Walking through the wilderness – dry land.

Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought “I will go over and see this strange sight – why the bush does not burn up. When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said “Here I am” “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals for the place where you are standing is holy ground. Then he said, “I am the Lord God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this Moses his his face because he was afraid to look at God. The Lord said, I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt……. “So now go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” But Moses said to God, “Who am I. that I should go to pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” And God said, “I will be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that it is I who have sent you. When you have brought the people out of Egypt you will worship God on this mountain.” Exodus 3 1-7a 10-12

We know that Jesus spent forty days and forty nights in the wilderness. He prayed and he fasted, seeking to find the path his ministry would follow. He learned that he was not to give in to personal need, even when fasting in the wilderness. He should not give in to the emotional needs of being cared for and kept safe. Nor should he crave power and fame. That was not the way of his fathers plans – for him- for the world. His personal needs came last. His fathers wishes came before anything else, even when it was hard.E

Jesus was to be the fulfillment of many prophecies. Some were from the Old Testament prophets, others from those who recognised his role from before his birth. Stories told him by his parents about how he was to become wonderful, counsellor, a light to light the way for the Gentiles and bring glory to the people of Israel.

Moses was struck by the unexpectedness of seeing God in the harshness of his environment. His people the Israelites found themselves as slaves, suffering and struggling under the cruel Egyptian regime. Remember the story of Moses being rescued by Pharaoh’s daughter. He had a keen understanding of the contrast between the luxury of a pharaoh’s palace and the cruel regime his people endured during their time of slavery under Egyptian rule.

Then, seeing his God present in those searing flames bursting from the bush, he understood the role he was to play in leading his struggling people. He was to lead them to a land of freedom, a plentiful land – flowing with milk and honey.

John the Baptist had emerged from the wilderness to call the people to repentance and to be baptised. Jesus had spent time in the wilderness to think about the plans his Father had for him. None of them were alone. God was with John, with Jesus and with Moses too.

Do we hear the call? And when we hear the call do we find the challenge impossible and walk away? remember the words God gave to Moses when he Said to God ” I am nobody. How can I go to the king and bring the Israelites out of Egypt? God answered “I will be with you”

So when we next have that awesome moment, instead of continuing our journey will we hear the Father God calling us and saying, “Bring justice to your land” Whe we turn our backs and say “this is impossible,” perhaps we can hear his words as he says to us “I will be with you”

Our prayer for today

Father God,

we seek to find you

in those awesome moments.

Those moments when we

find you in beauty,

in glory,

in the racing clouds,

in the glorious sun,

in peace

and in joy,

in the pain and the struggle.

Lord I want to stay with you

in the harshness

in the cruelty

in the ravages

of the world

in which we live.

Before I turn away and say “I can’t”

remind me that you are the all in all,

that when I attempt

to answer your call,

remind me that I am not alone.

Remind me that you are with me

as you were with Moses,

the prophets,

with John

and with our Lord Jesus Christ.

You are with all those you call,

that we might respond

with glad hearts,

with grateful hearts

and a determined spirit,

that in all things

Your will might be done.

Amen

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