Moses. The passages we're reading today are one of my favorite. I absolutely love the story of Moses with all his faults and all his failures. I can't wait to dig in with you!
Find Exodus chapters 3 & 4. Find a comfortable seated position and take a few drops of Lavender essential oil in the palm of your hand. Rub together and cup over your nose and take a few deep breathes. Start to take your focus on your breath. Breath in and allow that breath to travel all the way down to the bottom of your belly. As you exhale, draw your belly button toward your spine and send that same breath up and out of the nose. Massage any remaining oil on the back of your neck and shoulders. Gently open your eyes and read Exodus 3 & 4. Let your practice today be mediation on this passage. Be filled with the presence of God.
Yesterday we left Moses as a small child being returned to the daughter of Pharaoh. So, he grows up in Pharaohs house learning all the ways of the Egyptians full on knowing he's a Hebrew. (an Israelite) And one day he went out and saw and Egyptian beating a Hebrew slave and the bible says he was so angry that he killed him and hid the body. Thinking that no-one saw, he goes about the rest of his day. The next day as he's walking around he sees two Hebrew men fighting and when he goes and breaks up the fight, they ask, "what, are you gunna kill us too?" Moses knows that as soon as Pharaoh hears about it, he'll be put the death so he flees to Midian. God provides for him a wife there and after a life of not fitting in anywhere, either his birth family of Hebrews or the Egyptian court he grew up in, he finally feels at home.
Now we come to an interesting verse at the end of Chapter 2, the people of Israel cried out to God because of their slavery and vs 24, "God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel and God knew." When scripture points out that "God remembered" its not saying that God forgot and then remembered them. God can not forget, he sees all and knows all. Its simply saying that God is about to act. So pay attention.
We pick up in Chapter 3 with a grown man working as a shepherd for his father-in-law. One day he lead his flocks to Horeb, and there was a mountain. Moses was drawn to the back side of the mountain and the Lord appeared to him in a fire in a bush. It was burning yet not being consumed. Something was happening that was out of character, so Moses goes over to investigate. God speaks to Moses out of the fire and tells him to take off his sandals for the lace on which you are standing is holy ground. Friends, the place you are right now. The ordinariness of it, because of the presence of God, is holy ground. Sit back and breath that in for a moment.
This story is a super pivotal moment in the history of Israel, and in the life of Moses. These two chapters are about God revealing his good and perfect plan to Moses about everything thats happened in the lives of the Hebrew people and in Moses' life as well. It's all been a part of the plan.
So God tells Moses, I'm going to use you. I've heard the groaning of my people and everything has been leading to this point and it's ready. I'm going to use you to free the Israelites from Pharaoh. And Moses is like, um .... you got the wrong guy. Listen, remember how the Egyptians hate me and the Hebrews hate me. I don't fit in there and thats why I left. And chapter 4 starting in vs 2 God asks Moses whats in his hand. He says its a staff and God tells him to throw it on the ground and it becomes a snake and Moses runs from it. God calls him back and tells him to pick it up BY THE TAIL!! And in faith, Moses does and it becomes a staff again. There are other signs and God goes on to tell and encourage Moses, but I want to camp right here for today.
Basically whats happening is God is meeting Moses right where he is. "Ok Moses, whatcha got there,?" Its my staff. Its something that he uses every day of his life. Without it he can't do his job, so much so that its become a crutch to him. And here he's hiding behind it. I'm not good enough, this is who I am now God. So God tells him to throw it down and it becomes a deadly snake. God is physically showing him the deadly power his thinking has on his life. Then God tells him to pick up the snake by the tail. Which would surely mean death, unless God is involved, because what God is really asking him is to trust in God and not in the crutch. So Moses does and it becomes a rod. Now, in this one simple act, this one simple miracle, God says, Trust Me Moses, and gives him to opportunity to take power over the thing thats holding him back.
Maybe, we could look at the cross of Jesus Christ the same way. What if we understood the true terror the Roman cross had on the lives of the people living at that time and how it was an instrument of torture. And how one death on it, the death of Jesus Christ, the long awaited only son of God, God took back the fear. He physically showed us what sin looks like to him. He physically showed us what separation and broken relationship between us and him looks like and on that cross gave us the opportunity to take power over the lie thats holding us back from restoration. If we trust in him. The long awaited son of God who after his death on the cross, was three days in the grave and then defeated death for all when he rose. Trust in that. The one who defeated death.
So Friends, if you don't hear anything else today, please hear this. What's happening here is the God of all Creation, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the one passed down in stories from generation to generation is about to get real. He's been silent with his people waiting for the time to be complete and then here he is. He step into the narrative as an all consuming fire that does not destroy and speaks to one man. And in that conversation he's doing something personal in the life of Moses and cooperate for all of the nation of Israel and universal for everyone who will ever live on this earth.
He's reaching into the history of one man and saying, "All that stuff you went through, it was me, my hand guiding and protecting and preparing you for this moment." And corporately saying, "All this suffering of Israel, I allowed to happen so that you could see me, and what I said to Abraham would be fulfilled and you would know that I AM who I AM." And to us today, as this story continues to unfold, we're going to see things. We're going to see the rhythm of a life surrendered to God. We're going to understand grace. I don't want to get to ahead of the story here, but we're going to see Jesus, and redemption and restoration of right relationship with God, our creator. And this story is about to blow your mind.
I can't wait to see you tomorrow.