Reaching the Lost, No Matter the Cost (Exodus 23:20)
Exodus 23:20, Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.
Jim Elliot was unsure of what to do after graduating from Wheaton College in 1949. He spent the summer praying for guidance from the Lord. He received a letter about the need for workers in Ecuador. On July 4th, Jim set aside ten days for prayer and on the 14th he wrote, "I asked for some word from God ten days ago, which would encourage my going to Ecuador. It came this morning in an unexpected place. I was reading Exodus 23:20, Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.” Jim Elliot was ready to jump in with both feet. He believed in giving 100% to any task that he would adopt. Exodus 23 sent Jim Elliot eventually to his death, and to his glory. It also brought the Auca Indians, in God's timing, to saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
God's Word gave Jim Elliot guidance and direction to do His will, even though His will meant his death. God was leading Jim and four of his friends where they were desperately needed. It was one of the most violent group of people on the planet and these five missionary families knew it. In fact, in this region, Shell Oil Company had to halt construction of its base called Shell Mera, because the construction workers were being speared by the natives in spearing raids. The people of these jungles believed that killing others gave them a sense of self control. It was the main way they resolved their problems. This part of Ecuador was truly an area that revealed the wickedness of men without any restraint to their sinful hearts. Yet, it was their wickedness that created the burden in the hearts of these missionaries. It was their desire to reach these folks with the Gospel no matter what the cost. That desire and the burden of reaching these lost souls helped them to conquer any fear of death they may have entertained.
These missionaries had guns to protect themselves, but they all agreed and insisted they would not use them to defend themselves if attacked. They considered themselves already dead if need be. They said, "They are not ready for Heaven, but we are!" They overcame their fear of death. In the effort to reach these Indians, they all five were massacred by the people they were trying to save. In their deaths, however, God was glorified. God opened the door for their wives and children to enter the village and reach the people for Jesus Christ at a later time. All these missionaries, including their wives, overcame the fear of death.
Thankfully, it’s not illegal to witness here in America. Too often, so many believers never tell anyone else about how they can receive salvation through Jesus Christ. We have all kinds of excuses for why it should be someone else’s job. But God has given us people that we can reach more effectively than anyone else.
Prayer, Father, I understand that fear interferes with my fellowship with You. I can’t focus on fear and focus on You at the same time. Forgive me for the times I focused on fear when I knew You have promised to always be with me. Thank You for Your faithfulness in calling me out of fear and into Your presence, where I find peace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.