Exodus 3 details a study of the call to Moses in the desert. Almost 40 years had passed since Moses was driven away from the comfort of Pharaoh’s palace into the desert. He had once harbored dreams of being an advocate for the Hebrews. Neither the Hebrews nor the Pharaoh took kindly to it. After several decades of tending sheep in the desert, he had all but lost hope of delivering the Israelites.
But now the call of God unexpectedly comes to him through the burning bush. God’s call cannot be predicted, nor can it be preempted. He has his time- the ideal time and place for all things. He sets men and women apart for tasks he sees fit with wisdom we cannot fathom. For some, the call is totally surprising as it beckons for a task that appears alien to one’s abilities; for others it is equally surprising because though the call resonates with one’s abilities, it comes after many years of waiting patiently for God’s time, so much so that one loses any hope of meaningfully serving God.
The call of God comes to those who are broken.
But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11)
This is no longer the proud Moses who thought he could accomplish freedom for the Israelites by his own strength. The years of isolation in the desert had broken him. Young Christians who plunge into ministry without seeking the mind of God and waiting for his time often end up disillusioned and weary. When God calls you away from ministry to break you and mature you, the last thing that should be done is to cling on to activity that ends being nothing more than human activity. Waiting for God’s time and being willing to patiently go through suffering, isolation and ‘no ministry’ is unfortunately alien to traditional modern Christian teaching. It took God 40 years to adequately equip Moses with the brokenness required to handle God’s grace in delivering the Israelites.
The call of God comes to one who knows whom he represents.
Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ” (Exodus 3:13,14)
After years of reflection in the desert, the Lord reveals himself to Moses in a manner unlike any other. The very name of the Lord is revealed to one who intimately knew him. ‘I AM’ reveals the eternal nature of God. He is before all things and in him all things hold together. His existence goes beyond creation and time as we experience it. ‘I AM WHO I AM’ indicates his faithfulness. The immutability of God’s nature is evident from that description. His nature cannot change, in fact his nature is the very basis for all creation as we see it. Getting to know God should translate to knowing him intimately for a Christian. It takes years of studying his word, reflecting on his nature and submitting to him. Lest one knows God, how can he represent him? And is not all ministry simply representing him and accomplishing his will?
God’s call is not easy to figure out, as is everything that truly is from God.
- JACOB’S DEATH