And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds. And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit This brethren the children of Israel. And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian: For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not. And the next day he shewed himself unto them as they strove, and would have set them at one again, saying, Sirs, ye are brethren; why do ye wrong one to another? But he that did his neighbour wrong thrust him away saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us? Wilt thou kill me, as thou diddest the Egyptian yesterday? Then fled Moses at this saying, and was a stranger in the land of Madian, where he begat two sons. And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush (Acts 7:22-30).
News of Moses’ execution of the Egyptian overseer had spread in just one day. This news had spread rapidly be cause of the loose tongues of his fellow Israelites. They were unwilling to submit to his rule. They preferred continued bondage to Egyptian overlords rather than submission to a highly placed Israelite. God honored their preference. They remained in slavery for another four decades.
Eventually, God heard their cries. He decided to deliver them from their afflictions (Ex. 2:24). Who was God’s choice to serve as their deliverer? Moses, the man who had been driven out of their presence a generation earlier.
Where had Moses been all this time? Living inconspicuously as a free man in a foreign land, tending sheep. For forty years, he had been a nondescript sheepherder, invisible to the Egyptian empire. He had dealt daily with some of the most stupid and vulnerable creatures on earth. He had learned how to move them from place to place, round up strays, and protect them from predators. This was an ideal job training program for his future role as Israel’s deliverer.
Sheepherders learn patience. Moses needed all the patience he could acquire. Forty years of herding sheep were necessary as an assignment preliminary to a much more important role: forty years of herding Israelites. Moses fled from Egypt because he feared the Pharaoh.
God’s men who plan to lead must learn to serve, first.
They must also know that the reward of their service comes from God. It is not the praise of the sheep that they are to pursue, but the approval of God.
The main difference between Moses and his brethren was in his steadfastness. He had not volunteered. He had resisted the whole idea of returning to Egypt. But eventually, he went. The Israelites did the opposite. As soon as they heard of their coming deliverance, they volunteered. They even bowed their heads and prayed. But when push came to shove, they ran. Only by God’s grace did they run in the right direction. This became the recurring pattern of behavior for Israel throughout its history. Jesus warned the Pharisees:
But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard, He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first (Matt. 21 :28-31a).
Jesus made it clear: “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62b). This is what leadership involves: what you begin, finish.
God’s men must fight to win – and not some here today, gone tomorrow victory, but an enduring victory. Such victories takes hard labour, for decades, and involves multiple generations.
But if you think that God is going to rescue us from reality in some sort of Repture, you certainly will not believe in victory, or raise your sons to fight to win, no matter the cost.
<insert Satanic laughter here>
Victory is like great wealth: best accumulated one piece at a time. A victory that comes too easily or too rapidly is like great inherited wealth: easily squandered. It is better for victory to be a process rather than an event. Continuity is crucial to success, and continuity rests on repeatability and transferable skills. The principles that undergird an overnight victory are unclear; they cannot be taught.
Step by step, form small victories to greater ones, decade after decade.
THAT is the Biblical Way!
“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Heb. 11:8-1 0). So it should be in every generation: the vision of God’s heavenly city at the end of time should motivate Christians to work toward comprehensive cultural and judicial victory in history (Isa. 65:17-25). This vision is the basis of world conquest. These are our marching orders.
Training Up the Next Generation
The covenantal principle of continuity requires that each generation invest time and capital in training up the next generation. This of necessity involves training in leadership. Hierarchy is inescapable; there must be leaders. If covenant-keepers refuse to instill the covenantal principles of leadership in the next generation, then others will lead; those who are (1) outside the ranks of the faithful; or (2) self-learners who rise up from within the camp; or (3) men who are recruited into the camp from the outside.
One way or another, from inside the seminary or outside, God will get His men.
Premillennialism and amillennialism present the Promised Land as post-church era: beyond the daily affairs of this dispensation. Those who defend such views do not want to cross over the Jordan and fight the giants in the land (Num. 14). God’s curse is on the church because of this. He will keep us wandering in the wilderness until a generation arises that is willing to march forward.
There will be a generation which will push forward onto victory – in time and on earth, as well as in the afterlife. If we cannot do it ourselves, then at the very least we can demonstrate our faithfulness to God by laying down the pathway for the coming victors of Christ, teaching our sons the Law and the Testimonies, encouraging them that Christians are meant to lead the world to obedience, and the nations to discipleship under Christ the King… and not crawl like pathetic losers and failures before the wicked and the contemptuous.
The wilderness experience was intended by God to train Israelites to defeat the Canaanites by first defeating Moabites and Midianites on a regular basis. So it is with us. We should be content to run for local office, start local charitable ministries, launch local day care centers, and do whatever else we can to gain experience in defeating our enemies and holding conquered territory (unlike Moses’ wilderness experience). Until some generation abandons both of the wilderness eschatologies [premillennialism and amillennialism – AP] , Christians must remain in the wilderness.
Small victories are like a dinner salad. They do not constitute the main course. After small victories come larger victories: the main course. Dessert comes late in the meal: the Presidency and other high offices that symbolize cultural conquest. Without the undergirding reality of comprehensive cultural conquest, winning high political prizes is irrelevant except to fill large egos with irrelevant political recognition. It is time for Christian activists to learn to finish their salad, their roast beef, and their broccoli. “Clean your plates, and then you’ll get ice cream and cake.”
We need to be patient, even as Moses was patient. We need to accept obscurity for a season. We need to work long and hard, absorb small defeats, achieve small victories, bide our time, and train up the next generation. We need small victories to persuade us that our faith in Christianity’s long-term comprehensive victory is correct. We need a vision of long-term victory. What we do not need is a series of visible political defeats for which our representatives have enthusiastically volunteered. Visible defeats will only confirm Christians’ faith in their wilderness eschatologies. Wilderness training is mandatory; wilderness eschatologies are not.
Enduring, meaningful victories are for those who obey God.
There will be a coming generation of Christians who – having seen the crushing defeat of both debt-addicted, sterile Secularists and oil-addicted, ignorant Muslims – will chose the way of Christ the King.