He Set His Face Toward Jerusalem :: by Gene Lawley

One of the qualities of character that stands at, or near the top of the list that guides those who are looking for someone to tackle a job and get it done is called “stick-to-it-iveness” or determination. Jesus said it plainly in Luke 9:62, if looking back is followed by “turning back”:
“No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for thekingdom of God.”

Is God concerned about these things? He speaks His heart on that in 2 Chronicles 16:9 as He admonished Asa for making a treaty with Syria:

“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.”

Thus, eternal determination was in the heart of Jesus as He neared the conclusion of His earthly ministry:

“Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. But they did not receive Him, because His face was setfor the journey to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51-53).

It was not a leisurely time of travel—He would not stop for a pleasant night of rest! Purpose was driving Him forward, relentlessly, as if on a timetable. Perhaps this recorded statement from Luke 10:17-18 gives us a clue to what was in His heart:

“Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”

Then there was Moses, whose life was filled with circumstances that only an outside entity—God—could have possibly arranged. The account of his calling to lead the Hebrew people out of bondage in Egypt is recorded in the book of Exodus. But for this article, I want to go to Numbers 14:11-21, where God tested the staying power of Moses for Moses’ own benefit.

We know that God is unchangeable, so the issue is not that God might change His mind and start over with Moses and a new people, but that Moses might come to know his own commitment. Here is the story:

“Then the Lord said to Moses: ‘How long will these people reject Me? And how long will they not believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them? I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they.’

“And Moses said to the Lord: ‘Then the Egyptians will hear it, for by Your might You brought these people up from among them, and they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that You, Lord, are among these people; that You, Lord, are seen face to face and Your cloud stands above them, and You go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night.’

“’Now if You kill these people as one man, then the nations which have heard of Your fame will speak, saying, ‘Because the Lord was not able to bring this people to the land which He swore to give them, therefore He killed them in the wilderness.’

“’And now, I pray, let the power of my Lord be great, just as You have spoken, saying, ‘The Lord is longsuffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He by no means clears the guilty,visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourthgeneration.’

“’Pardon the iniquity of this people, I pray, according to the greatness of Your mercy, just as You have forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.’

“Then the Lord said: “I have pardoned, according to your word; but truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord.”

Of course God would not have negated all of His promises to Abraham, which have reached all the way into this generation to be fulfilled in part. We can see, too, that in this account Moses is a type of Christ, interceding for the people for mercy and forgiveness.

The lesson is that a person who intends to take a leadership position must have that resolve of “stick-to-it-iveness” firmly embedded in his inner being, and in this case, Moses was brought to that personal realization.

The apostle Paul set his face toward Jerusalem also, as Luke records in Acts 20. Despite all of the warnings that reached him, that imprisonment was imminent, perhaps even death, he persisted in his pursuit of that goal. As he met with the elders from the church at Ephesus while on his journey, he told them this:

“And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me.

“But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:22-24).

Later on, as he wrote to the Philippians from his Roman prison cell, he said this:

“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do,forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14).

In the same context he doesn’t skip a note to lay that challenge to those of us who have come after him in believing the gospel:

“Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind” (Philippians 3:15-16).

The Bible, and now Christian history, has untold numbers of those whose hearts were and are “perfect toward Him” in their total dependence upon Him. Perhaps Hebrews 11, the hallmark of faith, is a good place to read of many of them.

\When Julius Caesar of Rome sailed to the shores of Britain to extend the reign of Rome over that country, legend tells us that upon landing he commanded the vessels be burned that there would be no turning back. A “do-or-die” determination certainly drove them to their successful conquering of that land. [1] It begs the question of how locked in are we believers today to such a commitment to the Lord God of creation!

Only God can develop that kind of heart for Him and His personal calling for each believer. To this end we find this encouragement from Isaiah 50:7:

“For the Lord God will help Me; therefore I will not be disgraced; therefore I have set My face like a flint, and I know that I will not be ashamed.”


[1] Last word: http://www.reversereview.com/magazine/4647-the-last-word.html