God has been speaking to me a clear word for myself, and I want to share it with you, because I know many of you are in the same boat I am in.
Perhaps you have some long-standing promises that are not yet fulfilled, just as I do. You have heard God repeatedly speak to you about them. You’ve prayed over them, wept over them, and cherished them in your heart for many long years — as I have. Perhaps the circumstances have caused you to doubt along the way, but the Lord, by His grace, picked you up and dusted you off when you were lower than a skunk in a cellar, and He brought you to a place of believing Him for what He had said to you — no matter what. But now it’s bad — really bad. The probability of what you were so sure God had told you ever happening looks to be at an all-time low. And those who know you well don’t believe with you anymore. They advise you to give up.
It is most confusing, because you know what you’ve heard, and you know God is a God of complete integrity Who cannot lie, but still ….
Moses went through the same thing you are experiencing, and he came out the other side of it all right — better than all right, in fact.
In Acts 7:23-36, Stephen the martyr tells us a part of Moses’ story that we don’t find in Exodus. Stephen reveals that Moses already knew as a young adopted Egyptian prince that he was called by God to deliver his people Israel.
And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren, the children of Israel. And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him who was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian, for he supposed his brethren would have understood that God by his hand would deliver them: but they did not understand.
— Acts 7:23-25
The story is a familiar one. We know from this passage and Exodus 2-4 that Moses fled Egypt for his life and spent the next forty years in the Sinai wilderness, tending someone else’s sheep. Forty years in the desert.
But the time for fulfillment came. Moses was not a spoiled prince anymore: he had become a broken man. Stephen mentions that Moses had been “mighty in words and deeds” (Acts 7:22) prior to fleeing Egypt. Jewish tradition relates that he had been a successful military general and a skilled orator. He had also been in line for Egypt’s throne. But by the time he encountered God at the burning bush, the valor and the speaking ability had flown. So had his belief in his destiny calling. And Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11). Four times Moses objected to God, explaining why the word God had spoken over his life could no longer happen, and each time God encouraged him with details of how He would do it through him. A fifth time Moses objected, this time saying, “Lord, find somebody else to do it.” (Exodus 4:13).
But he ended up living out the calling of which God had spoken to him at least forty years earlier. God kept His word to Moses.
If Moses had succeeded in delivering Israel in his younger years, there might have been a story in the history books about a brilliant young general who liberated a nation. Perhaps it would have been like many other such stories, and Moses would have gotten some glory for himself. Perhaps he would have been conceited about his victory, too.
By the time God used him in the way He had always planned on doing, Israel’s deliverance had nothing left in it for Moses to personally glory in. The story unfolded with miracle upon miracle, and by the time it was finished, everyone knew that God and God alone had done it all. And Moses was eventually allowed to write by the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, “Now, the man Moses was very meek [humble], above all the men which were upon the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3).
What is my point? Moses had a word from the Lord that he was to deliver a nation. Decades went by without its fulfillment. It probably looked to Moses as if he had wrecked his own promise. As far as we know, he no longer believed it would ever come true. But though Moses messed up and in the end didn’t even want his promise anymore, God was faithful to His word. When the time was right, He performed what He had said.
Maybe you are a Moses. You’ve got a promise, a God-birthed heart’s desire, that is on the ash heap, while you are toiling in the Disappointment Desert. Don’t despair. God is a God of integrity. He magnifies His word even above His own name (Psalm 138:2) — a mind-boggling concept. He may (and probably will) perform what He has spoken to you a lot differently than how you had anticipated it would go, but He’s going to come through for you.
He’s going to do it up bigger than you ever imagined — because that’s the kind of God He is.