Beth Moore - Resetting The Compass - Part 3
I'd like for you to turn with me this time to Matthew chapter 10, and then we're gonna scoot up and grab in a little bit of chapter 9 with it. So go with me, our primary text is going to be Matthew chapter 10, but we're going to do a little bit of a rewind to catch something. So, number one is we live in a magnetic field polarizing the needle of our compass. Number two, Christ calls us to recalibrate our compasses to the kingdom of heaven. That of all things Christ taught, the thing he most clearly wanted to get through to us and through to those who were listening to his preaching and his teaching was that the kingdom of heaven has broken in and that we are people of that same eternal kingdom ethic and that everything we do is meant to be out of that ethic and out of our pursuit of being conformed into the image of that one, the son of God, Jesus Christ.
And so I wanna show you something here, because I think this is so fascinating. So you're open here at the end of Matthew 9, and the beginning of Matthew 10. I want you hold your hand right here, flip back a couple of pages, and I want you to see the end of Matthew 4 and the beginning of 5, because this is very, very noteworthy. "Now Jesus began to go all over Galilee teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. Then the news about him spread throughout Syria. So they brought to him all those who were afflicted, those suffering from various diseases and intense pains".
Remember, think visually as you read through this. "The demon possessed, the epileptics, and the paralytics. And he healed them. Large crowds followed him from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan". And then at the very beginning of five. "When he saw the crowds, he went up on the mountain and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to teach them saying: 'Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.'" So you have this intro to this particular sermon. Remember with me that the chapter breaks and verse numbers were not in there originally. So everything you're seeing at the end of a chapter goes right into the next one. There would've been no break in between them.
Now, we thank God for those breaks because they help us be able to locate things, they break it up where we can take the Word of God in segments and have a better understanding of it, it's good for our comprehension level, but don't let those chapter breaks make you think there's not a connection there. One goes right into the other. Keep it in mind exactly how 5 is preceded by those verses in 4. Now look at 10, and I want you to see the similarity. Back up to Matthew chapter 9, verse 35, Matthew 9:35, because we're heading to 10. "Jesus continued going around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, 'The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.'" And then he summons his 12 disciples and gives them authority.
So something's going on here we're not supposed to miss, and it's the only two times that it's framed like this. So it's before Jesus begins this very outward ministry of proclaiming the in-breaking of the kingdom and just before he is about to send his apostles out to do exactly the same thing. Because, you see, one of the things that I'm so mesmerized about, that I never get finished thinking through, is the incarnation. What would it have been like to be Jesus Christ, very God, and before the foundation of the world. By the time that God was breathing a spirit into Adam, the decision had already been made before God said let there be light, it would be let there be death. There had to be, it's why revelation refers to Jesus as the lamb slain before the foundation of the world. In other words, why bother? Why bother creating the world knowing everything that is to come, knowing exactly how the fall is gonna take place in the garden, knowing exactly how there will be rebellion that will reign through the ages, exactly how much idolatry would occur among God's very own people, knowing all that was to come, they had to plan it exactly the way they did, because there would have to be a payment for all of that rebellion and idolatry and sin.
And so I just want you to picture with me that here's the plan, that then he would come by way of the Holy Spirit to a young teenage woman, poor woman in a tiny little village, and so I want you to imagine with me, so what is this goodbye like in heaven? Like, bye Jesus, we'll see ya, you know, when you remember that we're up here, 'cause you're about to be like this big in a womb. You understand what I'm saying? How weird is this? How weird is this? And then he is suddenly subject to a physical body. What, what, what? I mean like, when he bumped his elbow on his father's throne before we ever were, do you think he bruised? No. Do you think he cut himself? No. Suddenly subject to a physical body. What in the world? God's subject to a physical body that now will tear and bleed. It will bruise. Think how if God never sleeps, nor does he slumber, suddenly being in a body that's gotta sleep, how annoying? I mean, can you imagine that every night he was like, this seems like such a waste of time. I mean, just what a weird thing.
And so God is appointing that he is experiencing every single bit of this, even though complete knowledge knows everything that is to come, knows what's on every heart, knows what's in every mind, yet he is experiencing what it's like to be completely confined to what, 170 pounds of flesh? And he's trying to work around these crowds, and he already knows exactly how the plan's gonna go, but that doesn't keep it from being challenging. Like, looking out at it and thinking, how in the world do we minister to the world? So he's doing it, he's doing all the healing, all the proclaiming, and now he's gonna appoint the 12. He's gonna give them authority, and he's gonna walk us all the way to Matthew chapter 28. When he says then go out and do it, I have entrusted this teaching, this discipleship to you.
So it's profound that he comes to this moment, looks over at them. He's moved with compassion because he's looking at these sheep, and he's thinking they're distressed and dejected like sheep without a shepherd, and he looks at his disciples and said, "Pray, pray because the harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest". And then it says, starting in 10, "Summoning his twelve disciples, he gave them authority over unclean spirits, to drive them out and to heal every disease and sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: First, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee and John his brother. Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector". That's our author. "James, the son of Alphaeus and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot who also betrayed him".
