Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Having Accepted His Calling, Moses Now Raises Objection to His Service -- Exodus 6:10-13

Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Go tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the sons of Israel go out of his land.”  But Moses spoke before the Lord, saying, “Behold, the sons of Israel have not listened to me; how then will Pharaoh listen to me, for I am unskilled in speech?”  Then the Lord spoke to Moses and to Aaron, and gave them a charge to the sons of Israel and to Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt.
After God told Moses again as to Who He was, what He would do, and what He wants of His people, Moses went to the children of Israel and shared the message.  He was rejected big time.  Without letting any time pass and being aware of the rejection Moses suffered, God immediately gets back to him with further instructions.  God leaves us alone only as long as is necessary, but never longer than He knows we need, when things like this happen.
And this time, God tells Moses to go directly to the enemy himself.  Can you imagine Moses’ reaction?  Those who were supposedly on God and Moses’ side flatly refused his plans that were dictated by God Himself.  Furthermore, it was these very people who were to be saved from their bondage.  Yet God now wants him to bypass the people and go directly to Moses with God’s intentions.  Moses could contain himself no longer and it was time for yet another objection.  This time it was not about his calling for he had accepted that some time ago after five objections, you might remember.  No, this time Moses was objecting about the terms of his ‘service’ he was expected to be involved in.
In essence, God was saying to Moses that he and his brother Aaron were to go it alone.  And notice that they were to go on behalf of the people.  The goal was still the same -- to save the children of Israel from their bondage.  You see, the mission, once given, never changes for a leader.  It is the resources and the support of others that change.  They may not be the ones that we expected when we took on the assignment, but they are always sufficient.  And that is what we need to remember as we move with God to accomplish His work.
Still, for Moses, as it would be for most of us, this was a hard instruction to follow at this time.  So he raises his sixth objection.  “If my own people won’t listen to me and You, God, how will the enemy ever listen and agree to my request?”
A good question indeed, at least from a human perspective.  Moses is basically saying, to use a baseball analogy, “Lord, we didn’t get to first base, and now you want us to cross home plate.”  And if that humanly logical argument was not enough, Moses reminds God (as if He had forgotten) that he is a stutterer.  When we cannot see our way through a problem, we throw all our arguments at God.  We use logical ones and personal ones.  We give Him all the reasons as to why we cannot do what He wants us to.  We give Him all the reasons why His plan will not work.  Oh, we may not do it as blatantly as Moses did, but we do it sometimes in a way that is worse – we simply ignore His instructions, even saving ourselves from making the arguments.
But here is where we fail in our thinking.  We forget first of all that we are dealing with the Almighty God, Creator of the universe and Provider of all we need.  Secondly, we forget that He is our Lord who loves us and has an intimate relationship with us.  Thirdly, we forget that it is His plan, not ours – He is totally capable of delivering it with or without our help, and He has total responsibility for it.  We are simply a conduit, a vessel, a human mouthpiece or ambassador if you like.  That’s it.  Nothing more.  That is not to say that our heart is not to be in it, for it must.  But it is to say that we are not responsible for the end results, God is.  Moses had forgotten that at this point.
So what does God do?  Well, it is possible that He is a little frustrated with Moses.  Who would not be?  But remember, He still loves Moses and He would not give up on him as He does not give up on you and me.  And God brings in reinforcement in the person of Aaron for the text says that in response to Moses’ objection He now spoke “to Moses and to Aaron”.  God realizes that as humans we are not yet totally reliant on Him, we need the reassurance and the assistance of others, or at least the company of others as we pursue feats for God.  So God speaks to both of them very directly.  Because God did not want Moses to give up, He brought others along to encourage him.  I have noticed that in my own life and leadership.  Sometimes I pursue things and no one is with me.  It is then I realize I may have mistaken what God had asked me to do.  Other times, God brings a number of men and women of proven faith in God to come stand with me, and that reassures me.  It allows me to refocus on God and His ability to accomplish His will through me, even when some are vehemently opposed.
And the text says God gave them a charge – a charge meant for both the sons of Israel (the leaders among the people including Moses and Aaron) and to Pharaoh himself, to lead the children of Israel, and to let them go, respectively, out of the land of Egypt.  What was God saying to these two men, and through them to the children of Israel, and to Pharaoh?  I believe He was saying, “Look this is no longer a request, a nice suggestion for a nice thing for you to do.  This is my will and it will be done.”  Sometimes God has to be that direct with us as well.  So, we have a choice – be part of God’s plan or sit on the sidelines.
I am reminded of President Abraham Lincoln’s frustration in the movie released in 2012 entitled Lincoln when he finally displays some anger and bangs his fist on the table around which some of his cabinet was giving him a hard time.  He wanted something done and by George, because he was the president, it was going to be done.  God is doing the same thing here with Moses.  There comes a time, for every parent, when a child refuses to obey, to lay down the law.  God was being nothing less than a loving father here.
Soon we will see how Moses reacted.  For now, I hope we each take the opportunity to reflect on how we react to God’s dealing with us when it comes to doing His work.

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