God is the master planner of His work. He has long ago envisioned how to carry out all His purpose and He had carefully and beautifully designed a perfect plan towards the execution of all His counsels upon the earth.
“Declaring the end from the beginning and from the ancient times things that are not yet done, saying “My counsel shall stand, “and I will do all my pleasure. Calling a bird of prey from the east, The man who executes My counsel from a far country. Indeed, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it, I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it, I will also do it.”Isaiah 46:10
From the scripture above, you see that it is the nature of God to declare what He wants to do from the beginning and set time for it. And because He is the almighty, He normally deploy all the resources (human and financial), the machineries, situations, the circumstances, all the anointing and all events in sufficient measures just to ensure that what He has said or purposed happens exactly at the set time.
For example, when He planned to create the whole world in just six days, it happened exactly the way He purposed it and on the seventh day, He rested. Everything cooperated with his orders and the earth was beautifully crafted out perfectly the way he envisioned it. But unfortunately, ever since the factor of man entered the program of God, the problem of delay in the fulfilment of the divine agenda had set in.
Therefore, anywhere you see a delay in the realization of God’s vision or a delay in the fulfillment of God’s promise, Man (God’s agent of execution) is always the cause.
Moses was one highly privileged man in his time, who was ordained by the Lord to lead God’s crucial purpose in his time, but he lost crucial chances that brought a serious set back to God’s purpose in his hand. In this article, we shall endeavor to examine these crucial chances this man of God missed and their consequences both over his life and the ministry he was graciously called to fulfill.
If you will recall, Moses was called by the Lord to bring out the Israelites out of Egypt, lead them through the wilderness and bring them into their inheritance in the promised land (Exodus 3). Even though we are reading this mandate explicitly at the commissioning of Moses in Exodus chapter 3, but you will agree with me that he was very much aware of the divine mandate right from when he was small.
Moses sure was aware that he was not an ordinary child. He was not ignorant of the fact that he was born when the time of the fulfilment of God’s promise drew near (Acts 7:17-20). He knew quite well that he ought to have been killed like the other male children born around the same time with him but for the intervention of His parents. Moses was fully aware of how God organized an unusual favour for him to be nursed by his own mother in the palace amid the serious affliction his own people were going through. And early enough through the instrumentality of his mother, he learned the detailed history of Israel, the role Joseph played ahead of him and the reason he was kept alive.
But unfortunately, despite all these divine mobilization and orchestration of events, it was not until forty years of age that Moses decided to respond to the call of God.
“One day when he was forty years old, he decided to visit his relatives, the people of Israel”Acts 7:23 NLT
The question now is: Why must Moses wait until he was forty years old before he responded to the call of God that he was fully aware of since he was a teenager? That delayed response cost him great chances that affected him beyond restoration, and it would be good to check this with me critically.
Do you remember that God said to Abraham in Genesis 15:13, that his descendant would go to Egypt and spend four hundred years there? To achieve this, God employed the instrumentality of famine to take Jacob and his children to Egypt to provide a temporary place where they can grow and become a people (nation) before moving them out into their own inheritance. Before then, they were few and so have been wandering from one country to another (Ps. 105:12-13). Therefore, God needed Egypt to house them for a while until they become a formidable force that He can use to dislodge the Canaanites and other nations in the land that He promised them. And to achieve this, the only effective means was to call for a famine.
In the wisdom of God, long before the famine God had been calling Joseph through dreams at the age of seventeen. Though he knew how hostile his brothers were towards him, yet he responded. He responded by telling his dreams to his brothers and his father. He responded to God by obeying to go and check his brothers on the field in Shechem. When he could not see them at Shechem he went the extra miles to Dothan seeking his brothers (Gen. 37:13-14). To me, that was his own way of responding to be used of God. Moses on the contrary never made such an attempt until he was forty.
The response of Joseph to the divine call was followed by a wilderness training program for the next thirteen years. And by the time Joseph was thirty years old, he was already settled in the palace waiting for his brothers (Gen. 41:46). By this time, he was done with the wilderness or training phase of his life and had entered the fulfillment phase nine years ahead of the famine. By the time Joseph brothers eventually came to Egypt, he was already well positioned and well established to serve them and provide excellent leadership for their effective sojourning for the next eighty years.
