Summary: We are the land of God’s promise. In the call of Moses, we see God’s concern for the pain and condition of our lives.
Charles Gerkin in his book shares the story of Margaret and Robert Algood. This once vibrant and active couple had been suffering with increasing difficulty through a drastically altered life since Robert has suffered a stroke several years ago.
Robert had once been physically active and creative. Robert was now virtually speechless, nearly blind, and unable to get around without physical support. He needed assistance with the most elementary bodily functions and suffered from depression.
Margaret had also had a life that included a job she loved, working in her garden, long daily walks, weekly tennis games, and many extended trips she and Robert use to take together. Now she was reduced to being a twenty-four hour nursing care provider, punctuated by frequent and frantic trips to the hospital, countless doctor visits, overwhelming doctor bills and piles of insurance forms.
Margaret also shares the responsibility for the care of her aging mother with her sister. Recently a set-back in her mother’s health required her attention away from Robert. The result was that Robert became sick and dehydrated and ended up with another hospital stay.
Needless to say, this meant things at home went undone while they basically lived at the hospital. In her sixties, Margaret struggles to mow the lawn that has now become overgrown.
Margaret has questions, agonies weighing down her soul. Was it time to give up the battle of prolonging Robert’s life? Each day the physical burden was growing as her physical and emotional strength grew weaker. How could she possibly continue to care for him? How was she to deal with the exhaustion and the discouragement? What did God want her to do? What would Robert want her to do?
Margaret felt utterly and completely alone and abandoned. Was it wrong for her to feel she just had to get away once in awhile, to be by herself, to do something besides empty bedpans and force fluids?
Margaret felt imprisoned, trapped, enslaved to Robert’s growing needs, and her despair was compounded by the many happy memories she had of her life with Robert.
Can you identify with Margaret? Can you understand that feeling of being so far down, you can get up? Have you felt that way too?
Thats how it was for the Israelites. In recent days we have explored the beginnings of the Jewish nation and faith as it grew. From Abraham, the father of this nation...to Jacob his grandson who claimed God’s promises as his own...to Joseph who brought the growing family to Egypt. Under Joseph, the family grew. By the time of our story, the Hebrew people had become so numerous, that the king of Egypt felt threatened by the sheer number of them. He enslaved them and put them to forced labor.
Their oppression was severe. They felt abandoned and forgotten. The promises of God seemed so remote and impossible. As they experienced suffering and affliction through humiliation and cruelty, the worthlessness of their lives to the Egyptians became very real.
The people cried out to God, and God did something incredible for the life of these people - God intervened.
It began with an unexpected event...our Bible story tells us that Moses was shepherding his father-in-law’s sheep in the wilderness near Horeb, in other places and times it is known as Sinai. Moses has come to the mountain of God.
The angel of the Lord appears there to Moses as fire - a bush is on fire, but it is not destroyed as it burns.
It gets Moses’ attention. He comes over to see this marvel, and God speaks to Moses.
God tells Moses he has come to a sacred place. This is a place of transformation, a place of meeting God one on one, just as you are. This is a holy place, where there is the power to change things, to change life.
God tells Moses that he is the same God of Moses ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Moses knows this God. This God is constant and never-changing. This God fulfills the promises he has made. This God is faithful and just. This God has the power to deliver the Hebrew people, and he has met Moses here with a purpose for Moses and the Hebrews.
Listen to the words of God:
"I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them.