“Hound of Heaven” Meditations: 7. Yes!!!!!!!!!!! (2)
Ex 3:22 “you will plunder the Egyptians.” (ESV)
We need to follow up this idea of the Lord pursuing us with gentleness. It is something many of us really struggle with. I have referred to a small group into which I input, and in it half of the group have come from evangelical backgrounds with pious and even zealous parents, but the teaching they received through their early years was saturated with legalism. As one of them expressed it, “We were taught rules to control us, it was manipulation. Instead of setting us free it enslaved us,” and they each have confessed how they have to constantly struggle to overcome the “I must work for my salvation,” feeling, instead of the “I am loved so much it sets me free.”
I didn’t pick up on our verse above yesterday, so let me do it now. Remember yesterday I did comment that God didn’t come to Moses with a “I’ve come to sort you out sunshine!” and said nothing about his past failures. Instead He says, as one version puts it, “You will plunder the Egyptians.” i.e. you will be victorious and they will end up paying you to leave! If that isn’t prosperity teaching, I don’t know what is! OK, let’s be honest, it isn’t you give me your money and God will bless you, it is you lay down your life for God to do the things He calls you to do AND He will bless you. Yes, that is behind this, but this tough message comes with such encouragement.
Pause a moment and consider God’s encouraging elements in this conversation: You can tell them who I am (3:14,15), the elders will listen to you (3:18), I will do mighty signs and wonders (3:20), the Egyptians will bless you (3:21), I will enable you to do mini-miracles (4:1-8), I will enable you to do big miracles (4:9), I will help you speak (4:12) and I will give you your brother to help you (4:14-16). That is eight different encouragements! They cover revelation, God’s activity, God’s enabling, God’s miracles and finally family support. If this isn’t God pursuing Moses I don’t know what is. In the previous study I spoke of the Lord’s gentleness. Don’t be misled; the Lord does know all our failings and our foibles and our tendency to do our own thing, get down and dejected, feel a failure and so much more AND He does want to change us for the better AND yes, He will sometimes speak challenging words, but check out the New Testament and you will find it is packed with words of encouragement. The apostle Paul is classic in this. Check out his letters. So often he lays out the theology for all that God has done for us and what He has made us, and only then does he give us the ways to live. The instructions how to live flow out of who we now are, the abilities we now have. When God comes to Moses, it is with encouragement after encouragement.