REVISITED: To Do, or To Do Naught? That is the Question.

Read Exodus 3:1-14

Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!” (John 21:22 NRSV)

On opening day, my wife and I went to the theater to see the film, “Exodus: Gods and Kings”. This film is about the Exodus of the Hebrew slaves from Egypt. To be more accurate to the text, Moses led more than just the Hebrew slaves out of Egypt, rather, the Scriptures say that Moses led a “mixed multitude” (Exodus 12:37-38) of people out of the land of Egypt. That is another story for another day; however, the film re-enacts the Biblical Exodus. Without giving anything but the obvious away, they develop the dynamic between Moses and Rameses II who would have been brothers since Moses was raised by Rameses’ mother. The film shows Moses go from a person of power to a person in exile. It chronicles how he settled in a foreign land, married the daughter of a sheep herder, and eventually found his way up Sinai and found his God-given calling to be the great liberator of his people.

There is one scene that totally sticks out in my mind. God has sent Moses back to Egypt to liberate God’s people; however, Moses, who would’ve had at least some military training (or so the filmmakers presume), thought that God meant that he was to liberate God’s people using military tactics. At one point, God basically told Moses that the military option will just take too long. God told him to just sit back and watch what God had in mind. Moses, quipped back to God, “Oh…after four hundred years you are now starting to get impatient?” God’s response to Moses is one that slaps back at Moses, and certainly at us: “Am I the only one who was doing nothing?”

While one would never find this exchange verbatim in the Bible, it is certainly a theologically apt and appropriate response…one that is true to the heart of Exodus, as well as all of Scripture. How convenient it is for us human beings to point the finger to God and say, “Hey bud, where have you been?” It’s so easy for us to look up to the sapphire sky and question God as if we are not at all to responsible for the way things are going on down here, or for the fact that nothing has seemed to change.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that it is wrong to question God, or that we shouldn’t have a give and take relationship with our Creator. Actually, our relationship should be just that: a give and take. We, as humans, are so quick to point the finger at anything but us. Remember the Garden of Eden? Adam was told by God not to eat the forbidden fruit. Eve, who was not told directly by God, listened to a talking serpent and decided to eat it. She gave it to Adam who, rather than saying no, took the fruit and ate it. When God found out and asked who did it, Adam pointed at Eve and said, “She gave it to me.” Then Eve pointed to the serpent and said, “It was the talking serpent, he made me do it.” And the serpent hung his head, slithered away and said, “I know, I know…I’m cursed forever to slither around on the grownd choking on dust.”

The fact of the matter is, we need to shape up and take responsibility for the part we have played in the things that are happening. In the case of Moses, it’s not that the God was doing nothing. After all, God had brought the Hebrews into Egypt to spare them from drought and famine. The Egyptian pharaohs enslaved the Hebrew…not God. How many people did God call before finally getting a response from Moses? How many people were too afraid to stand against what they knew to be injust and inhumane? Thank God that Moses rose up and took the risk to become the great liberator of the Hebrews and the countless non-Hebrews who came out of Egypt! So, the question for you is…what is God calling you to do, and will you be the one to rise up and do it? Don’t point fingers at someone else, just stand up and step out in faith.

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

Lord, you have called me. Clarify your call on my life so that I may all the more clearly respond with my actions. Amen.

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