Saturday 17 June 2017

Bible Book:

“Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Reach out your hand, and seize it by the tail’—so he reached out his hand and grasped it, and it became a staff in his hand” (v. 4)

Exodus 3:1-15 Saturday 17 June 2017

Psalm: Psalm 100


Moses was a humble shepherd from the region of Midian, leadinghis sheep across the hill country in the wilderness of the SinaiPeninsula. His job is an uncanny metaphor for his vocation to come.But he hasn't always been a shepherd. In fact, his life-story (inbiblical tradition) is divided neatly into three eras of 40 years.Born into the persecuted Hebrew people in Egypt, he was rescued bysome quick and rebellious thinking by his midwives and his sister(Exodus 2:1-10). He was raised as a prince, inthe household of Pharaoh, although his birth mother was close athand as his nursemaid. He was privileged while his people suffered.When he was around 40, he went out to the Hebrews and saw theirsuffering. When he saw a man being mistreated, he killed theslave-driver in his anger, but then had to flee from the royalfamily which raised him, and left Egypt altogether to start a newlife in Midian, finding a wife and an occupation in the meantime(Exodus 2:11-25). He was a fugitive with acolourful past, seeking the quiet life. So it was for many years,until he was approaching the age of 80. But there was to be nocomfortable retirement. The third age of Moses' life began when hesaw something unusual on Mount Horeb (often thought to be the samemountain as Sinai). God appeared to Moses through an angel, aburning bush (that wasn't burning), a divine presence, and apowerful voice. His hopes of the quiet life were over!

Here we have a 'vocation' in the truest sense of the word: acalling, a summons. Moses was reluctant and didn't seem to have alot of choice in the matter. This isn't always how God works, butsometimes a particular job is required, and the true calling of Godis very hard to resist. In this passage, however, Moses and hisfeelings are less relevant than what is revealed about God.

First, we learn that God is one who hears the cries of theoppressed and identifies with their suffering (verse 7). But God'sanswer comes within God's time and purposes.

Secondly, God appears not to have been in a relationship withMoses previously, because the connection with Moses is given inrelation to his Father and the great ancestors of his people (verse6). God is one who knows us and is active in our lives before weknow or accept God's purposes in our lives.

Finally, we are given the name of God (verses 13-15), which hasbeen used by the Hebrew and Christian people ever since. It isYahweh, Jehovah, often translated 'the LORD'. It means "I am", "Iam who I am", "I am what I am" or "I will be what I will be". It'snot surprising that the personal name of God Almighty should bedifficult for us to translate and understand! God is not one whocan easily be pinned down by our language, but only understood inrelationship with the LORD. If we are to accept this relationship,it is one that is loving and life-affirming, but not on our terms.Perhaps we struggle to translate the name because God is not just"I am", he is the one who is holy, holy, holy: who was, who is andwho is to come. When we relate to the LORD, we can be sure that Godhas been active in our past, is with us now, and always goes beforeus into the future.

To Ponder

  • After this experience and all that followed, as Moses lookedback over his life, he would surely have seen God's greaterpurposes at work. When have you ever been able to 'trace' God'shand at work, even through difficult times in your past?
  • The Methodist churches in the UK have a majority of people inthe retired category. What does the Bible tell us about how Goduses older people? How far is retirement really a time to stepback, or actually a time when God can put you to the greatestuse?
  • How do you understand the name of God? Do you ever meditate onor pray through the holy names of God and Christ? What does it meanfor you that God's name expresses a presence and permanence that iseverlasting? How do you relate to the holy and almighty LORD?

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