Stop talking yourself out of things, God has called you to do. – Steven Furtick
We have been meditating on the Scripture portions from Exodus Chapter 3 where we saw how Moses was called and commissioned to undertake perhaps humanity’s greatest ever single man led rescue mission- Rescue Israelites out of Egypt.
Spoiler alert!!!! He was not alone.
It was a great task that GOD is bestowing upon Moses. But (not surprisingly), if we carefully look through the last 2 chapters, he received all the military and administrative training for this very moment. And yes (not surprisingly), he tried to ‘rush in’ with the rescue plan on his own but failed miserably. The Prince of Egypt had to settle down as a Shepherd after running away to save his life. Fast forward to 40 years, the sheep business was all the activity that he was involved in and we can say he might have even expanded it also. A normal family guy who leaves with the sheep in the morning, feeds them, planning on how to expand father-in-law’s business, and when he returns home, his wife would be waiting with a nicely prepared meal and then might even have a game or two with his son. All seems well settled and Moses was ‘being satisfied’ this with routine. This was his comfort zone. All of this is shaken to the core when he meets the GOD of his ancestors speaking out from a burning bush and telling him to leave this comfort zone and go to Egypt.
Many a time when GOD calls us out, he sends us to the places where we failed terribly, where we faced a crushing insult, because the first time we went, we relied on ourselves. When God tells us to go again to the very same situations, he makes sure that we carry his grace to accomplish the task in his perfect timing.
The period of exile had bought over some changes in Moses. He’s not the same valiant prince who struck down an Egyptian dealing unjustly with an Israelite slave. Now we see an easy-going, lukewarm, cowardly guy who is not confident to undertake the task. He is resisting the call. In the Bible, there are many examples of people who became worried and doubted about their calling (Gideon- Judges Ch 6) or in other cases even ran away without saying anything (Jonah-Jonah Chapter 1). Moses who had attempted the heroism 40 years ago, is reluctant of all. Surprising. Not at all.
Charles Swindoll in his book, What If…. writes “Often when GOD chooses us to do something, our initial response is to resist.”
The metaphor of Potter and Clay is quoted over and over again to depict the relationship between GOD and his people.
Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so, he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make. Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the Lord. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel! (Jeremiah 18:3-6)
Jeremiah was simply asked to go to the potter’s house. He did not ask why he was being sent. He simply obeyed. And when he obeyed, he saw GOD’s concern for his people who go astray even after committing themselves to him, The Great Potter. We say that we gave our life into the hands of Jesus to be led and molded by him. But when the opportunities arise, we are ready to slip out of his safe hands. When disobedience roots in and we resist from within, we lose the shape.
Yet. Even so. GOD has plans for us. For all of us. When we go out of shape, he does not simply discard us. He restores us with a newer plan. The Great potter is very merciful and patient with us. He is ready and able to create another vessel out of the clay which has gone out of shape. All he requires is the clay to remain in his hands. Our resistance to obedience may alter how he leads us but he always restores us in newer ways provided we remain in his hands.
But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11)
Moses was like the clay that had gone out of shape. The exile was necessary for him to understand that God is Sovereign in all situations and that he can always believe in God’s plans and timings. And in the shadow of that apparent humility, it’s a resistance that Moses portrays when he is commissioned to go. We may even ‘feel’ that his reason is justified. He simply asks – Who am I?
It’s a question many of us ask ourselves.
Many a time, when we resist GOD’s calling in our life, it is because we think we know the situation better than GOD. We contemplate that we’re not equipped enough to do what God has been calling us for.
• He does not feel qualified enough.
Moses in his vague perceptions and prejudice about what he assumes could not occur, is resisting the call before processing the fact that God can make it occur. Peter too felt like that. He was the one who boldly said he will never deny Jesus but he did so not once but thrice. Because of this, he did not feel qualified enough to be someone to lead the people. GOD’s response? He simply filled Peter with his wisdom and boldness to speak in front of High Priests and the household of Cornelius alike, something which he never would have thought he was qualified enough to do. Maybe you were someone who used to be a very active, outgoing, and bold person and now you feel like a wretch and coward. Don’t let situations let your morale down. Easier said than done, right. When you feel that you’re not up to the mark, know that you are not defined by the comparisons you face. You are defined by the one who loved you as if you are the world to him. And when he calls, rather than going into a recluse, pick up the call. Your availability for God matters.
