Summary: Israel is in slavery and calls for help. God calls Moses to bring release.
Exodus 1:8-14, 3:1-15 "On a First Name Basis
One of the greatest figures in the Old Testament is Moses. We have all heard stories about Moses confronting Pharaoh with the ten plagues and splitting the Red Sea. Most of us have viewed movies about Moses ala Charlton Heston and Christian Bale. Moses story is both inspiration and instructive to us as we seek to live our lives as disciples of Jesus Christ.
From the very beginning of Moses' story the reader understands that God's hand was upon him. Moses escaped death at birth, has successfully hidden for several months and eventually was found by Pharaoh's daughter and brought into Pharaoh's family. One commentator observed that Pharaoh's plans were thwarted by five women: the two mid-wives, Moses' mother and sister, and Pharaoh's daughter. From his first breath Moses' life had a sense of destiny about it.
We have just started our third year of The Heroic Quest for Boys. We have three young men participating in this adventure. One of the first points that the curriculum makes is that Heroes have a sense of destiny. They see their lives as something more than ordinary and they understand that they have an important role to play in the world. A part of the Heroic Quest is to discover what a young man's destiny is.
As disciples of Jesus Christ, each and every one of us has a destiny. I don't want to get into a theological discussion about predestination and fate. I do, though, want to affirm that each of us has a destiny. Our baptism destines us to be children of God, and to serve God by sharing God's love and grace with others through our words and deeds.
It is important for us to believe that we are fulfilling our destiny in our everyday lives. If we don't believe that we begin to lack purpose and meaning in our lives. We may even start to see ourselves as useless and life as senseless.
Do you have a sense of destiny in your life? If so, what is it and how are you living out that destiny?
CHOSEN AND CALLED
Today's lesson skips a large section of Moses' life. We catch up with Moses while he is herding his father's-in-law sheep. He sees a burning bush and goes to investigate.
When he nears the bush God speaks to Moses and tells him that he has been chosen
to lead God's people the Israelites out of Egypt into the Promised Land. God wants to use Moses in a specific way.
I like the fact that God came to Moses. Moses was not on some vision quest or some spiritual retreat seeking enlightenment. These activities may be valid and useful, but in the case of Moses, God came to him. In a similar fashion Jesus comes to us and calls us by name to follow him.
I have been called to be the husband of Faye, the father of Shane and Ryan and the grandfather of Lucy and Greta. I have been called to be pastor of Desert Streams Lutheran Church.
At the very least, I believe that you have been called to be members of Desert Streams Lutheran Church; you have been gathered into this family of God. What are your other callings.
Moses was at first skeptical of his calling to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Moses wanted to know who he should say sent him, if the Israelites ask why he thinks he should lead them out of slavery. God gives Moses God's name.
Sharing your name with another person was a big deal at this point in history for the Israelites. They believe that a name embodied the essential character of the person or god.
God tell's Moses that God's name is "I Am" or "I Am Who I Am," "I Will Be Whoever I Want to Be." God's name expresses both freedom and availability. God is free to break out of our preconceived notions and little boxes into which we try to fit God. God is able to be fully God. God is also present; God will be.
Moses has a destiny and a calling. He will not be alone as he lives out his destiny and his calling. God will be with him. In like manner, God will be with us in our everyday lives as we live out our destiny and calling.
We may never never be included in the newspaper headlines, nor recorded in the history books. This does not negate, however, the fact that we have a destiny and a calling. We are God's children who have been filled with the Holy Spirit. Through us that Spirit touches lives, meets needs, gives faith and enables people to live in God's kingdom.