Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Failing to See Ourselves As God Sees Us in the Opportunity He Provides - Exodus 3:11-12

But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?”  And He said, “Certainly I will be with you, and this shall be a sign to you that it is I who have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God at this mountain.”

Before we can comment on Moses’ response to God’s personal call, we must stop for a moment and describe again the circumstances.  Here we find a man who feels alone, a failure, and a letdown to his people, roaming in the desert.  And all of a sudden he has a real-life encounter with the Almighty God of his fathers.  An image comes to my mind to help me understand the great difference between God and man.  It is the image of a man (representing God) walking in his garden when he sees a caterpillar (representing man) struggling to get around in its surroundings.  He stops and calls down to it by its own name, “Fuzzy! Fuzzy!” and then once he has the caterpillar’s attention, he tells it who he is and the special job he has chosen for this common caterpillar to carry out in his garden.  I think that is how I can best describe the difference between God and Moses, God and us.  Yet this God knows about us, watches us, wants to communicate with us, and has a role for us to play in His plans for mankind.

It is amazing to me that Moses can even utter a single word to the Almighty, let a lone a whole well phrased question.  Some of us may simply have laughed out of total nervousness and sarcastically said, “Yeah, right!”  But Moses has heard the entire assignment clearly and repeats it here.  He takes time to present God with the questions he has about his own qualifications for it.  And, he allows God the opportunity to answer him.   Is this not an excellent model of how we should be responding to any calling that God places before us for our life?  First, we hear God; then, we are honest about our ability to deliver; and third, we allow God the opportunity to respond to any doubts we may have.

Moses, like any other man, initially failed to see the role that God would play in his assignment.  We often miss that too.  Whenever life presents us with an opportunity to serve God, we wonder whether or not we are up to it, whether we have the experience, the personality, the strength, the wisdom, you name it – to accomplish what we believe God is telling us to do.  That’s human nature for most of us – to doubt our own abilities.  But let us not forget that this is also the very attitude that God wants us to have.  He wants us to know that if we are to be involved in His service, and if we are to succeed at it, it will not be us that did it, but God.

In the 2012 American presidential campaign, the incumbent president made the mistake of telling small businesspeople that they “didn’t build” their businesses and implied that the federal government built it for them.  While he was wrong to suggest that their own hard work had nothing to do with their success, he was right in what he said only in the sense that as Christians we know that our successes, be it in relationships, a business, a career, etc. do depend on God’s grace upon our lives.

So God understands how His children undermine their God-given abilities to serve Him.  He knew how Moses felt about his abilities, about his doubts to succeed in the service of the Lord.  And because of that, the Almighty God replies to the mere human on earth and says, “Without a doubt, I will be with you.”  God is always re-assuring His children of His presence in their lives.  He never sends us “on assignment” into the battlefields of life, into the inferno of a building on fire, or into the depths of a raging ocean to rescue someone, while He stays home and simply watches on the monitoring screen of his “command room”.  That is not our God.  He is right there with us.

As I read this phrase here in the book of Exodus, as how the Almighty reassured Moses, I was reminded of what God’s Son, Jesus Christ, said to His disciples and through them to each of us, in Matthew 28:20.  As He gives them the Great Commission, He adds, “and, lo, I am with you always[s], [even] unto the end of the world.”  We have that assurance today.

But God did not stop there in Moses’ case.  He gives Moses a sign of an event that would take place to remind him that God was indeed with him as he carried out his task.  God says, “Moses, when it’s all over, mark My word, since I am the One Who will be with you, I will see to it that you realize that by making you worship Me at this very mountain.”  I have thought about that for some time.  You see, if Moses could have led the people of Israel out of Egypt without God, his human plan may have been different than what God would have done.  Most likely, his timing would have been different.  And where he stopped to worship God may also have been different.  So God tells him, “Here’s the deal, you’ll do it My way and I’ll be there with you, directing all the action – including where you worship Me afterwards.”

Not only was Moses getting God’s reassurance of His accompaniment, but God was also giving him a foreknowledge of what was going to happen once the task was complete.  God does that kind of thing with His people.  Have you experienced it?

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