Thursday, June 08, 2006

The Moses in You -- Exodus 1-12

Sorry for not being on for a while. Been a little overwhelmed in preparations to see my second eldest daughter off for her time with the Peace Corps. She is going to be stationed in Burkina Faso, Africa. You can check her travels on her blog at http://kristascribbles.blogspot.com.
Now, back to work!

As I am walking through the Scriptures with my new sermon series I find myself in the beginning of Exodus. As I read the accounts I am taken back to my Sunday school classes at the First Methodist Church in Garden Grove, CA. I remember the stories of baby Moses placed in the basket and set afloat on the river. I remember the stories of his growing up in Pharaoh's court and his time in the desert, and of course the burning bush. They are all great stories from my past.

Now as I read them again, I read them with different eyes. Am I drawn to the pain a mother and father must have felt placing their son adrift on the river. How impossibly difficult that must have been. What was it like to murder someone, as Moses did, even if it seemed to be for just reasons? What is it to run away to the wilderness, leaving the luxury of the courts for the loneliness of the desert? The stories of my Sunday school and Vacation Bible School days are not quite as sanitized as I remember. They are now deepened, even more powerful, now that they are enriched by years of life.

The one thing that grabbed me as I read this section was that Moses was "saved to be a savior." Not THE Savior, of course, but a savior nonetheless. God saved him from the infanticide, from the river, from those who would seek his life, and even from the backside of the desert, where he had run to hide from his problems. All of this saving was for a purpose; to be used of God to be a savior for God's people.

Is this not the same thing that God has done in and for each of us. For those who have chosen to follow Jesus as Lord and Savior, those who have believed upon His Name, we are saved. But that's not the end of it, is it? We are saved for a purpose, and that is to be "under saviors" in our world. Yes, salvation is through no one but Jesus and His finished work upon the Cross, and resurrection, but we are called to live out the reality of His incarnation in our world today. We are the bearers of the Good News. We are all the preachers of His saving Word. How shall the world hear the life saving Good News, if there are not preachers who are sent? (Romans 10:14-15) And have not we all been sent? (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8)

So, there is a little Moses in all of us. Adrift and found. Rescued and restored. Failed and found. Saved and sent. Shall I turn aside to seek the Lord? Shall I heed His call? Shall I pick up the Staff of the Lord and step into the water, by faith and for His glory? To this end I hope and pray.

Alas, as I contemplate this blog I have written, and the leaving of Krista for Africa for 27 months, I feel in my heart, maybe just a little bit what Moses' parents felt placing the baby laddened basket in the river and trusting God to take her just where He desires most. Faith is tested, and faith is strengthened.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I remember one time when my mother referred to me as Daddy’s little girl. I was a middle aged woman at the time and commented that I was hardly a little girl. My mother said, “You could be 80 years old, but you would still be your father’s little girl in his eyes.” The picture of Krista (the artist!) at the easel is whom you probably feel like just floated away on the Nile in a basket for a couple of years.

I personally would be a basket case (no pun intended) myself. It has to be scary. On one hand, I’m sure you’re proud of your daughter for choosing to enter the peace corp. but on the other hand, it must be weird having her go so far away for more than a few weeks vacation.

Parent’s no doubt suffer from the delusion that if their children are in close proximity, they can “control” what happens to them, protect them, watch over them. But that is a delusion. Recently, a man I know had his daughter killed in an automobile accident right in the same town where they both lived. She was not drinking or partying. She was just a passenger in an automobile in the wrong place at the wrong time, when someone else carelessly caused a traffic fatality. And he couldn’t keep her safe even though she resided only a few miles from him.

It's hard for humans to really feel that a daughter is just as safe living far away as she would be living close by.

'Tis true though that life’s experiences make the bible more meaningful when we have experiences that help us relate to the biblical stories. A baby in a basket floating down the Nile or a daughter entering the Peace Corp and nothing a parent can do except trust God to watch over her, and cover her with prayer just like Moses’ mother and dad probably did after they watched Moses floating down the Nile.

But prayer works. And for adult children, it works better than even a parent’s watchful eye. And so many people will be praying with you, like me and no doubt Ruthie and Dan and who knows what other world wide web lurkers will cover her with prayer as well as a whole Felton Bible Church full of believers.

P.S. Krista is a pretty good photographer!

gentledove

Pastor Randy said...

gentledove,

Thank you for your gracious words of encouragment. Yes, prayer for your children is something we need to learn early on in the parenting adventure.

It has truly been one of the good aspects of Krista's leaving, in that each morning since her leaving I awaken at 5:30 with the "urge" to pray for her, and that is what I do. I am sure that the prayer is good for both of us.

We can speak so easily of the believers need to trust, and it is through times like these that we learn the beauty of that which is trust placed in the One who is completely trustworthy.

Thanks for your prayers with us, and we are waiting for more of Krista's great pictures.

Blessings and Peace to you.

Keith said...

Hi Randal

"we are called to live out the reality of His incarnation in our world today" Amen!

Great to hear about Krista going off to Burkina. It is a wonderful place, and the people are great. In God's hand she will not only be a blessing, but she will have a life-transforming time.

God bless you all.

Anonymous said...

I remember as a child the story of baby Moses and the fear it brought to my childish heart. I guess I felt "maternal" at a very young age because I wanted so badly to step into the story and "rescue" the baby myself !!.

As I've studied this passage in my adult years I see the hand of a loving God at work from beginning to end. A Sovereign God knew from the moment of Moses'conception (even BEFORE) what was going to happen, the situation in the world, the political "scene"...the existing prejudiced attitude toward the race of the household into which he would be born. God had a plan....(where have we heard THAT before?)

