The Blessings of Discernment

Yesterday I wrote about Samson who showed a lack of discernment.  Today I would like to write about Moses who showed discernment.  I will begin his story with the day that he was in the wilderness and saw the burning bush.  This amazing sight of a bush burning and not being destroyed by fire caught his attention (Exodus 3).  God Himself was in the fire.  God chose Moses to be the one to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt.  Moses showed a lack of discernment at this point.  Instead of believing God and trusting that He would help, Moses complained of being unable to speak well.  He showed enough discernment to agree to go to Egypt and to speak to the Pharaoh. (Exodus 4:28-31)

When Moses reached Egypt, we begin reading a phrase that is often repeated from Exodus to Deuteronomy.  This phrase confirms that Moses had discernment.  It is written of Moses that he did all that God commanded.  The result of his obedience was that he was able to lead the large group of Israelites out of Egypt. (Exodus 12:35-42)

After they had been out of Egypt for a while, the Israelites chose to worship a golden calf instead of God.  When this happened, God told Moses that He would make a great people from Moses.  What higher honour could a person receive than to have a great nation from his own family!  Moses showed discernment and refused this honour.  Instead he was concerned for God’s testimony among the peoples of the land.  He also reminded God of His promises to the children of Israel.  Moses was more concerned about God than himself.  He wanted God’s glory to shine.  He wanted to understand this glorious God better so he asked to see God’s glory.  God said that Moses could not see His face, but He would permit Moses to see a part of His glory.  Moses who was more concerned that God receive glory was blessed in a very special way  (Exodus 33).

Moses’ use of godly discernment enabled him to have an incredbly close relationship with God.  God refers to Moses as the man He spoke to face to face (Exodus 33:11).  His life also encouraged others to serve God as well.  One man who seems to have followed Moses’ example was Bezalel.  Bezalel was a skilled craftsman who was able to make many different things and was able to work with different types of materials.  He was known to do “all that the Lord had commanded Moses.”  (Exodus 36-39).

Moses’ story began with a lack of discernment, and it ends with one as well.  One time God told Moses to speak to a rock, and water would come out.  Instead of speaking Moses struck the rock angrily.  As a result God to Moses that he would not be able to enter the Promised Land.  For the past forty years Moses had been looking forward to going to the Promised Land.  After only doing one thing wrong, God would not permit Moses to fulfill his dream.  In the midst of great personal sorrow, Moses chose to be guided by discernment.  Instead of bad-mouthing God or complaining about his loss, he chose to praise God and to speak well of Him.

There is none like the God of Jeshurun,
Who rides the heavens to your help,
And through the skies in His majesty.
The eternal God is a dwelling place,
And underneath are the everlasting arms
Deuteronomy 33:26-27a

Samson did not allow godly discernment to guide his life and he suffered greatly.  He did not do much for God, except to kill 3000 Philistines when he died.  Moses, on the other hand, led about two million people out of Egypt.  He was able to see part of God’s glory and to have a close relationship with God.  If we choose to be guided by godly discernment, we will receive blessings as well.  Our blessings will, probably, not be the same as Moses; but they will be great and wonderful.

The integrity of the upright will guide them,
But the crookedness of the treacherous will destroy them.
Proverbs 11:3

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