lead the children of Israel out of bondage and into the promised land. Moses communed with God and had a clear sense of direction. He KNEW God’s will for Israel… AND that he was called to lead them.

But do you remember the obstacles & difficulties between his burning bush experience and the promised land? If not, let me jog your memory just a bit.

Some of the difficulties included…

1) His wife (Zipporah) opposed his calling (Ex 4:20-26). 2) The people grumbled against him because of thirst (Ex 15:24) & hunger (Ex 16:2-3). 3) They voiced their impatience because of the length of the journey (Num 21:4-6). 4) After receiving the 10 Commandments, Moses was grieved and angered that the people had turned from God to worshipping idols (Ex 32). 5) Aaron & Mariam (Moses’ Sister) openly opposed him (Num 12). 6) Isreal voted not to follow his leadership into the promised land (Num 14:2-4). 7) And Korah challenged his authority (Num 16).

Then because of Israel’s disobedience, Moses endured 40 years of hardship. HE wandered in the desert… HE heard their complaining… HE saw friends die… HE had to wait.

PAUSE… Which of us would endure decades of hardship, difficulty, and tribulation for any cause? How many of us could bear that kind of adversity? Most of us would probably bail out!

I wonder, to do what you KNOW is right, would YOU… endure family opposition, your friends rebelling against you, people complaining, questioning your integrity, trying to run you off, rejecting your leadership by a vote, and then suffer because of THEIR sin?… Moses did!

That is amazing to me! How was he able to continue in the midst of constant adversity? What was it that kept him going 80 years after he received his call from God?…

Moses was able because he was a man of the highest spiritual integrity, character, and strength. Moses was a Godly man. Numbers 12:3 describes him this way…

“Now the man Moses was very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth.”

But HOW did he get that way? Moses was used by God because he had been broken by God.

Moses was humble because God used situations and circumstances to break him. Before God uses anyone, He breaks them. He brings them to a place in their life where they flee to Him, and Him alone, because there is no place else to go.

The events of Moses’ life, from birth, were orchestrated by God for him to become Israel’s deliverer. But before God used Moses, God broke Moses. Some examples…

Example 1: God removed him from prominence in Egypt to being a wandering shepherd… to learn that power does not reside in the authority of man, but in God alone.

Example 2: God banished him to tend sheep for 40 years… to learn God’s timing is right, patience, and the lesson of how dangerous pride is.

Example 3: God gave Moses slowness of speech to teach him that eloquence is not in what is said, but in Who gives what to say.

Example 4: God overwhelmed Moses with the enormity of the task of leading God’s people so that he would completely depend upon Jehovah God and not himself or human counsel.

God used those things to mold him into a man He could use. To make Moses a person who was dependent upon God for EVERYTHING.

** Brokenness is God’s method for bringing about spiritual maturity. ** P-A-U-S-E

I fought against that idea for a long time. I thought that God did NOT have to do that to use someone. But the more I’ve studied, the more I am solidly convinced that IS the case… AND THAT IS THE ONLY MEANS GOD USES! Listen to Ps 51:17…

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