Sunday, March 21, 2010

From Here I Am to Who Am I

Moses has been in my mind the past couple of weeks. Between reading about him in my Bible reading time and watching the 2006 version of “The Ten Commandments” I have been soaking him up like a sponge.

Last week I talked about the burning bush and how it represents God’s calling on our lives. The story of the burning bush doesn’t end with Moses responding “Here I am.” No, there is much more to the story that we can learn from.

God begins to lay out His plan. Every calling on our lives has a specific plan to it. We may not necessarily get the layout but there is one. Moses had a rare opportunity to hear that plan directly from God. God told Moses that He had heard the crying of His people, the Israelite slaves, and that He was going to rescue them. Moses would be part of that rescue. He was going to bring them to a place of milk and honey, as opposed to the slavery and cruelty they had been enduring. It would be Moses that would lead the way.

Some would like to chastise Moses for the way he responded. He did not respond favorably to what the Lord had presented him with. But how often do we do the same? God asks us to do something that either we don’t want to or we don’t think we are equipped to do. Think about it. “That’s all God? You mean there isn’t something grander or greater that you want me to do?” “Work in the nursery?” “Stay home and raise my children?” “Take a job making minimum wage?” There is an endless list of possibilities when it comes to God calling us to a task that we don’t think much of.

Then there are the plans that He has for us where we don’t feel equipped. That is exactly how Moses felt. He said, “Who am I?” Who am I that I should… You can fill in your own blanks. What is God calling you to do that you are questioning?

Here’s what I find especially interesting about all of this. The same man who said, “Here I am” was now saying “Who am I.” Isn’t that just like us? Here I am God, use me! Here I am God, send me! But then when God gets ready to do it, we question Him. Suddenly we ask, “Who am I?” We aren’t much different than Moses!

So Moses presents his “Who am I” argument and God makes it clear. He won’t be doing this alone. No, God never sends us to a place where He expects us to do it on our own. He goes with us. He would go with Moses. Not only did God tell Moses that He would go with him but that He would also provide a sign that God was the one who had sent him. Once the people were delivered from Egypt, Moses would worship God on the very same mountain that the burning bush was on. What a plan! Who wouldn’t jump at that, right?

But we know the story. Although God knew the time of deliverance would come, that Moses would lead the Israelites out, it wouldn’t happen for a long time and not until Moses would go through quite a few tests…not just with the Egyptians but with the complaining Israelites as well. God may have a plan for us but to get there, we may need to go through a few tests.

So God has laid it all out. He will go with Moses, the sign will be there and so Moses should be ready to move, right? Wrong! Moses isn’t done questioning God. He now wants to know what he should tell the people when they ask who has sent him to them. Plain and simple God says to tell them that “I AM” has sent Moses to them.

Moses still isn’t convinced. He asks, “What if they don’t believe me?” Not only are the “Who am I?’ questions obstacles that we create but so are our “What if”” questions. God lays it out but all we can think about are the “What ifs.” “What if this doesn’t work out God?” “What if we don’t financially make it?” “What if I’m stuck doing this forever?” “What if I don’t like it?” and the list goes on and on.

God is so patient with Moses. I often remind myself that if He can be that patient with Moses, then surely He can be so patient with me! God tells Moses to throw his staff on the ground and it turns into a snake! Moses runs from it but then God tells him to pick it up. He does and it turns back into a staff. God isn’t done yet, though. He then tells Moses to put his hand inside his cloak. He does and when he takes it out, it’s leprous like snow. He sticks his hand back inside and this time when he takes it out, it’s restored. Pretty cool!

One would think that Moses would be chiding himself for ever asking the questions and say, “Okay God, I’m ready!” But he doesn’t. No, he goes on to express how he has never been a very eloquent speaker. He still isn’t convinced that God has called him to the task. Now he is seeing nothing but his flaws and weaknesses. Are you spending more time looking at your flaws and weaknesses? Are you making excuses for not stepping out? That’s really all that Moses was doing, making excuses.

Yet again God is so very patient with Moses and explains that it is God who makes man to talk. He would be the one to help Moses speak. If God can turn a staff into a snake and make a hand leprous, surely He can help Moses speak!

By this time Moses has gone from “Here I am” to “Who am I?” to “What If?” to now pointing out his flaws and weaknesses. You would think it would end there. Wrong again!

Now Moses gets to the real heart of the matter. “O Lord, please send someone else to do it.” The truth is that from the very beginning Moses had no interest in God’s plan. He didn’t want to do it. It didn’t matter what great signs God would provide, the miraculous things He would do to prove Himself…Moses didn’t want to be the one to do it. He was probably content to stay in the place he was at, happily married and tending his sheep. He had left Egypt and the last place he wanted to be was back there.

Well God’s patience finally runs out. Take that to heart. God can get to a point where we have done so much questioning, made so many excuses, tried so hard to get out of His plan for our life that we can make Him angry. I don’t know about you but that’s not a place I want to be.

God tells him that his brother Aaron will be the one to speak for Him. God would still use Moses but not to the full measure that He had intended. Think about that. How would things have turned out differently if Moses had not asked God to send someone else? I can’t help but wonder if it would have been easier to get the Israelites out of Egypt if only he had trusted God from the beginning.

What have we possibly missed out on because we refused to go along with God’s plans? Who has been put in the place that was originally intended for us? At the time Moses had no idea the incredible things that would take place—the parting of the Red Sea, the intimacy he would have with God, receiving the Ten Commandments and so much more. If he knew, I bet he never would have questioned and argued with God so much. What about you? What have you been questioning God about? Have you been arguing with Him? Don’t miss out on a single God moment by trying to wiggle your way out. Let God be God and do His work in you.

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