• “Lord, may no gift of yours ever take Your place in my heart. Help me to hold them lightly in an open palm, that the supreme object of my desire may always be You and You alone. Purify my heart.” – Elisabeth Elliot

Remember Miriam Part 4 – The Seeds of Faith by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: How can somebody who believes in eternal judgment and eternal life say, “We’re just going to let our children pick which faith they happen to believe in. There are different faiths, different strokes for different folks”?

You can’t believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and take that position. You can’t save your children. Your faith cannot save your children, but your faith can cause God to work in the hearts of your children in some very significant ways.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It’s Monday, August 25. God brought five different women together at the right time to save the life of the baby Moses. It was an incredible act of God’s providence.

Last week, Nancy explained this convergence while teaching through the first chapter of Exodus in a series called, Remember Miriam. She’ll pick up that series again this week, and we’ll begin with a listener who heard last week’s programs.

Woman 1: I was very moved, being that I’m in the process of studying and listening to a CD, a whole series, on providence. The part that you expounded on about Miriam and the providence that took place in that one or two verses of Scripture just amazed me because I hadn’t pulled all of that together. It’s very edifying to know that God’s providence was taking place through all of this, and it was very uplifting to me.

Nancy: We just need eyes to see the providence of God and hearts to trust that it is happening even when we can’t see it. I think that’s what is the challenge to me from stories like this one.

Woman 1: I was really impressed with the fact of how much more we have to rejoice in with our salvation as against their deliverance from Egypt. When you think about it, it says, “We have been delivered from the power of evil. We are more than conquerors.” We are all of these things in Christ Jesus—we ought to be the most exuberant worshipers of God that could ever be. We should always be reminded of this daily as we go through our life, that we have so much. God is so good.

Nancy: Amen. How can worship be ho-hum when you realize the cause we have for worship?

Woman 1: I was just so encouraged by Jochebed with her child, Moses, having him only three, four years, maybe even less, and it is such an encouragement for young mothers to keep on teaching that little child, even though they may not speak with those early ages. Teach them the truths of Jesus. I’m reminded of a little more contemporary mother—John Newton’s mother—who taught her child the Scriptures.

In the depths of a ship that was about ready to capsize, his mother’s words (which was Scripture) came to his mind, and he called out to God. He was a ruthless slave ship captain, but I just thought, the rewards, we may not see them. His mama didn’t get to see that, but God used that mother like He used Jochebed.

Nancy: Don’t underestimate the importance of those seeds of faith you are planting in the lives of very little children—crucial, huge. So much of that child’s heart and character is shaped by the time they’re five years of age, educators tell us.

I hope you’re not letting the television and videos raise your little ones. I hope that youare the one who’s being intentional about planting seeds of faith and the Word of God and the ways of God into their hearts, their minds.

I have friends who are singing and reading Scripture to their children in the womb, wanting to start that early, and I don’t think that’s too early to start influencing, creating a climate of the Word of God and talk about God and faith. We’re not just talking about taking them to church or putting them in Christian school. I mean, those are good things, but we’re talking about “line upon line, precept upon precept,” (Isaiah 28:10, paraphrase) day after day, when they wake up and when they lie down and go to sleep.

Some of you moms are just questioning the significance and the value of what you’re spending day after day doing. Some days when you feel like you have no adult conversation, no meaningful conversation—that conversation with that two-year-old, that one-year-old, that infant, that three-year-old—that’s meaningful. You will not see the fruit of that right away.

For Moses, it was 80 years before he came back to fulfill his life’s work, and 40 of those years he spent, or almost 40 of those years, spent in the king’s palace getting the Egyptian education. His mother had no control over that.

Listen, if you will monitor and be disciplined and intentional about the areas that you can influence, then you can more easily trust God to intervene in the areas where you don’t have the ability to influence. There are things that your children will be exposed to that you will not be able to control unless you just like, I don’t know, raise them in a closet somewhere.

I don’t recommend that. God’s Word doesn’t recommend that. But as your children are exposed, as they get older, to influences that are not godly, boy, you want to make sure that their hearts are tethered to the Truth, tethered to the faith, that they know who they are and Whose they are.

