INDIANAPOLIS-Alan Day, pastor of Edmond, First, told those attending the 2008 Pastors Conference that “brokenness is essential for real intimacy with God.”
Day, the first speaker in the morning session, Monday, June 9 at the Indiana Convention Center, used Moses as his example, focusing on Numbers 12:3, “Now the man Moses was very meek, above all men which were upon the face of the Earth.”
“What was the secret of Moses’ authority with God?” Day asked. “Because he was meek, God could use him. God took Moses through a process of disappointment and disillusionment that resulted in brokenness. Because Moses was broken, God could invest him with spiritual authority and commission him to do an impossible task.”
Day outlined a succession of lessons preachers can learn from the story of Moses’ brokenness.
1. Brokenness is essential for real intimacy with God.
2. Intimacy is essential to hearing God.
3. Hearing God is essential to leading God’s people.
4. Brokenness is never an automatic or guaranteed outcome of God’s sovereign discipline.
“Moses had been a powerful and privileged leader in Egypt who learned of his Hebrew heritage and longed to see his people emancipated,” Day said. “He tried to liberate them himself, but instead of experiencing success, he had to flee from Egypt and spent the next 40 years tending sheep in the desert.
“Stripped of his power and his pride, Moses met God at the burning bush. He would never have received this anointing with power without the brokenness he experienced the previous 40 years.”
Day said meekness that is the product of brokenness is an essential prerequisite for real intimacy with God, which is essential to hearing God.
“God may not have favorites, but He does have intimates,” he proclaimed. “Intimates are those to whom He draws up real close and reveals His heart and His will. Because Moses was broken, he experienced intimacy; and in communion with God, he learned God’s will for his life and for the people of God.
Day said as we experience intimacy with God, we hear God and learn His will and His ways.
“God’s people are often fickle, unpredictable and just plain difficult. Moses found this out repeatedly,” he said. “Because Moses had such a powerful prayer life, and because he continually heard from God, he was able to lead them from slavery and through their time of wandering in the wilderness. God’s people long to hear from the man who has heard from God. In this man’s voice, they hear the Shepherd’s voice.”
Turning to the Apostle Paul as an example, Day said, “Paul said we have a treasure in clay jars (2 Cor. 4:7). The treasure is the life of Jesus living in us. We are the clay jars. Sometimes we want to decorate and beautify the clay pots, thinking we can attract people and change people because we are so attractive. But God has another idea. The treasure is Jesus, not the pot. And the attraction is the treasure of the life of Jesus, not the clay pot. So God has to crack the pot in order for the treasure to be revealed.
“Effective Christians are just cracked pots. We are humble clay jars that have been broken to let the treasure spill out.”
But, Day cautioned the pastors that being disciplined by God does not automatically lead to brokenness.
“Brokenness occurs when the wounds we receive from a loving God result in our realizing our insufficiency, weakness and self-centeredness and then casting ourselves upon His mercy and strength,” he said. “But it’s possible to experience the breaking without experiencing brokenness. We can have the wounds without the broken spirit.”
Day said there are two inadequate ways people can respond to the wounds God allows.
“First, we can reject the discipline, complain about our pain, become bitter and arrogantly justify ourselves before God and others,” he said. “We can obstinately refuse to bend, to bow or to be broken.
“Perhaps more common is the second response: we can become downcast, depressed, feeling worthless and washed-up, and we can even quit our ministries. I dare say that there are many in this room today who have been there.
“When you are downcast and licking your wounds, the best sermon you can ever hear is the one you preach to yourself. That’s what the Psalmist did in Psalm 42:5: “Why am I so depressed? Why this turmoil within me? Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him, my Savior and my God.”
“The Psalmist began with the soliloquy of self-centered pity, but he quickly and by God’s grace moved to the confession of God-centered praise,” Day concluded. He talked himself through and out of his pity party and into the place of worship and hope. He refocused his gaze upon the Lord and regained his emotional stability.
“When you’ve been wounded and bruised and tempted to just wallow in it all-that’s when you need to tell yourself the truth about God and His goodness in your life. It’s what you really and truly believe. When you hear yourself say it, you’ll know you believe it and you’ll find yourself saying ‘Amen’ to your own preaching. The Holy Spirit will bear witness to the truth, and you will revel in the grace and goodness of God.”