The Eye is On The Prize

Fall 2014 - First word eye imageKeep the end in mind. Keep your eye on the prize. If we focus on the goal, the outcome, or the promise, we are more likely to persevere and be successful.

Moses is in a tough spot. The burdens and distractions are great. We read in Exodus 33 that he decides to focus on the Lord. Heís shocked by what he hears. God says that He has been with His people for a long time. However, He tells Moses that He has to stop leading them. In fact, if He continues to lead them, He will likely destroy them. So He must depart. The Lord is so frustrated with His children because they repeatedly focus on other things that He must depart.

However, God has a covenant with His children through Abraham, and so, God promises He will not leave them entirely alone; He will send them an angel. Think about it: the chosen people will continue with an angel, but not the Lord, and they will still look successful. A.W. Tozer said, ďTake the Holy Spirit out of the Church today and 95% of what we do would go on as usual, but take the Holy Spirit out of the early Church and everything would have stopped.Ē

God tells Moses that an angel would lead them to victory and that their enemies would lose. In fact, He names the nations that will be destroyed by Israel. Whatís my point? God promises Moses success, but it would be without Godís presence.

What was Mosesí reaction to this suggestion? We are told in Exodus 33:11 that Moses spoke to God as one who speaks face to face. They spoke as close friends. Moses wanted no part of this suggested plan (vs 15).

If I could assure you that your destination is heaven and youíll experience no sickness, no hunger, and live forever but all of it would be without God, would you still want it?

Are we in love with God or Godís gifts?! Moses did not care about victories or success. If he could not have God present in his daily life, then he did not want any of it.

What do we want? God comes and He doesnít want to stay because He finds us unfocused and distracted. If we do not focus on God and His mission (The Great Commission done in the spirit of the Great Commandment), He will judge us. He may have already done so, but we havenít noticed.

Godís judgment on Israel didnít always come in the form of locusts or rivers of blood. When God judged His people, they went around in circles. A two-week trip took Israel 40 years to complete. The terrain always looked familiar. Everything looked the same. How do we know when God has judged us? Year after year our spiritual lives look so familiar. There is a sameness about our churchís ministry year after year. The terrain never changes. There is a good chance Godís judgment is on us but we just havenít noticed it yet.

Israel wandered for 40 years and experienced wonderful gifts from the Lord, like the pillar of light, the cloud, daily manna, shoes that never wore out. But remember, these gifts were given in the midst of Godís judgment. Donít mistake Godís gifts for the major blessings He wants to pour out. Our lives may look good and our local church may look successful, but do they always look the same, always covering familiar terrain as though we are going around in circles?

FOCUS on Godís mission and life changes. The children of Israel stood on the edge of the Jordan River in full view of the land of promise. The wonderful landscape filled their eyes. The leaders instructed them (Joshua 3:3-4) to stay close to the Ark ďsince you have never travelled this way before.Ē Ever felt like thatóon the edge of a new frontier with God? Then focus on the Lord. Stay close to Him and focus on His mission so you might experience the promise of Joshua 3:5: ďthe Lord will do great wonders among you.Ē