• He does not feel important enough.
Moses was once a person of importance and dignity. He was at a time ‘Prince of Egypt’. Now he is rendered to a mere shepherd. He sees himself as not worthy to face Pharaoh. The scars of the past are haunting him to look down on himself. In John Chapter 2, Jesus does a miracle in the Cana. Water is turned to wine and the shortcoming in the wedding is resolved. Amazing, right. What fascinated me was the stone jars from which the wine was taken out were the ones kept for the purpose of ceremonial cleansing. Not a much-valued utensil to be kept inside the kitchen. The people who came to wash their hands and feet may have even rubbed the sole of their feet on its outsides. And Jesus is telling the servants to fill them with water and serve the people from it. Sounds crazy. The servants merely obeyed. Obedience preceded miracle. The stone jars which were less important compared to the kitchenware have now become the instruments of God’s blessing. If God can use those simple things and change their value, how much more will he change our life. Moses found it hard to believe that he had any importance. But he was precious to God who had plans to heal his inferiority complex. Maybe the world judges you by something that you did in the past and that is letting you look down on yourself. But God’s assurance is that you are precious to him. (Isaiah 43:4) Are you ready to obey his word and give your failures to him? He is faithful to turn them around and restore you. Your obedience to God matters.
• He does not feel strong enough.
Moses realizes that it is a humongous task that is bound to test his physical and mental strength to its limits. And he has a fear of not able to do it. He is looking at his inabilities and weaknesses as the roadblock to the rescue work he is assigned. Apostle Paul was a man who had a ‘thorn in his flesh’. It was a constant pain that Paul prayed thrice that it be removed. That thorn was the weakness that he thought will not allow him to be an efficient evangelist. God’s answer- My grace is sufficient for you for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Jesus knows all your weaknesses and limitations. When you think that you don’t have enough strength and knowledge, look unto God and put your dependence on him entirely and he will give his grace to do it. Your reliance on God matters.
We doubt our readiness, look down on what we have, and give up too easily. We trust ourselves too much that we are blinded enough to see God’s strengthening presence with us. His assurance to Moses is rather peculiar.
So, He said, “I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.” (Exodus 3:12)
God promises his presence with Moses and a sign is also given. The big deal. It will be fulfilled after he has done all that is commanded. Moses’ mind is filled with questions of how to get the people to this place, would they listen to him, what would be his credibility as we will see in later posts.
We reject God’s calling in our life because we keep God out of calculations about the work which himself has called us to do. Ironical? That’s human nature. Trusting God is not a blind leap as people say. It is reasonable. Every part of the faith journey is impactful. Every other person who was called by God to fulfill a mission was equipped by God when they stepped on to the journey. They faced difficulties but still held on to the promises and signs given to them. You may be going through a dilemma to respond to the call. Maybe you do not feel qualified to share a message, encourage or comfort someone in need or tell a close friend about Jesus. Take heart. He is with you to help you. (Mathew 28:20)
I’ve had the opportunity to meet people who were deemed unfit, unqualified, and worthless by others and even by themselves due to past events that left deep scars in their life. I’m fortunate to have met people who encouraged others but then went into a low phase and have drifted to a secluded state. Even as I write this I have them in mind and pray that they find restoration in Jesus. And dear ones, if you are reading this, know that you are precious and honored in God’s sight and he loves you so dearly.
Look around. Many people around us feel worthless and lowly. Give them Christ. Help them know their worth in the hands of the creator who gave his life for them. Do not be worried about what others say about you or focus on the deficit that you might have. The difficulties you went through was to equip you for leading many and to prevent causalities at the hand of modern-day Pharaoh’s. When he calls, rather than resisting, just obey. And he will take care of the rest.
“God does not call the qualified. He qualifies the called.”
Blessen Samuel John