The Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6.
In the wilds of Midian, Moses spent forty years as a keeper of sheep. Apparently cut off forever from his life’s mission, he was receiving the discipline essential for its fulfillment.
Moses had been learning much that he must unlearn. The influences that had surrounded him in Egypt—the love of his foster mother, his own high position as the king’s grandson, the dissipation on every hand, the refinement, the subtlety, and the mysticism of a false religion, the splendor of idolatrous worship, the solemn grandeur of architecture and sculpture—all had left deep impressions upon his developing mind and had molded, to some extent, his habits and character. Time, change of surroundings, and communion with God could remove these impressions. It would require on the part of Moses himself a struggle as for life to renounce error and accept truth, but God would be his helper when the conflict should be too severe for human strength….
In order to receive God’s help, man must realize his weakness and deficiency; he must apply his own mind to the great change to be wrought in himself…. Many never attain to the position that they might occupy, because they wait for God to do for them that which He has given them power to do for themselves….
Shut in by the bulwarks of the mountains, Moses was alone with God. The magnificent temples of Egypt no longer impressed his mind with their superstition and falsehood. In the solemn grandeur of the everlasting hills he beheld the majesty of the Most High, and in contrast realized how powerless and insignificant were the gods of Egypt. Everywhere the Creator’s name was written. Moses seemed to stand in His presence and to be overshadowed by His power. Here his pride and self-sufficiency were swept away. In the stern simplicity of his wilderness life, the results of the ease and luxury of Egypt disappeared. Moses became patient, reverent, and humble, “very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3), yet strong in faith in the mighty God of Jacob.
Conflict and Courage p. 86
In 1977 and 78, I worked in the physical therapy department in an army hospital in Alabama. It was very easy and interesting work and I really enjoyed it. Mostly the soldiers would come in for treatment when they just wanted a day off, so they would complain of a stiff neck or a sore back. It was easy to tell that they were perfectly fine by the way they did the exercises after the ultrasound treatment. Captain Meyers, the head of the physical therapy department didn’t care whether the soldiers had a legitimate complaint or not, he treated them anyway. He was more interested in having a good time and made working there a lot of fun.
After I had worked there about a year, Captain Meyers was transferred to another base and Major Wheeler took his place. He was so different—tall, quiet, very stern, quite unapproachable, and all business. The fun stopped. The way he treated the soldiers bordered on the cruel. He had the opinion that anyone who came through that office were there because they just didn’t want to work that day, so he gave them painful examinations and harder exercises than they would have had if they had stayed on duty. He was even cruel to the little four-year-old boy with CP that came for exercises and gait training. Major Wheeler felt that the boy’s mother a poor widow woman, babied him too much, so he got one of the doctors to do the necessary paperwork to institutionalize the child with the stipulation that the mother could only occasionally visit him. The mother was heartbroken. I was incensed. From that moment my dislike of Major Wheeler bordered on hatred.
One day a young soldier walked into our department. He had some rather unusual complaints about pain and weakness. The major felt that he was slacker and treated him very harshly. The young man took it all in a gentle and smiling way. I felt sorry for him because I knew that even if he were exaggerating his condition, the major’s treatment was painful and way too harsh.
Several times a week the young man came back for more treatments thinking that this was what he needed to get better. Each time he told of more unusual and worsening symptoms. Finally, the young man was transferred to a different hospital by his doctor. A few weeks later, Major W. came into the department with a more solemn look on his face than usual. He asked me if I remembered that young man. I said that I did. He told me that he had been talking with the young man’s doctor and that the other hospital had tested him and they had found a tumor on that soldier’s upper spine. Major Wheeler was now very sorry that he had given him exercises and treatment the were contrary to what that young man needed, but it was too late.
How easy it is to misjudge another’s actions or motives and be so wrong about them. The prophet Samuel learned this lesson when looking at the sons of Jesse. As he saw the strong and handsome Eliab, Samuel was sure he was the one God had chosen to be king, but the young man was rejected. God explained, “Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature, because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth, for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” 1 Sam 16:7 Jesus bids us, “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye, and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” Matt 7:1-5
Again He says, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” John 7:24 How can we judge righteously? He gives the answer, “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” Matt 7:20 We cannot judge another person’s motives, but we can know them by their fruits. Does the fruit of the Spirit—“love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance”—show forth in the life? Gal 5:22 Yet even then, we must be very careful. We must remember that “we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” Rom 14:10
The True Witness offers us the eyesalve of spiritual discernment. It is ours for the asking. Let us ask that we may receive. Let us hide God’s word in our hearts that we may be able to have that discernment we must have in these last days that we will not be deceived. Let us pray for, rather than gossip about, those we feel have wrong actions motives is my prayer.
Learning and Unlearning