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by Ron Rose
Called by God

    Numbering barely seventy-five when Israel’s family arrived in Egypt, within four hundred years Israel’s descendants had grown to more than a million people. Eventually an Egyptian king rose to power who had no knowledge of Joseph, and he made the descendants, whom they called Hebrews, into slaves. Fearing their potential strength, the Egyptians worked the Hebrews mercilessly, and as their numbers grew, so did the oppression.

    God was not deaf to their cries, however. God chose a Hebrew infant named Moses to grow up to lead his people out of Egypt and into the land promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Under God’s watchful eye, Moses was raised in Pharaoh’s palace and given all the benefits of royalty. But when he was forty years old, he killed an Egyptian who was beating one of the Hebrews and ended up running for his life and losing himself in the desert. For the next forty years, the chosen deliverer of God’s people lived the primitive life of a shepherd in the Sinai wilderness.

  The LORD said, “I have seen the troubles my people have suffered in Egypt, and I have heard their cries when the Egyptian slave masters hurt them. I am concerned about their pain, and I have come down to save them from the Egyptians .... So now I am sending you to the king of Egypt. Go! Bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt!”
  But Moses said to God, “I am not a great man! How can I go to the king and lead the Israelites out of Egypt?”
  God said, “I will be with you....” Moses said to God, “...What if the people say, ‘What is his name?’ What should I tell them?”
  Then God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” When you go to the people of Israel, tell them, ‘I AM sent me to you.”‘
  God also said to Moses, “This is what you should tell the people: ‘The LORD is the God of your ancestors—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. He sent me to you.’ This will always be my name, by which people from now on will know me. ‘
EXODUS 3:7-15
    On one of those run-of-the-mill shepherding days at the foot of Mount Sinai, Moses happened upon a most unusual sight—a flaming bush that refused to burn up. As he walked closer, the puzzled shepherd heard God calling his name from the bush. God asked Moses to take off his sandals because he was standing in God’s presence on holy ground. God didn’t want anything — not even sandal leather — to come between them. Then the almighty God introduced himself not only as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob but as the I AM God — the God who was and is and is to come.

    Even though it would be years before Moses would be able to see it, everything that had happened to him up to that moment had prepared him for God’s call. God was about to reach down into the oppression of Egypt and rescue the descendants of Israel and lead them home to the land he had promised their ancestors. This humble shepherd was God’s handpicked deliverer — the director of God’s relocation project.

    Uncertain that the king of Egypt or even the leaders of Israel would listen to him, Moses balked. But for every “what if...” Moses raised, God had a “do this ....” In fact, God provided his hesitant leader with everything needed for the task — God’s powerful, personal presence and a transformed staff full of surprises. Moses had no more excuses. By accepting God’s call, he was thrust out of a wilderness of obscurity and into a powerful partnership with the I AM God.

Reflection: God transformed more than Moses’ staff. He gave his partner new vision, a new mission, and new resources. By accepting God’s invitation, eighty-year-old Moses came out of retirement, not because he wanted it, but because the I AM God wanted it.

    God has plans for everybody: projects, opportunities, responsibilities, tasks, and callings, and he doesn’t allow anything to come between him and his called person. So, take off your mask, check your fears, admit your inadequacies, accept the call, and get ready for your own encounter on holy ground. You are a child of the present-tense God who knows your past and, in spite of it, invites you into a future with him. He is still the I AM God, and his promise remains, “I am with you.”


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Edited by Phil Ware and Paul Lee.
Text copyright © 1997, Multnomah Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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