Bruce Collins, Evangelist

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Adversaries to the Work of the Lord

Meditation for the week of January 24, 2010

Genesis 46:33-34 "So it shall be, when Pharaoh calls you and says, ‘What is your occupation?’ that you shall say, ‘Your servants occupation has been with livestock from our youth even till now, both we and also our fathers,’ that you may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians."

When Moses was still considered the son of Pharaoh, he thought he should be the deliverer of the nation of Israel (Acts 7:25).  He took things into his own hands, but he found out that God didn’t need a king or a prince.  He needed a shepherd.  Forty years after trying to deliver the israelites by His own power, God called him while keeping sheep on the backside of the desert to do just that.  But now he is convinced that he is not the man for the job.  It took forty years and a change in occupations before he  was ready for God to work through him.

Egypt is a picture of the world and of the bondage of sin.  Egyptians hate shepherds.  Why?  Likely because a shepherd is a servant and people in the world want to rule, not serve.  Yet many of the men of faith in the old testament were shepherds.  King David is known for being a shepherd.  The best known shepherd in our Bible is called the  good shepherd (John 10:11), the great shepherd (Hebrews 13:20), and the chief shepherd (1 Peter 5:4).  Of course, I am referring to the Lord Jesus Christ.

A good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.  He is not hired for the job.  The sheep are his responsibility and he loves them and names them.  Moses became this kind of a shepherd.  When the children of Israel sinned against God and made idols, Moses was willing to be blotted out of the Lord’s book; that is, he was willing to be banished from God, in order to save the people of Israel (Exodus 32:32).  He became their intercessor, their mediator as well as their leader.  I doubt that he learned these virtues in Pharaoh’s palace.  I suspect he learned them alone with God, keeping sheep on the backside of the desert. 

We often find ourselves thinking we know how God is going to do His work.  Peter was told in Matthew 16 that he was going to be given the keys to the kingdom.  He had just confessed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God (Matthew 16:16, 19).  Since keys open doors, apparently he was being given the ability to open up the Gospel after the resurrection to the Jews as well as the non-Jews.  He was given the authority to judge sin in the Church (Acts 5:1-11).  He could bind and he could loose.  And yet, he still had a problem telling the Lord how to do His work.  When the Lord told him that He was going to suffer, be killed and that He was going to be raised the third day; this did not fit in with Peter’s concept of the Kingdom.  After all, hadn’t the Lord come to rule and not to die?  Yet the good shepherd was going to give His life for the sheep.  In resisting what the Lord was telling him, Peter became an adversary to the work of God.  When the Lord said, “Get thee behind me Satan,”  I believe a better translation would be, “Get thee behind me adversary.”  Satan had not taken control of Peter as he would Judas.  But in telling the Lord how to do His work instead of letting the Lord tell him, he had become an adversary to the work of the Lord.

We often find ourselves telling God how to do His work, rather than being willing to let God tell us.  Generally when we tell God how to do his work, we are thinking that things that work in the world should work in the church.  Normally, they don’t.  Moses found out that things that worked in Egypt’s palace didn’t work in the desert.   

Men tell God, that he should save those who do good. God says none do good and that He saves those who accept the work of Christ at the cross.  Men think Christianity is a religious code for living, but God says it is a relationship with Him.  Of course that relationship will affect the way we live.  Men tell God that Christianity should be popular and that that Christian leaders should be powerful and rich.  God says that to be effective, we must all DENY OURSELVES and take up our crosses and follow Him (Matthew 16:24).  That is, we must put to death our earthly ambitions and be willing to sacrifice ourselves for the sake of the Lord and His flock. 

Moses lost his life as a ruler of Egypt, but he found his life as a shepherd of God’s people.  Moses started out telling God how to do His work, he ended up being told by God how the work was to be done.  How often do we miss out on blessing by telling God rather than listening to God?

Bruce Collins

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