Where Do We Look?

August 11, 2021

Exodus 5.22-6.12

22 Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Why, Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people? Is this why you sent me? 23 Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble on this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of my mighty hand he will let them go; because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of his country.”

God also said to Moses, “I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the Lord I did not make myself fully known to them. I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, where they resided as foreigners. Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant.

“Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord.’”

Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and harsh labor.

10 Then the Lord said to Moses, 11 “Go, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the Israelites go out of his country.”

12 But Moses said to the Lord, “If the Israelites will not listen to me, why would Pharaoh listen to me, since I speak with faltering lips?”

It looks like everyone is living in fear and anger.  One can take that as reflecting the story of Exodus here or that it reflects today.  Those are easy places to live.  Focus on whatever is wrong in life.  Look at the difficulties we might have.  See the rejection of others toward us.  Looking the wrong way makes it easy to sit in our anger and our fear.

Even Moses misses it here.  Moses ends this text with his questions about why Pharaoh would listen if the people don’t listen to him.  And it misses verse 1.  Let’s just read that again:

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of my mighty hand he will let them go; because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of his country.”

If we would just focus on this view of it all we can let go of our fear and anger.  The fear and anger come as the result of seeing things as being just about what we do, or what other people will do.  Israel is all concerned with the response of Pharaoh and the overseers.  Moses is all concerned about the people and Pharaoh listening to him.  But God has told them that it is going to be about what he is going to do next.  Let’s get ready to see what he is about to do.  But we are complaining.

We are upset about what we can and cannot do yet.  We are upset that things are not fully back to normal.  We are concerned that we will not see as many people back in church on Sundays.  But God is also telling us to look at what he is about to do.  And he will do it by using us, or using another around us.  God is at work taking us through this time and getting us, and the large world, ready for his actions of grace around us.

We just have to ask ourselves if we are going to keep watching ourselves and other people, or are we going to look at what god is doing in us and in the community around us?

SongPsalm 34

Prayer

We praise you, God almighty, for the power you have shown in creating the world.  We thank you for your love in redeeming us from sin and in creating us anew in Christ.  Grant us strength in this life to honor you, Lord God, both in worship and in witness, for Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.

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