“…Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track…” (Proverbs 3.6 MSG).
Moses led God’s people out of slavery into the wilderness, so they could learn to hear God’s voice. All of us are in some form of bondage–a way of believing and living that is not God’s best. God must lead us into the wilderness– a transition that helps us hear Him– so we can step into our Promise Land.
What happens in the wilderness is a three-step process that opens the way for God’s Spirit (the Holy Spirit) to be unleashed in our lives, so we can hear from Him every day.
First, we are thrown.
Second, we are broken.
Third, we are able to listen.
Water represents the Holy Spirit and there was a lack of it in the desert, which caused the people to cry out to God. They had to learn to lean on Him and listen to His voice in the wilderness. When we leave our bondage, we too lack the fullness of God’s Spirit in our lives. So God must throw us and break us, so we learn how to hear Him. Then, all He needs is to speak and our ears are open.
First, Moses threw a tree into the bitter water to make it sweet.
“So Moses cried out to the Lord for help, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. Moses threw it into the water, and this made the water good to drink…” (Exodus 15.25 NLT).
Many times it feels like God throws us, so He can turn our bitterness into sweet. We live our days so accustomed to personal bondage that God has to literally throw us into new circumstances to get our attention. Loss of a job, bad medical report, a cheating spouse, a wayward child — all throw us into what feels like chaos, but God is ready to catch us in the pools of His grace. The Wood of the Cross turns our bitterness into something sweet.
Second, Moses struck the rock, so water could pour forth.
“‘I will stand before you on the rock at Mount Sinai. Strike the rock, and water will come gushing out. Then the people will be able to drink.’ So Moses struck the rock as he was told, and water gushed out as the elders looked on” (Exodus 16.6 NLT).
Once we are thrown out of our comfort zones, God will strike us, breaking all of our control and self-reliance. The breaking is a beautiful, yet painful process. It’s when we become malleable to the shaping and pruning of God’s Hands. It is also when we truly learn to rely and hear from God
Third, Moses was supposed to speak to the rock, but he disobeyed.
“You and Aaron must take the staff and assemble the entire community. As the people watch, speak to the rock over there, and it will pour out its water. You will provide enough water from the rock to satisfy the whole community and their livestock” (Numbers 20.8 NLT).
Instead of speaking to the rock, Moses disobeyed and struck the rock twice. Because of his sin, he was not allowed to enter the Promise Land (Numbers 20.12). Why was God mad? Because striking was no longer needed. The people were ready to listen and hear God’s commands. God will not strike our lives more than we can handle. Once our ears are directed to Him, we can hear His whisper clearly.
“…And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper” (1 Kings 19.12 NLT).
This is an awesome reminder to us today. Yes, God may have to throw our lives into our destiny. And He may have to break us in order to mold us. But eventually we will become sensitive to His voice. At His word alone, our lives will be filled with His moving Spirit.
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