Saturday, February 2, 2013

God, Moses, the Israelites and me.

I was reading this morning in Exodus (chapter 6) about Moses and the Israelites (God’s people = all of us). The Israelites had been slaves in Egypt for generations and God was ready to rescue them, to finally set them free. He sent Moses to talk to the king of Egypt and asked him to let His people go. Not too surprisingly, the king of Egypt said, “No!"

Moses was kinda mad at God after this conversation with the king. He marches right back to Him and asks why in the world would He tell him to go do all of this, to risk his life, if it wasn’t going to work. This is God’s response—

“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of my mighty hand he will let them go; because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of his country.”
God also said to Moses, “I am the Lord.  I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty,  but by my name the Lord I did not make myself fully known to them. I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, where they resided as foreigners.  Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant.
“Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord.’” vs 5-8.


Did you catch all that?
I am the LORD. (Yaweh, I Am Who I Am, I will always be)
I have heard…
I have remembered…
I will bring you out…
I will free you…
I will redeem you with an outstretched arm… 
I will take you as my own…
I will be your God…
I will bring you to the land I promised... 
I am the LORD. (He says it again, actually three times. He is saying, I am always there and in control, trust me.)

What words of promise. Who doesn’t want to hear that affirmation?

You are heard. You are known. You will be rescued. You will be redeemed. You belong to someone who loves you.

Then the very next verse says something interesting—

“Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and cruel bondage.” vs 9

This is so sad. I wonder if they didn’t listen because they couldn’t listen? Their circumstances were pretty extreme-- severely oppressed, laboring all day to meet impossible quotas. Maybe they were so wrapped up in despair, in their own particular, absolutely horrible situation, that they could not accept the promises, the hope, the rescue, the way out that God was offering them?

Don’t I (don’t we all) have times like this? Times where I am too discouraged to feel, to see, to accept the truth? Times where I am so wrapped up in my own circumstances, my own distorted reality, my own jealousies, to accept the truth that God wants to rescue me from it? (That sounds like cruel bondage to me.)

Since I was a teenager, and started reading these stories on my own, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with the Israelites. I totally understand their struggles and am completely frustrated with them for their constant complaining and circular acceptance of God’s gifts to them. When it comes down to it I think I am most annoyed with them because they remind me of myself.

God help me (help us all) to accept the freedom from cruel bondage that you continually offer to rescue us from. The question really comes down to will we let you? 

2 comments:

Mary Sue Moss said...

Deb, just what I needed this morning. God's Word is so personal. I'm reading in Job right now and can't wait till I get to the good part where God starts talking. We have Job to show us that terrible circumstances don't separate us from God and Ecclesiastes to show us that great circumstances and money and education don't draw us closer to God. Bless you!

Andy's Bethy said...

I know I am a week late reading it, but this what I needed today. Thanks for always sharing truth!