What comes to mind when you think of Moses? Maybe the phrase “let my people go” comes to mind. Or perhaps you recall how he parted the Red Sea so that the Israelites could cross over to safety. We remember the great moments of his life, but what about the not-so-great moments? Moses wasn’t always the great leader of the Israelites that we remember. He began his life just like you and me, and he had his fair share of ups and downs.
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The Old Testament is full of amazing stories of courage and faith in God, but not a single person was without flaw. David, who is described as a “man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22), had an affair during his reign as king. Not only did he get her pregnant, but he had her husband placed on the front lines of battle so that he would be killed. Jonah completely disobeyed God’s call to go to Nineveh and actually boarded a ship going in the opposite direction. (Jonah 1:1-17, 3:1-10)
Every great person of faith in the Bible had flaws. I don’t know about you, but I find comfort in this fact! It’s easy to hear these stories of courage, bravery, and faith only to feel inadequate in who we are as believers today. Could I actually trust God to protect me in a den of lions? (Daniel 6:1-23) If I was imprisoned or persecuted for Christian ministry the way Paul and Silas were, would I be able to praise God through my circumstances? (Acts 16:16-34)
I believe that God gave us the Old Testament to not only educate us about the past regarding the Israelites but also to encourage us to persevere even when things look grim. Even in our failures, God can and will use us!
With God, there is no such thing as wasted years.
God uses everything for His glory and will work all things together for our good. (Romans 8:28) When pondering on the life of Moses, we see that He was 80 years old when he was finally called by God in the burning bush. That’s a lot of life leading up to his calling.
Every part of his life had a purpose.
He was adopted by the Pharaoh’s daughter and given an education that no other Israelite had the chance to receive. Even when his anger and impulsiveness got the best of him (he killed an Egyptian for beating one of the Israelite slaves), God still had his hand on his life. He fled from Egypt and during this time God worked in his life to humble his heart. All of this preparation led up to the burning bush. God’s timing was perfect.
I can assure you that God does not waste time. Every event in your life, good or bad, will serve a purpose…even the mistakes you’ve made. God lets nothing go to waste. Let that encourage you. No mistake or failure is too great for God to turn around and use. What you believe to be your wasted years will ultimately be the ones that prepared you the most for what you were meant to accomplish in this life.
Remember there is an enemy. He would love nothing more than for your mistakes and failures to keep you trapped. He wants your wasted years to be just that – wasted. Moses could have easily fled Egypt never to return. He could have let his pride get the best of him, and the story would have turned out much differently. Instead, he allowed God to use him…mistakes and all. Instead of trapping him, his mistakes and shortcomings taught him valuable lessons that he would one day use while leading the Israelites to freedom.
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.