'‘This,’ said the Lord, ‘is so that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers – the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob – has appeared to you.’' Exodus 4:5
A young lady was sunbathing on the beach when a little boy in his swimming trunks, carrying a towel, came up to her and asked her, "Do you believe in God?". She was surprised by the question, but she replied, "Why, yes, I do." ?Then he asked her: "Do you go to church every Sunday?" Again, her answer was "Yes!" ?? He then asked: "Do you read your Bible and pray every day?" ?Again, she said, "Yes!" By now she was wondering what was going on! The little lad sighed with relief and said, "Will you hold my money while I go swimming?" Ok it is a silly story, but a great illustration of how we all find it very hard to trust. The past few months have been a big test too; Do we trust the Government? The Scientists? The Doctors? Just who can we trust With all that in mind it’s no wonder that when it comes to God, we can find it hard to rely on him and trust him. It’s the start of a new school year, a new term, and there will be difficulties ahead. It has been a tough year so far, and some of us might even be going through hard times right now, but in the midst of all that, we must remember to keep trusting and doing everything with God by our side.
In Exodus 4 Moses also has some ‘trust issues’ with God. In Chapter 3, God tells Moses that he is going to lead his people out of Egypt and into the Promised Land. God spoke to him personally and even said that he would be with Moses, but in Ch 4 we see Moses responding in a way I guess we might too, not really trusting God and thinking, ‘How can I, a shepherd, possibly do all that?’ Moses’ first objection is in verse 1:
‘Moses said to God, “But the Israelites will not believe me when I tell them that you sent me. They will say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you.’”
We can see his problem,‘What if they don’t listen me or believe me?’ And if he had been just doing this himself, the leaders of the Israelites probably wouldn’t have believed him, but God then gives Moses three signs to help them see God was with him. The staff changing into the snake, his hand going spotty and the water turning to blood. There can be no doubt that these would be impressive to the Israelite leaders and show them that Moses was working on God’s behalf, but more importantly they also show Moses that he can trust God. Even when he is doubting and needing help, God will be there for him. That’s really important for us too, as we face tough times and challenges. In such times it can be hard to trust God and yet this part of Moses’ story reminds us that we also need to trust God. He may not turn our walking sticks into snakes, but he is always there for us. The second worry Moses has is in verse 10:
‘Then Moses said to the Lord, “But, Lord, I am telling you, I am not a good speaker. I have never been able to speak well. And that hasn’t changed since you started talking to me. I am still not a good speaker. You know that I speak slowly and don’t use the best words.”’
Moses may have been shy or found public speaking hard, but he is forgetting that God is with Him. God reminds him of this in no uncertain terms. He points out that not only has he chosen Moses, but he created him, even his mouth, and will help him to speak. With the Creator God on his side, him he should not be worried.How great is that!? With God we should never worry about whatever He calls us to do. And like Moses he will help us when we really need it. Moses third objection comes in verse 13:
But Moses said, “My Lord, I beg you to send someone else, not me.”
If someone told you to do something scary, you might answer in the same way!? Moses pleads for God to use someone. He is scared, isn’t trusting God, or himself, and again has forgotten that God has said he will be with him, helping him. Understandably God gets angry and yet despite Moses’ lack of trust he still helps Moses by saying that Aaron can speak for him. Moses will still have to do his job, but God has provided for him once again. Moses is just like us today. We all face difficulties and situations that we struggle with, and often we forget God or question him,‘Why have you let this happen to me?’ But, like Moses, we can turn to God and he’s there for us, and gives us what we need. This doesn’t mean God will take away difficult situations or problems. Moses still had to do the work he was called to, but God gave him what he needed. In the same way he has given us all that we need in sending Jesus. As we believe and put our trust in Him, God strengthens us in our difficult times and gives us the amazing promise of eternal life to look forward to.
You may have heard this before; it’s the transcript of an actual radio conversation between a US Navy ship and Canadian authorities off the coast of Newfoundland in October 1995:
CANADIANS: Please divert your course 15 degrees to the South to avoid collision.
AMERICANS: Recommend you divert your course 15 degrees to the North to avoid collision.
CANADIANS: Negative. You will have to divert your course 15 degrees to the South to avoid collision.
AMERICANS: This is the Captain of a US Navy ship. I say again, divert YOUR course.
CANADIANS: NO. I say again, YOU divert YOUR course.
AMERICANS: THIS IS THE AIRCRAFT CARRIER USS LINCOLN. THE SECOND LARGEST SHIP IN THE UNITED STATES ATLANTIC FLEET. WE ARE ACCOMPANIED BY THREE DESTROYERS; THREE CRUISERS AND NUMEROUS SUPPORT VESSELS. I DEMAND THAT YOU CHANGE YOUR COURSE 15 DEGREES NORTH, I SAY AGAIN, THAT'S ONE FIVE DEGREES NORTH, OR COUNTER-MEASURES WILL BE UNDERTAKEN TO ENSURE THE SAFETY OF THIS SHIP.
CANADIANS: THIS IS A LIGHTHOUSE!!! Your call!
Like the US Navy Captain we all struggle with trust, and often just try to do stuff ourselves, but let’s learn from Moses and try to trust God more. He made us, he provides for us and above all he sent Jesus, so that as we believe and trust in him we can look forward to an amazing future hope. Amen (from Simon Corner, Youth Worker, St Michael's CE High School.)