Just Where She Is: Start Today
With Easter coming soon and the glorious celebration that Sunday brings, I would love to encourage you to reflect on how you have found the last few weeks.
Can you see the fingerprints of God all over the stories of rescue and redemption that are so prominent in His plan to bring the Kingdom to Earth? Can you trace how He weaves together what can seem like small, insignificant actions to see justice and freedom break forth?
What is amazing, is that these stories of freedom are still being written today, and we all have a part to play in being a people of justice.
For this final instalment in the Exodus narrative, I would love to look at Moses himself, and His remarkable encounter with God at the burning bush. You can find it in Exodus chapters 3 and 4 - why don’t you pause and give the passage a read?
I don’t know about you, I imagine that Moses (after the shock of hearing the audible voice of God) is both excited and relieved. Finally, God has spoken. Finally, His people, the people his heart has been broken for are going to be set free from slavery… God is going to set them free.
Then his heart sinks. The penny drops. Oh no.
God is calling him.
“So now, go. I am sending you ….” But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:10)
Moses’ response was simply: who am I? He doesn’t feel equipped. He believes others are better for the job.
I don’t know about you, but I really empathise with Moses. I have spent a large proportion of my life wishing I was a bit more like other people: more gifted; a bit kinder; a bit less prone to always talk; a bit more like a lot of other more qualified people…
And I wonder, how many reasons do we come up with to talk ourselves out of God calling us just where we are? The reality is, is that God is calling me to live a life of justice. And He is calling you too.
Admittedly, this must seem all very well for me- I work for International Justice Mission (the name says it all!) but I wonder, what does it look like to be a people of justice at work; at university; at school; with your netball team or going out to dinner with your friendship group?
The good news is that He has equipped us. Just as God calls us to seek justice, He will provide ways we can do so.
At the start of chapter 4, God asks Moses a question:
‘What is in your hands?’
And I love this question. For Moses, in his hands was his staff- his Shepherd’s crook. God does a really strange thing: he asks him to throw it on the ground… he then performs a miracle, and Moses picks it back up.
Was God showing him his power to reassure Him? Was He demonstrating that He makes what is dead come back to life? That he can transform normal things into the extraordinary?
Whatever the reason, I love this question: ‘what is in your hands?
For Moses, I think the staff in his hands represents several things:
His identity: He was a shepherd and who he was, was shown by what he carried.
His income: His wealth would have been counted by the animals that he looked after- his staff was the symbol of that.
His influence: His staff was a symbol of leadership. Him carrying it meant you would have been able to pick him out of a crowd and follow him.
When these are laid before the Lord, and surrendered, God is able to use these things.
Our identity: is ‘justice’ something we are known for? Are we concerned with the suffering in the world? Does our making of wrong things right characterise who we are as the people of God? Do we go out of our way to spread Good News?
Our income: is God prompting you to give generously to the work of Justice? Are we willing to seek justice through our finances? Are we willing to give towards the work of justice?
Our influence: are you able to lovingly bring justice to the community where you are: in the lecture theatres, in the office, in the classroom? Can you use your influence in these places to challenge apathy, to tell stories of freedom and encourage others too?
I am certain that when we lay these before the Lord, as Moses does, God is able to do miraculous things.
My prayer for you over these last few weeks is that you would hear the Holy Spirit inviting you to be part of the story of justice - that you would dream about what your role may be.
Some of us may well be called to be Moses in our generation: to lead the charge from the front, boldly declaring ‘let my people go’.
Equally, God is calling some of us to be midwives: to act with courage where we are placed; and to disturb systems and policies that oppress others, one just decision at a time.
Others may well be called to be ‘Moses’ mother:’ to place what God has given us back into God’s hands. To give sacrificially and generously, and to trust God with the outcome.
I am also certain that God is raising up Pharaoh’s daughters: people who won’t turn away from suffering; who will allow their hearts to be deeply affected and who will respond when they hear others crying.
And let’s not forget that Moses makes way for Joshua. You see, what Moses began, Joshua was able to claim victoriously as he leads the people of Israel into the Promised Land itself. Who knows, what we do in secret, that doesn’t reach the headlines, might just make way for a whole nation to be free. I wonder...
What is your role in the story of freedom?
What is in your hands?
How can you be just, where you are?
Thank you, Esther, for walking us through the justice journeys of Exodus, and inspiring us to do the same now, wherever we are placed. We're so inspired!
Esther studied at Durham University, before spending some time in teaching, and most recently working for the International Justice Mission. She is married to Tom and lives in the North East.