When Moses got older, Hebrews tells us that he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He despised the pleasures and the riches of what he could have had as a privileged young man, and instead he chose to identify with the reproaches and the suffering of God’s people (see Hebrews 11:24-26).

Where did he get that heart? It wasn’t from Pharaoh’s daughter. I can guarantee you that. It was at the knees of Jochebed.

What were the lullabies she sang to him? What were the prayers she prayed over him? What were the blessings she gave to him while he was there in her home and then while he was in the palace when he maybe had no contact with her for all those years? She was planting seeds, standing by the side, safeguarding, watching over his heart and above it all, God, who was superintending and watching and blessing and causing those seeds to take root and produce fruit.

Woman 1: Another little child is Hannah’s little boy Samuel, who was under Eli, who didn’t do a good job with his own children. She trusted her little boy to live with that man for all his life because she taught him at an early age.

Nancy: God protected, God honored that investment that she had made and protected and gave another child a real heart for God. Yes.

Woman 1: Moses knew who he was. He knew he was a Hebrew. If he had just gone directly into the home of Pharaoh’s daughter, he probably would have thought he was Egyptian. So when he became old enough, he knew his roots, and that’s what was important.

Nancy: You want to make sure that—now you can’t make your children become Christians. You can be born a Hebrew. You can’t be born a Christian, but you want to make sure that your children know that your family identity is one of belonging to Christ and being a part of the covenant of faith, and that they are part of a line who have—if it’s only starting with you—who have believed in God for salvation and that your hope, your earnest hope and expectation is that they will be counted among those who are children of God and who were redeemed by Christ.

You’re not planning for your children to grow up and become unbelievers, Egyptians, so to speak. Your plan, your earnest, your pleading before God, your assumption with your children is you will be followers of Christ.

Now again, you can’t make that happen, but you can sure salt the oats and create an environment where your children are exposed to the riches of God’s grace. I believe there are promises that go to believing parents, that they can hope for God’s redeeming work in the lives of their children. Certainly, we’re not to stand by and say, “Oh, just let them pick their identity, who they want to be and what faith they want to have.”

How can somebody who believes in eternal judgment and eternal life say, “We’re just going to let our children pick which faith they happen to believe in. There are different faiths, different strokes for different folks”?

You can’t believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and take that position. You can’t save your children. Your faith cannot save your children, but your faith can cause God to work in the hearts of your children in some very significant ways.

Woman 1: I’m wondering if we could change the question just a tad. As Nancy was teaching about the life of Miriam, and she was talking about all the places where there was the big “P” for Providence. I’m wondering as you look back over your life, are there moments where, if you had a script of your life, you would put a big “P,” where you saw God intervene, and now—maybe you didn’t see it at the time, but looking back, you see God just intervening in providence in your life and correcting your course or changing it? Anybody have a moment like that?

Nancy: And while they’re thinking about that, does something come to your mind?

Woman 1: The one that popped into my head as you were teaching was about twelve years ago now when God took us out of a ministry position in which we were very comfortable. It was a really scary time because I didn’t know how to perform in that capacity.

Looking back, what God did was strip away everything I knew and just put me in a place where all I could do was say, “God, what am I supposed to be doing today because I don’t know? I don’t know how this works, and I don’t know what You want.” You know,looking back, I can so clearly see God’s hand in it, but at that moment, it was a really scary place to be.

Woman 2: When I was 43 years old, I lost my twin sister to cancer, and it was a very painful time. It’s something you just never completely get over, although I will have to say the Lord was wonderful to me during that time. He just carried me, but since that time, the Lord has given me—and it’s His Providence—some sisters in the faith.

Ann is one, and we met because our children were dating. I was just hoping they’d get married, but it didn’t work out. I cried. I don’t know if Ann cried or not, but the Lord has brought Jim and Ann into our lives to be close, dear, sweet, Christian friends.

She has been an encourager, and she’s made me laugh. We’ve had wonderful times together in the Lord. I think it was God’s Providence that brought us together, and so even though I still miss my twin sister, I feel like the Lord has filled that spot of loneliness. It was His Providence, and I just thank God for that.

