Here I Am – Send That Guy…

Exodus 2:23-25; 3:10-15; 4:10-17

 moses460When you think of the person of Moses from the Bible, what images do you conjure up?  Who do you think of? What characteristics come to mind?  Charlton Heston anyone? I immediately think of him parting the Red Sea, staff in hand, saving his people in one of the most dramatic scenes in the Bible.  I think of the man who comes down the mountain, having survived a direct encounter with God, to bring the 10 commandments to the people.  I think strong and confident. A natural born leader.  A true servant of God. A hero in the Bible.

But that’s not really the description you might use for the guy we hear about in today’s reading…  In today’s epic story we are reminded Moses is a human being on the order of you and me.  Did you catch his conversation with God?  Did you hear the questions?  Dare I say, the whining?

“But why me? What makes you think that I could ever go to Pharaoh and lead the children of Israel out of Egypt?”

And

“Suppose I go to the People of Israel and I tell them, ‘The God of your fathers sent me to you’; and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ What do I tell them?”

 And

Master, please, I don’t talk well. I’ve never been good with words, neither before nor after you spoke to me. I stutter and stammer.

And finally,

“Oh, Master, please! Send somebody else!

Or, in short order, Who am I? What’s your name? What if they don’t believe me?  I don’t wanna go!

Now, for a guy professing to stutter and not speak well for himself, he’s having quite a conversation with God isn’t he?

Moses doubts who he is and he wears his version of who he thinks he is (and is not) like badges that will get him out of God’s plan.  He feels unworthy. He feels unqualified and unprepared. He thinks he is not enough.

Maybe it’s because Moses was abandoned as a baby, set adrift in the river as an infant.  Or maybe it’s because Moses was a murderer, having killed an Egyptian and then fled for his own life.

Who knows?  What we do know is that when you encounter God, you encounter yourself. In the face of God, suddenly your own short comings seem blindingly obvious, painfully clear. And for Moses it is all about identity.  In fact the question of who am I nearly paralyze Moses in fear before God. His lack of identity reduces him to questions that only point to his own inadequacies instead of pointing to God – pointing to who God is and what God can do.

When scripture says that God remembered his people – it isn’t like the way that you and I remember.    We forget birthdays or homework or a name.  When scripture says that God remembers, it doesn’t mean God has forgotten them… it means that God is going to act. God is going to set things in motion.

And here, his chosen servant, is quaking in fear, coming up with questions that he hopes will poke a hole in God’s plan for him.

I think questions of God are important.  Doubt is an important part of faith – it is an essential and natural part of my own faith life.  But doubt doesn’t replace faith. Doubt doesn’t exist on its own in the life of a person who is claimed by God.  Because, as you can see, God works with the man in front of him. God works with Moses, the one he has chosen, questions and doubt included.

And God is creative.  I mean Moses’ questions and doubt actually had an impact on God. God figured out a way to work with Moses’ own doubt and fear. I mean, God got a little mad. Scripture says: God got angry with Moses. But I have a hard time hearing God’s anger in the next few sentences. Instead, I hear a creative God, riffing, working out some creative problem solving to work with and through Moses. “Don’t you have a brother, Aaron the Levite? He’s good with words, I know he is. He speaks very well. In fact, at this very moment he’s on his way to meet you. When he sees you he’s going to be glad. 15 You’ll speak to him and tell him what to say. I’ll be right there with you as you speak and with him as he speaks, teaching you step by step. 16 He will speak to the people for you. He’ll act as your mouth, but you’ll decide what comes out of it.

The scary deal with being a Christian is that we are called to do things we can’t see the end of.  We are not always sure what God wants us to do and that can be terrifying. Equally terrifying, though, is knowing what God wants us to do.  God asks us to do things and finds a way to work it out with us.  It is finding the faith in God, to put our faith in God – that God is creative enough to work it out with us in mind!

God changes us, folks.  God works with our questions and our doubt, because there is faith there.  And just think of our accumulated faith here in this room – now that’s something to have confidence in. That we don’t do this alone. That believing is not always up to only us. That it’s not just about our own faith but a community of faith.

God changes us.  God reminds us that we belong to God. That God will be with us always.  And then he takes the ways we identify ourselves and he changes our name to reflect just who God knows we are.

He changes our name from unworthy to worthy.

From unqualified to qualified.

From unprepared to prepared.

From not enough to enough.

From abandoned to claimed.

From murderer to deliverer.

Confidence, joyfulness, overcoming one, faithfulness, friend of God, Child of God!

God is forever and always connected to us, claiming us, renaming us. God sees the mess we are and says, it’s fine.  I can work with it.  You’re mine.  I call you.

How will you respond to that call?  And how will God work out what you’re to do in your life?

SO WHAT?  As you go into your daily lives this week, ask yourself “what is God calling me to do?  Who is God calling me to be?” In little situations of how you react to someone to big life changes. Remembering that God sees you not as a mess or a failure – a murderer or abandoned.  God sees you as absolute possibility and potential.  A child of God!

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