By Joseph Diop
Copyright © 2017 by Joseph Diop
11 And He said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: 12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and AFTER THE FIRE, A STILL SMALL VOICE. 1Kings 19:11-12
I wish that I could tell you that I have already preached to millions, like Billy Graham, or demonstrated a level of astounding faith, like Paul or David. Or perhaps, I could tell you how that I already delivered a nation, like Moses did. Or, would to God that I could relate that I have cast out legions of demons, like our Lord Jesus did. After all, for so great a tale of trial, suffering, and tribulation, this episode of my story seems so anti-climatic. I agree. But, this is not the end. We are at a new beginning. Let me just tell you this: the Lord has gotten me ready for an apostleship for these last days. He has sown in me a faith for much more than I am at liberty to tell. My true mission is really classified — as so many of the assignments that the Lord has given to those who are classed as “hidden ones” (Psalms 83:3), those that God has right now “removed into a corner” (Isaiah 30:20), until the appointed time. It has not all been for nought. When my season comes, I will minister also to millions. This, the Lord has shown me.
But, now I want to draw a vital principle that will benefit and encourage you in your time of trial — a clear and universal Biblical pattern that applies to each and every servant of the Lord. The Lord set it forth in Exodus, when he had let His people spend forty (40) years in the wilderness, and had readied them to go then into the Promise Land and possess it.
2 And you shall remember [always] all the ways which the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, so that He might humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart (mind), whether you would keep His commandments or not. 3 He humbled you and allowed you to be hungry and fed you with manna, [a substance] which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, so that He might make you understand [by personal experience] that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord. Deuteronmomy 8:2-3 AMP
Like the children of Israel, we the body of Christ, are on a epic journey through this world. All the while we are sojourning through, we are suppose to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2Peter 3:18). And, interwoven into that very growth process, God is getting that mess in our hearts and minds straightened out. Just like our Old Testament predecessors, His Fatherly hands-on plan is to:
- Humble us, making us realize that we completely NEED God in every respect
- Test us, revealing and straightening out our hearts,
- Establishing us squarely in faith, teaching us that our every need is met by the words from God’s mouth, not by what we or any man supplies with hands.
Beloved, that is “WHAT’S REALLY GOIN’ ON!!” All these three (3) things are affairs of the heart. God is after a pure and faithful heart. And, all the while we are on life’s journey, God has taken us in hand, to work on our hearts, until they are like the heart of our Lord Jesus. Like the word explains to us, for we believers are all “predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29). Friends, this ain’t hokey pokey. But, truly “that’s what it’s all about!!”
Divine goal #1, humbling us, is all about teaching us about how helpless, hapless, hopeless we are. We are weak, frail, and finite nothings. This is just the “Human Condition.” We must come to always acknowledge our NEED to depend on, obey, glorify, and serve God. Abraham, despite his wealth, knew exactly what he was and was not. Abraham said, “I am but DUST and ASHES” (Gen 18:27). David said, “Surely men of low degree are VANITY, and men of high degree are a LIE: to be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity.” And he said, “I am a WORM” (Ps 62:9; 22:6). Paul said, “If a man thinks himself to be something, when he is NOTHING, he deceives himself” (Gal 6:3).
Goal #2, testing us, is all about publically determining where our hearts and heads really are. God is the One who is constantly putting hardships in our way for this very purpose. The devil is no one more than a hapless assistant that God uses for His own, divine purpose in our lives from time to time. The New Testament plainly says, “God [is the One] who tries our hearts” (1Thessalonians 2:4). Like molten gold in a furnace, He wants to purify our hearts, and bring all the dross to the surface, where we can see it, rejecting and ejecting it through repentance. We are infected and afflicted with sin. This is just our “Human Nature.” These testing events are not for God’s benefit. He knows ahead of time what we are made of. He just wants us to have a chance to see how much junk is in our hearts, like pride, lusts for fame and fortune, reluctance to love others, envy, foolishness, and so forth.
Teaching us real faith is the third aim of God. The scipture says, “that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord” (Deut 8:3). This is real faith in real time. Knowing that your life really depends not on what’s in your bank account, or in your portfolio, or in your retirement plan, nor what comes from your job, nor any man’s hand. God wants us to learn that our lives are supplied by what comes out of his mouth alone. When we learn this, we shall be free, bold, and invincible as far as God’s good will and purpose goes. It’s not about how much stuff we have. It’s about what God tells us from his own mouth. And, that is golden faith. As the word says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word [that proceedeth out of the mouth] of God” (Romans 10:17).
So now, I have been through the course. God has humbled me, tested me, and taught me faith. He has opened my ears to hear every word out of his mouth. Now, I don’t veer in front of God’s program. I don’t get ahead of my next breath. I don’t worry about anything. NOT that I have arrived, mind you. No, not at all. But, I know what is behind and what is ahead. And, I’m pressing on. Like Paul said, “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfect; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me…NCV).(Phil 3:12-14 NKJV,
So, like the children of Israel on the eve of their entrance into the Promise Land, I have been made ready by God. Not that all my preceeding years have been idle. In a glorious, but covert way, I have already achieved all that I need to achieve for God — enough for two lifetimes. In a very real way, Christian service is like an apprenticeship. We are doing, yet learning from the Master. So afterward, we may get our own position or franchise in God’s kingdom. Now, comes the fun part. Jesus said, “For many that are first shall be last, and the last first” (Matthew 19:30). The ears of my heart have been pierced. Now, after the fiery trials of my life, I am constantly hearing the “still, small voice [of God]“ (1Kings 19:11-12). And, that is priceless — worth much, much more than this whole wide world. Now, I can look forward to possessing this world, as well as the world to come throughout eternity. Think about it.
Now, here is the open invitation to all who humbly and honestly seek after God. The Bible says,
“[God] hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us” (Acts 17:26, 27). But, it also says, “God is against the proud, but He gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6 NCV).
If you are ready to connect once and for all with the true and living God by his grace, and not by your own efforts, then please pray the following suggested prayer.
Lord Jesus, I need you. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open my heart and life now and receive you as Savior and Lord. Come in and take control of my life. Give me your Holy Spirit. Come and make me the kind of person you want me to be. Amen.
Did you pray that prayer? Then, on the solid-rock foundation of simple child-like faith, I now pronounce you a born-again believer in Jesus Christ. Mark this date on your calendar. It’s the first day of your eternal life. Congratulations! And welcome to the family.
For 24-hour prayer and for help finding a church, call 1-888-731-1000
If you are already a Christian, but are in need of repentance and rededication, then pray this prayer,
Lord Jesus, please forgive me for not serving you the way that I should. I open up my heart now, and give you full access and control. Have your way, Lord. Cleanse me from all my sin and idolatry. Fill me with your Holy Spirit again. Renew me, Lord. Make me the kind of person and servant I ought to be. Amen.
For 24-hour prayer and for help finding a church, call 1-888-731-1000