Defending Christ, 4

“This Moses whom they disowned, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’ is the one whom God sent to be both a ruler and a deliverer with the help of the angel who appeared to him in the thorn bush. This man led them out, performing wonders and signs in the land of Egypt and in the Red Sea and in the wilderness for forty years. This is the Moses who said to the sons of Israel, ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brethren.’ This is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness together with the angel who was speaking to him on Mount Sinai, and who was with our fathers; and he received living oracles to pass on to you. Our fathers were unwilling to be obedient to him, but repudiated him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt, saying to Aaron, ‘Make for us gods who will go before us; for this Moses who led us out of the land of Egypt – we do not know what happened to him.’ At that time they made a calf and brought a sacrifice to the idol, and were rejoicing in the works of their hands. But God turned away and delivered them up to serve the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, ‘It was not to Me that you offered victims and sacrifices forty years in the wilderness, was it, O house of Israel? ‘You also took along the tabernacle of Moloch and the star of the god Rompha, the images which you made to worship. I also will remove you beyond Babylon’” (Acts 7:35-43).

God rarely uses a superstar to accomplish His purposes, ordaining, rather, to demonstrate the sufficiency of His grace by revealing His strength in the weakness of the vessels He chooses (2 Cor. 12:9). While He does use people of unusual talents and abilities, God often uses the foolish and the weak (by the world’s standards) to eliminate our tendency to boast (1 Cor. 1:26-29). He does so, “So that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God (1 Cor. 2:5).

Isaiah lamented his own depravity when confronted with the absolute holiness of God (Isa. 6:5). Jeremiah protested God’s call to proclaim His Word, on the ground of his youth and inexperience (Jer. 1:6). Amos confessed that he was a simple shepherd and fig dresser (Amos 7:14).

In Moses’ case, God chose someone who was not a man of words, but was slow (lit. “heavy”) of speech and tongue (Ex. 4:10). He wasn’t witless, just not very articulate. He had no facility of elocution. Some writers have suggested that he may have spoken with a lisp or stuttered. Regardless, he wasn’t a strong oral communicator. So intimidated was he that God granted Aaron to speak on Moses’ behalf.

The pattern of choosing the least likely runs throughout the Scriptures. Prophets and apostles alike answered God’s call by reciting their many disqualifications. Each time, though, God reassured His chosen servants that He was able and would go with them. Their success in ministry resulted from God’s grace.

At every turn, the pattern emerges. God calls someone to Himself. His calling and closeness bring the weight of His glory on His elect, which devastates any pride in self in the presence and power of the infinitely holy God. Yet, God changes the hearts of His servants and equips them to carry out His purpose. All the while, God is glorified through their words – His words.

The fact that God calls certain ones to serve Him in special ways, doesn’t guarantee success, as people count success. Stephen stated, “Our fathers were unwilling to be obedient to him, but repudiated him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt.” Moses stood against a constant onslaught of rebellion and rejection from the people he’d led out of Egypt. They chose, according to their fallen nature, to return to slavery.

Despite the daily opposition that Moses faced, God worked to redeem a people for Himself – and He did. Even today, God works relentlessly to call people to Himself. By grace, Christ continues to build His church – and He is creating His perfect masterpiece using imperfect men and women – young and old, rich and poor, educated and unlearned, from every people and language and social group.

I pray that those who long to see the finished product – when Christ calls His people ultimately and finally into the kingdom of God’s glory – will be satisfied with the fulfillment of God’s eternal purpose.

By grace,

Chris

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