The Consequences of Sin
Been reading the last part of Deuteronomy and it's rolling around in my head. I can't seem to get it out. The end of Moses. His death. 120 years old this guy. Been leading the Israelites since they were a rag-tag group of nomadic slaves trapped in Egypt. Spent his whole life on them. Invested everything. They were the ones he argued with God for. They were the ones he listened to the grumbling. They were the ones who took up all his time helping gain justice and listening to their petty arguements. They were the ones he spent hours and hours intercedeing for. What a pastor!
Now the point of all this was to get them from Egypt and a life of slavery to Canaan - the "promised land". Here they would clear the place out and be blessed by God forever. That's the plan.
But the end of the story is such a sad one. Moses isn't allowed to enter the promised land nor to lead the people in. What?! All this way and you don't get to enter it? That's crazy! How could God do that to a leader. Bring him and the people all that way. Then not let them enter? It would break a man's heart. Especially Pastor Moses who's given his whole life for this.
So why can't he enter? One lousy mistake.
Made it back in Meribah Kadesh. The people were grumbling about water (what's new?). And God tells Moses to speak to the rock and water would gush out and the people would be saved (again). So what does an overtired grumpy Pastor Moses do? He walks over to the rock and beats it with his staff instead. He didn't deliver the sermon that Sunday. He just delivered the water. And that's it. Big deal? Not to me. But it was to God. God was expecting Moses to bring glory to him through the message that day and Moses didn't.
So because of that, Moses isn't allowed to enter the land, just see it from a distance.
And with that rolling around in my head, as a pastor. I'm thinking. Thinking about how often have I really delivered the goods? Really pointed people to God. Really took the opportunities in front of me to have people see God. Or did I allow my grumpiness or self-centeredness to not point fully to God.
O that I may be a reflection of Him in every circumstance! O that people would see Christ in me! O that the new Jesus-filled Dwayne would shine through! This is my passionate prayer today!
I confess that all too often my lack of sleep and grumpiness gets the best of me. I can get pretty selfish sometimes. Please forgive me Lord. Let me complete the mission you've given me. Please don't cut me short of that. I desperately want to be the leader who finishes well. Who completes the mission. Who leads the people to the place where you want them. But I will pass on the baton graciously if you ask me to. Though it rips the heart out of my chest. I do want the people to get to the place of blessing.
I'm crying now. Can't stop the tears. Begging God for my church family. We're not there yet. But He's bringing us and I can see it. I just want this awesome community of people get there. I've seen them come so far. I've loved them pastorally with all my heart. I long for them. Ache for them. Pray for them. Intercede constantly for them. I've given everything I know how to for them.
But I don't know if I can finish the journey with them. Medical leave. It's killing me inside and yet...
I know that great leaders are taking the reigns. How can I bless them? How can I tell them, "Be strong and of great courage!"
"The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."
O, God, I long for your people to find that place of blessing and to honor You. Including myself.
Life is an adventure, a journey we travel. And God walks it with us - hand in hand if we let Him. Guiding, shaping, and molding us through the circumstances. I seek to journey more intentionally here.
Thursday, July 07, 2005
The Consequences of Sin