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80 Years of Preparation
7/20 Reading Portions: Judges 3; Acts 7; Jeremiah 16; Mark 2
“When he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brothers, the children of Israel.” Acts 7:23
Every time I read this condensed portion of the life of Moses, I’m reminded of the 1956 religious drama, The Ten Commandments, starring Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner. Sadly, Cecil B. DeMille believed he was producing and directing a biblically accurate film. Although it was nominated in 1957 for seven Academy Awards, and even won an Oscar for Best Visual Effects, the 220-minute movie is filled with so many errors and inconsistencies opposing the biblical record that they are too numerous to mention here. Nevertheless, I will mention one of these errors. In the film, Moses (portrayed by Charlton Heston) is forty years old when he suddenly finds out he’s not Egyptian, but actually Hebrew. Not so. Moses was nursed by his own mother, Jochebed (Ex 2:6-8; 6:20); he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter (Heb 11:24); and he forsook Egypt (Heb 11:27) because, by God’s grace, “it came into his heart to visit his brothers.” After forty years of preparation, Moses jumped the gun on his calling when he killed an Egyptian (Acts 7:24-25). Yet, this was not how God was going to deliver Israel from their bondage in Egypt. Oh yes! God intended to rescue and redeem His people from Egypt— and He would do so through Moses— yet it would take Moses another forty years of tending the sheep of his father-in-law, Jethro, before Moses would realize his true and greatest calling.
Twenty-four years ago, I read today’s passage and I prayed: “Heavenly Father, if You’re going to use me to bring glory to Yourself, I don’t want to have to spend eighty years learning to be submissive to You. Father, can you please expedite the process?” The Lord answered this prayer less than a year later when He called me into pastoral ministry. Although the Lord called me to the mission field in 1993, I didn’t begin ministering as a pastor until seven years later. Called as a pastor since 2000, the work has been the most difficult, most demanding work in my life— it has also been the most joyful and rewarding. The best place to be is in the center of our Father’s will. Hallelujah! What a Savior!
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