Spiritual Ends

Years passed, and the king of Egypt died. But the Israelites continued to groan under their burden of slavery. They cried out for help, and their cry rose up to God. God heard their groaning, and he remembered his covenant promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He looked down on the people of Israel and knew it was time to act. (Exodus 2:23–25)

Spiritual ends are never achieved by carnal means. Back in Egypt, as you may recall, Moses had "looked this way and that," then murdered an Egyptian and buried him with sand. As we have already noted, Moses may have thought he was following God's plan in that moment, but he never bothered to check signals. He certainly never prayed before he struck the blow. We have no record that he sought God's face before taking that significant step. As a result, the bottom fell out of Moses' dreams like a soggy cardboard box. It was the biggest setback of his life.

The fact is, you cannot sow a fleshly seed and reap a spiritual plant. You cannot plant a carnal act and grow spiritual fruit. If you manipulate and connive and scheme and lie to get yourself to the top, don't thank God for the promotion! God knows, as you know, that you maneuvered and pulled strings and buried those carnal carcasses in the soil to get yourself promoted. So when you get that bigger office and the key to the executive washroom, don't give Him the credit. He doesn't want it. Your fingerprints are all over that scheme, not His.

At times we say to the Lord, "Thanks for that, Father." And the Lord must answer back, "Who? Me? I didn't pull that off. That was your doing." You cheat on an exam, make a good grade, and thank God for the "A." You fudge on your income tax, get a nice refund, and thank Him for the extra cash you can give to the building fund.

It doesn't work that way, friend. He says to you, "This isn't My doing. This is your plan."

As Moses was sitting by that well, I can imagine a still, small voice cutting through his musings. "Don't thank Me, Moses, that an Egyptian lies buried in the sand. You did that. And fleshly acts like that can never advance My plans. It was carnal, Moses, from start to finish. And you know it."

He did know it. He realized it most keenly when he had come back to the Hebrews the next day and tried to take leadership—only to be mocked and rejected. And then the whole scheme came unhinged, and he had to take to his heels. Thankfully, Moses learned that first lesson well.

Charles R. Swindoll Tweet This

Taken from Great Days with the Great Lives by Charles Swindoll. Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll. Used by permission of HarperCollins Christian Publishing. www.harpercollinschristian.com