Ken Rudge, St. Austell, England
‘And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren’, Acts 7. 23.
Quite a remarkable statement this! It has to do with the time – ‘when he was full forty years old’, the moment of concern – ‘it came into his heart’, and the outcome – ‘to visit his brethren’. We could easily pass swiftly by this inspired recollection by Stephen, that is, unless we realize that this momentary event changed the whole course of world history! It is that moment when, after four hundred years, God chose to move forward His purposes to save men. So it is worth reflecting on for just a few moments surely?
‘Full forty years old’. It would be reasonably true to say that by the time we reach forty there is not an awful lot of what this world offers that we have not already experienced. It would certainly be true of this man Moses! By this time he was ‘learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians’, suggesting that his formal education was over. He was also ‘mighty in word and deed’, and this suggests he had found a reputation and standing amongst his peers and was looked up to. So it was when the world was at his feet and ready for the taking that this ‘moment’ came. Beware you forty-year-olds; you are at a dangerous time in your life. You could well think that you have all you desire . . . but God may have different purposes in mind. One thing is for certain, ‘gain the whole world and you will loose your soul . . .’
So, it was then that ‘it came into his heart’. This is the sphere where God operates. It is in our hearts or minds. It was a sudden yet persistent thought that would not go away. That where he was and what he was doing was not the destiny he had thought it would be. He belonged to something different, something higher, something with a real purpose behind it. With the thought came the unsought longing to renew contact with his past spiritual heritage. Ever changed to something you thought was really the answer to all your longing and found it an empty unfulfilling shell? Back to your spiritual roots would be my advice, go to the place where you know God to be at work. For Moses it was an enslaved people but he was part of God’s work to bring them out and into blessing. Mocked and belittled as assemblies are there is still just that something about them that warms the heart.
When Moses turned up to ‘visit’ he was then moved on to take their part and soon realized his future lay with them and not with Egypt. He ‘refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction’. This was a momentous step that led him for the rest of his life to fulfil the will of God for himelf. Make sure of this, he lost nothing by giving up Egypt! With God and investment in things eternal we have that which will never pass away. What a heritage this man passed on to his nation and the world, all because of a moment in time when he listened to the still small voice of God.
Our thanks to the many of you that continue to encourage us in the work of the magazine with expressions of appreciation by letter, email and word of mouth. We value your prayers for the continuance of the magazine that it may be used of the Lord to encourage many of His people in difficult days.
This issue sees the final part of Bernard Osborne’s long-running meditation on the fruit of the Spirit. These articles have been a constant challenge to us to become more Christ-like as we yield to the Spirit’s transforming energy. The second run of nine Keynote Articles on assembly life and testimony in the modern world is also drawing to a close. Roy Hill writes on the warning notes of the appeal to ‘beware the enemy, the devil goeth about’, timely as ever for us all. There are some practical issues too in this volume of the magazine that tackle current perplexities – ‘the setting aside of the older generation as finished and done’ and that of ‘obesity’. We trust once again that it will challenge and comfort the Lord’s people and have His blessing in it for many.