Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Quiet Faithfulness

Moses is that rare type of guy who walks right up to a burning bush to "see what this thing is that is burning but is not burning up." He's also a great leader of Israel. He's a man of passionate prayer. And he's a man of quiet faithfulness.

It doesn't always seem like that on the surface. When God first spoke to Moses out of that burning bush, Moses did a lot of protesting. He had a lot of excuses, a ton of reasons why he, Moses, was not really the guy that He, the Lord, was looking for. Even if he is the kind of guy who notices a burning, but not-burning-up, bush.

But watch what happens. Moses and Aaron go before Pharaoh and demand that he let the Hebrew people go. The ruler of Egypt, of course, will not, and God has already told Moses as much, but Moses keeps going anyway. Moses goes and tells Pharaoh what God tells him to go and tell Pharaoh, even when God in the very same breath says, "but this isn't going to work." 

That's not the kind of quiet faithfulness I'm talking about, although it's getting us closer to this.

As Moses goes before Pharaoh, he comes with the plagues that God is sending upon the people who are keeping His people captive. The first few times, Moses raises his hands in sight of the royal courts and brings upon the land these terrible plagues that God has sent. 

Slowly, however, this scene changes. Slowly, we start to see that Moses goes before Pharaoh and tells the ruler what God is about to do, but then, Moses leaves. Moses goes home. He goes back to the land of the Hebrews, to Goshen, to his own territory. And there...

...there he raises his hands.

He raises his hands and stretches out his rod across the east, across the west, across Egypt in whatever motion God has prescribed for him. It's a motion we see him make several times when others are watching, but as the plagues go on, fewer and fewer are watching until, if you read the Scriptures carefully with an eye for this, Moses is just raising his hands in his own house.

The only one that knows he's doing it, it seems, is God.

And yet, we get the sense, reading these passages, that if he doesn't stretch out his hands in the quiet of his own place, nothing's going to happen. The plagues still come at his movement. The locusts, the gnat, the flies, the frogs - the things that have always come with the faithful outstretching of his hand - continue to come only with the faithful outstretching of his hand. 

But it's no longer a performance. It's no longer for the benefit of Pharaoh that he makes this gesture. It's no longer to show or to prove to anyone that he's at the helm of all this, at God's very word. Rather, the longer this goes on, it's solely for this reason: to show to God his obedience. 

It's a quiet faithfulness. 

This guy...this guy who goes over to burning bushes, this guy with a thousand excuses why he can't be the guy, this guy who has to take his brother with him, this guy who makes grand displays in front of the ruler of the most powerful nation on the planet...becomes the guy conducting symphonies of disasters in his bedroom through his quiet faithfulness. This guy who does the very public, giant, scary thing that God asked him to do becomes the guy who does the quiet, weird, hope-nobody's-watching-because-this-is-hard-to-explain faithful things that God asks him to do. 

And the hail falls. 

And the fire falls.

And the locusts swarm.

And darkness falls.

And it's cool, right? I mean...it's cool. 

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