Friday, January 23, 2015

Brave Grace

     God uses people to accomplish His purposes.  Plain, old,  ordinary people.  Like you and me.  Isn't that amazingly scary?
     The idea of being used by God was so astounding to Moses that he suggested that God use someone else.  Moses thought that his story was one of failure and shame.  He hesitated to let God use him.  Of course, Pharaoh was reluctant to listen to Moses to let the Israelites go.  And now that the Israelites were free, Moses was leading them into even more peril.  What did God expect?  Moses had killed an Egyptian and then spent forty years on the back side of the desert.  God could have picked someone else.
     Moses knew that rescuing the people of God was an undertaking fraught with difficulty.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp near Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. They are to encamp by the sea, directly opposite Baal Zephon. Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are wandering around the land in confusion, hemmed in by the desert.’  And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.” So the Israelites did this.  ~Exodus 14:1-4
     God deliberately placed the Israelites between the sea and the Egyptian army.  Through Moses, God gave them specific, step-by-step instructions.  Instructions that were leading them down a path to apparent ruin. Turn  around and camp. Camp there. On that particular spot of sand. Right there, before the entrapping sea. Yes, right there in that impossible place.
     The Lord occasionally does the same with us, leading us into hardship, bringing us to a particular point or allowing us to be in a circumstance not of our choosing. Our initial reaction may be panic and alarm.  (When I was diagnosed with cancer 5 years ago, I lay on the couch for three days.)  God gently reveals the depth of our faith to us.  He teaches us wisdom and shows us His ways.  And then we learn to lean into Him.  To rest securely on the only One who could ever save us anyway.  The One who holds us gently in His arms.
     Moses and the Israelites learned that the same God who led them in, would lead them out.  The problem was not left to Moses.  It was God’s dilemma to solve which He chose to do through Moses inadequate hands.  Moses stretched out his arm over the sea.  The waters parted and the Israelites were brought through to safety.
     Sometimes, like Moses, we think that our story is one of shame, failure, and inadequacy.  But you know, it doesn’t have to be.  Our story can be a story of grace.
     It is a brave grace that saves.  A grace that fixes broken lives.  A grace that heals broken hearts and restores sinners.  It is a brave grace that looks beyond what we have done and sees what we can be.  God does not count our sin against us.
     God exhibits grace and mercy so that we might experience forgiveness and healing.  So that, like Moses, we can see that we are capable of being used to further His glory.   Thank God for His brave grace.
     This post is part of a series on Exodus.  I have been joining the Good Morning Girls at Women Living Well.  My other Exodus posts may be found here.
Exodus 1-5  The Burning Bush
Exodus 6-10  Great Lengths
     This weeks assignment Exodus, chapters 16-20.

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