Monday, February 16, 2009

Too Many to Count—part two

“I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9).

And that great multitude cried with a loud voice, “Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb” (Revelation 7:10).

Twice in Scripture, once through the prophet Isaiah and once through the apostle Paul, God declares—very poetically—His sentiments regarding those who fulfill the Great Commission! “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace and bring glad tidings of good things” (Romans 10:15). Beautiful—that is how He describes their feet…not their desire, not their willingness, not even their heart, but their feet. Odd! But there it is, in black and white, both in Isaiah and Romans!

What exactly is God wanting to express? Surely more than just His opinion of their outward appearence. The Greek word horaios (translated beautiful) means belonging to the right hour or season, flourishing. God is telling us something very important about the one who fulfills his duty to “go”: he is doing so in the most timely matter. And that, my dear friend, is very attractive to the Lord!

Sharing the gospel is “time sensitive” for there is an end to every man (set at conception) and an end to this world (which no man can know the hour). We are not to wait or drag our feet—not once the command is given. According to Romans 10:14-15, the lost will never be able to (fully) come to Christ without a witness to show them the way. To the Savior, the act of going—the actual walking (a sign of movement and determination with a goal in mind)—is highly treasured…and, therefore, to the Christian, the act of going must be highly prioritized.

Who will be in heaven before the Lamb, due to the “beautiful” way you walked this week, this month?

Bechwana Tribe
Africa

Robert Moffatt of Scotland, born in 1795, was called by God for missionary service when he was 19 years of age! He was a gardner by trade and dreamed of climbing the ladder of success...always imagining himself as wealthy and influencial—he could see his future stretch far in front of him—a future of comfort and ease. God had other successes in mind. On a six mile walk to a nearby town to shop, Robert passed a poster advertising a Missionary Service. It caught his eye dramatically and he could not help but read it over and over and over again:

MISSIONARY MEETING, GUILD HALL,WARRINGTON
THURSDAY EVENING, JULY 25
SPEAKER REV. WILLIAM ROBY, OF MANCHESTER

Although the date was passed and the meeting transpired, he could not move from that very spot. As he stood there, it was as if time reversed in his mind. He found himself back in his childhood home, sitting by the fire and listening to his mother tell exciting stories of the Moravian missionaries taking the gospel to Greenland. And so, in one moment, it seems to me, Robert was transformed. “Will you give up your plans for My plans?” a Voice plainly spoke in his soul. “Are you willing to suffer that the heathen be saved?”

"Yes, Lord,” he said aloud—and from then on his one driving passion was to take God's Word to some far away place!

Robert sought out Mr. Roby, the man on the poster, and asked if he would secure him an appointment under the missionary society. Mr. Roby was so taken by this young man's earnestness and abilities he spent much of his own personal time instructing him for a service overseas.

As Robert waited to go abroad he took a gardner position in the home of the Dukenfieds. There he met their daughter Mary and discovered that her secret desire for missionary service was as full and strong as his own. He quickly fell in love with Mary and asked her to go to with him to the foriegn field—her excited “yes!” was thwarted when her father found out—“My wife and I have no objection to your marriage, if you will stay in this country; but we will never agree to our only daughter going to some uncivilized land where she would suffer many hardships and, more likely than not, die an early death!” Amidst the dissaproval of parents, the heartache of unfulfilled dreams and the fervent love they had for each other Robert and Mary chose to walk a higher road—they chose to walk beautifully. The love they had for their Lord, and the passion they owned to win the lost was stronger than their human desires for each other! Their determined decision was to part from one another—and so, Robert and Mary said goodbye knowing they may never see one another again.

Robert arrived in Cape Town, Africa in 1817. As a 22 year old, single missionary he dove into his work with ardency. After 8 months of language study, Robert began risking his health, and, at times his very life, to reach out to those who had never heard the gospel of Christ. He lived in African simplicity—his diet conisisting only of milk and dried meat. But Robert had great impact—not only on the natives but also on many of the Dutch missionaries serving in that region—he challenged their thinking greatly when it came to evangelizing the servants. One Dutch man told Robert it would be better to “call the baboons” than to reach out to the Hottentots working in his own home. After opening up the scripture and ministering its truth to the missionary, the man finally said to Robert, “You took a hard hammer and you have broken a hard head.”

Robert was very lonely, but the only news from Mary was that her parents still had not consented to her coming—in fact, they seemed more opposed than ever. In his next letter home, Robert's reply was painfully transcribed, but truthfully written: “In my suffering I am cheered with this one recollection—that it is for Jesus' sake and the salvation of the heathen.” These words came from a heart filled with the deep dissapointment of hope deferred.

But God has His own way, does He not? Almost 2 years to the month that Robert arrived in Africa, God delivered Mary, by boat, to the very town he lived! By an unexpected miracle, Mary's parents completely changed their minds and allowed their daughter the joy of joining Robert in his work.

God eventually led Robert and Mary to the Bechwana tribe on the Kuruman River. It was there they faithfully worked, preached, prayed, and endured great hardship for many, many years without the blessing of one conversion. But with beseeching prayer and steadfast forbearance, both Robert, and his wife Mary, stayed the course and witnessed the birth of a church in 1829 as 6 Bechwana believers were baptized.

God is a rewarder of all those who diligently seek Him! God blesses those who give up their own desires for His. After 30 years of labor, Robert completed the translation of the entire Bible before his death—completely fulfilling the task God had given him to do. The evangelistic movement grew deep and wide!!!!! Because of Robert’s faithful answer to God’s call many of the Bechwana tribe will be numbered in “the great multitude” that gather to praise their King.

I have been greatly effected as I have taken the time to study out the lives of this man and his faithful wife—what joy they brought their Master as they forsook all to carry out His Great Commission. Not only did God use their lives to gather many Bechwana to glory, but Robert and Mary's daughter (bearing her own mother's name) became the wife of David Livingstone. Many, many more were gathered to glory long after their death!

How exciting it will be to look upon the faces of those Bechwana men and woman around the throne of heaven all because 2 very real people, with very real dreams and deep rooted emotions, dared to live a life of total abondonment to their Lord and Savior.

“I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9).

to be continued...

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