Now, remember, this is writing to this is post-Easter that the gospel is being written. So he's telling things that have already happened before he's told the story of them in the gospel, verse 5, "Jesus sent out these twelve after giving them instructions: Don't take the road that leads to the Gentiles, and don't enter any Samaritan town. Instead, go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, proclaim, 'Heaven has come near.' Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those with leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you receive, freely give". Let me pause there just a moment. I want you to see number three with me, and I want us to settle into this for a few minutes.
Number three is this, there is no compass recalibration without joining Jesus in his compassion. How easy it is for the magnetism of this world, and the kingdoms of this world to turn our arrow straight down, the needle on our compass straight down, and us not even be able to recognize it. And so we are wanting to get that things turned straight back up to its true north so that we can know what is east and west, and we can know what is south. So there's no compass recalibration without joining Jesus in his compassion.
In the new Testament, and as I think about it, when I think about the words that are used for the deep feeling of God for his people, it's always something, it's related to something that's extremely, extremely internal in a person or in a being like it would even have to do with the womb, a word that is related to the womb in the Old Testament. And here, I mean, it's all the way down to like the intestines and the kidneys. It's when we're so moved by something, you can feel it all the way down here. There's this kind of move, and then there's way down here, way down here. One of the most powerful things we can pray is that we would join Jesus in his compassion. I can't even begin to tell you what this would do for us by way of forgiving people, because compassion is such an impetus to forgiveness. Because if we can get some compassion for them, then everything changes.
One of the biggest things that happened in my marriage, Keith and I were both so needy. There's just nothing like two extremely needy people coming in under one house because you know, there's this scarcity mentality that if you get a lot of attention, I'm not getting any. Does anybody know what I'm talking about? Now, we couldn't have really viewed it like that then. You know, looking back over your shoulder makes things so clear, but I can just remember it so well. And one thing that really happened that began to change how he and I related to one another, I'm gonna put this this way because I think you can understand it, but I think you'll know what I mean, is that we just began to feel sorry for each other. It was like, you know, God bless you and you know, God bless you. And then he was like God bless you, and it was like, we better help each other, and I just had a lot of compassion for him, and he had a lot of compassion for me, and I can't even tell you how much it helped. It aided us in that work of forgiveness.
I wanna show you something that I just love. Leave something here in Matthew chapter 10, and go with me to Exodus 34. Exodus 34, something enormous happens here that is extremely significant to this passage we have where Jesus is moved with compassion. Exodus 34. Do you remember when we made the point that these are eternal ethics? They're not just that Jesus is coming to over-correct after all the mess that has been made and how Pharisaical the people of God have become. It wasn't an over-correction. He is saying let me reiterate to you how God looks at the people of this world and the suffering of this world. And so I want you to see way back in Exodus 33 and 34, something marvelous has happened. God has Moses up on top of the mountain. Moses is freaked totally out, because God has said to him, listen, you need to tell the people, 'cause he's furious with them, furious. This is after Moses has gone down the mountain and found them all in revelry and found them where they gave up on Moses coming back.
So, I mean, it's just like what? He's like, "Aaron, what happened here"? He said, "Well, I don't know how to tell you this, but they gave me their jewelry, I threw it in the fire, and out jumped this calf". Listen, listen, listen, listen. It's so interesting how they set up the that golden calf with an altar to God, because really they were just gonna... We'll do it all together. We'll worship our idols and worship God, and this is gonna work. It's gonna work. We're still trying to make it work, and it doesn't work. He's so onto it, he's so onto it. He's like, I'm looking at you, me, you, me, you, me, you, me, you. I can see you. I can see you. So he says to Moses, he says, you know, you need to tell 'em I'm gonna send y'all on ahead. I promised you the land of milk and honey. I'm gonna send y'all on ahead to the promised land.
Now I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna send an angel before you so that you'll have that protection. But I'm gonna tell you this, I'm not going with you because if I go with you... and check me out. 'Cause he says it just as clearly as this. If I go with you, I may kill you. I mean, it was just like, you know what? I'm gonna stay here, y'all go on ahead without me because I'm gonna kill... Now, of course this is a silly example, and I don't mean it like it's about to sound, but there were times in raising my daughters one in particular that I would say to her, I would say to her, "You know what mother's gonna need you to do? I'm gonna need you to go to your room, and I'm gonna need you to go shut your door and I'm gonna need you to lock it, because I'm coming for you. And I promise you, you don't want me getting in. You really shut me out. Shut me out, because I'm coming for you and there's not gonna be one hair left on your head when I get done with you".