Eileen: The providential story about my children is that our third son was born with multiple heart defects. He was the son that my husband wanted. I’m married to a Southerner who—I’m a California girl. You don’t care what your children are, but Southerners want men. So when Christopher was born, there was great rejoicing.

We were living in Nairobi, Kenya at the time. It’s a long story, but providentially, his name was Christopher. God took him home when he was 39 days old, but two months later, I found myself pregnant again, not very happy about that, I must tell you. It was too soon, in my opinion.

We came home on a furlough, and people started saying, “You’re too big.”

I said, “Well, I had a baby very recently, and so it’s just that.”

My grandmother said, “No, you have twins.”

I said, “No, Grandma, I don’t have twins,” but I was told by a doctor in California, “When you get to South Carolina, go see a doctor.”

I’d memorized the verse in James that says, “To him who knows the right thing to do, and he does not do it, it is sin,” (James 4:17 paraphrase) and I thought, “The last thing I want in my life is one more doctor looking at me.”

Anyway, I went, and he looked at me. Of course, I was only going to see him once, so they gave me the youngest guy in the obstetrical group. I know he had just graduated from medical school. He looked at me, and he said, “You’re too big for your due date.”

I said, “You can’t push my due date back. I gave birth to a son in September.” This was due in August.

He said, “You’re right. There’s a multiple birth here,” and in fact, we had twin sons—long story short.

Isn’t it neat that God allowed us to name our son Christopher? Christ gave His life so that we could be saved eternally, but I feel like providentially God gave us Christopher and so many wonderful lessons that we learned from that.

I would never have wanted to miss out on David and Daniel, and you need to know this about David and Daniel. Daniel is like Daniel in the Bible. He is a man of impeccable, godly character.

Our David is a man who’s still on a journey, and what you have encouraged me with today were your words of, “You may see the few things God is actively doing.” Even this week, my heart has been broken again by our David, and so I needed to hear you say, “There are thousands of things He’s doing that you don’t see, Eileen.” So thank you.

Nancy: Someone has said that God’s will is exactly what we would choose if we knew what God knows, and that’s the heart of providence. It’s knowing that God does see, and God does know. It’s trusting His heart when we can’t see His hand.

It’s saying, “Lord, when I can step back in time or eternity and look back on all this, I will see You did all things well, and so now when I’m in the midst of this furnace or this Red Sea or this loss of a child or this oppression of mental, emotional, physical—whatever the enemy is, whatever the obstacle is—I trust that You are here. You are working. You are moving. You are accomplishing Your purposes, that if I knew now what You know now, I would say, ‘Lord, You’re not making a mistake.’”

Now, it is a fallen world, and there are a lot of things that happen that are not what God would have ordered. Death, for starters, was not God’s plan, but in a fallen world where sin has its consequences and where other people’s sins even have consequences on us, and it’s just a broken world. In the midst of that, we have a redeeming God who is making all things new, who makes no mistakes, and who takes, inexplicably, those . . . He causes even the wrath of men to praise Him (Psalm 76:10, paraphrase), the Scripture says.

He takes the brokenness, that fallen-ness, that disorder, that dysfunction, and in His amazing, redeeming power, causes even Pharaohs and Herods and sinful people to end up being instruments that bring Him glory. I mean, we couldn’t do that, but God does.

That is the sense in which He does cause all things to work together for the good of those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28, paraphrase). And what is His purpose? It’s to make us like Jesus. It’s to conform us to His image, and so all of this is part of that process.

That’s why when our eyes are filled with tears, and we don’t understand; we don’t get it; we can’t fathom, and every one of us has some life circumstance, probably right now, that is unfathomable to us. It looks like a knot that can’t be un-knotted, a puzzle that can’t be solved, pieces that can’t be put together. I’m dealing with one right now, and I cannot see any way to put this situation together or make it work or fix it. What do you do? You trust, and you wait on the Lord.

You wait patiently, and you don’t manipulate. You don’t—well, I want to say you don’t whine, although I have done some whining. I will confess. Let’s see, what do you do? You . . .

Woman 3: . . . say, “Thank You.”

Nancy: You say, “Thank You.” You say, “Lord, I will praise You. My mouth will exalt You all the time, regardless of what I feel, regardless of what’s going on. I will bless the Lord at all times.”

