“…this will be the sign for you that I myself have sent you: When you bring the people out from Egypt, you will serve God on this mountain.”
- Exodus 3:12
ARE YOU WAITING FOR A SIGN?
What does God want me to do with my life? Who am I supposed to marry? How can I be sure the path that I’m on is the right one? How do I know God’s will for me?
Have you ever asked yourself these questions, or ones very much like them? I confess that these thoughts have occurred to me quite often, particularly during times of momentous decision-making and seasons of intense trial. “If only God would write His plan for me in the sky, or at least in a personalized email!”
Today’s Bible verse presents a challenge for those of us who are prone to that way of thinking. This is the beginning of the conversation God had with Moses commanding him to lead His people out of Egypt. Moses (like so many of us) asks, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt” (v. 11)?
(Can I just stop here and say that this response is all too common—and unfortunate—among God’s people. It is true that, in and of ourselves, we are inadequate to the tasks that God has for us; but that is by design—our inadequacy is the platform which God uses to display His total sufficiency. The focus shouldn't be on our insecurities, but rather on God's strength.)
In any event, God answers Moses in the verse we see above. In essence, He simply tells Moses to trust Him. After the exodus, and not before, God will provide the sign.
Doesn’t that seem a little backwards to our imperfect way of thinking? If only we had a sign to begin with, then we would know for sure that we had heard God correctly! But God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:9), and His way is that we express our faith by our obedience. And if our faith hinges on what we have seen, well, that’s not any faith at all, is it?!
I want to go back and take a second look at verse 12 in its entirety, though, because I left something out that needs to be seen in order to get the whole picture. God said, “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt you shall serve God on this mountain.”
Did you see it? In all honesty, I missed it the first time I read this passage. I was so challenged by the fact that the sign would be preceded by obedience, that I almost lost sight of the enabling promise that God gave Moses: “I will be with you.” Yes, God often calls us to obedience without the “benefit” of a sign; but His Word abounds with the promise of His presence (see Joshua 1:9, Isaiah 43:2, and John 14:17, to name a few).
Immanuel, one of the most precious names for Jesus, is itself a promise of “God with us,” and it is this promise that enables us to obey. Though to our human understanding, the path may be far from clear, littered with obstacles, filled with uncertainty and doubt, we can move forward in confidence, knowing that the One who sent us also goes with us. My friends, do not shy away from following God’s clear direction; embrace it, and obey with a faith-filled heart and a certainty that He has not only sent you and gone before you, but walks beside you all the way.
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