Even as God redeems our checkered and flawed past, living a life of worship has profound implications for our present and future. In my book “The Isaiah Encounter: Living An Everyday Life of Worship” I devote an entire section to the process of surrendering to God as part of the experience and process of worshiping Him.
Foundational to surrendering to God is faith and trust in Him. No one can yield to God unless they understand and embrace the Truth that God has our best, eternal interest in mind. He is with us no matter what. This is equally true whether we experience victories and successes or when we face failures, difficulties, and changes in life.
God is in the business of completing the work He has begun in anyone and everyone who puts their trust in Him. Sometimes this process is enjoyable while at other times it can be painful.
When I mention the book of Exodus, most people recall the 40 years the Israelites spent in the wilderness after leaving Egypt and before entering into the Promised Land. Moses was the God-appointed spokesperson and leader of that rag-tag group of people.
Many people forget, however, that Moses spent 40 years in the wilderness BEFORE God called him from out of the burning bush to go to Egypt and tell Pharaoh that God commands Him to “let my people go”.
Moses was 40 years old when he first fled Egypt. Once a confident, entitled, self-determined young man from Pharaoh’s household, his royal upbringing came crashing down when he took justice into his own hands and murdered an Egyptian overseer who was abusing a Jewish slave. Personal pride led him to view himself as the Jew’s self-appointed justice-bringer. His ill-conceived actions caused him to be branded a criminal and led to an ignominious personal “exodus” into the unknown wilderness.
While Moses’ concern for his fellow Jews was good, his “do-it-myself” attitude toward their injustice was hugely problematic. God intended to do something about that. And He did.
The next 40 years Moses spent in the wilderness, often alone with the sheep he tended. I imagine he spent countless hours reflecting on the arrogance of his youth and the foolish attitudes and actions that brought him to the foreign land where he now lived. God’s grace, however, still covered him during those years as Moses found a wife and had a family. Through the decades Moses’ arrogance gradually gave way to halting, stuttering speech and a profound sense of his own inadequacies. It may seem odd, but God allowed Moses to go through this process, one that the Bible calls…
God needed Moses to be entirely dependent on Him and not on his own gifts, abilities, and social standing. It was the only way people could see that it is GOD, and GOD alone—The Great I AM— who delivers them from slavery and darkness into the light of His presence and a new, Promised Land.
God used every single day of the 40 years Moses spent in the wilderness to prepare him for the real calling of his life. At age 80 (yes 80!) a different Moses re-entered Egypt. He no longer viewed himself as the entitled, self-empowered savior of the Jewish nation. Instead, he realistically saw himself as a flawed and broken person desperately dependent on God who called him to do the seemingly impossible.
And God delivered!
No matter our age, past, or status approaching God in worship is a process in which we recognize and allow God to do what He needs to do in, through, and for us. Surrendering to God also means that we yield to His timetable, whether it’s measured in days, months, years, or even decades. When we are humbly broken before God, He can fill us with His power and presence and use for us His great, eternal purpose…
whether or not we see it.
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
God bless you!