Can you think of a time in your life when you acted impulsively and came to regret it? Maybe you bought a car on impulse and were sorry afterward. Maybe it was that contract you signed without reading it carefully. Maybe it was that business deal you entered into that you should have taken more time to consider. Whatever the decision may have been, you regretted it later.
I have discovered that God's timing is just as important as God's will. In fact, the Bible talks a lot about timing. Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, "To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven" (NKJV).
The Bible talks about a man of God who had really bad timing. If this man were in a race, he would have been the one to come out of nowhere, take the lead, and then suddenly self-destruct. The man I'm speaking of is Moses.
Although Moses was one of the greatest men of God, he also was a man who had some serious setbacks and committed serious sin. It is worth noting that, along with Saul of Tarsus, Moses is one of the men God used who actually was guilty of murder.
Moses was a bit on the impulsive side. I can understand that, because I share that characteristic with him. I can be impulsive. But being impulsive has its drawbacks, and Moses' impulsiveness brought some devastating results.
Moses was born at a time of extreme hardship in Israel's history. The descendents of Jacob had grown to about three million in Egypt and had been forced into slavery. Pharaoh, seeing the Hebrews as a potential threat, decreed that newborn Hebrew boys were to be drowned in the Nile River.
As the children of Israel cried out to God for deliverance, enter Moses, the man of God. First, he was the baby protected by God and adopted by Pharaoh's daughter. The Jewish historian, Josephus, tells us that this Pharaoh had no son or heir; therefore, Moses was being groomed to become the next Pharaoh of Egypt. He was being raised as royalty, which meant that he would have been schooled in all that Egypt had to offer.
But Moses still knew who he was. He was a true believer in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Underneath those Egyptian robes beat the heart of a Hebrew.
Maybe that's what caused him to swing into action when he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew. The Bible says he looked "this way and that way," and then killed the Egyptian (see Exodus 2:12).
Moses' heart was in the right place, but his actions were foolish, to say the least. Clearly, the Lord had not told Moses to do this. Instead of looking around, Moses should have been looking up.
Moses probably thought that his fellow Hebrews would be grateful for what he had done, but things didn't turn out that way. Everyone knew what he did, but no one applauded. When Pharaoh heard what had happened, Moses had to flee for his life. Off he went, into the wilderness.
God wants us to do His will in His way in His timing.
Moses was a leader in training, but he wasn't ready yet. He had lost his people. He had lost his reputation. But he had not lost God. What looked like the end was actually the beginning.
Forty years later, God appointed Moses to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt. What Moses did not realize was that God had been preparing him during that time. Notice what God said to him: "I am the God of your father-the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob" (Exodus 3:6 NKJV).
What was God saying? I am the God of ordinary men who have accomplished some extraordinary things. There is hope for you. I am not just the God of Abraham. I am not just the God of Isaac and Jacob. I am the God of Moses. I am calling you. I am giving you a second chance.
God still uses ordinary people today. Even people who have made mistakes. Even people who have sinned.
Maybe you are in a situation right now in which you can identify with Moses. Can I make a suggestion? Confess your sins to God. Deal with them and learn from your mistakes. And know this: God can still use you. He gives second chances. Maybe you need one today.
Reproduced by permission from Harvest Ministries with Greg Laurie, PO Box 4000, Riverside, CA, 92514.