God has big plans for His new nation, Israel, but there’s a problem; they’re enslaved in Egypt! So before God can lead them to a land flowing with milk and honey (i.e. – prime real estate), He has to first rescue them.
Maybe God will bring down lightning or send in the S.W.A.T. team or better yet… send a past-his-prime shepherd. Sure, I’ll take curtain #3… NOT!
God speaks to Moses from a burning bush that doesn’t burn up and recruits him to go confront Pharaoh. Moses is flattered, but not interested. Can’t really blame him. He did have three strikes against him.
- He was already 80 years old. (No disrespect intended)
- He was a poor communicator. (Notice that God doesn’t disagree)
- He had skeletons in his closet. (Wanted for murder of an Egyptian)
So what does God offer as a confidence boost? His very presence. I’m sure that Moses appreciated the offer, but since he didn’t know God very well it didn’t much help. God eventually conceded to a couple of traveling companions for Moses. (Exodus 3)
Now, fast forward to the part of the story where Moses and the people are at Mt. Sinai. While Moses is up on the mountain with God the people down below give in to all kinds of nasty idol worship – a real slap in the face to God.
God tells Moses that they can still go to the promised land but without His presence. God isn’t going to go with them because He’s concerned about getting angry enough to wipe them all out. (Exodus 33)
But Moses states very clearly that if the Lord’s presence is not going to be with them then he doesn’t want to go. Moses’ experience with God in Egypt, at the Red Sea, and on the mountain was enough to convince him that all he really needed was God’s presence.
How about you? What is it you’re facing? What is it you need in order to deal with it? Is God’s presence enough?
If you’re on our journey through The Story then read chapter(s) 4 this week. If you’re not familiar with The Story you can check it out at the tab above or click here.
What follows is adapted from a blog post by Steven Furtick. It makes me nervous, at times, to talk about miracles. While I have no doubt that God can and does accomplish miracles daily, my concern is that we tend to want them for our purposes rather than God’s purposes and glory. Keep that in mind as you read what follows.
When you consider miracles in the Bible, two themes consistently emerge when it comes to the person involved.
1) Many biblical miracles were the person’s own initiative, not God’s idea.
- Like the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment.
- Or Namaan who went to Elisha for healing for his leprosy.
- Or the centurion who asked Jesus to heal his servant.
2) Many biblical miracles involved the person’s initial actions, not just God’s supernatural intervention.
- Like when God parted the Jordan River only after the Priests stepped out.
- Or when the blind man had to wash himself in the pool of Siloam.
- Or when Joshua and his army had to march around the walls of Jericho before it fell.
The bottom line is that when it comes to the miracles we want to see in and through our life, God wants our involvement. Most Christians don’t want miracles, we want magic. We want God to wave a magic wand at our problem or need.
We want God to send the money out of the sky.
God forbid we would cut up our credit cards and live within our means.
We want God to heal us of our physical ailments.
God forbid we change our eating habits or start exercising.
We want to see God do miraculous things through us.
God forbid we get off the couch and give God a platform off of which He can work.
I’m sorry, but God’s miracles don’t work like that. Of course they involve His unmistakable power and provision. Otherwise they wouldn’t be miracles. But they also require our initiative and involvement. Otherwise they would just be magic.
Maybe we could sum it up like this:
Without God, you cannot.
Without you, God will not.
We need to ask ourselves two questions.
1) What miracle do we need or want to see God accomplish?
2) What involvement is God requiring from us?