You know what I'm saying? This is sort of what's going on there. Y'all better go on without me. Well, Moses really has a nervous breakdown, because it's like, wait, this is not what I signed up for. And he says, "If you're not going with us, don't even send us. Don't even send us". You know what Moses is saying? 'Cause I love this so much, and this, this is I promise you as you press in and as you grow in to your relationship, to a vibrant, lively relationship with Jesus, with Jesus, it becomes this to you. It becomes where you know what? I wanna be where our relationship is lively and vibrant and I'm walking with you. I would rather be there than for all of these things to go well.
See, I've been in this conundrum for a really long time in my life with Christ, because I keep telling the same thing over and over. I want deliverance from every pain. I mean, you can see, I'm constantly asking him, deliver me from this, deliver us from this, deliver my family from this, I mean, constantly ask him, would you just like bless us? Would you just have all of those things, but then when it gets down to it, I'm like, but if I've asked you anything that undermines your presence in our lives, our need for you, 'cause you know how the beatitudes really do fall out at the end? You know what Jesus is saying? Blessed are you if you need me, for you shall have me. It's exactly what it is. At the end of the day it is if you need me, you shall have me. So I'm asking constantly in my prayers to be delivered out of my need. But the thing is my need is the stage that God most actively performs on in my life to his great glory. So what do you do with that? So at the end of all those things, I pray, you know, give us anything of that, that you can give us and still be greatly glorified, and that we would still know the absolute reliance on your presence.
Moses is like, leave me out here in the thorns and briars, leave me out here, but we don't wanna go anywhere without you. He says, "Well, I'll go". Well, he starts going like, "Well, if you don't, if you're not going with me," you know, 'cause Moses can't even hear him out. "No, I said I'll go. Moses, I said I'll go". He says, "Show me your glory". See, this is the thing with God, you get a little boldness, and the Lord receives it, and then you kind of go that next level and God's like no. But what I am gonna do, I am gonna honor that you asked, 'cause I ask the Lord for everything. I don't understand not doing it. You know, it's one of those things like, like, I mean I would want him to set a bush on fire. If he's done it in there, I have a donkey that lives next door, I can't even tell you. I tell the Lord all the time, whenever you want that thing to talk to me, I'm ready to go. I'm ready to go.
One morning at my house in prayer, I was out. Sometimes I'll come out on the front porch, and at the end of my prayer time and I'm just like, you know, binding and casting, all those things out on front porch, just like, oh, Lord, Lord, Lord, and this and that and this, that, and all of a sudden I've got this big holly bush on both sides of my little porch. And all of a sudden it just starts shaking like this and starts shaking like this and I'm like, Lord, Lord? I mean, I was just like, come on with it, come on. And I'm thinking to myself, you know, it's not burning, but it is shaking. The holly bush is clearly trembling with the presence and so that, that I felt fine about, but in a minute, you know, when armadillo comes out from, from it, but it felt like it was, you know, a sacred armadillo maybe. But so, so he's not gonna show him his glory, 'cause he's gonna cover him there with his hand in the cleft of the rock, and he is gonna pass by him. He's gonna let all his glory and all his goodness pass by him. But he does, he doesn't show him, but he tells him. He tells him.
So this is so significant, because we talk about God all the time. We see descriptions of God from Genesis all the way to Revelation, but actually let the question be, God, how do you see yourself? You tell us who you are. 'Cause I mean, all sorts of people can tell us about somebody else. No, you who are you to you? So he tells him, and it says in Exodus 34, 5 and 6, "The Lord came down in a cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed his name, the Lord. The Lord passed in front of him and proclaimed", listen to this, just verse 6, "The Lord is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love and truth". You wanna hear how he describes himself? You got it right there. This is God's own self-disclosure to Moses, and would you pay attention with me to how he describes himself? You can look, some of your Bibles may have it translated the word compassionate with another word, but it is exactly the same Hebrew word, exactly in the same order that the first adjective God uses for himself is that he is compassionate, compassionate.
So you see there's no growing up in Christ's likeness without the absolute priority of compassion, and I mean deep compassion. And it's a scary thing to pray for, you know why? Because compassion hurts. 'Cause we're coming in that compassion. That C-O on the front of it means to enter in and to feel it with him. I'm gonna enter into their passion, and if there's a people that just drives you crazy, nothing will be of aid to you like developing compassion for them. Even if you think, well, I mean like these people are idiots, but then you think to yourself, well, you know what? They're lost idiots. Compassion, you know what I'm saying? I'm taking that further than it needs to go, I realize that. I realize that, but we're coming on into it. You wanna know what he's like? He just described himself in 34:6. He just said it. I'm a compassionate God, gracious. I am slow to anger, and I'm abounding in faithful love and truth. When we're overwhelmed with the suffering that we see and continue to see unrelieved, we do everything we can in the name of Jesus to relieve it, but when we are tempted to think does God care? Does he care? This is your God. This is your God. This is his son, Jesus Christ.