Unfortunately, despite this inspiring story of the leader that God used before Moses, Moses, a man that had better opportunities than Joseph could not respond to God’s voice in his heart until he was forty years of age. This delayed response eventually extended the staying of Israel in the land of bondage for additional thirty years.
“Now the sojourn of the children of Israel who lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years-on that very same day- it came to pass that all the armies of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.”Exodus. 12:40-41
Although, many of us may not know what this additional 30 years cost Moses and the purpose of God for Israel but I trust the Holy Ghost to reveal this to you for the sake of God’s purpose in our time.
1. Moses Lost the Chance of Responding with Less Oppositions and Persecutions
At age 40 when Moses eventually responded to God, he met serious opposition from his own people and a severe persecution that threatened his life from Pharoah. He had to flee and never planned to return. Why? He was already popular. Egypt had invested so much in his life. He had enjoyed Egypt scholarship from primary school to PhD level.
“And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds”Acts 7:22
He had been sumptuously taken care of from the Egyptian’s purse for forty solid years. He had got everything for free, to now turn and say I have a mission call after all these Egyptian investments, it must be that prince Moses was just joking. The law is this, if Egypt invested in you, you must serve Egypt. Enjoying such a huge investment of Egypt and now refusing to serve their interest must cost you your life.
No wonder Jesus said it in John 14:30 “…For the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in me.” Jesus collected nothing from the world system. He new that they would come for it later and it would hinder him. So, right early, he made sure the world did not invest anything into his life.
Beloved, if by destiny you must serve on the platforms of this world, be careful and set limits for yourself like Daniel (Dan 1:8). Know what to go for and what to avoid. Not every offer is of God, it may be a way to pollute your life ahead of your divine assignment. And you must note, if your path would be like Moses, the longer you pursue this world, the harder it would be for you to respond to God.
Moses ate what the Israelites were tortured hard to produce for forty years and he was not moved to rise within those years to save them. He enjoyed the service of his fellow Israelites as slaves in his house for forty years, he collected their homage as an Egyptian prince and yet abandoned his call to rescue them. Had he responded at seventeen, before anybody knew him, he would have avoided such extent of pollution and that degree of opposition that he faced.
2. Moses Missed the Chance of a Shorter Training Period
In God’s plan, the training or wilderness experience is the next thing for a man who has genuinely responded to the call of God. God did not design the training of His chosen vessels to be too long, that is why he normally comes early to communicate his plans to his anointed. Nevertheless, I have noticed that a delayed response will certainly cost you a shorter and seemingly smoother training experience. Because Moses had spent forty years pursuing Egypt (the world system), it took him another forty years of training at Midian for God to evacuate Egypt out of his life.
Joseph responded at seventeen and by age thirty he was already set on the platform to execute the divine purpose. It means he had only thirteen years of training and for the next eighty years, he ruled Egypt for the Lord (Gen. 45:8-9).
Esther responded very early even as a virgin (between 16-18 years) and she entered God’s purpose early, so also was David and many others. Their training phase was shorter and yet their leadership was outstanding because they were in time with the divine purpose.
3) Moses Wasted the chance of leading the elders of Israel through the wilderness when they were still thirty years younger.
The Israelites’ journey through the wilderness began when Moses himself had become eighty years of age. Then, imagine the age of Aaron, Miriam, and others. The next generation to them were already in their 40’s with wives and children. The likes of Joshua and Caleb as at the time the Israelites left Egypt, were already thirty years older than the age God planned that they would go through the wilderness. They were all thirty years behind in God’s calendar. No wonder a little stress in the journey that ought to be withstood with a rugged faith brought serious complaints by the elders and leaders among them. Moses missed the opportunity of leading them when they were thirty years younger. No wonder the murmuring and complaints. No wonder the looking and thinking back.
Sincerely yours, had it been that Moses was able to lead them to embark on that crucial journey as at the exact time that God appointed, the possibility of making it to Canaan land in forty days as the Lord initially planned it would have been very high. Although, God was still faithful to them, He kept their clothes and shoes from waxing old, but he could not keep them from advancing in age.
