I mopped the floors this morning.  They shine a tad bit more than yesterday.  The crumbs are up and the squished blueberries are trashed. 

Last night as we did homework, my daughter asked me if I had a job.  I answered her by saying, “if you are asking me if I receive a paycheck, then no; if you are asking me if I have responsibilities that must be tended to or our whole family suffers, then yes.”  She looked at me with a stunned, “didn’t mean to step in that wasp’s nest” face.  It’s the truth though.  After fifteen years of full time, hard core, on the job work, the Lord now has me home.  Many of the tasks are underwhelming.  Yet, the gospel is here.     

These commonplace days matter.  I matter and so do you.  Whatever task we are doing, we are seen by God AND he has purposed our tasks for now or for what is to come.  When we look to scripture, we see this truth.  As Exodus 3 opens,  Moses is tending the flock of his father in law.  Tending.  Webster’s dictionary defines tending as “applying oneself to the care of, to watch over, or to manage the operations of.”  Sound familiar to any moms out there?? If you’re feeling unseen, as if your work is too monotonous to matter, like this certainly can’t be leading anywhere, take heart, read on and look for the gospel….

In Exodus 3:1-12, we read of God appearing to Moses as a bush aflame yet not burning up.  Take a moment and read these 12 verses of scripture with fresh eyes and a readiness to receive them as the living words they are.  Consider what God is revealing about himself in this passage, what attributes of his character do you notice, how does the passage translate from God and Moses then to God and you today?  Jot down your thoughts and the specific words or phrases that prompted them before you come back to read the rest of this writing.  

In the true story of Exodus 3, I found three takeaways to encourage me and re-center me in the gospel.  I hope they just as encouraging to you! 

God is all powerful.   Standing in amazement alongside Moses as he declares, “Why isn’t that bush burning up? I must go see it[1],” we recognize the grandiosity and magnificence of God.   He is all powerful.  Omnipotent.  He is not controlled by but is in full control of circumstances.  We should be enamored by him, awestruck.   His power earns our worship.  At the onset of the chapter, God takes center stage.  When we find ourselves stuck in the back of the desert as Moses is here[2], or mopping the floors again, we remember that while are current tasks may seem menial, God is magnificent, all powerful, and in full control.    

God is deeply personal.  In verse 4, our all-powerful God saw the exact place where Moses stood, delivered specific instructions for him to remove his sandals, and called him emphatically by his name twice.  God saw Moses.  He knew where he was standing, what he was wearing; God knew Moses’ specific lineage (I am the God of your father[3]) and also the greater nation to which his family belonged.  God was aware of every detail of Moses’ life and God recounts how the deep suffering and heartache of the Hebrew people (Moses’ extended family, if you will) has moved him to take action.  The good news is that God holds dear every detail surrounding you and me today; our cries to him do not go unnoticed or unappreciated.  In fact, he keeps track of all my sorrows and records every tear[4].   He knows where we are, what we are up against, what obstacles we face whether true or contrived.  He knows us by name. 

God is eternally purposeful.  In verse 10, Moses is hit right between the eyes as almighty God announces that he will be divinely used to deliver the children of Israel from the grip of Pharaoh.  The plan God has for Moses is far more specific and purposeful than Moses would have ever imagined.  God prepared Moses at every stage of his life for the task ahead.  He had been gifted and groomed all along to deliver an entire nation from oppression and slavery.  He shepherded sheep in preparation for shepherding God’s chosen people.  God may not be calling you or me to free a nation but we are each gifted by God for divine purposes.  God will use each of our unique stories and giftings to accomplish mighty things for his kingdom and his glory – things we may or may not ever know.  We were created to play a role in the grandest story of all time and he has already gifted us accordingly.  Those gifts may be in flourishing right now or they may be under the careful tending of the Master Gardener who alone knows when they are best suited to bloom. 

God must keep his foremost position.  In verse 12, God emphatically states to Moses, “I will certainly be with you.”  When God employs Moses for his slave-stopping purposes, he immediately encourages Moses with the promise of his preeminent presence.  Although Moses takes some convincing (a-hem, don’t we all!), God’s assurance of his presence, peace, and power ultimately disarm fears and seeming shortcomings.   What we are able to produce or effect for the kingdom is not dependent solely on what we bring to the table.  Moses brought shepherding abilities and God turned him into the mouthpiece and leader of an entire nation.  When we recognize our gifts, surrender them to God, allow his redemptive work to flow through us, he is able to exceedingly more than we can ask or imagine.

Often, we read scripture and the stories seem far removed from our day to day, but these are living words, friends.  These are stories preserved for generations in order to encourage and empower us – not because they are stale and immaterial, but mighty and beneficial.  This story in Exodus displays the gospel for us right here in 2019….  In God’s great love for us, he knows us by name, pursues us, and, in his power, chooses to make us more like his son, Jesus Christ, that we may live for his glory and his kingdom.  

[1] Exodus 3:3

[2] Exodus 3:1

[3] Exodus 3:6

[4] Psalm 56:8

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