Have you watched Sight & Sound Theatres’ production of Moses (available on Amazon)? It’s a stunning, biblically faithful depiction of the patriarch’s life, and I heartily recommend it. While watching it for probably the sixth time, something hit me. Hard.
God didn’t call us out when He could.
Thank you, Moses, for showing me that in a new way.
In his first forty years of life, Moses enjoyed every advantage of being Egyptian royalty. An incomparable education. Training in many languages. Career coaching for administrative challenges. Yet his first attempt to do God’s will (albeit on his own power) failed miserably.
He killed a man.
Moses wrestled that memory for forty years while tending Jethro’s flocks in the Midianite wilderness. But he didn’t reconcile that memory until he saw a burning bush and heard God speak from its flames.
In the movie, Moses tries to run from his encounter with God. God asks why. Moses replies, “Because you know who I am and what I’ve done.”
God says, “I do know you. Now I want you to know Me … You belong to Me.” It’s a pivotal moment—a paradigm shift in Moses’s perception of God that overwhelms him with gratitude.
Fast-forward past Pharaoh and the Exodus to the next-to-last scene where Moses receives the Ten Commandments. As God speaks “do not murder” and the words burn into stone, Moses shoots a look heavenward.
But it’s not a look of regret. It’s a look of redemption.
Because Moses remembered his burning bush discourse. Especially what God didn’t say.
God could have scolded, guilted, shamed, or punished Moses for murdering an Egyptian slave master. But instead, God’s burning bush message was how much He loved Moses. And then God rolled out phase one of His incredible plans for the renegade Hebrew.
Moses didn’t earn God’s love by paying penance in herding sheep for forty years. Moses had always had God’s love—because God freely gave it. It just took Moses a few decades to realize that.
Sometimes I’m slow to get that message, too.
We all do things we regret. But when God calls us out, He doesn’t do so to punish us (although He has every right to). At the Cross, Jesus took upon Himself the punishment we deserved. God calls us out of the darkness of our past to live in the light of His purposes for us.
In his February 2, 2020, sermon “Forward,” Pastor David Jeremiah says we’re to remember our past in two ways: celebrate our good memories with humility and our bad memories with finality.
Like Moses, we may rehash and get stuck on our bad memories. But, also like Moses, we can take heart. God wants to use us despite our imperfections. John Piper said, “Very few dreams should go on hold while you improve the shortcomings of your life. To be sure, there are times when you need to stop what you’re doing and focus on conquering a flaw. But if you wait until all your shortcomings are remedied, your dreams will die. All our advances are with a limp.”
What a visual! We all advance through life with a limp. What’s yours? Can that limp be a blessing? Share your thoughts. More about life with a limp in the next post.