12 Oct Moses: God’s Relentless Pursuit of Us
This past Sunday we finished a 17-week sermon series on Moses and the Old Testament book of Exodus. I loved preaching this series. I had wanted to preach on Moses for at least a couple of years, and from my perspective, his story lived up to all the anticipation and excitement I felt when we launched this series back in June. With these 17 sermons now over, I feel a little bereft, like I have lost my traveling companion of the past several months. I will no longer be immersing myself in Moses’ life every day—it is time to turn my focus to All-Saints Sunday, stewardship season (which I also love), and Advent. Moses won’t, of course, completely go away, but he won’t be the center of my attention. The church year is moving on, and so must I.
But Moses has left an indelible imprint on me. His life and experiences are astounding in their relevance to my life and experiences which is part of the power of scripture. It speaks across cultures and time because the human condition is nothing if not doggedly consistent. People struggled with pride and greed, faithlessness and idolatry then, and people struggle with pride and greed, faithlessness and idolatry now.
Moses wore a lot of hats: favored son, wanted fugitive, lonely exile, shepherd of sheep not his own, husband and father, reluctant divine servant, nemesis of Pharaoh, leader of a nation, wilderness wanderer, friend of God. He knew what it was to be rich in the things of this world and what it was to lose it all. He had his back to the wall on numerous occasions. He dealt with other peoples’ complaints, with his own inadequacies, and with the demands—and rewards—of faith on a near-daily basis. He lost his temper which was apparently quick and hot. He grew weary, bone-weary, from the weight of the responsibilities of leadership. He learned to ask for help. He was curious, publicity-averse, and not afraid to speak his mind. He also knew when to take off his shoes, bow in awe, and listen.
Of the myriad things that impressed me about Moses, perhaps the most important was his intimacy with God. Theirs was not a transactional or “arms-length” relationship. Instead, it was a relationship marked by honesty, authenticity and vulnerability. When it came to their many in-depth conversations, Moses was reverential but not intimidated. He showed up, put in his two-cents, and stuck to his guns. He didn’t try to be more—or less—than he was. God reciprocated by telling Moses the divine name, revealing God’s plans and showing Moses God’s glory. God chose to work with and through Moses to achieve the divine purposes. God didn’t have to do that. God could have exacted all the plagues on Pharaoh without a human spokesperson, or led the Hebrews out of Egypt and across the desert supernaturally, but God chose instead to involve a human partner. The developing of the relationship between God and Moses was key to everything that followed, and it took both of them to work that out.
It is no different for you and for me. God passionately wants an intimate relationship with us, too, and God is relentlessly pursuing that relationship all the time. If there is any “blockage” between God and us, it is all on our side of the relationship, not God’s. God is as close, as accessible, as real as our every breath. God’s peace, God’s love and comfort, and God’s power are available to us anytime, anywhere, in any situation, in every moment. I’m grateful for Moses’ story, recorded in Exodus, that reminds me of just how much God wants to know me and be known by me. What a gift! What an adventure!
Yours for the Kingdom,