When God Says Go
by Noah Hefley
May 30, 2020
The Book of Psalms teaches us, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord” (Psalm 37:23 KJV). So true—but I think it to be equally true: The stops of a good man (woman) are ordered by the Lord.
The prophet Elijah diligently followed the leadership of God in His ministry and faithfully spoke with bold, fiery language the message of God. His spiritual journey with God took him through exciting and dramatic, if not risky, experiences such as challenging the prophets of Baal, confronting Ahab —the dangerous and evil King of Israel, calling down a consuming fire from heaven, and standing in the middle of a wind, fire, earthquake event for the sole purpose of God making an important point to Elijah. Yeah, the steps of this godly man were ordered by the Lord. But even so were the stops of this godly man! God ordered him to hide out (socially distance) for a lengthy time at the Kerith Ravine, then later to stay secluded in the prophet’s room at the home of the Widow of Zarephath, and finally God hid him in the cleft of the rock so he might hear the Gentle Whisper of God. All of these experiences (and more) were stops ordered by the Lord.
How God so ordered the life of Elijah reveals a pattern for how He so orders the lives of all who are called according to His purpose. This pattern is evident throughout scripture. For example, God promised Israel The Promised Land. After 400 years of waiting in Egypt, God called Moses in the Land of Midian to come and say to Pharaoh “Let my people go!” (Exodus 5:1). God ordered the steps of His people including the dramatic events of the plagues, the parting of the waters in the Red Sea, and the drowning of Pharaoh’s army as part of God’s great delivery. Then God ordered the stops of His people to prepare them as a nation for entering and conquering The Promised Land. These series of stops lasted altogether 40 years. (And to think how we don’t like to wait for God).
But the day came when God spoke to His people through Joshua, the successor of Moses, and said: It is time to move forward. Curiously, years earlier God had said Go but the Israelites said No and refused to go. It cost them entering the Promised Land at that moment in time. But then God used the time (of that stop) to prepare them to move forward, trust God, and conquer the land. Finally the day came when God, “Ordered the people, ‘Advance! March around the city…’” (Joshua 6:7). And they did! Seven days later they let out a shout and the walls came tumbling down…This began the long-awaited fulfillment of their inheritance of The Promised Land!
Learn a lesson from scripture: God will sometimes call you to be still (stop) and other times tell you to advance (move forward) but we must always be attentive to hear the call of God and responsive to obey the promptings of God. This will be true in your personal walk with God and true in our shared lives together as the people of God. When those times come that He calls us to move forward we must do so in the same way that God instructed His people to do when they entered the Land of Promise: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). That’s a good word to follow when God says “Go!”
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