I would like to share this month about the wrong side of Heaven and the righteous side of hell. There are a lot of believers, leaders, and ministers out there right now who could probably write an autobiography using that title. No matter what you might have gone through or currently are going through, finding yourself on the wrong side of Heaven and the righteous side of hell is something someone else has already experienced.
That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9
Keep that in mind as we walk through this month’s piece. As I awoke early one morning, the first thing that came to my mind was Moses. What kind of emotional roller coaster he must have experienced from the time he was set apart until he drew his last breath. I’m left pondering what Moses was like before he died? Did the wilderness experience change him for better or worse? In other words, how was his spirit? How was his attitude towards a rebellious Israel? Was he a big ole teddy bear full of love or an old hateful acting codger at the end of his life? Fears, being a murderer, hardships, battles, defeats, victories, accusations from family and folks inside his own camp, lies, judging disputes, cleaning up other people’s mess, rebellions, anger, providing for, ministering to, and serving ungrateful people were just a few things Moses dealt with throughout his leadership. Now can you see the emotional rollercoaster this must have been for Moses? How could this not have a negative effect on him?
I believe a huge factor that separated Moses from Israel was relationship! Scripture tells us that Moses knew the ways of the Creator while Israel only knew His acts.
He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel. Psalms 103:7
The children of Israel, even though enslaved in Egypt, were given three hots and a cot. In other words, they were provided the necessities in order to survive. The Creator comes on the scene disrupting the whole system through His acts —miracles, signs, and wonders. Israel recognizes and identifies with Him through these acts, but they were missing a huge important piece of the puzzle. I have to cut Israel some slack, because who wouldn’t have recognized the acts of Adonai? He totally destroyed their biggest enemy right before their eyes! Even though YHVH proved He was a bigger more powerful god than Pharaoh, the children of Israel hadn’t gotten to know Him intimately like Moses did. They didn’t understand how to walk in the “way” of the Creator.
Understanding and knowing the ways of the Creator will produce in one’s life a specific course of conduct, a specific way of life, and a specific behavior. How was it that Moses figured this all out and was able to understand the ways of YHVH but the children of Israel didn’t? Remember that little ordeal of him having to flee to the desert after committing murder? Actually we are told that he fled not only to the desert but the backside of the desert (wilderness)! Why in the world the desert having to tend to his father in law’s herd? It’s all about the wilderness experience that makes you or breaks you. It’s the place where you come to the end of yourself because you are stripped of everything. It’s living on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell!!!
Wilderness in Hebrew is midbar and it is translated as desert, dry place, virtually empty of habitation, and place with little or no sustenance. The picture we are given of midbar is a place where not a lot of things grow easily or successfully. To say the least, it isn’t a pleasant flesh appeasing place to find ourself in or going through. There is hope though. Within the word midbar, we find the root word davar which means to speak or to order. In other words, Moses was removed from the current chaos in his life sent to the backside of the desert not necessarily for punishment purposes but to bring ORDER to his life. The good news that I have for those of you who are in a dry place or going through trials and tribulations is this: Finding yourself on the wrong side of Heaven and the righteous side of hell, actually brings purpose and order to your life. Sure it isn’t fun or pleasant, but there is purpose.
The wilderness is where you learn the ways of the Creator and not just recognize His acts. The Creator begins to bring an ordered arrangement to the life of Moses through the wilderness experience that enables him to become the meekest man alive.
If you currently find yourself on the wrong side of Heaven and the righteous side of hell and you are faithfully following the ordered arrangement the Creator has laid out, you will eventually be brought to a place of peace and harmony. The biggest challenge that you will have to deal with while living on the backside of the desert is key to your survival.
Your flesh will cause you to want to focus on what you don’t have, what you used to have, or what everybody else around you has that you wish you had. This is the number one thing you don’t want to do because it disrupts the peace, harmony, and order that the Creator is trying to bring forth in your life. If you focus on those long enough, it can cause accusation and offense to rise up in your life. You will begin to accuse the Creator of not doing what He said He would do in your life. I’ve seen this happen many times and the outcome hasn’t been a good one.
The proper way to steer your focus in the correct direction is to focus on what the God of Israel is doing, has done, and will be doing in our life. This is how you keep accusation and offense from taking root in your life. If you maintain this kind of focus and attitude, He will begin to show you what you actually have so that you can use it for His glory to bring honor to His name.
So if you find yourself living on the wrong side of Heaven and the righteous side of hell, I’m here to tell you that it is only for a season. Transition is a tough stage to go through because there are a lot of unknowns you are just not sure of. One thing is sure. What you are doing NOW determines what you get to do NEXT! If you are in the wilderness and not sure what the next move is just be faithful, serve others, stack chairs, clean toilets, give your time, energy, and efforts to others, be a blessing and contribute financially to others, and always look for ways to use what you currently have been given stewardship over instead of focusing on what everybody else has that you don’t have. Blessings.