Spirit of Grace Ministries
Spirit of Grace Ministries
-- Feeding Jesus' sheep
-- Equipping His servants
-- Proclaiming His Gospel

Equipped Beforehand


By Dennis Pollock

The life, the ministry, the triumphs and the tribulations of Moses make a fascinating Scriptural study and encompass so much that no single article or sermon could ever cover it all. In this little study we shall consider a small part of Moses’ calling, when God revealed himself to the 80-year-old shepherd. When Moses was forty years younger, he had killed an Egyptian and apparently considered himself the leader of a revolution to liberate his captive Hebrew brothers and sisters. In the Book of Acts, Stephen declares:

“And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended and avenged him who was oppressed, and struck down the Egyptian. For he supposed that his brethren would have understood that God would deliver them by his hand, but they did not understand (Acts 7:24-24).

Forty years later, however, the vision of being Israel’s great liberator had faded from Moses’ mind. He was old now. He had no connections with power, and he had lost that reckless abandon that accompanies youth. He may have still prayed for his brothers and sisters, but he in no way assumed that he would play a role in their freedom from bondage. And then God shows up in a burning bush, announcing that He was the same God who had appeared to Moses’ forefathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Moses clearly had not expected this, prayed for it, nor desired it.

“Go Tell Pharaoh…”

But more incredible than this visitation was the message given the elderly shepherd by the “God of his fathers.” God told Moses that He was sending him back to the land of his youth to bring about their deliverance from slavery. This was a message Moses would have embraced at the age of forty, but at eighty it was just too much. Moses made one excuse after another as to why he was not the man for the job, why this was not going to work, and why God surely must be a little mixed up about the whole business. God patiently endured Moses’ protestations, and gave him two miracles he could perform at will to take with him back to Egypt. If anyone questioned his credentials, he could turn his rod into a snake then return it to its original form, and he could turn his hand leprous by inserting it into his robe, and then reverse the process.

Moses is still not convinced. During his conversation with the Almighty he recognizes that his speech impediment, which he apparently had from his youth, was still present. What kind of a spokesman for God could he possibly be if he couldn’t string a couple of sentences together without stuttering? He tells God:

“O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”

God appears to be getting tired of all these excuses and replies: “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the LORD? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.” It was an excellent point, but Moses is still unconvinced, and replies: “O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send.” In other words, “Find someone else, Lord. I’m not the man for the job.”

Stubborn Unbelief

Humility is a good thing, but unbelief is not. And what may have begun as a humble recognition of his own weaknesses and flaws has now morphed into a stubborn unbelief and unwillingness to do what God is asking of him. The Bible says:

So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and He said: “Is not Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that he can speak well. And look, he is also coming out to meet you. When he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. Now you shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth.”

The short version of the story is that Moses grudgingly agrees to do what God asks, and Aaron, his brother, plays a major role in the process. This doesn’t seem to be God’s first choice, but He seems willing to use Aaron with Moses to accommodate Moses’ insecurity about his ability to speak.

In this interchange and in God’s declaration that He has already moved Aaron to come out to meet Moses, we see the amazing omniscience of God. The God who knows the end from the beginning has already foreseen His servant’s reluctance and his fears. Aaron is on his way. The man Moses needs to shore up his flagging courage will soon arrive.

Dynamic Duo

Moses was being equipped for his service and ministry before he ever knew he had such a ministry. Aaron was walking toward Moab while Moses shepherded his sheep, blissfully ignorant of what lay ahead. The Moses/Aaron team would go down in history as the only two men who ever liberated a nation of millions of slaves from another nation. Ideally Moses could have done the job by himself, under God, but Moses was imperfect. He strongly felt that he needed another man to complement him, and God was providing that man before Moses ever had a chance to protest that his speech disability disqualified him for the job.

Our God is an equipper! Paul writes:

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

I love that phrase: “thoroughly equipped for every good work!” Not barely equipped or hardly equipped or somewhat equipped, but “thoroughly equipped for every good work!” When we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and become children of God, we find that God has a plan for us. There are good works for us to do. There is an agenda, ordained by God, for us to fulfill. It may resemble works that some others have done, but in many ways, it will be unique to us. But often, we are being equipped for this work long before we ever know that God has it for us. While we are ignorant, while we may even be in our pre-Christ season, while we are going through life unaware of any particular calling from God, our sovereign, all-knowing God is equipping us, preparing us, and shaping us for a ministry that He has planned for us.