Beloved, if you miss the divine timing for your place in God’s purpose and the chances attached to it, no matter your devotion and determination, the chance of getting to your promised land and achieving God’s purpose in your time would be very slim. (Ecc. 9:11)
What baffles me most is that if you become old and yet unfulfilled, even if you refuse to acknowledge it and still want to push a little more, it is God himself that would quickly come and remind you:
“Now Joshua was old, and advanced in years. And the Lord said to him: “You are old, advanced in years and there remains very much land yet to be possessed.”Joshua 13:1
Why is God talking to we the younger generation this way? He wants our timely response to His mission and hence enjoy all the chances He had made available for us.
All of us have one role or the other to play in God’s end time agenda (Finishing the Remaining Task of Missions). You are either a mission goer or a mission sender. All of us must respond to God’s call of being His missionaries to disciple all the Nations of the world (Mat. 28:18-20).
By God’s grace I am a testimony of an early response to the missionary call. I responded to yield all my life to serve the Lord in the year 2009 at the age of 22/23 while in my 200/300 level. By the grace of God and to the glory of God, I finished my first degree at the age of 24 as the best graduating student in my department, the only First Class graduate produced that year by the department. The offer of returning to the department to work as a lecturer had been notified me before I went for my national youth service corps (NYSC) in Akwa Ibom state. But I considered God’s call to serve Him as a fulltime cross-cultural missionary a higher privilege than becoming a university Professor.
Four months after my NYSC program in October 2012, I headed to the school of mission belonging to the Christian Missionary Foundation, where my training began. And by God’s grace I have lived by faith ever since. I didn’t know how the meat of Egypt tasted neither have I partook in their cucumbers and carrots. Because of this, while in the wilderness, what God provided to be eaten was just the best for me at that time, it was received with thanksgiving, and I tell you it has been getting better ever since (Prov 4:18)
I am now married with two children and with a few spiritual children (disciples). Though we have had times of crying to God to send help but has never degenerated into complaints. Such moments have helped to grow our own faith and prepared us for leadership in the purpose of God.
Because I was very young when I left my own Egypt, there was no memory so attractive and strong enough to tempt me to turn back. I have never enjoyed the world’s accolades before apart from when I was listed as one of the best graduating students in my set. So, I was never used to world’s appellations. My name and picture faded quickly in the minds of the Egyptians as I gallantly relocated into the wilderness to be trained for the Lord. Unlike Moses who wasted precious time to be known and be educated in all the wisdom of Egypt, I never waited to collect further degrees and titles since my path in His service would not need that.
Our wilderness training was short because the investment of Egypt was very scanty in our lives as at the time we surrendered our all to the Lord. I never received salary before, so when brethren started sending mission supports to us, it was a miracle. Since we were not used to salaries, living by faith was learnt quickly through our leaders and trainers and that had offered us more than what Egypt would struggle to pay me had I collected their offers.
To conclude, my dearly beloved, with the realization that the Lord’s hand is upon you for a great task in missions, why do you want to delay your response like Moses? Why do you want to wait until you are educated in all the wisdom of Egypt (Acts 7:22)? Why do you want to spend your precious life learning how to present ordinary papers when you should be in the wilderness learning how to present the matchless gospel of our Lord Jesus to the dying world?
What do you need this additional weight of degrees for if you are not called into the classrooms to teach science or philosophy? Don’t you realize that anything you pursue in this world that is unconnected to saving the lost souls is a waste and a waste of your own life? When will you hear the clarion call of our Lord Jesus saying “The harvest is ripe but the labourers are few.”
This is my own contribution to your journey. God used some people to capture me for Him, I hope He uses me to capture you also.
God bless You.
This message was preached by Tunji Ajibola during the Youth and Children in Mission Forum of The Christian Missionary Foundation 40th Anniversary on 14th, May 2022 in Ibadan, Nigeria. I responded to putting it down in writing for the benefit of young people like me who have a place in the end time plan of God. You can contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 08039135275 (WhatsApp), Adetunji Ajibola (Facebook), tunjiajibol5 (twitter).