Today I am looking at Exodus 4:12 which says “Now go! I will help you speak and I will teach you what to say.”
Have you ever felt really convicted to do something, but it felt like you just weren’t the person for the job? I know I have. I always seem to remember Moses when it happens. Moses was standing in front of a bush that showed no signs of burning but was on fire, but he was still arguing with God about going to the Pharoah and telling him what God wanted him to say. I always like to think that maybe if I had a burning bush in front of me that I would be more apt to do what God is telling me.
Remember Elijah? I was dumbfounded at this story in chapters 18 and 19 of I Kings. Elijah had just made complete fools of the prophets of Baal, a pagan god. Baal couldn’t light the altar of sacrifices on Mount Carmel and Elijah makes the mockery of them by dousing and literally flooding the alter of God, and God still lights it. But then Jezebel decided to go after him. So Elijah, who just had God light on fire wood covered in water on the altar, runs. Yes you read that right; he ran away with his tail between his legs. God spoke to him after giving him shade to sleep in, allowing him to rest, and to eat. Was God’s voice a great wind or earthquake? No, it was a soft whisper.
Since we don’t get burning bushes these days, I’ve been thinking about conviction and how to know if God is telling you the right thing. One of my friends regularly prays for guidance. I’m not sure how she knows what should be done because a lot of those times because though I pray, I do not feel a conviction about the same question. God’s soft whisper is hard to hear sometimes, isn’t it? What if we only think we have heard it or we misunderstand it? The Bible tells us to boldly declare victory and to stand on God’s word, but we don’t always get what we felt we were convicted about and then we have to figure out what happened because we thought God told us to go and had given us the words to speak. We don’t always arise victorious though we declare it and though we stand on the word. So how do we explain the disconnet? I’d like to offer my conclusions from the last time I explored this.
1. We may have decieved ourselves into feeling convicted, but we weren’t or we are tempted by satan who sounded a lot like the Spirit. Feelings are funny things. I don’t recommend acting on them without some careful thought. That doesn’t mean we should dismiss them altogether, only that we should see if they are telling us the truth or if we are simply wrapped up in them. I’m going to share something in my life that I did because of feelings. I wanted something so bad but I knew if I looked at the evidence for it that there was no way I should do it. I prayed for conviction and I heard the dreaded answer, no! But running on my emotions I went after it anyway. God even blessed it, even though He told me no, until I got wrapped up with athiest friends after running away every Christian in my life, started to look at Wicca and incorporated it with Christianity (by the way you can’t be a witch and a Christian at the same time), and was actually telling God (go ahead and laugh because looking back I laugh and shake my head at myself) what was going to happen and what He was going to do. When you hear no, the answer is no. When you hear yes, the answer is yes. Both ways may excite or disappoint us as far as feelings go, but we know when we have been convicted.
2. The Spirit may have convicted you but it was to test you in something and the actual outcome wasn’t what was important; only the choices you made through the trial were important. I have a confession. I used to run away from God when the going go rough or I didn’t want to do what He said. I just recently stuck it out through a hard time with God. It didn’t end the way I had hoped it would, but I realize God did it to put me where I needed to be and turned me back to Him. To God, what was important was that I went through the trial without running from Him. What was important to me was not God’s goal. Think of how often the Pharaoh told Moses to call off the plagues. Moses knew it wasn’t the end, but what was important was that the plagues all come and demonstrate the power of God.
3. God has to be asked permission from satan to allow any bad thing to happen to you. Remember Job? Satan may have targeted you, but you will need to remain faithful. This generally will happen when you are out furthering God’s kingdom and upseting satan. Sometimes it is simply a test of faith.
4. If you haven’t been 100% faithful to that which God has called you, you may not be allowed to reap the benefits. Remember that the 12 apostles couldn’t drive a demon out of a man and God told them it was because they did not believe? If you do not fully believe you have the authority of God then you will not reap the benefits of your faith
5. Some things are just not meant for us to know. Even when you can’t think of why something has happened in the moment you must trust God is using it for good. God doesn’t owe us anything. He has been overly generous by giving us His grace. Trust that He will work whatever happened out for your good.