You wait, and you let God be God. You say, “In time, I will see, and I will know.” If not in time in this life, then in the next I will see that God was glorifying Himself and was blessing me. God loves us. He does want to bless us, His children, and these things will come to be for our good and for His glory.

Thankfully, we can, most of us, look back on some incidents in our lives where something looked to be hopelessly messed up or confused or mangled at that point, and God gave us enough time and retrospective and perspective to be able to look back and say, “Oh, now I can see.”

Even when we can’t see—in the loss of my father with seven children, ages 8 to 21, and a 40-year-old widow—I’ve seen some things that God has brought out of that that are so good and for which I bless the Lord. But I guarantee there are hundreds of things I’ve never seen yet.

“Eyes have never seen, ears have never heard what God has prepared,” in His Providence, “for those who love Him,” (1 Corinthians 2:9, paraphrase). The things we can see, we thank God for. But we trust, and we wait, and we praise, even in the midst of the times when we can’t yet see what that outcome will be.

Woman 1: For those of us that have done cross-stitch or needlepoint, so many times, and mine in particular, you look to the backside, and it’s all knotted. It is not a very pretty picture. That’s how we look at life sometimes, but God is up here. He’s looking down on that needlepoint picture at what a perfect, beautiful picture it is.

Nancy: Great word picture.

Woman 3: Last night one of my granddaughters called. She was going to do an assignment for her school about interviewing somebody who is either a missionary or has been on the mission field for a trip or whatever, so she called me last night. I was just thinking about this because she was asking me different things that I had learned, and, “Tell me about the trip,”

It was a trip that I’d taken to Honduras. I said, “Allie,”—I was answering her questions, but I said one of the things that came out of that was a precious story of Providence that I was able to share with my granddaughter, teach her lessons, talk about it.

She was saying, “Oh, Grandma, I can’t believe you got to do that! Oh my goodness, I see what God did!”

I went with some of my deaf friends, and we went to Tegucigalpa, Honduras for a trip. The week before we got to visit this one orphanage, this grandmother had brought in a little granddaughter that her mother had abandoned who was deaf.

It was the first deaf child that had ever been at this particular orphanage. One of my friends, her name was Pat, and she is deaf. She was a schoolteacher, and when we got there, she had no children.

When we got there, she met this little girl, Nori, who knew no signs. She had no language capabilities at all, and my friend got down on her knees and taught her to sign in sign language, just to spell her name.

Later on, she came back, asked her husband if they could possibly think about adopting Nori, which they later did. I told Allie,“From that trip, this little girl came to America not very long after that. Now she’s in college. She became a believer. She had a godly family. And on that trip, it wasn’t anything that I did—either thing.”

One of the other women that was with me felt called to go back the next year, started a church for the deaf and later a school for the deaf, finding children and families all throughout Honduras to come. So I said, “Even though I, Allie, I didn’t do those things, I was able to witness.”

I didn’t use the word Providence last night, but that’s what we’re talking about. It was just a neat testimony and a neat time with my little granddaughter to be able to share these things, to give her vision because she just thought, “Woo, you know, one day maybe I’ll go on a mission trip.”

Nancy: Think back to those friends of yours who are deaf, whose parents maybe, at one point, when they realized they had a child who couldn’t hear, may have wondered, where’s God? What is happening in all this? They may have been disturbed or distressed in that. Fast-forward years now and see how God made those friends of yours instruments of blessing and grace in the lives of others. You don’t know—we just don’t know the whole story.

Woman 3: Yes, absolutely. My son was born deaf in one ear, and we didn’t even know it until he was in the first grade. He answered the phone and said, “I can’t hear anything.”

Because of that, I was very open to the Lord about going and learning sign language and then being involved in a church deaf ministry. But at the time, just like you said, Nancy, I just thought, “What is this? What’s happening?” But the good that has come to my life, the friends that I’ve made, the ministries I’ve been involved in because of that one deaf ear.

Used with Permission. Revive Our Hearts.

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  • “Let us ask that the Lord Jesus would so perfectly tune our spirits to the keynote of His exceeding great love, that all our unconscious influence may breathe only of that love, and help all with whom we come in contact to obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – Frances Ridley Havergal

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