::Articles:: - Examples Of Three Faithful Men - ZAC POONEN

-- Zac Poonen


When the Israelites were in Egypt, God could not set them free from their slavery until He had found a man who was fit to represent Him. And God was prepared to wait till such a man was ready. God had planned for the Israelites to be in Egypt for 400 years (Gen.15:13).

But they finally stayed for 430 years (Exod.12:40). Why did they have to stay 30 years longer than God's perfect plan for them? It was certainly not because God made a mistake. God never makes any mistakes. But the man who was to be their leader was not yet ready. God had probably planned for Moses to be ready within ten years of his going into the wilderness. But instead Moses took forty years to complete his spiritual education there, under God's hand. So the Israelites had to remain in slavery for another 30 years. Once when Moses was away from the Israelites for just 40 days, all 2 million of them went astray (Exod.32). It took just a few days for a whole nation to forsake the true God and to go astray worshipping idols, once God's man was away from the scene. Those Israelites had seen amazing miracles before their very eyes. But the memory of those miracles could not preserve the Israelites from worshipping idols. Only the strict leadership of one man of God could do that! Aaron was their temporary leader, while Moses was away on the mountain. But although Aaron may have been a good, God-fearing man, he could not keep the people devoted to God. Obviously he was a man who sought to please the masses, and the people took advantage of him. There are many Christian leaders like Aaron today, who imagine themselves to be serving the Lord. They are good, upright people, who live God-fearing lives. But God cannot use them to keep His church pure, because they yield to the will of the people easily. God looks for men like Moses, even today, to lead His church in its battle against Satan.


Consider another time in Israel's history, when Ahab made everyone worship Baal. There were 7000 men at that time in Israel, who refused to worship Baal (1 Kin.19:18). That was undoubtedly a bold and creditable stand to take. But such a testimony was still a negative one: They did NOT worship idols. This is like the negative testimony that many believers have today - they do not smoke, they do not gamble, etc., But God could not use even one of these 7000 men to accomplish His purposes in Israel at that time. For that, God needed an Elijah. Ahab was not afraid of these 7000 "believers". But he was afraid of Elijah. These 7000 men no doubt prayed to God; but their prayers could not bring fire down from heaven. It was the prayer of Elijah, that did that. The prayers of all believers are not equal in their effect in God's presence. The Bible says in relation to Elijah, that "the effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. (Jas 5:17,16). One man single-handedly, turned a whole nation back to God, routed the forces of wickedness and killed all the prophets of Baal. It is through one faithful man, and not through a multitude, that God's purposes are accomplished, even today.


There were fifty "sons of the prophets" (Bible-school students) in Elijah's time who were all hoping to be prophets in Israel one day. But the Spirit of God bypassed all of them and came upon Elisha, who was not a "son of a prophet" (2 Kin.2:7,15). Elisha was known in Israel only as a servant - "one who used to pour water on Elijah's hands" (2 Kin.3:11). When the army of the king of Aram attacked Israel, none of these fifty Bible-scholars could protect Israel - for although they may have studied the Law of Moses in their Bible-school, they did not know God. Only Elisha, who was the only man in Israel who was in touch with God, could forewarn the nation as to where exactly the enemy would attack. Today also, the main function of a prophet is similar: To warn God's people in advance of where Satan will attack them. One prophet like Elisha, in a church today, can save God's people from spiritual calamity more than fifty preachers ("sons of the prophets"). Bible-knowledge is of no use if a man cannot hear the Spirit's voice. Only a man who can hear God's voice can save a church from Satan's schemes and attacks. The prophets of old were also called "SEERS" ("those who can SEE into the future with God-given vision" - 1 Sam.9:9). They knew where the enemy would attack, and could foresee the dangers of taking a particular course of action. The church today greatly needs such seers.

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Source: CFC -- Copyright by Zac Poonen