Monday, January 07, 2008

The Temptation of Promotion: Dt 9:12-14

"Then the Lord said to me, 'Arise, go down from here quickly, for your people whom you brought out of Egypt have acted corruptly. They have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them; they have made a molten image for themselves.' The Lord spoke further to me, saying, 'I have seen this people, and indeed, it is a stubborn people. Let Me alone, that I may destroy them and blot out their name from under heaven; and I will make of you a nation mightier and greater than they.'" (Deuteronomy 9:12-14)
What an offer! Moses was being offered the chance to go from the shepherd of the people to become the patriarch of a new nation that would inherit the Promised Land. It is not uncommon to have aspirations for greatness or to desire promotion. Even in Christian circles, it can be tempting to strive to clime the "ministry ladder", to push forward for recognition and promotion. Moses was being offered more than he could have ever imagined, to be the head of God's people. So how did Moses respond?
"I fell down before the Lord, as at the first, forty days and nights; I neither ate bread nor drank water, because of all your sin which you had committed in doing what was evil in the sight of the Lord to provoke Him to anger. For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure with which the LORD was wrathful against you in order to destroy you, but the Lord listened to me that time also." (Deuteronomy 9:18-19)
And again, when the children of Israel failed to obey God's command to enter the Promised Land, and God was set to destroy them, Moses again interceded,
"I prayed to the Lord and said, 'O Lord God, do not destroy Your people, even Your inheritance, whom You have redeemed through Your greatness, whom You have brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand. Remember Your servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; do not look at the stubbornness of this people or at their wickedness or their sin. Otherwise the land from which You brought us may say, "Because the Lord was not able to bring them into the land which He had promised them and because He hated them He has brought them out to slay them in the wilderness." Yet they are Your people, even Your inheritance, whom You have brought out by Your great power and Your outstretched arm.'" (Deuteronomy 9:26-29)
When Moses was offered the opportunity for promotion, he chose rather to remain in his current condition; to be a servant of the people, to be their shepherd. Moses accepted his limitations and calling and was content with the role God had assigned to him. He did need a promotion to "feel" successful or important. He was God's servant, and in being a faithful servant, he was important to God, and that was all that mattered.

It is easy to look at others and desire to be like them; to be prominent, noticed, and prised, but true success and satisfaction is found when we come to understand and accept God's will for our own lives. When we cease to strive and desire to be like someone else and rejoice in who God has made us, then we will be truly happy. Being who we are meant to be is of greater value than being someone important. Moses understood this. He understood the role God had called him to and he was content in that. Let us not look at others and judge ourselves, rather, let us be thankful for who God has made us and let us set our aim to be all of who we are called to be to the glory of God.

David Robison

1 comment:

  1. Have bookmarked here!

    It is indeed a blessing to land here.

    I am reading Rev Smedes' book. It is also such a blessing for me.

    See Love does not seek its own by LB Smedes

    or summeries of his other passages on Love

    God bless you!