Then the Lord spoke to Moses, “Go and tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the Israelites go out of his land.” But Moses… – Exodus 6:10-12a (NRSV)
The book of Exodus recounts the story of Moses, who as a baby born into an enslaved Hebrew family was placed in a reed basket at a strategic location, then adopted into the royal family of Egypt. Here in Exodus 6 we meet him as an adult who has fled his adoptive household after killing an Egyptian he saw beating one of his Hebrew relatives. Married into his third family, he becomes a shepherd, keeping his father-in-law’s flocks. God has called him to liberate his people from captivity, yet in one conversation after another, Moses argues that he is not the right person for the job.
“But no one will listen to me; but I am slow of speech, but who will believe the Lord has sent me, but, but, but…”
Some things about humankind never seem to change. What excuses are we making to God? Right now? When we feel drawn toward liberating actions or commitments, what reasons do we give for doing nothing instead?
In the story of Moses we see that God equips the person God calls. God equips him for all the eventualities, providing the support of his brother, Aaron, and miraculous power to impress and terrify Pharaoh and his court. (Stay tuned for the plagues.)
God knows where we come from, and who and what we need to fulfill our purpose. There are still chains to break, prisoners to release, captives to set free. God is still at work and calls us to the work of liberation. Will we answer?
Holy One, give us courage to do the work you set before us. No buts. Amen.
Martha Spong is a UCC pastor, a clergy coach, and editor of The Words of Her Mouth: Psalms for the Struggle, from The Pilgrim Press.