Exodus 2-4. Pharaoh’s daughter knew that Moses was a Hebrew child. She allowed her maidens to seek out the Hebrew mother to nurse the child. Pharaoh’s daughter even paid the mother of Moses to care for him. Moses was then educated to be an Egyptian prince and lived a life of luxury among royalty before the moment when his eyes were open to the shameful treatment of his Hebrew brethren. Moses fled Egypt, not because God sent him away, but because he murdered an Egyptian and Pharaoh sought to kill him. Moses seemed content afterward, relieved to live among the Midianites, herding sheep and raising a family. But then the burning bush appeared.
Just when you think your life is moving along smoothly, God may call you to experience the unimaginable. Maybe even call you back to your Egypt. When you are called, do you answer, “Here am I, Lord?” Or after learning what may be required, do you plead as Moses did, “O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send”? (My emphasis in italics.) I, too, am faced with ‘going around the mountain’ again, re-experiencing challenges that I thought were past. I am not sure that I want to go there again.
That thought causes me to ask myself, how well am I listening to God? Will I argue as Moses did and merit God’s anger? For like a parent instructing an unruly child or like a boss chastising an uninspired employee, God had to command Moses – “Now you shall speak; I will teach you what you shall do; And you shall take this rod in your hand, with which you shall do the signs.” (My emphasis in italics.) Whew! God could not be clearer than that. And like Moses, I would have shut my mouth at that point and did what I was told. But do I believe that God is with me now, and am I ready to do His bidding?
Luke 17. Jesus loves me. Many Scriptures describe that unfathomable love. However, Jesus also instructed His disciples through parables and analysis of events in their journeys, often employing negatives or consequences of wrong thinking. For example, Jesus warned that judgment awaited false teachers and those who harbor unforgiveness. He debunked discrimination by healing other people hated by the Jews. He tied faith and duty to humility, refuting any expectation for reward and honor. Jesus also warned that the coming of the Son of Man will be a stark reality of judgment.
If I take on these tasks that God has called me to complete, am I ready to have my biases and opinions challenged? Christ will have no other way than to follow Him precisely as He commands. Can I do so wholeheartedly? Thankfully, I am assured that I am not alone in this. I have the words of Christ, His compassion and understanding, and His Holy Spirit guiding me into all truth. He will keep me focused and clear out the old man thoughts and behaviors. Christ will create a clean heart in me.
Psalm 88. If the Old and New Testament Scriptures in today’s reading end with Heman’s song in Psalm 88, I might faulter in my hope that all will be well with my soul. Let’s say that I genuinely want to follow God’s plan even if the plan takes me back to my Egypt. I am not so foolish to think that the road will be smooth or that I will not be brought through challenging experiences. ‘This isn’t my first rodeo,’ as my Texas buddies would say. Yet, Heman’s laments point out that the darkness can grow so deep as to nearly snuff out the light. He even asks God, “Shall Your lovingkindness be declared in the grave? Or Your faithfulness in the place of destruction? Shall Your wonders be known in the dark?”
What I know about this depth of despair is the same as Heman proclaims. But my hope is not shattered by the circumstances of past, present, or future tragedy. Rather, I confess my faith in God’s saving goodness. I cry out with Heman, “O Lord, God of my salvation…”
I recently watched a movie, Paul, Apostle of Christ. Most of the movie was dark and disparaging. The Christians were being fed to the lions in Nero’s “circus.” Paul was in prison, often beaten or whipped. Some Christians were led into taking revenge, killing Roamn soldiers. Even the muted lighting during most of the movie indicated despair, hiding, and fearfulness. Yet, the Apostle Paul interjects truths into that darkness, such as, “If Christ had not risen from the dead, then our preaching is useless, and so is our faith.” My favorite line from the movie spoken by Paul is this: “It is Christ himself that looks upon you and shatters your defenses and, in that moment, you will understand that you are completely known by God…and you are completely loved. I will pray that moment comes to you.”
Prayer. Whatever works created beforehand that I shall walk through, I pray to be completely known by You, my God. Your love, Your presence, and Your promises are all that matters. That is my declaration of trust and faith in knowing Your goodness. Calm my soul, give me the courage to continue this journey with You here on earth. I wait for You, my Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus.