“What should I write about today?” I asked my youngest daughter, Emily. What do you think people need help with?
“God!” she exclaimed, without any other prompting.
I was surprised. “People need help with God? What should I tell them about God?”
“God was the fire bush.” she said, matter-of-fact. I assume she was referring to the Lord’s interaction with Moses from the burning bush. She confirmed that, then informed me that her and her friends on MainStreet (our preschool ministry at New Life) were painting the fire bush recently.
“Why was God the fire bush?” I inquired.
“Because He was.”
That just might be the most theologically accurate answer I have ever heard.
In the 3rd chapter of Exodus, God reveals Himself to Moses. After a close call as an infant, the first 40 years of Moses’ life were filled with promise. He was raised in the house of Pharaoh, receiving the best training and education in the world. As he matured, he boldly decided to identify with the plight of his people, the enslaved Israelites, rather than to simply accept the life of privilege he was handed. Things went horribly wrong, however, when he tried to carry out God’s plans with his own hands. He ended up murdering an Egyptian, then fleeing for his life.
Forty long years passed in the obscurity. Once royalty, he took on the life of a tribesman, tending sheep in the wilderness. He put down roots, marrying and carrying on with life. We can only imagine the pangs of regret, the “what-ifs” that he must have pondered under the starry sky as he watched over his flock.
Perhaps these thoughts rolled around his head:
“How could I have fallen so quickly from a position of importance to absolute irrelevance?”
“How could I have failed so miserably when I was doing what I thought was God’s will?”
“I guess I’m washed up. Opportunity has passed me by. I’m of no use to God anymore.”
Friends, I have had these thoughts. You may have too. If you have ever fallen flat on your face, failing miserably, then you can probably resonate with Moses. If you have ever gone after a good, even godly goal, but done so in the wrong way, you have something in common with a great man of God.
I, for one, am incredibly relieved that the story does not end there. At the age of 80, when Moses must have thought he was washed up and done, God decided to break through and complete the work He began some years ago. This stirring interaction between a fragile man and a forever-faithful God never fails to move me.
Moses, doubtful that God could use him again, objects to being sent. He finally questions the One who is sending him, asking Him to identify Himself:
13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”
14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3:13-14)
Who is calling out to you? Who knows you’re washed up, but wants to use you anyway? Who is sending you on a great mission?
“I am who I am.” - I who exist. I who have always existed. I who will always exist. I am.
Why was God calling out from the bush? As Emily so succinctly put it, “Because He was.” Indeed.
“I Am” is Who is calling out to you. “I Am” is Who is sending you.
This God of ours isn’t impressed by our accomplishments. Neither is He hobbled by our failings. He exists outside of time, yet He meets us in time and space. He reveals Himself to us again and again, calling us to simply trust Him, believe in His might, and do His will.
Will you respond to Him as He calls out to you today?
- What failures in your life do you see as permanent? He wants to forgive you and move on.
- How much time have you spent thinking God could never use you? He used Moses, a murderer, to free His people. He can use you.
- Will you trade your insufficiencies for His perfect sufficiency? It’s not about you. It’s about Him, who redeems you and makes you brand new.
God is greater than whatever has been holding back. Take a play out of Moses’ book, and respond to His calling. You might be afraid. Maybe you should be. But step forward, get on your knees, and say “Yes” when He says “Go”. The rest is up to Him.
Okay, I’ve got to go now. Emily wants to “watch the silly dog show”. (funny YouTube videos) I can’t wait to see what she teaches me next.