The Demands of God

I am reading through the Bible probably more intentional than I have in years.  N.T. Wright and Eugene Peterson have challenged me and I realize that I have been a little lazy in my reading of scripture. 

Today, I came across the story of Moses and Aaron in Exodus.  Three things struck me.

1.) Moses was sent to encourage the Israelites to believe that God would free them without them really trusting him.  There was not any preparation, he lands in slave colony, Goshen (humorous in Tulare Co.) and says, “Hey Guys, we are going back to Jacob’s land.”  The reception is pretty tepid to say the least.  He fails to change them.

2.) He has to change Pharaoh’s mind next and that does not happen.  That creates worse conditions for the Israelites who then have a resentment against Moses.

3.) The only people who sort of believed, because I read skepticism on Moses’ behalf is Moses and Aaron.  God says in Moses 6:13 “Thus the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, and gave them orders regarding the Israelites and Pharaoh king of Egypt, charging THEM to free the Israelites from the land of Egypt.” NRSV (Emphasis mine)

God does not free the Israelites, but it is Moses and Aaron who are given responsibility to free the Israelites.  God is with them and does what they ask, but ultimately it is Moses and Aaron who free the Israelites. 

What does that mean?

  • God calls us to do some mighty tough tasks.  Pharoah was a god and Moses went up against him.
  • God is with us.  Moses asked for a pistolero, he got Aaron.  When he prayed to God, God answered the prayer.  We are not alone in our tough tasks.
  • Fake faithfulness even when you don’t believe.  A good 12 step idea is that sometimes you don’t believe but you act as if you do.  To not act is giving into despair.  We can doubt, but moving forward is important.

The God we find in scripture and revealed in Jesus Christ is a demanding God.  Jesus asks Peter to get out of the boat.  In the midst of a typhoon tells the Disciples to believe.  Ultimately, he asks the church to break all the rules:  invite Jews and gentiles together, we are going to save the whole world.  This demanding God is with us and believes in us more than we do at times.

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One Response to “The Demands of God”

  1. High Hopes Says:

    Yes. We are not alone and yes; we must persevere forward even when going forward seems daunting.

    The whole boat thing? Imagine being Peter with the others. The storm raging against the sides of the boat. There you are in the middle of it … you all are hanging onto the sides. The boat is the only thing you ‘think’ is safe. But what is that.. in the big picture of things? Boats capsize. Boats get leaks. Boats are small in the big sea.

    Peter is invited to join Jesus…where He is at… outside of the boat. The one thing that seems to Peter as the place of safety and stability is what Jesus is calling him out of. And once he does? He is met with strength, faith-fulfilled blessing and the sea calms. The storm subsides. He finds peace.

    One thing too that I really like and often think about is…when Peter saw Jesus, off in the distance approaching….Peter asked, “Is it you”?

    I like that because, as we struggle to find our way through. When we begin to question where is God at in our choices we too can say, “Jesus, Is it you?”

    We cannot say we are not being invited. And we certainly can choose to or not to, go AND we can ask, is it you.

    The answer can then provide us the confidence and understanding that we are stepping into and towards God’s will for us. This is comforting .. to me.

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