God Uses the “Down Times”


Moses experienced a "privileged" upbringing in the house of Pharaoh. He was "learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was mighty in words and deeds" (Acts 7:22). In his prime, at age 40, he decided that he should do something about the oppression his people (the Jews) were enduring. He thought that God had put him in a position of strength and therefore was usable. And furthermore, "he supposed that his brethren would have understood that God would deliver them by his hand, but they did not understand." (Acts 7:25) Moses meant well, but he was WRONG. God's ways are not our ways and His timing is often not our timing. Moses in taking matters into his own hands killed an Egyptian and then had to run for his life. He spent the next 40 years in virtual ISOLATION on the back side of the desert tending his father-in-law’s sheep. This was major "DOWN TIME" that humanly speaking looked like a waste of time.

But God was at work! He uses the DOWN times. Forty years later the attitude of Moses was completely different. He no longer saw himself as "the man" who should lead God's people out of bondage. When God called him, he said, "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?" (Ex. 3:11) Forty years of "ISOLATION" served to humble Moses. And now he was usable. Now God could use him. Now God would get the glory instead of human ability. As a younger man he was "mighty in words and deeds" but spending many years in isolation with sheep rendered Moses saying, "O my Lord, I am not eloquent...but am slow of speech and slow of tongue." (Ex. 4:10) Whereas earlier he seemed quite proudful and sure of himself now Number 12:3 says, "the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth." God uses the DOWN times.

God's ways are not our ways, they are ever ABOVE our ways. We don't always know the “why” of what is happening, but as people of faith we know that God is sovereign over the days of our lives and that He has a purpose in all that is happening. There is a lot of living within the limitations we find ourselves in. We must realize that our lives are not our own, but rather we are here for God's glory. We serve at His pleasure for His sovereign purposes. When we serve God's agenda then we can then serve with joy whatever the context, because we know God is in charge of it.

We often talk about how God used Moses during the last 40 years of his life. And while that is certainly true, that last 40 cannot be divorced from the previous 40 years that he spent being humbled on the backside of the desert. God uses the DOWN times. His ways are not our ways!

Isaiah 55:8–9 (NKJV)
8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.
9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.