By REV. LUNA DINGAYAN
Then the Lord said, “I have seen how cruelly my people are being treated in Egypt; I have heard them cry out to be rescued from their slave drivers. I know all about their sufferings, and so I have come down to rescue them from the Egyptians and to bring them out of Egypt to a spacious land, one which is rich and fertile and in which the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites now live. I have indeed heard the cry of my people, and I see how the Egyptians are oppressing them. Now I am sending you to the king of Egypt so that you can lead my people out of his country.” – Exodus 3:7-9
We are all facing an uncertain future as a nation and as a people. President Duterte already declared Martial Law in the entire region of Mindanao due to the Marawi Crisis, which is still going on. A group of Islamic terrorists, known as Maute Group, stormed the Muslim city of Marawi, burned down some establishments, and engaged the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the police in a running battle.
The terrorist group was claiming that it is connected with the ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), an international terrorist group aimed to make Iraq and Syria and the whole world Islamic through terroristic means. More than a hundred died already since the war in Marawi started about two weeks ago, and thousands evacuated to safer places.
We are not really sure at this point in time how the crisis would come to an end. But nevertheless, it is our hope and prayer that it would be resolved the soonest possible, and would not spread throughout the whole country. President Duterte already insinuated that he would not hesitate to put the whole country under Martial Law if the situation would warrant.
And so, how then should we face this unknown future before us? Our Biblical text may help us in our reflections. This is about the story of Moses’ call as recorded in Exodus 3:1-12.
First of all, the story reminds us that we should face the unknown future with a particular purpose in mind. The Israelites during Moses’ time were also facing an unknown future like us. They suffered so much in the hands of the Egyptians, who made them their slaves for almost 400 years.\
The unknown future is devoid of meaning and purpose. That’s why it causes us fears, doubts, anxieties, and hopelessness. It threatens our very existence. But thanks to God for He is a God of purpose. God does things with a definite goal in mind. God conquers the unknown future by providing purpose and meaning to life. A life without a purpose is a meaningless life. Martin Luther King, Jr., a Baptist preacher, hero and martyr of the Civil Rights Movement in the US in the 60’s, onetime said, “A person who does not know the thing he would die for is not fit to live”.
We should always bear in mind, however, that our goal in life should be based on a communal rather than an individual need. God called Moses from the wilderness of Median, not because He wanted him to have a privileged position in the Egyptian Empire, but rather because of a particular communal need. God saw the Israelites in their sufferings. Hence, He wanted someone to deliver them from their oppressions.
It is significant to note that we’ll be celebrating on Monday, June 12, our Independence Day as a nation. Indeed, we remember those who shed their blood and offered their lives for the cause of freedom.
In this present age of rugged individualistic materialism, when we think more of profit than service, when we value material wealth more than people’s lives, when we think more of what we get than what we give; let God’s Word to Moses serves as a reminder for us all: “I have seen the sufferings of my people… Now I am sending you to the King of Egypt so that you can lead my people out of his country” (vs. 7-10).
Sense of humility
Moreover, the story also reminds us that we should face the unknown future with a sense of humility. When Moses saw his enormous task of leading his own people to freedom, he recognized his human limitations. He humbled himself before God. He realized that the task was too great for him.
We could just imagine how Moses felt about it. He was sent to a place where he didn’t want to go, and to a situation he didn’t like to be in. He fled from Egypt, but now God was sending him back to Egypt. With a deep sense of humility, he therefore responded to God, saying: “I am nobody. How can I go to the King and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (v. 11)
The tasks before us and the challenges around us brought about by the Marawi crisis may be far beyond our resources and strength. But God’s ways are not like our ways; God’s thoughts are not like our thoughts (cf. Is. 55:8). As proven time and again, God can choose ordinary people to accomplish great things in life. God can use our weaknesses to show His power and strength.
In our world today, where there is so much reliance on human success and achievements, we could hardly appreciate the power of humility. Indeed, the proud and the arrogant, those who “think of themselves more highly than they should” (Romans 12:3) could not understand the power of humility. They are simply blinded to the truth of Jesus’ words saying, “Happy are those who are humble, for they will receive what God has promised” (Mt. 5:5).
Faith and hope in the Living God
Finally, the story also reminds us that we should face the unknown future, not only with a particular goal in mind, and with a sense of humility, but also with faith and hope in the living God. The story of Moses’ call did not stop in his recognition of his own weaknesses. Rather, it continued with the assurance of God’s abiding presence.
When Moses felt the impossibility of the task before him, God said to him, “I will be with you” (v.12). God’s “I will be with you” was enough to give Moses the strength and the courage to face the powers-that-be in Egypt, and to challenge the Pharaoh to let the people go.
Christian believers throughout the ages have been sustained by this promise of God’s abiding presence. And I do believe that we, too, could claim this assurance even as we face the unknown future before us.
By putting all our faith and hope in God, we are affirming that He is indeed the God of the unknown future. He knows what is best for us. Amen. # nordis.net