Meditations on “God of Transformation: 4: Set my people free
Ex 3:9,10 the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”
The story of Moses is truly amazing – and it is also shocking. Again and again when we study the Bible, there is little point unless we seek for the application in our lives today. If we use Moses as one who conveys lessons to us for our lives with God, the lessons are numerous and scary.
The first thing we should always remember about Moses when we come to the incident at the burning bush is that we are watching a failure, a no-hoper. Our trouble sometimes is that we don’t empathise with Moses because we see him only as the great leader who confronted Pharaoh and then led Israel for forty years, but the truth is that when we encounter him at this point he is someone who clearly has lost all confidence in himself – which is why there is a chapter or more of him arguing with God why he should not go and do what God wants. The basic reason is, I’m not up to it! And that, surely, is where we should be empathising with him. There he was, Prince of Egypt at forty and had it made, and in the space of twenty four hours throws it all away and spends the next forty years in a life of isolation looking after sheep in the desert. You can’t find a bigger failure that this! So if you blew it somewhere in life, pick yourself up; it is not the end, God is good at taking hold of failures and transforming them.
Yes, this is going to be a story of multiple transformations. Moses is going to be transformed from a lowly shepherd to a confronter of one of the most powerful men on earth, and then a leader of a nation. What a promotion: shepherd to national leader! Awesome! But I’m not up to it! Then there is the transformation of Israel, a nation of slaves within a bigger nation of slave drivers, delivered out of Egypt and given their own land. Amazing! Then there is Egypt, a nation led by a proud despot, a nation full of superstition and idol worships, seeing everything that moved as somehow led by powerful forces or beings, and disdainful of Israel. Before the end, they are giving gifts to Israel, they are leaderless and their land is a wreck and virtually every family is missing an eldest child, a land full of mourning. Devastation! Oh yes, the story about Moses is a multi-transformation story!
But the biggest thing about this story is almost too obvious to note and it is that these transformations all involve Moses’ activity but he is merely the mouthpiece; the transformations come about because God acted and brought them about. Moses becomes who he is because God gives Him the words. The nation gets wrecked because God brought nine judgments on the land. Families are mourning because God took a son from every family that had a son. Pharaoh is dead because God brought judgment on his folly. Every single change is a change caused by God.
Now I say we take these things for granted because we struggle when God starts speaking to us – whether directly through His written word, through preaching, through prophecy or even through our circumstances, and the quiet whisper into our spirit by His Holy Spirit. When He does we start catching a possibility of moving into something more than we are at the moment, but many of us fail to even hear those words when they come simply because we are so loaded with a sense of inadequacy from our failures or from the beatings of life in general, that our barriers go up even before the words really reach to our hearts. But God is patient and He perseveres and brings His word again and again to us, but just like Moses we struggle – you’ve got the wrong person, I can’t do this, I’m not up to it. No, exactly! You aren’t up to it just like Moses wasn’t up to it but he eventually did what he was told and God did what only He can do.
This is the point, isn’t it. I cannot save anyone. I cannot heal anyone. I cannot find wisdom for anyone. I cannot change circumstances. I am just a human being, but like Moses, yes, I can be obedient to what God says and again and again, all He says is put one foot in front of the other, speak one word after another, and then leave the rest to Him. He is the one who convicts of sin, not me. I can speak words for hours on end to someone (and I’ve done it) and nothing changes, and then God steps in gives a word or does something and suddenly there is a life changed in front of us! Or someone asks us to pray for them and we pray with virtually no hope, just praying because we love them and they asked, so we prayed, and to our surprise God turned up and they were healed. No one was more surprised than us! But that is how it happens. It was God!!!!
Now this is the fourth of these meditations in this particular series and I would suggest that it is possible for us to have read the previous three about God who brings transformation, and for some of us, deep down subconsciously there is that rider – it’s for them. Implied – not for me. But if we are a Christian already, we have been transformed already and perhaps you take that for granted or fail to realise just how much you have been transformed, but if you have been born again, you ARE transformed! So if it happened to start your new life off, why can’t it be applied into other areas of your life? Have you been looking at other people and saying, “I couldn’t be like them, I’m not a leader, I couldn’t do that”? If God can take a failure like Moses, why can’t He take you? Come on now, you can say with Isaiah, “Here am I, send me,” (Isa 6:8) or with Mary, “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” (Lk 2:38) Just remember, it will be God, not you who brings about change, who imparts ability. All you have to do is say, “Yes, Lord.” Amen? Amen!