Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
“I am concerned about their suffering.” (V 7)
An extra ordinary thing happened in the ordinary everyday life a shepherd at mount Horeb, but this was not just any ordinary shepherd. He was Moses, identified for God’s purpose from the very beginning; he was rescued from the river Nile, brought up as a prince for forty years, and then trained as the shepherd of an important and wise Midianite priest for another forty years. God was concerned about the suffering of His people and He needed a very special man to liberate His people from bondage from a mighty Pharaoh. Fire and burning bushes were not uncommon events in the desert, but it was this miraculous event, which changed Moses’ life; it did not consume the bush, but it consumed him and purified him, and more importantly the Angel of the Lord appeared from the midst of the burning bush. It was indeed the first sign of God’s amazing grace that drew Moses to God. God prepares Moses for a great commission; he prepares him by saying who He is by revealing His holiness and covenantal relationship. The God who appeared to Moses is not any god but the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Some might have thought that God had forgotten his covenant relationship with Israel during the 400 years of slavery in Egypt. No, God was concerned about their suffering, as He is today, and He slowly and steadily groomed a liberator.
The great lesson that we learn from the stories of the Old Testament is the impatience of possessing and realising the covenantal promises: we see this in life of Sarah in forcing Abraham to have a child with Hagar; Rebekah’s plot and Isaac’s desire to bless Esau; Joseph’s impatience in projecting his dream on his brothers and so forth. Finally, Israel had to wait for many centuries for the Messiah and when Jesus came they did not recognise Him at all. Therefore, patient preparation is very important to receive the blessing. Jesus prepared His disciples for the cross, the resurrection and the commission. However, the early church was impatient about the second coming. People are anxious for tomorrow to happen today. Psalmist reminds us: ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ Preparation is an important first step for any mission, and it is specially so for executing God’s mission. We see this in the Life of Modern Moses such as Gandhiji, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandala. These amazing people were concerned about the suffering of their people. The Freedom Charter of South African Congress Alliance has the statement: ‘That our people have been robbed of their birth right to land, liberty and peace by a form of government founded on injustice and inequality.’
All the above people came from very ordinary background; they were not born for leadership, but were challenged by the cry of their people. They plunged themselves in humility for the freedom struggles to lead their people who followed them without hesitation. This is what the Bible calls being a true shepherd of the sheep. As members of the church, we are called today more than in the past to give collective, critical and committed, leadership to establish kingdom values. Each of us has a mission, and we need to wait on God for the sensitivity to hear the call and prepare ourselves under God’s grace for the execution of that mission.
Prayer: Dear Lord, in thy mercy, helps us to listen to thy words. Amen.
Thought for the Day: “For the place where you are standing is holy ground.”
Dr. Zac Varghese, London.