Redeeming the Plagues: Part 19
But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”
Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”
God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”
God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’
“This is my name forever,
the name you shall call me
from generation to generation.
“Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—appeared to me and said: I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt. And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—a land flowing with milk and honey.’
“The elders of Israel will listen to you. Then you and the elders are to go to the king of Egypt – Exodus 3:11-18
AKA: Moses tries to weasel out.
Exodus 3:11 is the beginning of an interesting conversation. It lasts through Exodus 4:23. Its one we all have with ourselves when we’re confronted with some divine interference that swings out of nowhere, tweaks our nose, or crashes into our life.
The difference is how we approach it. There are two ways:
The Fear looks at the impossible and improbable logistics starting with the questioning of the Creator.
The Go looks at the impossible logistics, their training, who they are and asks, respectfully but excited at the challenge, “What’s your plan?”
To place this in a different context – think about the Mission Impossible series.
The original series is from the 1960s, featuring a team of highly skilled secret agents who were always given missions of critical importance with the caveat that if they were caught and captured, their superiors would deny all knowledge of their existence. This would mean death, torture and imprisonment, if the team couldn’t escape.
The Tom Cruise remake has a similar plot line.
In the original, the team leader, most famously played by Peter Graves, would go to a location and receive a tape recorder, along with an envelope. The recorded message would explain the mission, and inside the envelope would be photographs or documents needed to complete the mission.
It went something like this…
“Your mission, should you choose to accept it… (outlines mission)…”
“As always, should any of your team be caught or captured, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions. This tape will self-destruct in five seconds.”
Fizzle. Smoke. Boom.
“Moses, your mission is to go back into the land of your youth and rescue my people. I will be with you the entire way. You and your people will worship me, on this mountain. This bush will not self-destruct any time soon because I Am God. If you are caught or captured I will not disavow you or any of your team. Go do what I’ve called you to do!”
And’s Moses’ reaction is, ‘Why me? Who am I? They’re not gonna believe me, and they’re not gonna believe you.’
Notice… he doesn’t even have to do the super scary stuff yet. He has to travel back to Egypt, then find the elders and have a chat with them. Its none of the booming voice of Charleston Heston, ‘Let my people go!’ Nothing like that.
This is the fear. This is looking at the ‘I’ – and not into the eyes of God.
Worse, this is total lack of faith – saying to God, ‘They’re not going to believe me – not even if you send me.”
Which is pretty brazen. Its almost like saying to God, “Hi, I know you’re out there, God, ’cause you’re right in front of me, but I can’t believe in myself, so I can’t believe in you, or what you tell me.”
And its absolutely backward of the later prophets. By then, as Moses will learn too, they will say, “I trust you God, even though I don’t know how we’re gonna do this. And I don’t think I can. But with you as my backup, and shield – let’s go.”
We all have faith crises. There is nothing wrong with those. We are not weak because we have moments where we question things. These crises often draw us up to new levels of trust and expectation with God.
How should we respond in times when we are given assignments?
The Go is to take action even though you’re scared and have no idea what’s next or how you’re going to pull through.
Abraham lived in the go.
He packed up and left, wandering all over the promised land, down into Egypt and back. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob did a massive prayer walk with God all over the territory that Israel was supposed to occupy. And that three generation prayer walk lasted about 400 years.
Now, its not always that dramatic. We tend to look at the Old Testament and beg not to be sent through times like that.
But God does love a challenge. And He is looking for people to train up as leaders and shepherd warriors like Moses, David, Esther and Zipporah.
And we, as Christians, need to have enough guts and courage to respond.
All Bible verse are from Bible Gateway. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+3&version=NIV
Photograph of Tape from Mission Impossible: http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/tape-recorder-featured-at-the-beginning-of-mission-news-photo/472971396?#tape-recorder-featured-at-the-beginning-of-mission-impossible-episode-picture-id472971396