Today's lectionary reading: Psalm 19; Exodus 19:9b-15; Acts 7:30-40
Selected passage for reflection: Acts 7:30-40 (NIV)
30 “After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai. 31 When he saw this, he was amazed at the sight. As he went over to get a closer look, he heard the Lord say: 32 ‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.’[f] Moses trembled with fear and did not dare to look.
33 “Then the Lord said to him, ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. 34 I have indeed seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their groaning and have come down to set them free. Now come, I will send you back to Egypt.’[g]
35 “This is the same Moses they had rejected with the words, ‘Who made you ruler and judge?’ He was sent to be their ruler and deliverer by God himself, through the angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36 He led them out of Egypt and performed wonders and signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea and for forty years in the wilderness.
37 “This is the Moses who told the Israelites, ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your own people.’[h] 38 He was in the assembly in the wilderness, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our ancestors; and he received living words to pass on to us.
39 “But our ancestors refused to obey him. Instead, they rejected him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt. 40 They told Aaron, ‘Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who led us out of Egypt—we don’t know what has happened to him!’[i]
Has God ever asked you to step into a place you didn’t want to go or feel ready to go? Or maybe even go back to? If I was Moses, 40 years of hiding from my past would have me lulled into a false sense of security. I can almost hear myself say, “I’m just fine out here living my quiet life in Midian with my family. People don’t know where I come from or what I’ve done. I’m safe here.”
But God wasn’t done with Moses, and he couldn’t hide from his Father anywhere on earth. In fact, the Lord called Moses right back to the very land he fled, bringing up all the memories of what caused him to leave all those years ago. Can you imagine how it must have felt returning to a place of regret and pain? And yet, God will never lead us to a place or position he hasn’t prepared. What was once a memory of shame and death, will now forever be redeemed in his story as a place of freedom as he led the Israelites to liberation- freeing himself from a different kind of captivity at the very same time. Not only did he have to contend with the voices in his own head, but the text says he was also rejected by his fellow Israelites.
Moses went from a man who fled and lived in hiding to a faithful, courageous leader simply by being obedient to the Lord’s voice. He was never disqualified or forgotten because of his past. Our God is about redemption- not replacement. I believe he wants the same thing for each of us.
Could God be calling you to return to a place, event, or experience to give you freedom and liberate others? Moses heard the Lord calling him back through the flames of a burning bush in the desert. Get into the desert and see if you can’t hear the Lord! In what area of your life do you need to trust God to give a new ending to an old story?
Lord you are the giver of life and author of our stories. Will you give us the courage to draw closer to you that we might hear your voice clearly. It’s not always easy to quiet the voices around us- including our own. Bring our focus back to you, and give us the strength to do what you have laid ahead of us. We thank you, God, that you can take the scary, broken parts and places of our story and use them for good. May we receive the living words you have for us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
About the Author
Anna Murphy is an unschooled, ordinary woman who has been with Jesus. She lives in Richmond, VA and works in the field of addiction and recovery. Anna’s passion is to empower and encourage others into freedom and a life lived fully alive through Jesus.