Today’s passage from Exodus is one of my favorites. Moses is at the Burning Bush.
The passage begins with Moses keeping the flock of his father-in-law. It is easy to forget that Moses, too, was a shepherd. It is code word for “nobody special”. David comes from similarly meek beginnings. In other words, we are invited to see ourselves in these characters.
And so here stands this ordinary guy, and God speaks to him.
Moses removes his sandals. He hides his face. God tells Moses about how he has observed the misery of his people in Egypt. “So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.”
Moses smartly replies with shock. “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” I have heard some preachers make fun of Moses for this: he is a whiner; he is weak; he is not committed. To all that I say WHATEVER! Imagine this: a shepherd being asked to accomplish the greatest military feat imaginable. Taking people by force. I don’t know about you, but my reaction would have been the same as Moses’.
God responds: “I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.” It is quite a promise. And it is one that it fulfilled, despite Moses being very, very old.
This is something we all need to hear. I WILL BE WITH YOU, God says. In our world of isolation, walls, a government that is shutdown, neighbors doors that are increasingly shut, borders that are increasingly shutdown, God breaks down walls of class and experience, opens doors, comes to meet with us, and says I WILL BE WITH YOU.
This is a message our lonely world needs to hear. Perhaps it is a message you need to hear.
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