The Exodus story has many lessons. The one that I find instructive today is the role of Moses in the whole epic drama. Moses was the leader who encouraged the children of Israel to leave Egypt. But it wasn’t all his idea. He didn’t think up the grand scheme by himself. God told him to do it and God guided him in the entire process of liberation. Moses had to feel pretty good when it looked like the whole plan was going to work. And he had to feel pretty lousy when all those people freaked out when the Egyptians pursued them. Not only that, they turned against him and blamed him for making matters worse for them. But Moses didn’t cower. That is an important lesson.
As I reflect on Moses’ reaction, I gain more respect for the strength and courage he exhibited. When I was in confirmation classes at the ages of 13 and 14, we were told that Moses was one of the best models of trusting in God that we could find in the Bible. Our pastor asked us to really try to understand Moses as a human being and to try to develop qualities like his. We were encouraged to develop a faith that trusted in God enough to deal with the difficult decisions in our lives by letting God guide us through difficulty. So when we look at what Moses did in response to all that fear and loss of confidence in his leadership, we have to put ourselves in the same place. What would Moses do? He mastered his fear and he stood his ground, responding with confidence. “Fear not” he said, using the words that are the most frequently repeated in the Bible.
Moses convinced the terrified children of Israel to stand their ground and trust in the Lord to bring them victory. And the Lord gave Moses guidance and the Lord gave the people a victory over their bondage. This is surely a sign of God’s power and love for his people. It is also a sign that if we trust in the Lord, we will be guided out of our bondage. This story isn’t just historical. It occurs over and over again in the lives of God’s people. That is why we sing the praises of the Lord for this event and all others in which the Lord sends us leaders like Moses and preachers like Jonah and comes to our aid in difficult times. Jesus says that there are plenty of signs of the magnificent power of the Lord if we will just repent and recognize them. In other words, trust and obey.
I’ve always liked the following old hymn that I found in a Church of the Brethren hymnal. Lutherans don’t like it, they say it is too pietistic, but it works for me. You can decide if it works for you. There are several versions with different verses. You can listen to it and sing along on the link: http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/t/r/trstobey.htm
“When We Walk With the Lord”
Refrain: Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
Collaborative Ministry Office Guestbook