Sunday, April 24
Moses . . . refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing to be mistreated with the people of God rather than to have the temporary enjoyment of sin.
Moses was given the best secular education that was available in his day, but did he use it to advance his career in Egypt, make a name for himself, or acquire material possessions? No. Clearly, Moses used his spiritual education to advance Jehovah’s purpose. He was keenly interested in Jehovah and His people. At 40 years of age, Moses thought that he was ready to help liberate God’s people from Egyptian bondage. However, before Jehovah could give him that assignment, Moses needed something more. He needed to cultivate such qualities as humility, patience, mildness, and self-control. Moses needed training that would prepare him to endure the trials and hardships that lay ahead.
At age 40 Moses attempted to take matters into his own hands. It didn’t work. He wasn’t ready. God required him to become a lowly shepherd for 40 years. And when he returned to Egypt he only did what Jehovah directed him to do.
But before Moses there was Joseph. God related a series of dreams to him that infuriated his older brothers, and so they sold him into slavery. He, too, ended up in Egypt. While in Egypt he was thrown into prison on false charges. Only after spending time in detention was he ready for what Jehovah had in mind for him. And swiftly he went from the dungeon to be Pharaoh’s prime minister.
Then there was David. As a mere boy Jehovah anointed him to be Israel’s king. With God’s spirit upon him he slew the hulking giant, Goliath, with a sling and a stone. He became a national hero —honored in song as Jehovah’s mighty warrior. David may have imagined that his ascension to the throne would be easy. It wasn’t.
Instead of the royal palace David was forced to become a fugitive several years, fleeing from city to city, and ultimately forced to roam the waterless wilderness. Many of David’s psalms were written based upon his distressing experiences running from crazy King Saul. Only after he had been subjected to extreme affliction was he given the throne of Israel.
And what about Daniel? Before his exile in Babylon Daniel was a prince in Judah. He was among the first to go into exile. Although a prisoner in a foreign land Jehovah eventually exalted him to the highest office in both Babylon and Persia and was privileged to have insight into the future, as the book bearing his name testifies.
Many other examples could be cited, but you probably recognize the pattern. Before Jehovah bestows a blessing, particularly if it involves him granting someone to have power and authority over others, God subjects the prospective recipient to hardship and affliction. The ultimate example, of course, is Jesus.
If those who temporarily held power were required to prove their mettle, how much more so will affliction be imposed upon those who are inline for immortality and the throne of the Kingdom next to Christ?
“But who will endure the day of his coming, and who will be able to stand when he appears? For he will be like the fire of a refiner and like the lye of laundrymen.” —Malachi 3:2