'the Lord said to Moses, ‘Go, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the Israelites go’. Exodus 6:10-11
Brothers and sisters, last week Fr Mike talked about how God calls us to use the gifts He’s given us to serve Him, even though we’re imperfect, and today, what I thought I’d do was sort of a follow-up to Mike’s really excellent sermon, which I’d recommend you go and read if you missed it. If there were going to be a title for this sermon it’d be “Our Faith is Built on Trusting God.”
We’re now in the time of the year when we study the Old Testament and I know last week you looked at how God used the gifts of Moses to save His people, and to dwell upon the gifts you have that you can use to serve God. Well there’s another message that I think we all need to hear on the back of that. You see, after Moses had been called to go to Egypt and free the slaves, he went to Egypt and found the people of Israel. There, he’s told by God to go and give a dramatic speech to the people of Israel telling them how God is going to set them free. He does exactly this and what ensues is one of the most comical scenes in the whole bible. God has told Moses, stuttering Moses who most likely had a speech impediment, to go and talk to the Israelites and the scene plays out something like this: Moses said to the Israelites “‘Hi, Israelites, could you stop your backbreaking labour for a moment, I am the Lord, hi, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. – wow, a tough crowd - I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my own people, -sorry could you stop whipping him, I’m just trying to tell them this really important thing - and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to – what does this say – Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord –by the way if you didn’t get that.’”And their reaction seems to have been a bit like when our three year old walks in and tells us she’s off to fight a dragon, only describable as flippant disregard on our end; in other words, they reckon that it’s all pointless. Can you imagine being Moses at this point? Positive that God’s sent you and that you’ve messed up because you’ve got the public speaking ability of whoopee cushion. He must have sat down feeling like an absolute failure. But then what does God say next? Have a look at verse verses 10-11, Moses has just sat down thinking “Oh goodness, that didn’t go very well” then God told Moses, “oh by the way Go, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the Israelites go out of his country.” God has a genius sense of comedic timing sometimes, doesn’t he? Last week, Father Mike encouraged you discern how God is calling you to use the gifts that you’ve been given, like Moses, and I want to add to that. Sometimes, you’re going to think that you’ve got your sense of calling dead-on wrong. Sometimes you’re going to feel called to do something and it’s not going to look possible. But your faith in what God can do through you, like Moses’ faith in what God could do through him, needs to be built on nothing other than trust in God. Do not have faith in what you can do, but in what God can do through you. God is the subject, not the object, He chose to send Moses and told him what to say, He is the one at work, the one moving, and He moves through people. For God to move, He asks us to use our gifts to follow his call. And we do that, not by trusting in our own abilities, not by giving up when things get hard, but by trusting, wholly, in what God has promised to do. Our faith is built upon trusting God; the God who used Moses to free his people, the God who was at work, even when the people were broken-hearted.
And then we can look at St Peter in our Gospel reading today (Matthew 14:22-33). I love St Peter he’s my absolute favourite because he’s got similar faults to me. He comes at everything one-hundred percent head on, without thinking about it first, he’s always the first to leap in the way or to make a dramatic declaration, I think if he was around today he’d probably be diagnosed something. He’s perfectly useless and hopeless and yet, he is the one who gets out of the boat. He sees what Jesus was doing and knows he wants to follow him and be like him and lead others to be like him so he gets out of the boat, into the raging sea. Peter was hopeless and yet he walked on water towards our Lord. He was useless and yet, God used him. In fact, once again, things only started to go wrong when he lost his faith, that’s when we started to sink. The reason Peter could walk on water with Christ was because his faith wasn’t built on what he could do, his faith was built upon trusting God. Brothers and sisters, God is calling you out to go and walk on the water. The seas are choppy and there is a lot to do to show the love of Christ to our town but God is calling you to step out, to follow Him with your calling, not by your strength but by His. Our faith is built upon trusting God can do the things that we cannot. Maybe your individual calling feels impossible, but not to God, it’s not impossible to God. And neither is the call that is upon our Church. Maybe the call that is on us right now seems impossible. Maybe the call that is on our Church seems impossible, in the face of decline and finances and all the rest of it. But God has called you, for this exact moment, and our faith should be built upon trusting God. Because if we trust Him, as Moses did, He will use us to fulfil His promises.
So maybe this week, you could say ‘yes’ to that thing you’ve been too afraid to say ‘yes’ to, as you put your trust in God. Maybe you ask myself or Fr Mike about that new idea you’ve had that you’d like to try out. And in all things, may our faith be built upon trusting God. Because if we trust Him, as Moses did, He will use us to fulfil His promises. Amen.(from Fr Jordan).