Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Beyond Fears and Worries

fear hands

Aaron spoke all the words that the LORD had spoken to Moses and did the signs in the sight of the people. And the people believed; and when they heard that the LORD had visited the people of Israel and that he had seen their affliction, they bowed their heads and worshiped.

Exodus 4:30-31

God knew what He was doing in raising up the leadership for Israel to deliver them from the hard slavery of Egypt. Moses has offered every objection to God’s call. At every turn he felt inadequate, and really he feared that Israel would not listen to Him. He had some maturing to do… still. It was God’s call that was on him. How could He doubt that what God had called him to do could fail when God was behind every bit of it? God reassured him with miraculous signs to perform to convince Israel that God was behind their escape from Egypt. That should have been enough.

Moses objected to being God’s spokesman, complaining of his poor speaking skills. He asked God to send someone else, dangerously close to complete denial of God’s call upon him from the burning bush. God was angry at that point, and He told Moses He would help him by calling His brother Aaron to serve as a spokesman for and with him. God did not withdraw His call from Moses.

Moses reluctantly obeyed God’s call, but was still quite timid, begging leave from Jethro, his father-in-law with the innocent request to go visit his family. But Moses had been slack in his commitments. God again met Moses, this time in judgment, for his lack of obedience to the Law in circumcising his son. Moses’ wife has more respect by performing the act. But there is now schism in his household. She is resentful of Moses and his lack of obedience that nearly cost him his life.

Moses was a gifted man. But his human frailties had twisted the real potential. He had been rash. He had been an excuse-maker. He had been mediocre in spiritual obedience. But God was changing all of that in Him. Clearly God was going to deliver people. And He was using Moses and Aaron, warped and wounded as they were, to accomplish His work.

What strikes me most in this passage is the fear of Moses. I think that he was so worried about the response of Israel to himself, that he failed to grasp the significance of God’s call. Here he is, standing before a supernaturally burning bush, talking with the God of all the universe, the Creator, the God of Abraham, and he can only express how he feels about how Israel would respond to him. He is myopic. God is broadening his vision. And when the first message was delivered to the elder of Israel, they responded just as God knew they would: they believed, and they were thankful and worshipful that God was aware of their pain and ready to do something about it.

What Moses feared did not happen. His objections were totally unfounded because the decrees of God have a power to them that is unfathomable to human strategies and plans. What Moses worried about was never going to happen (at least at this point in the story). Later, Israel would struggle, and by that time Moses will have grown into a confident man of faith. For now, Israel is ready. God had seen to that. God had prepared a leader, and a people to be led by Moses.

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