consequences of wallowing

“. . . They didn’t even hear him–they were that beaten down in spirit.” (Exodus 6:10, The Message)

The last few verses of Exodus 4 paint a perfect people–Moses and Aaron have gathered all the leaders and all the people. They tell them of the wondrous things God is doing for them. Everyone listens; everyone believes. Then everyone bows and worships God.

But then at the end of chapter 5 the same believers are now doubters. Angry and fearful, they challenge God’s plan. Even Moses questions God and declares that “things have only gotten worse” (5:23).

When faced with the hardships of the moment, God’s people were blinded to the joys of the future. So God, in His patience, begins to recollect aloud all of His promises. He stresses every one with a definitive “I will”– I will bring you out, I will rescue you, I will redeem, I will take you as my own, I will bring you into the Promised land. I will. I will. I will. And then He finally proclaims I AM YOUR GOD! (6:6-8)

But they don’t hear Him! They had wallowed so far down in their mirky misery that they hear nothing but their own groaning and whining. Pessimism had deafened them to the voice of God.

Spiritual Musings

staying the course

He had a firm grip on the staff of God. Exodus 4:20

If only life were a straight road from birth to death. Even just a few forks thrown on the trail for choices, judgement and excitement wouldn’t be so hard to handle. But what we have instead is a bumpy journey with way too many crossroads and obstacles and mazes.

Moses’ life was one with numerous crossroads, with many responsibilities, with decision upon decision to make. Yet he made it; He made it from reed basket to seat next to God because he learned early on the key to a successful journey.

When he left Midian to take on his position as leader of a nation, the Bible tells us “Moses took his wife and sons and put them on a donkey for the return trip to Egypt. He had a firm grip on the staff of God.” (vv. 20, 21) That’s all we are told–This from the Book that goes into great detail about all sorts of things! We’re not told if there was hired help, whether he took cattle and grain, how long the journey was. Nothing.

Certainly there was more to his journey than wife, sons, donkey and a walking stick. But the point is that the other stuff didn’t matter. All the planning, the details, the stress didn’t matter because Moses had his priorities straight–his family and his God

We tend to drag along a tedious to-do’s and stressful decisions. Life responsibilities often make it almost impossible to know which way to turn, which task to make a priority. To get it straight, we need to do what Moses did–Keep those we love close to us and get a firm grip on God.

Spiritual Musings

family blessings

Jethro said, “God. And peace be with you.” Exodus 4:18 (The Message)

All of chapter three and half of chapter four of Exodus detail Moses’ job interview with God. Moses had absolutely no interest in the position, but God was determined that it be filled by Moses.

After many objections, Moses finally takes the job to be the leader of the people of Israel, to organize and orchestrate the freedom of a nation from slavery and oppression. And in accepting this post, there was going to be a domino of consequences–packing and moving, finding a replacement for his present job as foreman of his father-in-law’s estate, giving his wife a crash course on the strange customs of another people.

More importantly, with Moses’ new job came the reality that he was leaving Midian for good. He was leaving the family and land that was the only stable home in his life. He was leaving Jethro, his father-in-law, whom he loved and respected.

Moses had to leave; it was a call from God that he could not refuse. And, since it was a direct summons from God, Moses could have just told Jethro and the rest of the Midianite clan that he had no choice. They certainly would not have objected to something from God. But instead, Moses asked of Jethro, “Let me go back to my people . . .” (v. 17, NIV).

Even though he was just appointed by God as the CEO of a nation, Moses valued the approval and blessing of Jethro. In response, Jethro blessed Moses. It was a blessing that kept Moses and Jethro in close contact over the years; later when Moses needs leadership advice, Jethro steps in with great counsel.

Family blessings and tie–you can certainly live without them, but to have them enriches life.

Spiritual Musings

when you’re up against people-power

Word’s gotten out–people know about this. Exodus 2:14 (The Message)

People–generally–are not truth seekers; they are flesh mongers. We’d rather crucify than save the accused. When people get wind of a situation, the result is almost often disastrous. There is no seeking of truth–what really happened, why it happened; the motive or the heart behind it; whether is was an unintentional slip of the hand or mind.

So, when Moses killed a man in the acting of protecting another, he ran. The possibility of what could come out of people-power created in him such fear that he couldn’t see another alternative.

He didn’t see another alternative because he hadn’t had his God-power experience yet. This happened before the burning bush, before his partnership with God, before experiencing God’s grace and forgiveness, before he learned of a Power that superseded the power of people.

After His wilderness time with God, we meet the new Moses, the man who no longer runs away in panic or apprehension. We find Moses fearless of people-power–never running, always confronting trouble head-on.

Spiritual Musings

measuring life

She saw there was something special about him and hid him. Exodus 2:1, The Message

The Bible takes less than a chapter, 22 verses to be precise, to tell the story of Moses from birth to marriage.

Considering his mother’s prophetic observation (2:1), there had to have been a lot of interesting stories and anecdotes to document the first half of Moses’ life. Yet, except for riding a basket down Nile, the fascinating Moses stories that have been told and retold are mostly from the second half of his life.

And it’s God’s calling that marks that second half of Moses life, the beginning of his memoir. For Moses, it was the burning bush; for Saul, the blinding on the road to Damascus; for Jesus, the baptism by the Holy Spirit.

On judgment day, Mercy will not judge us by what we’ve done with all our time on earth; it will be about how we’ve lived since He called us to be His.