Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
July 20th, 2009

Barbara Dilly

Department of Anthropology and Sociology
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

Monday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Exodus 14:5-18
Exodus 15:1bc-2, 3-4, 5-6
Matthew 12:38-42

Human beings haven’t changed since the children of Israel were in bondage in Egypt.  We are always in bondage to something.  And the Lord always makes it possible for us to get out of our predicaments.  But it requires some risk on our part.  Mostly we would rather complain about our troubles than draw on the Lord for the strength and courage to do something about it.  We also want the Lord to do all the work for us.  We see that in the lessons for today.           

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”
The Brethren Hymnal, 1951
House of the Church of the Brethren, Elgin, Illinois

  1. When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word, What a glory He sheds on our way!  While we do His good will, He abides with us still, and with all you will trust and obey!  Refrain
  1. Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies, but His smile quickly drives it away, Not a doubt nor a fear, nota  sigh nor a tear, can abide while we trust and obey.  Refrain
  1. Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share, but our toil He doth richly repay.  Not a grief nor a loss, not a frown nor a cross, but is blest if we trust and obey.  Refrain
  1. Then in fellowship sweet, we will sit at His feet, or we’ll walk by His side in the way.  What He says we will do, where he sends we will go.  Never fear, only trust and obey.  Refrain

  Refrain:  Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

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