Debbie Green - Serima Zimbabwe Convention - 2006

Hymn 32

Deuteronomy 2, we read in this chapter about the journeys of the Children of Israel.  God had led them out of Egypt and was leading them now through the wilderness, over the mountains, and the hills into the Promised Land.  A few times in this chapter God said to turn.  They had been in this mountain long enough and they were now to go north.  They had to turn in another direction and go forward.  We are glad for times like this when God can turn us, for many of us have come a long way to come to this place, but spiritually a lot of us have come a long way through experiences.  We are glad that God by His grace has kept us turned towards Him. 

We read in Psalm 78 that some of the Children of Israel didn’t get to the end of the journey, some of them turned away, some turned back in the day of battle.  It was not because there was not enough provision but it was because of what was in their hearts.  What is in our hearts will keep us turned in the right direction.  We read about Abraham and Lot when they had to make a choice and they also had to go on a journey.  Lot looked towards Sodom.  His heart was there and he chose that place.  It looked very beautiful and he chose that place.  Abraham turned to God and let God choose for him.  God gave him blessing because he was turned in the right direction.  We read about a number of journeys that Abraham took.  Every step he took on his journeys took him further into God's will and to hidden blessing.  I am grateful to God that He has helped me to be here.  He kept turning me when I wanted to turn away.  It is in our nature not to go straight where God leads us.  We want to go another way.  Maybe not go to another place of worship but turning in our spirit, in our hearts, in the way, but not in God's way or God's will. 

We read of Jesus' disciples.  They were walking with Him on the journey.  They were not walking another way, but their heart and their spirit were turned towards greatness.  They said to Jesus, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom?"  They were still in the kingdom, but their thoughts were turned towards greatness.  Jesus brought a little child amongst them and said, "Except you become like this little child, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven."  I realise the seriousness of Jesus' words.  You will not enter the kingdom of heaven, you must become childlike.  When something is small, it can fit into our hand.  Something small is handled with care.  You have to go on your knees, if you are looking for something small.  Jesus turned His disciples away from the thought of being great.  God can make us useful and He can do something with us if we are in His hand, but not if we are big. 

There was a time when the disciples wanted to bring fire down from heaven, to bring his great power to show how strong they were.  Jesus turned and rebuked them.  He told them, "You don’t know what manner of spirit you are of."  He turned them so they could still walk with Him in the right way, in the depth of the way.  We are glad for every experience that God brings into our lives so that we can be turned in the right direction.  Jesus spoke to His disciples not because He did not love them but because He wanted to keep them in the centre of the way and the will of God. 

A few years ago I met a sister worker in another country.  She told of her experience and of her journey that led her in the right direction.  She spoke of the time when she and her parents, grandparents left to flee from their country and go to another country.  She was five years old.  The journey they had was 35 days.  The enemy was behind them.  They had to leave that country.  She said her father had to leave everything behind.  He dug a hole and put all his treasures into that hole.  When she saw her father doing that, she went to her room.  She took her dolls and toys and gave to her father to put into that hole.  They did not have any value, but her father accepted them from her and put them into that hole as a treasure.  The journey they had ahead of them was a very rough, bad journey.  Before they got to the other side, the mother and the grandparents nearly turned back.  Their feet had started to bleed, and they could not go any further.  They were told they could get on to the roof of the train and told to hold onto each other.  They did that and they got safely to the other side.  As she grew up, this journey never left her mind.  She wanted to go in the direction to find God, she wanted to find the loving Saviour because she had the memory of a cruel enemy behind her.  She received an invitation to come to the gospel meeting.  She was grateful that she was directed and led to God and her Saviour who could save her.  She has now been in the work for forty years, still trying to help others to come to the right direction where God is.