Word for the Week
Short reflections on Bible passages, with a frontline focus...
‘Pharaoh will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and with mighty acts of judgment I will bring out my divisions, my people the Israelites. And the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out of it.’ […] Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three when they spoke to Pharaoh.
Exodus 7:4-5, 7
How might you make the world a better place? Some people focus on the top-down approach, others want to begin at the grassroots. Still more go for some combination of the two.
The plan God has given to Moses is very clear – there is only one way the Hebrews are going to be freed and that is for Pharaoh himself to give the decree, for there was no democracy in Egypt. And yet, God lets Moses know that, despite his best efforts and after all his public speaking practice, it won’t make a difference anyway! It all seems to be a little act… the real plan is that God himself will intervene with none of Moses’ assistance, and will make it known to the Egyptians that he is God.
I wonder what Moses’ face looked like when he heard this: maybe confusion or even frustration? But regardless of what Moses may think, or what his opinion may be, he is called to be obedient to the God who has made himself known. His responsibility is to follow what God requires of him, and to leave the outcome to God.
This is a difficult thing to ask of many of us. We may like the idea of ‘speaking truth to power’ because we hope we can have some influence and make a difference. Here, God makes it clear that it won’t be Moses’ oratory skills that will cause things to change – it will be God’s own hand that will do it.
It can be hard for us to imagine what it means to see the hand of God in our lives, our communities, or even our nation. Could we ask God to open our eyes to see his hand at work in the areas of life which concern us? While we may have our skills and experience and knowledge, it is also true that God may call us to a new adventure and a challenge where we cannot rely fully on ourselves.
Is there an area of your life where God may be calling you to something which will teach you to trust him more? Will you say yes?
Tutor and Lecturer in Political Theology at St Mellitus College