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If Moses Had An Instagram Account

10.21.20 | Christian Life, Blog Entry | by Katherine Pittman

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    “The Lord wanted a people

    for his own name…

    The people wanted a tower

    for their own fame…”

    The music teacher sang out, leading our Sunday school in worship. But as I sat with my class, listening to this musical rendition of the Babel story, lessons from Genesis 11 flooded my heart.

    “Come,…let us build ourselves a city and a tower…and let us make a name for ourselves,” the people said. (See Gen 11:1-10).

    It’s the serpent’s enticing call to “be like God” in the garden. It’s Satan’s alluring offer to rule “all the kingdoms of the world,” in the desert. It’s the pride of life, mentioned in 1 John 2. But in this day of platforms and followers, the temptation to “be somebody” and “make a name for ourselves” hovers in our own backyard. 

    As Christians, we want to share about him, even on social media. But with every post immediately judged by a self-validating show of likes and hearts, it quickly gets complicated. We’re rightly skeptical of the danger on the internet. We know about the idolatry of self-worship. Maybe we’ve tasted (with disgust) the pride and ambition that too easily mix with our sharing. 

    But as William G. Scroggie explains in his masterpiece, The Unfolding Drama of Redemption, “God’s messengers come when the time is ripe for them.” The Roman roads constructed to conquer Europe became the very thing needed to help Paul, and the early church spread the good news. The universal language established by an immoral Greek empire, came just in time for the earliest preachers to share the gospel in a way more easily understood. Our God used roads constructed for evil purposes, and languages created for dominating a people to spread his word. Can he not use us to glorify His name in this questionable word of social media? 

    The Example of Moses

    The Bible calls Moses “very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth.” [2]. The man who saw God’s glory, multiple times. The man trained with “all the wisdom of Egypt,” [3] who stood before one of the greatest leaders of the ancient world. He delivered “600,000 men, plus women and children” [4] through the Red Sea and witnessed miracle upon miracle. How was this man, with such a “following,” and such great success, kept humble, wanting nothing for himself? 

    1. Moses built according to the pattern.

    “Moses built according to the pattern shown him on the mountain…” [5]

    As you read through the instructions for building the tabernacle, we see this phrase repeatedly. In every detail of the Lord’s house, Moses constructed just as God showed him. He could have said, “but God, this won’t be popular with the people” or “this will cause many to turn back.” But he followed God’s instructions, faithful to build everything according to the pattern God revealed. 

    “What do we have that we have not received?” [6] Paul says to the Corinthians. When we share, especially in public, and especially if we are talking about our Lord – are we sharing something that has been shown to us by the Lord? Or are we sharing to get more followers, more likes, and more praise from men?

    If we know that everything we receive comes from him, “Where then is boasting?” as Paul says to the Romans[7], and responds, “it is excluded.” When we share only what we have received from Christ, we have to come back and give him the glory if any good comes from it. If 1000 people are blessed by something the Lord showed us, praise Him. If only five people see, praise Him. And then, lift your eyes to him, with whom we have to do[8]. If he says, “well done,” it is enough.

    2. Moses prayed for his brethren. 

    Whether Israel was stranded by the Red Sea, or falling into idolatry, or grumbling about their circumstances, with each conflict that came, Moses prayed. If there was one thing that marked this man, it was his absolute reliance on God. There was never a hint of boasting, “Hey, I’ve led two-million people around the desert” Of course not. Moses knew these were God’s people, entrusted to him by the Lord, a fact he often reminded God in prayer.  

    Moses kept a shepherd’s heart for his people. When they were going astray, he fell on his face and pleaded for them. When God wanted to wipe them out, he said, “No Lord, not unless you take me.” And as he interceded time after time, he knew what message to deliver. His response to God’s people came as a direct result of prayer and time before God. 

    Pray as you share, for both your audience and for the receiving of the word. Many of the burdens for writing and sharing will naturally come as you serve and travail in prayer for God’s people.

    3. Moses went through hidden dealings and breaking before being used by God.  

    When many of us envision Moses, we see a man talking with God, or standing before Pharaoh. We remember a great warrior, triumphantly leading the Israelites into the Red Sea. It’s easy to forget this same man spent forty years in the wilderness herding sheep. The same man who received all the training of Egypt walked away, with no expectation to return. And when God appeared to Moses at the burning bush forty years later, the formerly eloquent prince says, “I don’t know how to talk.” The son of royalty had been brought to nothing.

    Through broken wilderness years, God prepared a vessel for his use. A vessel who later told his people, “God led you in the wilderness these forty years, that he might humble you” [9] He was speaking of the Israelites, but he shared as one who had learned this same lesson. And he knew, deeply: if any good came from him, it was because God lived through him.

    Often we forget that our Lord’s most beautiful work comes after years of deep suffering and breaking. If you long to be used by God, but just feel crushed, limited, and forgotten—you’re in good company with scriptures’ most famous men. When you know that everything you’ve received is from him, you can share boldly, to quote the Chinese preacher, Watchman Nee, “wanting nothing for yourself, but everything for the Lord.”

    A final encouragement:

    Our Lord Jesus chose just twelve, one of whom unfollowed. He revealed himself to 500 after his resurrection, yet only 120 came back to pray as he asked. But our Lord wasn’t concerned about his numbers. He desired only to be obedient to his Father’s will.

    Obedience may mean stepping away at times. It may mean yielding to the limitations of our local church, our family, and those in our immediate real-life circle. 

    But as we seek to go forward (because his life does long to be expressed and flow out from us!), just share what the Lord has given. He knows how to watch over your words and use them according to his need. Our hearts can then stay in their rightful place, as stewards of his eternal life, those entrusted with the most precious gift. What do we have that we have not received? What can we build that was not already shown on the mountain? May our Lord have His way as he leads our sharing on the internet.

    [1] John 7:38 NASB

    [2] Numbers 12:3 NASB

    [3] Acts 7:22

    [4] Exodus 12:37

    [5] Exodus 25:9, 25:40, 26:30, 27:8; Numbers 8:4, Hebrews 8:5, Acts 7:44

    [6] 1 Corinthians 4:7

    [7] Romans 3:27

    [8] Hebrews 4:13

    [9] Deuteronomy 8:2,3