The amazing part of this story to me is that for 3 months they were able to be successful in keeping Moses quiet enough to be undetected!! How BADLY they must have wanted to share the good news of his birth!

I'm sure God gave the idea of the basket to Moses' mom just like he gave the instructions to build the ark to Noah.....how to make it water tight and stable so as not to tip over etc....and big sister to stand guard.

God knew just when Pharaoh's daughter would be down at the river to bathe....the water currents brought the baby's "ark" within view...raising a certain curiosity within the Princess.

Nothing tugs at a woman's heartstrings quite like a darling baby crying...especially what appears to be an abandoned child. Then Miriam right there to offer help....no pre-packaged formula in those days!!! So God graciously gives Moses back into his own loving mother's arms....now free from danger! AMAZING!!!!

Moses' story is an incredible journey...a GOD GUIDED life that was able to become a PRE-"savior" to those rascally Jews who were so fickle with their God.

From a parents point of view...I think we ALL have those moments like Moses' mom when we have to send our kids "adrift"...from OUR home, OUR protection, OUR "wisdom"....and allow their loving HEAVENLY FATHER to take the reins in their lives and guide them through their individual journeys of life.

I so well the day of Ron's wedding....Earl developed flu symptoms the day before and was sick all day (wedding day) and we came to the conclusion some time later that he was just scared of Ron stepping into this "grown up role" as a husband. WE were THRILLED with the prospect of having Coni as our "daughter"...it was just that Earl and I married at age 18 and we had lots of financial struggles in our early years. I think it was feelings like..."have we trained him well enough in living in the real world, handling money, handling stress and conflict etc....it took its toll physically on Earl as he set his "baby" adrift on the " sea of matrimony". They just celebrated their 25th Anniv. last year so I don't think Earl had to be THAT concerned...but the future can be pretty scary at times.

Much the same way you are feeling,Randy as you watch your "baby" go out of your sight and "control" ...into the "unknown". By the way, Krista will be fine...she's got the spunk it takes ! In the words of that old much loved song..."My heavenly Father watches over me" ( and HER)

You asked if we had a MOses in us?

I have at times in my life FELT "adrift"....but I KNEW I
was being watched over and that sooner or later..it would be "ok".

Having never murdered I don't relate to his emotions...I can only imagine...but he killed in order to protect another apparently...I'm sure there are many servicemen who can relate to this part of Moses' story having killed in times of war...but some never really get over it.

God's plan for Moses benefited not only Moses but the mutitude of Jews he saved from slavery.
I can only hope that I can be the conduit that brings someone to the place of surrender to Christ so they can be released from their SPIRITUAL slavery to sin.
Ruthie

Anonymous said...

You know, I had to look Burkina Faso up online. I had no idea where it was. You could've told me it was in Eastern Oregon and I would've believed you. I will pray for you, Randy, and for your family. My daughter is in Upper Washington, and I still get nervous. I can't imagine her on the other side of the globe.

I love Exodus. Though I know I shouldn't say it, Exodus is my favorite book. The whole thing, from Moses' beginnings, to the liberation of the Hebrews; wanderings in the wilderness to the construction of the Tabernacle. The whole thing is incredibly powerful. The study of Moses has a serious impact on anyone desiring a position of leadership, specifically a pastor.

Moses had everything. He had the education. He had the position. He had the heritage. He had the charisma. He had it all.

And he knew it.

He knew when to dole out righteous judgment. He knew when to extend mercy. He knew because he was destined for greatness. It was his right, and his call. No one was as qualified as Moses to lead the children of Abraham out of Egypt.

Then it all came crashing down.

Was there an element of pride in Moses? He was doing the right thing, wasn't he? Would God cause the "right thing" to implode because one key guy had an overinflated view of his participation?

In a word: you betcha. In a heartbeat. No doubt about it.

I find it interesting that God didn't hesitate to make the children of Abraham wait for another forty years before Moses was ready. How many Hebrews died in that time? How many abuses against these innocents occurred? How many grew up and became frail, never seeing the Redeemer come?

God could've used Moses as he was, but what would've that done to Moses? Absolutely no good.

Here's an axiom: God doesn't care about the "work" as much as He cares about the man in that work. God builds the man, before He builds the ministry. If it takes forty days, or forty years is immaterial.

It took Moses forty years to get to a point where his ambition was subservient to his love of God. Too many have a "dream" of grandeur, and hope that God will rubber stamp their ambitions. Sometimes God does allow those dreams to come about, then He will allow them to crumble down like a house of cards.

First the man, then the ministry.

Moses, in forty years, minding his father-in-law's sheep out in the backside of the desert, finally came to a point where he was usuable. Moses ver 2.0 was all about his God, not his legacy. He was no longer looking for God to be a board member to his plans, but was willing now to be a conduit for God to move among men and nations.

I wish I could say that I've never had to go the backside of the desert. That I have always been able to flow instantly with the will of God, and that nothing of my ambitions have ever clogged that conduit from God's throne.

I can't.

But I can say that the times that I've spent in the backside of the desert have proved to be the most fruitful times of my life.

Could be that I'm there right now.

I don't mind so much.

I pray that I don't go looking for burning bushes, but that I look for God's hand in my life for right now.

Blessings on you, Randy. Give my love to the fam, wherever in the world they may be.

Dan-o

Pastor Randy said...

Dan-o,

Thanks for your comments, they are just what I NEEDED to hear, to be reminded of; it's the man, not the minsitry, that God wants to deal with. God in me, before God in "my" ministry, whatever it is.

Thanks for the reminder! Giod spoke through you! Thanks for speaking. Blessings my brother.

We have not heard from Krista other than she got there and it's HOT! They ahve two seasons, HOT and HOTTER! Nothing like Oregon, even eastern Oregon.

Love ya! Peace!

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