desert, discerning the spirits, dying in the wilderness, dying to self, eternal fire, experience, fellowship, fire, flesh, following Jesus, God's love, honesty, living water, Moses, natural life, revelation, Roger T. Forster, T.A. Sparks, true ministry
“God is writing history, but He is drawing men into fellowship with Himself as He does so, making them the occasion for a chapter in His book of the story of humanity. There is a chapter for Noah, a chapter for Abraham, a chapter for Moses and many others, and a chapter for you and me. He calls us to share in His great declaration, ‘I am bringing to pass what I am bringing to pass’, encouraging us to be like Moses, a hole in the ground filled with His living water, or a common bush, aflame with the unquenchable fire of His love, so that He can use us in His great movement of liberation.”
That sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? 😊 But we might wonder here what the prerequisites of being ‘used’ by God could be? If you allow me the following comparison, dear reader, we could imagine a small child that tells us about driving a car alone emphatically, “Oh yes, I can do this!!” We might smile and tell them it might need some time to grow up and to learn a lot until it is time to drive a car on their own. Yet we know how children are; they cannot wait. Everything must happen right now. If not, big time crying! Yet, aren’t we in our fleshly ways of thinking and acting sometimes just the same? 🙄 However, God has His own ways of preparing us for His ‘kingdom work’ on earth. I offer you some more excerpts from Forster’s article here since he provided a good and detailed explanation of how God prepared Moses.
“We see, as Moses did, a world in which men are enslaved in a terrible bondage; a world in which there is something basically wrong; and we feel convinced that God is going to do something about it, and this means that we ourselves must abandon mere theorising and be ready to act.”
“MOSES was prepared to do something about what he saw. Wrong as his first action was, it sprang from the right motive, from a concern burning deep down in his heart which insisted that the world had got to be changed. It was as though he said, ‘There is something wrong with society as I know it, and I want to be on the side which is prepared to put it right.’ At that time he did not know how to be on God’s side, but at least he wanted to start to right things — he wanted to act. He bungled the whole affair, and so was soon on the run into the Sinai peninsular.”
“Moses had to learn that the problems of humanity were not to be solved by his high-handedness, nor by his strong-mindedness, but by his ability to convey the living waters of Christ’s love to quench their heart thirst. This is God’s world-changing programme; this is what God is doing for mankind. He does not change men by force, nor relieve their oppression by new ideas or political remedies; His answer is a living ministry of Jesus Christ which will do the work of transformation.”
“WE all know this. But how do we bring it about? How can the Lord Jesus flow out from us as from a well of living water? Perhaps the example of Moses can help us. What happened there in the wilderness was that the bottom was knocked out of his natural life. Moses was an honest man and, as he sat by that well, tired and dispirited, he must have been saying to himself, ‘Perhaps I was not as righteous as I thought I was when I struck the Egyptian down; there was a mighty lot of self wrapped up in that action. I thought that I was better, not only than him, but also than the Israelites. And I was shifty, too; I looked this way and that to make sure that I wasn’t being watched. Of course, I pretended to myself that I was doing it all for God, but I was rash and impetuous, and I did not wait to be checked by the Spirit. And then, when the Israelites turned on me, I did not like it, for I was a patronizing prig, feeling so superior to them.’ As Moses mused, God was digging a well in him, digging away the self life which had hindered the flowing of the Spirit.”
“Perhaps God speaks to us in the same way, and we find ourselves agreeing that perhaps we were looking for men’s commendation when we were preaching, or perhaps our motives in trying to help others were far from unmixed. Even in our most zealous activities for God we find complications of our ego and pride of heart. We must guard, of course, against allowing such heart-searching to become unhealthy introspection, but our safeguard will be to recognise that God is only knocking the bottom out of our life in order to use us in His activities. The really honest person whom God is using to minister Christ will always have to acknowledge that in his best moments there are impure motives; in his highest and most devoted service there are times of self-congratulation and conceit. We are not meant to try to get to the bottom of ourselves, for there is no bottom except as we are on the cross. Calvary is the end of us. If we accept this, and have a bottomless life, then He can make us into wells of living water. When Moses saw himself as a bottomless hole, then God was able to make him into a well.”
“AFTER many years Moses came to the second great crisis in his experience, and that was at the burning bush. In the loneliness of the desert, with the sheep all around him, he met God in a new way; one of the desert bushes burst into flames, and then went on burning without being burnt out. Moses knew that there had been a time when he, too, was on fire to change the world, but his fire had not lasted. This bush however, burned on and on, so much so that Moses felt that he had to go out and look at it. He went, and God spoke to him out of the burning bush, telling him that the second fundamental for those who are going to be of use to Him must be their willingness to turn aside and listen to His voice. At that moment Moses received the greatest Old Testament revelation of God, and it came to him because he was spending time alone with God. The fire which burns without ceasing is the fire of love, and the basic requirement for such love is time spent alone with the Heavenly Lover. Moses was an honest man, exposing himself to God; not trying to hide his falsities, his wrong motives, his pride and his conceit but baring his heart to God so that there was nothing between them. This was essential, for love must practise heart-to-heart communion if it is to meet God and receive His revelation of Himself. As Moses looked around the desert, he saw the God of creation, but as he spent time by the bush he discovered the God of revelation, as he humbly waited for God to speak to him.”
“Soon after I was converted and was at Cambridge University I used to get up early in the morning, go out into the countryside to sit under some bushes or on the grass and there, with a New Testament in my hand, I would first enjoy the God of creation and then open the book to discover more of the Lord Jesus Christ. So for me Elohim, the Creator, became Jehovah, Jesus, the Redeemer, and I learned much of Him because I met him alone. Later I was in the Royal Air Force and again, on Saturday afternoons, I would go out on to the hillside with my [87/88] New Testament in my pocket to walk and walk and be alone with God, the Creator of heaven and earth who became known to me in living reality through the Lord Jesus; and so I could read of Him in the book and we could walk together. Be sure of this, no man truly ministers Christ who does not fulfil the basic principle of love, which is to spend time with his Lover. He never will. He must get alone with God and be absolutely honest with Him.” (Emphasis added]
I hope it is not too much to read and I don’t want to add something here except for pasting what I already highlighted in Forster’s entry just before.
Be sure of this, no man truly ministers Christ who does not fulfil the basic principle of love, which is to spend time with his Lover. He never will. He must get alone with God and be absolutely honest with Him.
All images © 2015, 2016 Susanne Schuberth