Tuesday, October 2, 2018

2018-10-02 [Wherever I am...] God sees, hears and is concerned

Week 1: Seeing God's Heart for the World.

God sees, hears and is concerned

It was one of the great moments in Old Testament history. Perhaps the key moment. Moses was a stranger in exile in a strange land -- in Midian -- on the east bank of the Gulf of Aquabah. He married a Midianite woman, settled down, and was tending his father-in-law's sheep on the slopes of Mount Horeb when suddenly the moment happened.

A bush burst into flame!

It blazed up, the heat of it ripping the air around it. But through the bush burned, it did not burn up because it was a miraculous fire, which is to say, a fire that Moses could not explain, except by explaining it away as no real fire at all but only a figment of Moses' fiery imagination.

Then, out of the flaming moment, a voice also flamed up, and of all the conceivable things it might have said, what it said was the name of Moses himself. "Moses, Moses"

And so Moses, the stranger and exile, stood there with the muck of sheep on his shoes, and guilty as hell of a man's murder; and he listened and answered:
"Here am I" he said, waiting for God only knows what would happen next.
(Frederick Beuchner)

The story of the Exodus, an event that made Israel a nation and shaped its self-identity forever began in dissatisfaction. Some would call this "holy discontent". Moses felt it (Ex 2: 11&12), God felt it (Ex 3: 7 -- 8) and, wouldn't you have felt it too? Around the world today, people are being dehumanized. Poverty, hunger and lack of access to health care and education are the order of the day for most of the world's population. This is not even as much a scandal as lack of clean drinking water (or the commercialization of water). Its comforting to know that whenever you and I experience this discontent with the way the world is, it is likely that God is also hearing "the cry" of his people, that God is "concerned about them" and that ultimately, God "will rescue them".

As followers of Jesus, we experience discontent not only about the world as it is but also about the way the Church seems no longer to be able to witness to God's kingdom in a way many people can understand. Like Moses, we will feel that discontent and want to do something about it and perhaps, we will have the joy to discover that God has heard the cry too and he will work with us to rescue his people.

The LORD said, "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey--the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.      (Exodus3:7-8)

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George Marchinkowski is colleague minister at St Mungo's, Bryanston. He is married to Sascha and together they have two daughters, Leah & Zoƫ

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