Monday, September 2, 2013

Everyone Loves a Story Part 5 - Who? Me?!

The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey —the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”
But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.
(Genesis 3:7-12)

To continue in our story of Moses and the burning bush—God spells out why he has called Moses. God’s people are being cruelly oppressed and he is going to rectify that by bringing them out of bondage and into a land of beauty and bounty. As we look at verses 11 & 12, we can see ourselves in Moses as he asks God, "Who? Me?!" (Maybe not exactly in those words, but that's essentially what he says.) Maybe he's thinking about the fact that he's just a shepherd, not a leader of a nation. Perhaps he's fearful of the fact that in Egypt, he is guilty of murdering an Egyptian taskmaster and he could be walking right into, at best, a prison cell and, at worst, a death sentence. Yet again, he's rebuilt his life now. He has a new home and a wife, maybe even a family. He has a good steady job that puts food on the table and even though he's middle management (tending his father-in-law's flock) he is essentially his own boss. Isn't that what we all want? He kind of has it made. Why would God call him away from that now? Why didn't God do this before he had a family to take care of and responsibilities?

My goodness this all sounds so familiar, doesn't it? How often does God call us and we have our excuses ready—I'm not gifted in that area or this is not a good time for me. I'm way too busy right now. Or here is a favorite of mine—I don't want to run the risk of being asked to serve on a regular basis, so I just don't say yes the first time. After all, I may be busy or sick or out of town the next time. (Yes, I have actually heard this more than once.) God gave us life and each moment we are sustained only by his power and yet we consider our agendas and schedules first when he call out to us to join in his work. Now I am saying this, not from a judgmental holier-than-thou place, but a I'm-just-as-guilty-in-this-as-everyone-else place. It’s such a struggle to give of "my" time, "my" talents, and out of "my" pocket. But when I remember that I am merely a steward of God's blessings, then it's not so hard to disperse of his time, his talent, and his money in the way he asks of me. Dear God, help me remember that the next time you are calling me to your work.

Here is the interesting thing in this story. God says in reply—I will be with you. There is that "God is with us" idea that we looked at in "Inside the Parenthesis" in July. But in this story, not only do we understand that God IS with us, guiding us, protecting and providing for us, loving us, forgiving us and pulling us from our sinfulness into his holy presence, but he is inviting us into partnership with him to bring about his kingdom here on earth just as it is in heaven—just as God created it all to be before the fall.

He doesn't tell Moses to go free God's people while He waits for Moses to bring them back to him at the mountain. He didn't tell Moses, "Follow me and watch as I do all the work." He says "we will go together and together we will free my people." So often we think that we have to have the answer, perform the right ritual, pray the right prayer, find the right bible study, but it's not about what we do and it's not even about what God does (which let's be honest here, God doesn't really need us to do anything to accomplish his goals). It's about what God does in us and through us in partnership. It's about the relationship he develops with us—us relying on him and him encouraging us and the relationship he fosters between us and others. And when we step out in that kind of faith, we will see God's glory in our hearts, our lives, and in our communities and marvel at God's awesome power. I want to be a part of that! Don't you?

1 comment:

Common Household Mom said...

Yes, that partnership seems rather messy and inefficient. But oddly, partnership also seems to be the way God prefers to do things.