Thursday, February 11, 2010

Why does God do that?

Why does God call us to tasks that seem impossible in our current situation?

My wife asked a similar question this morning. Like many American families, we have a tight budget and don’t have a lot of wiggle room. The LORD has always provided for our needs and has often blessed us with some extras. We have a very generous congregation that God has also used to bless us in numerous ways including financially. Yet, we still need to keep a pretty tight budget to meet our expenses. Then when those unexpected car repairs, medical expenses, or other needs arise, we find ourselves a little behind budget for that month. Yet, despite our situation, we strongly believe God has called us to adopt internationally. But why does he call us when our current financial situation prohibits us from fulfilling that call?

It’s interesting to notice throughout scripture how often God calls people to a mission that in their current situation seems impossible. Think about God’s call to Moses. God calls Moses in the wilderness after he had been away from the Egypt for 40 years and had already killed an Egyptian soldier. Had God appeared to him in the burning bush while he was still in Egypt, he could have used his influence as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter to help his people, right? But God waits until Moses is wanted for murder and has been out of the land for forty years. His adoptive Egyptian mother was probably not even alive anymore and could offer no sympathetic voice on Moses’ behalf.

Moses understood the dire situation and didn’t want to go. The last time he was in Egypt Pharaoh had tried to kill him and it seemed ridiculous to go to Egypt in Moses’ situation. He offered the LORD one excuse after another until he finally said, “O LORD, please send someone else to do it.” Yet, God calls him.

So Moses obeyed the call of the LORD on his life, despite feeling that his history in Egypt made him the least likely candidate to secure the freedom of the Israelites from Pharaoh. As it turned out, Moses’ first attempt seemed to affirm his insecurities. He asked Pharaoh to release the people so they could worship the LORD. Pharaoh, in response, increases the amount of labor for the Israelites. Now Moses not only had Pharaoh angry with him, but his own people. Afterward, Moses basically asked the LORD, “Why on earth did you call me to this task?”

You know the rest of the story: God sent ten plagues on Egypt, Pharaoh released the people but then changed his mind, God parted the Red Sea, Israel crossed on dry land, and Pharaoh along with his army drown in the water. In the end the Israelites plundered the Egyptians, gained their freedom, and Egypt lay decimated. Moses thought he was the last person for the task, and yet he was the one God called.

Why did God call Moses at eighty years of age to deliver Israel from Egypt when he was a wanted man there? It didn’t seem to make sense. Yet, the answer lies in scripture. Moses wondered why God had called him to this task and in Exodus 6:6-8 God answered:

Say, therefore, to the sons of Israel, ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. ‘Then I will take you for My people, and I will be your God; and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. ‘I will bring you to the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you for a possession; I am the Lord.’ ” (NIV)

Why does God call us to tasks that seem impossible in our current situation? So He can glorify His name. God loves to take situations that look humanly impossible and reveal His glory. It’s maybe not always comfortable for those involved, but God's purposes are not our comfort, but His glory. And when all is said and done we look back and say, “Wow! What an Awesome God we serve!”

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