There’s a common scene in epic stories. It is the scene in which the main character after battling his role as the hero takes the deep breath and takes the first few steps along his journey. It is an exciting moment. It is Bilbo leaving the Shire. The moment is pregnant with potential and we as the audience, or the reader are filled with anticipation. The beginning of a journey is a powerful thing.
Last Sunday at Covenant, we learned that Moses encountered the God of his fathers on the mountain (the burning bush) and had been called by God to liberate God's people from slavery in Egypt. After putting up a bit of a fight, Moses agrees and takes his first steps down on the long road to the redemption of Israel from slavery.
There is a thrill in answering the call of God to follow Christ. He is calling us into the wild and uncharted territories of his will to liberate the oppressed, the enslaved and the dying. Here's what you need to know before you go.
The start of an adventure changes everything about your life.
Moses went back to Jethro his father-in-law and said to him, “Please let me go back to my brothers in Egypt to see whether they are still alive.” And Jethro said to Moses, “Go in peace.” And the Lord said to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt, for all the men who were seeking your life are dead.” So Moses took his wife and his sons and had them ride on a donkey, and went back to the land of Egypt. And Moses took the staff of God in his hand. - (Exodus 4:18-20, ESV)
After encountering the presence of God in the burning bush, Moses didn’t go home and write a journal entry about what a cool thing that just happened and go back to life as usual. He didn’t go have coffee with is other shepherd buddies from his small group at church and talk about how one day he really wants God to rescue the Israelites from slavery. God called him to participate in his purposes, and Moses obeyed even though it changed everything about his life. He quit his job, uprooted his family, to speak for God against the most powerful dictator on the planet.
The call of God changes your life and nothing in your life is off limits. Some of us are really attached to our visions of the future. We need to repent of this and obey. God writes better stories that we do.
The start of an adventure is intimidating.
And the Lord said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the miracles that I have put in your power. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go. Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, Israel is my firstborn son, and I say to you, “Let my son go that he may serve me.” If you refuse to let him go, behold, I will kill your firstborn son.’” (Exodus 4:21-23, ESV)
God is lovingly and powerfully crafting both the circumstance and the purpose of the liberation of his people. The circumstances will be difficult. Pharaoh won't listen. The purpose is humbling. Israel will serve God as his firstborn son.
God is completely sovereign over the circumstances of Moses’ adventure – even the hard parts. Pharaoh will not believe – don’t worry, that’s part of the plan. This is an intimidating road to walk down. We worry, "what if everything falls apart?" Don't worry, it's part of the plan. On one hand, it sounds like the craziest thing in the world. Why would anyone choose to leave a life of comfort and security to go head to head with the Pharaoh of Egypt. On the other hand, why would anyone look the creator of the universe in the face and tell him no. Nothing is more dangerous than rebellion against God.
God is completely sovereign over the purposes of Moses' adventure. God is calling you his son. Sounds great – but still daunting – getting adopted by the president would be a pretty big deal. Being adopted by a King would be an even bigger one since one day you’d have to rule. But being adopted by the King of kings and called an heir is unbelievably humbling. Who wouldn’t accept, but who wouldn’t tremble at the thought.
It’s comforting because we’re adopted into the privilege of sharing eternity in the kingdom that never ends. It's terrifying because we never knew we wanted to be in that kingdom and we harbor doubts as to the goodness of the King.
“Let my son go that he may serve me.”
God is calling you to his service. He’s not retiring the nation of Israel – he’s liberating them to serve a better master. He didn't save you into a spiritual coma to just wake up when Jesus comes back. The God who taught grass how to grow and stars to shine. The God who measures the stars with his hands and weighs mountains with a scale has called you to follow him on his mission as his children. It will certainly change everything about us. But if it is God who calls us, he will certainly do good to us. He did not spare his own son for us,
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?...Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?...
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:31-39, ESV)
Take a deep breath. Go outside. Remember the voice of the one who calls and run headlong into danger following the King who cleared the way.