Moses’ Vertical Call
10Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”11But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” 12He said, “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.” —Exodus 3:10-12
When I hear the name Moses, I picture a true colossus of a man, a giant in faith with a long grey beard and weary eyes as he stands on a mountain with arms outstretched, viewing the Promised Land as he waits for God to take him to heaven. I revere that vision of Moses, but I resonate more deeply with the Moses of early Exodus. Rash and aggressive, younger Moses tried to accomplish his calling in the flesh, ending quickly with a corpse buried in the sand and the pyramids in his rearview mirror. Forty years later God gave Moses a second chance but he seemed stuck on lesson one: “I can’t.” In Exodus 3, God appeared to Moses “in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush”(Exodus 3:2) that burned but was not consumed. In response to God’s call, Moses refused to be God’s messenger of deliverance, wallowing in his own inadequacy. I’ve done that too; have you?
Have you struggled to embrace what God wanted you to do and for a time refused to do it? I spent the first two years of college refusing to be a pastor, in fear I would lack the patience and the perseverance with people. I also resisted God about starting a church from scratch, as I feared I would end up preaching to twelve people around a card table. I struggled with launching a radio ministry, too anxious to ask those who were helped to support its continuance. All that to say, I understand Moses’s initial refusal to do a big job. But God pressed in as He does with all of us. As Moses confessed his personal insecurities, God promised: 1) miraculous signs to convince the people, 2) a mouthpiece in his brother Aaron, but most of all God gave 3) Himself—the great I AM. In the end God’s greatest provision for Moses’s or my or your sense of inadequacy is simply and profoundly His presence with us. “I will be with you … I promise that I will bring you up … I will be with your mouth.”2The answer to Moses’s persistent pattern of “I can’t” was not “Yes, you can, Moses” but “I can, I will, I AM.”—James MacDonald
- When have I tried to turn away from what God was asking me do to because of my own inadequacies?
- How do my weaknesses and shortcomings remind me that it’s not about what I can do but about what God can do?
Father, I confess that my first instinct is to refuse Your call and even try to run away. I realize that I’m stuck sometimes in fearful, horizontal thinking and forget that You invite me to look at everything from Your vertical point of view. Help me remember that Your call always comes with whatever else I need to do and be what You ask of me. No matter what the reason, Lord, I want to pray like David, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you” (Psalm 56:3). In Jesus’ name, Amen.