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.