|Reflections for this date are based on the following scripture passages:|
|Mark 15||Mark 16||Exodus 5||Exodus 6||Psalms 24|
Most of us have at least some awareness of the gap between perception and reality, and yet we often allow ourselves to be caught in the trap of allowing our perception to become our reality. Why? Because we fail to question our perceptions and accept them as the unquestionable reality. When it comes to our relationship with God we may at times find ourselves prone to accept our perceptions, which we have concluded to be reality, and question God when it should be the other way around. This may be at play for Moses and Aaron in Exodus chapter 5 and following.
God spoke to Moses from the burning bush and appointed him to return to Egypt and be His instrument to free the Israelites from Egyptian bondage. After considerable protest, Moses headed back to Egypt and was met on the way by his brother Aaron who the Lord had sent to be his partner in this venture. Arriving in Egypt, they went to Pharoah and announced, "This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Let My people go, so that they may hold a festival for Me in the wilderness." (Exodus 5:1) Perception then came into play. What was Moses' perception of what would happen when he made this announcement at God's direction? God had not told him how this would all play out, but Moses no doubt perceived in his own mind how it would go down.
We are not told what Moses thought would happen, but if I were in his place my perception would be that since God had sent me I would go in to Pharoah and make this announcement and with God's intervention Pharoah would consent and grant the request. It might take some persuasion and God might have to demonstrate His power in some way, but Pharoah would consent. What happened instead? Pharoah said to them, "Moses and Aaron, why are you causing the people to neglect their work? Get to your labors!" (Exodus 5:4) Then Pharoah instructed his overseers to withdraw the provision of straw for the making of bricks and require the Israelites to get their own straw while also keeping up with the required quotas. Rather than freeing the Israelites, Moses had made things harder for them.
What would most of us be thinking at this point? "God must not be in this," or "I must have misunderstood God," or a number of similar thoughts. What did Moses do? He went back to God and questioned why God had even sent him. Here is where faith can falter, and it is at least in part because we have been led astray by our perceptions. When God doesn't act according to our perceptions, what then? There is this popular idea in Christian circles that if God is in a thing all will go smoothly. If they don't go smoothly this becomes our "sign" that God must not be in the endeavor.
How did God respond to Moses when he questioned why God had sent him? God said, "'Now you are going to see what I will do to Pharaoh: he will let them go because of My strong hand; he will drive them out of his land because of My strong hand.'" Then God spoke to Moses, telling him, 'I am Yahweh.'" (Exodus 6:1-2) It was in the less-than-smooth turn of events that God's power would be demonstrated, and both Moses and Pharoah would know, "I am Yahweh." Moses was then ready to set aside his perceptions and fears and see what God would do.