Lent First Sunday Morning Prayer (21 February 2021) Exodus 34:10
Today’s meditation is based on our Old Testament reading, Exodus 34:1-10. In verse 10, the Lord, “said, Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the Lord: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee”. Previously, Moses had received the commandments written by God on tables. But Moses cast the tables and broke them beneath the mount when he saw the Israelites in front of the calf. After this, the Lord asked Moses to come up to Mount Sinai. The Lord asked Moses to hew two tables of stone like unto the first. He said He would write upon the tables the words that were in the first tables. Moses rose up and went to the top of the mountain early in the morning. The Lord descended in the cloud and made a covenant with Moses. Let us meditate about Moses’s life and his characters that please the Lord to make a covenant with Moses.
1. Moses was chosen by God: When Moses was born, the law in Egypt was that all the Israelites boy babies must be killed. But God protected Moses. His parents hid him for three months. God arranged for Moses to be adopted by the pharaoh’s daughter. Moses migrated from the land of bondage to the royal court. We do not know how many male children survived that time. But Moses was protected in the Pharaoh’s court and received royal education. Even though he was an Israelite, he was considered as a royal Egyptian. But God had a plan for Moses. He wanted to do mighty things through Moses. When God’s time came, Moses had to leave his comfortable palace life and migrate to the wilderness. Moses started his life in the house of bondage, moved to a royal palace and moved again to wilderness. We are familiar about the prophecy and call about prophet Jeremiah’s ministry. God said, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations”. This prophecy was given many years after Moses was dead. But this also happened in Moses’s life. God sanctified, protected and separated Moses even before he was formed in mother’s womb. The Lord met him in the burning bush and started to fulfil His vision in Moses’s life. Moses was chosen to do God’s will among the Israelites.
2. Moses accepted his call: Moses did not know about the God of Israel because he was brought up as an Egyptian in the royal palace. When God met Moses in the wilderness, he was curious to know about the LORD God. Moses replied he was not eloquent although he was educated in the royal palace like a prince. He was reluctant to take up the responsibility and tried to push away the responsibility. When God said Aaron would speak for Moses, he was convinced and accepted the responsibility and leadership. God showed a few miracles in the wilderness to convince Moses. Moses accepted his call and from then on, he focused to do the will of God. Moses accepted God’s call and was committed to his call.
3. Moses looked up to the Lord: Moses met the elders of Israel and told them about God’s mission. Aaron spoke to the elders and Moses performed miracles before them. After Moses and Aaron met Pharaoh, they expected Israelites’ freedom from their slavery. But the Israelites were treated very hard and got angry on Moses and Aaron. Moses went to the LORD God for clarification. God performed miracles and allowed plagues in Egypt to break the heart of Pharaoh. The Israelites were freed from their bondage. When they were on the way to the promised land, they saw Red Sea before them. They could not move forward but the Egyptians were chasing them. When the Israelites did not have a way to escape, they cried unto the LORD God. The Israelites had seen the mighty works of the Lord. But instead of putting their trust on the Lord, they quarrelled with Moses and Aaron. Again, Moses went to the LORD God for His guidance. God performed a great miracle. The Red Sea split into two and gave way to the Israelites. When Moses stretched his hands over the sea, the sea returned and the Egyptians were dead. Throughout their journey, the Israelites quarrelled and fought with Moses and Aaron. But Moses did not fight with them but looked up to the Lord for His guidance.
4. Moses was concerned about the people: Moses was at Mount Sinai for nearly forty days to receive the commandments from God. The people forced Aaron and he made a golden calf. This idolatry kindled God’s wrath. “The Lord said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.” But Moses pleaded for the people saying “if thou wilt forgive their sin--; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.” When Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses, the anger of the Lord was kindled and Miriam became a leaper. Moses pleaded for Miriam and Aaron. When God allowed plague among the Israelites, Moses pleaded for the Israelites. He always pleaded for the people when God’s anger was kindled against them. Moses was concerned about the Israelites and interceded for them.
We see three categories of people in this passage who interacted with Moses. They are represented by Aaron, Israelites and Pharaoh:
- The pharaoh saw God’s mighty works and plagues in Egypt. But he refused to acknowledge the Lord of Israel. His heart was hardened every time and he refused to allow the Israelites to go. The pharaoh and his army were destroyed in the Red Sea.
- The Israelites also witnessed God’s miracles in Egypt and in the wilderness. But they continued to murmur and argue with Moses for leading them out of the bondage land. The Lord met all their needs but they had to see miracles often to trust on the LORD God. They sinned against God and only a few in that generation entered the promised land Canaan.
- Aaron was chosen by God to be Moses’s spokesperson. He knew all about God’s plan but he could not stand firm against the people when they asked for gods. He did not look up to the Lord for guidance. Instead, he made a calf idol for them. But he did not accept responsibility for his action and put all the blame on the Israelites.
We meditated on four important qualities of Moses. He was chosen by God even before he was born. He accepted God’s call and committed to fulfil God’s mission. He looked up to God whenever He needed guidance. He was concerned about the people and held himself accountable for God’s people. Moses showed how to be a good leader in all that he did. He was a good shepherd. He completed the will of God in his life. He was accountable and truthful to his call.
We are in the Lent season. We are remembering the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, His passion and death on the Cross for the remission of everyone’s sin. We must reflect the qualities of Christ in our life. Let us self-reflect on ourselves. What characters are we exhibiting? Where can we place ourselves among these four? Are we like Moses or Aaron or the Israelites or the Pharaoh? We have many lessons to learn from their lives. Are our characters pleasing God? Like Moses, we are separated for God to execute His plan in our lives. Are we willing to commit ourselves completely? Or do we require a spokesperson like Moses? Do we look up to the Lord for guidance in all that we do? We know God has a plan for us. Are we walking in God’s ways to fulfil His plan? Are we blaming others or the circumstances? Exodus 15:26 has a conditional promise for us. “If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee”. Often, we have seen God’s work in our lives. Are we hardening our hearts or are we obeying to our Lord’s word? Do we require God to perform miracles often to reinstate His place in our lives? Jesus said in John 20:29, “Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed”. Israelites believed God when they saw miracles. How is our belief? Are we concerned about those around us? Are we interceding for them? Esther 4:14 has a caution to everyone of us. “For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
This Lent season, while we awaiting the second Advent, we can claim the promise in Exodus 34:10. “Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the Lord: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee”. Our Lord can use us to do mighty works if we commit ourselves to do His will like Moses, look up to the Lord for guidance in all that we do and are concerned about the salvation of those around us. I pray that this promise is fulfilled in our lives. Amen!