At the very end of the book of Exodus, Moses finally completes the work of the tabernacle, one full year after leaving Egypt. It was about a nine-month contract, incidentally the same amount of time that it takes to have a baby.
The birth of a vision has more to do with obedience than anything else. Knowing what to do and when to do it is critical to the timeline and the process of any major project. Sometimes, like Moses, you get a blueprint and have everything laid out ahead of time but most often, you can only see one step at a time. Either way, the only way forward is to obey and do what’s in front of you to do.
This is when hearing from God becomes important. If you’re not 100% certain of your next step, it’s like walking on thin ice. If you’re afraid that you might fall through at any minute, it’s difficult to move forward with confidence. On the other hand, when you know you’ve heard from God, you can face your fear head on and find out that it wasn’t big enough to stop you after all.
Think about Noah building the ark. He was subjected to ridicule and animosity, yet he followed through to completion. In the end, he was vindicated for his faith. Nehemiah is another man of God who endured humiliation and hostility, even from the government. His response was, “Why should I stop the work to come down and talk to you?” He had his focus on and despite criticism, he completed the work.
If you’ve ever stepped out on water, you know firsthand the people in the boat always have something to say about it. Armchair Christians have never done anyone any good. Just like armchair athletes who think they know what the football player should have done, it’s easy to judge and criticize from the safety of a well-cushioned pew. Just ignore them and continue the work.
But what about those of us who have tried and failed? Failure is in the eye of the beholder. Did you learn something? I’m sure you did. Did you grow? Definitely. Would you do it differently next time? More than likely. Then live and learn. Yes, it cost you some time and energy, but while you may be limited in resources, God is not.
According to some scholars, the tabernacle contained slightly more than 1 ton of gold, valued at $44.3M in today’s prices and slightly more than 3.75 tons of silver, currently valued at $3.3M, not to mention the 2.5 tons of bronze.
Moses constructed a tabernacle in the wilderness where there was no Home Depot around the corner. He had no electric drill, no crane and no pickup truck to run errands to and from the job site.
When the job was completed, the presence of the Lord in the tabernacle was so thick that not even Moses could enter. When you’ve done everything you were supposed to do and the vision is completed, God will confirm it with His peace and presence. But if you leave God at the starting blocks and run roughshod over everyone trying to check off your to-do list, you’ll feel just as empty when you’re finished as when you started because you missed the point: it’s about partnering with God and His people to accomplish something bigger than you.
So how do you make sure you’re working with God and God is working with you every step of the way?
1. Are you 100% certain you’ve heard from Him? Has His leading and direction been consistent over time, despite fear and doubt?
2. Are you sure your timing is right? Are the circumstances lining up as you step out in faith?
3. Are the key people in your life on board and do you have a support system in place for prayer and encouragement?
4. Are you dealing with distraction, opposition or criticism from the sidelines? That’s probably a good sign that you’re right on track.
5. Do you have the provision you need for the step you’re working on? I’m not talking about MasterCard or Visa, but supernatural provision, even from sources you didn’t expect.
6. And finally, do you have a sense of God’s peace and presence reassuring you that everything is going to be okay, despite the obstacles you might be facing?
Write down your vision and keep it in front of you to stay focused. Don’t run ahead of God or lag behind Him when you sense it’s time to move forward. Do what you can do right now and keep the faith that you will indeed finish the work He’s called you to because God is in it and will see you through to the end.
What are you believing God for in this new season?