Indwelt by the Spirit

We are equipped, first through salvation by faith in Jesus. When we are born again by believing on Jesus, we are given the Holy Spirit who comes to live within us. Talk about equipping! What could be better than that – to have God come and live inside you, bringing all His power, His abilities, His love, and His sufficiency. We may not feel all that equipped after receiving Jesus. Our problems still exist, and our weaknesses are all still “present and accounted for.” Still, God is now with us and in us, and wants to work by us. And when years have passed, and God is now using us in the measure and the role He ordained for us from the beginning, we can look back at our lives and see that God was equipping us all along, even before we prayed that prayer to receive Jesus, and certainly before we ever walked in those early steps of the calling which has now become evident.

When young David offered to accept the challenge of Goliath, King Saul told the lad that he was in no way adequate for such a task. David refuses to accept this and lets the king in on a secret: Goliath would not be the first giant David had run across. As a shepherd he had pursued a lion and a bear which were devouring the sheep of his flock and killed them both. How much more trouble could a giant be than a lion or a bear? At the time of killing those beasts David did not realize he was being prepared to face a nine-foot tall Philistine. He just knew his sheep were in peril and something had to be done. But in slaying the lion and the bear, David was being infused with confidence that through his God he could tackle giants and defeat them, whether giant bears or giant men. And when the day came for the shepherd to face Goliath with a slingshot in his hand, he was ready, and he was not afraid.

God uses many different forms of “equipping.” We are equipped with a knowledge of God and His word, we are equipped with skills, we are equipped by people being added to our lives who will complement us, and we are equipped with experiences, some incredibly positive and some intensely heart-breaking. God is extremely economical and doesn’t waste a thing. He is just as able to use wonderful blessings as devastating losses to “equip us for every good work.” He will equip us with a long history of answered prayers which produce wonderful faith in God for future prayers and petitions.

A PC Story

While I pastored a church in Texas in 1992, there was a member of our small congregation who was absolutely fascinated with the burgeoning field of personal computers. He determined that as a modern, up-to-date pastor, I should have a computer, and one day surprised me by bringing a used computer to my office and giving it to me. I was happy to receive this gift but also a little puzzled. What in the world could a pastor do with a computer? Home computers were still pretty rare in those days, and in my mind, they seemed like something a businessman would use, not a pastor whose life was mostly spent in prayer, reading the Bible, writing articles, preaching, and shepherding his flock.

I came across a tutorial series on large “floppy disks” that the computer used, and began viewing the lessons on my new/used computer, one or two each morning. It didn’t take me long to see that writing with a computer was far superior to the typewriter I had been using. As the years went by, I found computers more and more useful – for audio production and editing, for video-editing, for quickly finding Bible passages, for research, for working with photos, and dozens of other tasks. Today most of my day is spent sitting at a computer (actually two different computers – but that is another story).

When I first received that used computer, I thanked my friend for the gift and didn’t let on that I couldn’t imagine how I could ever use it. But now looking back in hindsight, I realize that this gift was a part of being “equipped for every good work.” It certainly was not as important to me as reading the Bible, or spending time in prayer and learning the ways of God, but it was not insignificant. Today computers play a major role in all my ministry efforts, and without them, I could not be nearly as effective as I am with them. I’m sure I would have eventually learned to use a computer, but receiving that gift from my computer-loving friend hastened the process and directed my steps toward more effective ministry. Before I ever knew I needed a computer, I was given one.

The same God who sent Aaron to join his brother Moses had sent this man to my office with a used, gray desktop computer. And He is the same God who equips all His servants, men and women, old and young, for every good work. His purpose is the same as it has always been. He desires that men and women might come to Jesus in faith and become His children. He will use all sorts of skill sets, experiences, and people to bring that about. You and I were not saved simply to sit around and wait for heaven. Once safely in the family of God, we are to set about sharing Jesus in every way that the Lord unfolds to us. And we can be sure that He is so absolutely determined that we share Jesus well, and reach as many people as we possibly can, He will use anything and everything to prepare us and equip us. Almost certainly He is doing that right now in your life, even if you haven’t yet the faintest clue about what He wants to do with you! Give God a little time, and you’ll be surprised at just how well He equips you for His service!



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