By Gbenga Osinaike
One of the personalities in the Bible that encountered a painful end is Moses. He spoke with God, saw Him; at least His back part, walked with God, took the responsibility of carrying the burden of the Israelites and seeing to their welfare. Yet, he ended in a rather sorry and pathetic way.
The Bible in fact described him as the meekest person on the surface of the earth. That to me is too strong a credential for him to have missed the Promised Land at the end. Though Moses fulfilled destiny because his assignment was to take the people out of Egypt, but the truth is that; it would have been glorious if he had made the Promised Land.
There are very few people in the Bible who enjoyed the kind of intimacy Moses had with God. Jesus had the ultimate relationship but His case is understandable because He is God in man. But then, at that height, Jesus did not take God for granted. He differed to God. He says, “I do nothing of my own. I do what my father asked me to do.” At a point he declared that there is none righteous but God. Jesus was fully man and fully divine. He exhibited a humility that is outstanding.
And Moses was so used of God that it got to a point that the children of Israel would rather see Moses than see God because Moses was carrying the glory of God. He could walk up to God anytime, make request and be granted. He had to plead on several occasions that God should spare the Israelites. He truly had a burden for them. He was a great intercessor. But somewhere along the line, his intimacy with God probably cost him a glorious end.
Where did Moses miss it? The Bible records that Moses did not sanctify God before the people. He told the people, “Must we bring out water for you from this rock? And he struck the rock instead of speaking to the rock as the Lord commanded.” That is disobedience and sharing God’s glory. The interesting part of this story is that God still went ahead to provide water for the people.
The implication is that getting result is not an indication that we are in the will of God.
We could delude ourselves by saying we have “evidence and proofs” And when we are asked what the proofs are; we point to the number of people in our churches, the structures and the miracles. Thank God for these proofs and they are by no means insignificant in God’s rating. But then the question we must constantly ask ourselves is: Are we in God’s will or we only tried to push our agenda?
We need to have fellowship with God, love Him, interact with him and walk in His purpose. But the day we try to share His glory, we will become history. And so many servants of God have become history today because they have refused to sanctify God in their conduct.
Many of the testimonies we share in our churches in which the testifier consciously puts the name of the pastor forward as the instrument God used may put us into trouble with God. There is nothing wrong in acknowledging that God used a man for our salvation or healing. But there is a thin line between doing that and sharing in God’s glory.
Have you observed that there are some testimonies we give to draw attention to ourselves? “The man was dying, he was almost dead. But as soon as I stepped into the arena, something happened and he came back to life. Before I got there everybody was just looking. They didn’t know what to do. But my presence caused a change.” Does this kind of testimony sound familiar?
Imagine God using you to raise the dead? Thank God for those God has used to raise the dead and they have managed to keep their head low, but the truth is that it is pretty difficult to remain low when God does something great through you. If you are trying to be humble, the people will pressurize you and make you lose your head. We have many churches today not because God has a hand in them but because the founders were made to believe that they too have the capacity to lead God’s people.
Getting used to God and taking him for granted is however beyond the miracles He does through us. It is more in our lifestyles. Many of those giving the church problem today are people who have become too familiar with God. They can sing all the hymns in the hymn book by heart, they know the message the pastor will preach even before he opens his mouth. They have attended all kinds of conferences and they are adept in giving instances and situations in church history.
They have got so used to church programmes and ceremonies that the essence of fellowship has been lost to them. They have become the younger brothers of God. These are the people who no longer find vigils attractive; they no longer take their Bible study serious. What are you going to say that they don’t know? They have read through the Bible several times that nothing catches their attention again when they are reading it or when somebody else is reading it.
These people are dangerous to the church. They are many in our churches. They are yesterday’s men. They still come to church and participate in all the activities but it is more of ceremony to them than a life changing experience. Church has become so monotonous and dry that even when there is a move of God they don’t see it. These men are also occupying our pulpits. They have seen all kinds of characters in the church.
They are the ones who will tell you that the church is finished; that there is nothing in the church again. And yet they are the very problem. They are the problem because they have failed to intercede for the church. They are the problem because they are no longer excited about what God is doing. They are the problem because spiritual truth no longer makes meaning to them. They have become too familiar with God. Their morning prayers and night prayers are more of a ritual than an encounter with God. Their spirits are dead. Yet, they are in church.
When God does not seem to make sense; when our energy for God is depleting; when we become too familiar with God not to obey simple instructions from Him, we run the risk of falling out with Him and missing our eternal home. It is not late for us to retrace our steps and come back to God in full repentance.
Today we have grace; plenty of grace to come back in repentance to God and reverence Him. He alone deserves our worship. If you are a church leader, plead with your members not to send you to hell by the undue recognition and adulation they give you and don’t ever take Him for granted. Let every one of us know our limits. Let us recognize this one fact that we cannot take the place of God