In the burning-bush encounter with Moses, God says, “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.” God invites Moses to work to alleviate those sufferings: “So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.” Moses responds to God’s invitation by protesting four times: “I am not your guy!”
God knows that, years before, when Moses saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, he was angry enough to murder the Egyptian. God calls Moses to a different way of righting wrongs: Work with God to deliver the Hebrew people from Egypt. “I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.”
“I will be with you.” God’s promise to Moses gives him the strength to become a leader who brings his people out of suffering. That same promise is ours. Just as God pays attention to the suffering of all the world’s people, we are called to pay attention even when we feel overwhelmed by the pain of opioid abuse, school shootings, ethnic wars, or starving children. After paying attention, we are called to action just as God called Moses. Even when we don’t feel up to the task or know where to start, we can find a small, specific action to take in our community.
Knowing you are with me gives me strength, God. I don’t need to be Moses or Miriam or Jesus. With you, I can take action, make a difference, and respond to the suffering I see around me. Help me find my unique strengths and learn where my efforts can make a difference. Amen.
Moses has fled Egypt and is living in the desert, where God calls him to return and free the Israelites. Moses resists, but God does not relent. In many of the Psalms, the psalmist reviews God’s record of faithfulness. Psalm 105 is no different and highlights the calling of Moses. In Romans, Paul addresses practical ethical concerns. How should we treat those who treat us poorly? We should never repay evil for evil, but instead should bless those who harm us. This goes against our natural instincts, yet the gospel is countercultural and calls us to a higher standard. In Matthew, Peter has just had a tremendous moment in declaring his faith in Christ. Now he stumbles in failing to understand that Jesus’ path to glory will pass through suffering.
Read Exodus 3:1-15. What sacred encounter might have been your burning bush? How did you know God’s presence was with you in the encounter?
Read Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45b. How does obedience to God shape your life? Recall an instance where your obedience to God’s call or teachings made a difference.
Read Romans 12:9-21. When has working toward a common goal helped you better love your family, friends, or community?
Read Matthew 16:21-28. When have you had to trust God and accept that you “have no idea how God works”? How did your trust help you through the situation?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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