Points to Ponder: Parallel Callings
Points to Ponder
By Pastor Whitmore
Weekly Contributing Writer
Even now, someone somewhere is being called by God to a special task. That someone could be you, right now. Or maybe that call actually came several years - even decades - ago and you just now have put the pieces together. As you look back on the paths your life has taken, you can see how even the fumbles and failures were perfectly fitted to bring you to this point in your journey.
Is it not possible that it's turned out to be an answer to a prayer you had prayed long ago? Or maybe it's a more recent prayer; but all the events that came before have brought you to the timely arrival of the answer you needed now.
Think more expansively now; you could be the answer to someone else's prayer. Your whole life has never been about you at all. What you did, the schools you graduated from, the places you lived; these were decisions of secondary importance. Your purpose, unbeknownst to you, is so big, that it has encompassed all the twists and turns of your life's journey. All along, God has been preparing you to be an answer to someone's prayer, an actor in the grand play of God's will on the world stage. Maybe that's why you are sometimes flustered by current events in your life and wonder, "What is this all about?"
Such is the case with Moses and the Hebrew slaves in Egypt. We read Exodus chapters one through three as a linear narrative, a story. But consider the events described there in the context of real time.
From the time of Joseph, Jacob and his sons and their descendants lived in Egypt 400 years. The Pharaohs who ruled following the patriarch's generation enslaved the Hebrews under hard bondage. The Egyptians tried to control the growth of the Hebrew population with a policy of infanticide. In an ironic twist, Pharaoh's own daughter saved one of the boy babies and named him Moses.
As the story goes, Moses was a 40-year-old fugitive, who fled to Midian after he murdered a brutal Egyptian taskmaster. While there, he took up with a Midianite priest, married his daughter, and shepherded his flock near the Sinai till he was 80 years old.
Meanwhile, back in Egypt,
"Now it happened in the process of time that the king of Egypt died. Then the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry came up to God because of the bondage. So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob." (Exodus 2:23-24)
In their suffering, the people finally turned to God. Then He turned to them. Their prayer was focused on their current oppressive situation. God's response was drawn from a greater purpose extending back several generations.
Meanwhile, back near the land of Midian, on Mount Sinai, 80-year-old Moses encounters a burning bush. God's answer to the Hebrews' prayer is to call Moses.
"And the Lord said: 'I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians,...Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.'" (Exodus 3:7-8a and 10)
Moses offers a series of five excuses for why he wasn't the man for the job; finally begging God to pick somebody else. And who could blame him? In the movies, he's Charlton Heston. In real life, he was an 80-year-old shepherd with a murder charge on his head, wanted posters of him hanging in the Egyptian post office. Yet all those decades; being plucked from the Nile as a baby, a great education as an adopted royal son in Egypt, a sense of justice when he violently defended a Hebrew slave, and now forty of his last years roaming the wilderness with a flock of sheep. All of these experiences formed a resume that prepared him to be the answer to a budding nation's prayer.
Moses asks the obvious question any reasonable person would ask of a talking bush: how can I know I'm qualified to do this?
"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)
In other words, when you move out by faith on My word, your obedience will yield a result. And by that result, you'll know, the Lord was in it. There really is no other way to be sure of your calling except to test it through obedience.
Consider the factors at play here: the covenant with Abraham, slavery in Egypt, Moses' life spared, shepherding a flock in Midian, a burning bush. And there are more than these, as God's hand moved across the ages.
Some callings are only clearly seen in retrospect. And unless you go forward, you won't be able to look back.
Hilltop Christian Fellowship, 12624 Trinity Church Drive, Clear Spring. Listen to Rev. Whitmore on WJEJ-1240 AM, Tues and Thurs at 10:45 a.m. & p.m. & Wed at 10:45 a.m. www.hilltopchristianfellowship.com.