Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Abandoning Our Worlds

Moses tried to swallow.

Tried being the operative word.

He walked through the courtyard, the tall pillars were ornately carved with images of wheat and the idols the Egyptians worshiped.

The Egyptians. His family once upon a time. Already his presence was earning stares. Men and women he grew up with, children of Pharaoh, long-time servants gaped at him with open mouths.

Apparently they recognized him.

He pulled at the neck of his robe. How was he supposed to do this? Confront Pharaoh? He had known Pharaoh all his life! How could God expect him to do this?

He glanced over at Aaron. His flesh and blood brother walked stoically beside him. Aaron would never understand the battle that warred within him.

At last they arrived at Pharaoh's throne room. Guards threw the large door open, and another announced their presence from an undisclosed location.

As they approached, Pharaoh stood as if in a trance. He blinked multiple times, and his mouth hung open. After staring for several minutes, Pharaoh grunted like he was about to start speaking, but Moses made sure he was cut off.

"Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, 'Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.'"

Moses watched as the words registered in Pharaoh's mind, and as the remaining threads that linked him to his Egyptian family were cut once and for all.

Based on Exodus 5:1-4

Then Moses answered, "But behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, 'The Lord did not appear to you.'" Exodus 4:1

Afterward Moses and Aaron went and said to Pharaoh, "Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, 'Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.'" But Pharaoh said, "Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and moreover, I will not let Israel go." Then they said, "The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God, lest he fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword." But the king of Egypt said to them, "Moses and Aaron, why do you take the people away from their work? Get back to your burdens."
Exodus 5:1-4

Moses was scared to go to the people of Israel, and say, "God sent me." He was scared about speaking, and screwing up, and tried to convince God that he was the wrong guy for the job. There's something else that we don't think about a lot. Perhaps Moses was scared that the people of Egypt wouldn't believe him either?

These were people that he had known all his life. People that he had grown up with. People that he had called family. People he probably still cared about because that kind of love and devotion doesn't just disappear, no matter how much you may want it to disappear. What would it be like to go back, supporting his biological family and people, and turning his back on the only family he had ever really known? What about when the plagues were unleashed on Egypt, and he saw people he had cared about being affected?

"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:26

"'Yes,' Jesus replied, 'and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life.'" Mark 10:29-30

God called Moses to do something really difficult. He called Moses to return to the people of Israel that he had abandoned and who hated him, and at the same time, confront his former family on His behalf.

Oh, boy. Did anyone's respect for Moses just multiply?

Sometimes God calls us to stand against family, friends, and people we respect when they are not operating in His will. Sometimes God asks us to turn our back on all we know and love for Him. Sometimes God asks us to stand before people who won't believe us. It's not easy. It's not fun. It takes a whole new kind of courage, faith, and trust in God.

Moses did that for God. Yes, he tried to get out of it, but he did it. He followed God. If God asked us to do the same thing, would we be able to turn our backs on our worlds? For Him?

V. Joy Palmer

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