Sunday, 5 July 2020

Called to Change - Exodus 3:1 - 6

Many of us are familiar with Moses in the Bible: the one who led the Israelites out of Egyptian slavery into the exodus and towards the promised land. We probably know of the 'burning bush' incident, where God first speaks directly with Moses. God reveals to Moses His liberation plan, and declares Moses will be the leader.

Moses has this encounter with God, and hears God's plans. But let us first pause and remember that Moses is not the super qualified person trained and ready for this task. He hasn't been to the special Abrahamic Leadership Academy, or even got a degree in slavery-liberation. In fact Moses himself is messed up inside and a troubled soul. His identity is confused: born a Hebrew, raised in Egyptian royalty. He has had from his early days a sense of injustice, but this led to uncontrolled outbursts and murdering an Egyptian. That leads to arguments and his exile, ending up as a shepherd in the rugged mountainous region for years and years. This doesn't sound like the qualifications for a textbook hero leader, but this is the person that God calls.

Moses sees the burning bush and that it is somehow different. In going to look he hears the voice of God: "Take off your sandals - this is holy ground!". Remember Moses is in the mountain desert at this point, miles from the promised land, from where Jerusalem and the centre of worship will be established. Surely any 'holy ground' is a long way off, way over there somewhere? But God says it is here - right where Moses has his dusty feet!

The point is that it is God who makes the ground holy, not us. God chooses to invest in us, working through us, and it's Him who makes the ground holy. When we step into the purposes of God, He makes the ground holy around us! Take a look around you right now: wherever you are, if you are willing to step towards God, He will make the very ground you are on holy - without you having to first sweep up, tidy, hoover or even get a new carpet! He makes it holy!

If we read forward we will see the story unfold for the Israelite people. Its an incredible story - one of liberation but also formation of them as the people of God. But realise that this is a double story: it is the story of the people, but also a story of Moses. Those messed up things inside Moses are worked on by God through the story. He can be a great leader by stepping towards God, being embraced by the calling of God on His life, allowing God to work through him, and at the same time God will work in him.

Here's the deal: when we step into God's purposes, when we take part in His mission ... then of course things change around us and in the people we serve. But also at the very same time mission changes us. For us as a church, in doing the Foodbank, CAP, Ely College Chaplaincy, and coming alongside people as they venture into faith, baptism and discipleship we have seen many lives positively affected by God's grace, but it has also changed us. It's a life-long exploration, going deeper, further into who God wants us to be.

Hence our key question is now:

Key Qn: [IN] What is God highlighting in you at this time?
Challenge: Ask a friend to pray it through with you

Use the opportunities we now have for micro meet-ups to get help, a prayer buddy, to pray with you through the things God is highlighting in your life. Remember it is God who makes the ground holy around you!

The exodus story is one of liberation for the Israelites. Yet it is also a story of liberation for Moses himself. This is a glorious thing: glory is a great word that goes with liberation and freedom. Paul hits on this as he writes his second letter to the Corinthian Christians (chapter 3 verse 18), saying how in turning to God the veil is removed, there is freedom in the Spirit, and we are transformed to be like him - with every increasing glory.

Remember that Moses saw the bush, hears God, and then reacts by hiding his face. Later he learns that he can look on God and survive - but then it was hard for those around him because of God's glory now shining from his own face (so he would cover his face with a veil!). In Jesus we can look on God too - we can step towards God, into His purposes, and God will be at work in us as well as through us: changing us to be more like Him  and no veil need - to ever new degrees of God's glory!

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