Moses’ life experience offers us this lesson from God: God uses what is broken and intrinsically weak to accomplish His greatest purposes. If we can grasp this principle (albeit weakly), God can use it mightily to the ultimate glory of His Son and the fulfillment of His great plan for our lives.
Moses was born at a time when the potential for usefulness to God was at an all-time low. As Jewish boys were born, they were to be killed. When Moses was born, his mother’s heart surely must have sunk when she heard she had delivered a son into the world. Surely not. The Epistle to the Hebrews gives us wonderful insight into the hearts of Amram and Jochebed when it tells us that they chose faith rather than fear. Against hopeless conditions she built an ark and left him in the reeds. God moved in to fill the woman’s surrender with the hope that would deliver a nation from bondage.
When Moses grew up, he had all of the benefit of the most advanced society on the planet built into his education and training. He was raised in Pharoah’s palace, and trained as a son of Pharoah.
By God’s providence, Moses spent his first few years at his mother’s knee before being raised in the palace. During this time, he was taught by godly parents that God would use him. At forty years of age with this in mind, Moses stepped in to defend an Israelite slave; he killed an Egyptian in the process. He became a fugitive and fled to Midian.
Here the principle of brokenness started to work in the life of Moses. Think of a young man forty years old and expecting to embark on a life of great service and activity for God. Through one impetuous act he was taken out of the sphere where he thought he would accomplish great things. Forty more years went by without a single recorded word from God. What thoughts must have gone through his mind, day after day of silence from God? “Has God completely forgotten me? Did one misstep forfeit all of my usefulness for God? Did God bring me through all of that miraculous deliverance at birth just to have me save one single Israelite slave?” Through the years of silence in the wilderness, brokenness worked its way into Moses’ soul. He learned about sheep and about the wilderness. He likely examined everything he thought he knew about God and about his own life. “How could this wilderness possibly help me work for God? How could this waiting be of any positive consequence in my life? Why does He make me wait out here while His people suffer so under Pharoah? Why is He wasting all of this time? How is it that this bush is burning but is not consumed?”
After all of the years of silent waiting, he comes out of the crucible as the meekest man in all the earth. He still has all the knowledge from Pharoah’s palace, but it has been tempered by heaven. Instead of being made hard and brittle in the desert sun, he has been softened. The burning bush is a live object lesson in consecration. What God uses will burn but will not be consumed. “This fire in your life will not destroy you, Moses, no matter how long and fierce it burns, and no matter how many times you think you cannot endure.”
Now it’s time to deliver the nation. Now Moses falters. “I can’t do it, Lord. I am not the one. Send someone else.” Human weakness rears itself again. Moses didn’t yet completely understand God’s use of broken vessels. “I can’t speak, I have only talked to sheep for forty years, how can I stand before a king? I have only led a bunch of senseless sheep, how can I lead an entire nation?” God’s answer: “You will lead by being a shepherd. What’s in your hand? Take what I have given; take what I have done in your life and use that. You think this is a waste, I think it worthy of Me. In your simple shepherd’s staff I will unleash all of the power of heaven. You will redirect seas with this staff. You will draw rivers from rocks with it. You will confound the greatest human power on earth with it. You will ascend into the presence of God with it.”
Child of God, let us understand that God does not lose track of our lives. His plan does not stall when we think nothing is happening. He works in His remarkable way to help us into our brokenness and to help us with our brokenness. He will never force His way with us, but when we are willing to surrender the broken vessel, He will bring great light from it.
Perhaps you find yourself in a place where you feel that God could not possibly work for good. It is in this place that you will encounter Him in all of His glory. It is in this place that God will come to you in all of His power. Have you waited impossibly long? Does your window of opportunity for service to Him seem to be closing? No. Wait. God is here in the brokenness. It’s where He hides. It is only from this spot in your life that He can come forth in all of His beauty. In your desert He will burn. He will use your life circumstance to do what He cannot do with anyone else. It won’t be how you envisioned it. It will likely demand of you the thing you feel least capable of doing. It will require you to step outside of your own strength and to embrace your brokenness. Go. Watch what God can do.