The miracle of action (part 2)
On Friday we talked about the miracle of action. And it’s just such a good topic that I think we should talk about it again today. Also, I originally put all of these thoughts into Friday’s post and then took pity upon you all because I thought you might still be reading it today, it was so long. So one way or another let’s dive back into this conversation again.
This time, with real miracles!
(Feel free to oooooh and aaaaaah as you feel led.)
One of my favorite verses is Exodus 14:14. It’s the part in Exodus when the Israelites are fleeing from the Egyptians and the Israelites are being predictably cranky. So Moses tries to get them all to chill out. He encourages them by reminding them, “The Lord Himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” (Which could probably serve as the original “Keep calm and carry on.”)
This verse has always inspired me to believe that the Lord will do what I can’t and that I don’t have to fear because He – Himself! – is fighting for me. I still believe that is true. But I just recently look notice of the verse that immediately follows:
“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving!'”
And let me tell you, I kind of love that. It’s like God’s version of a “duh” moment. Moses was all, “God’s got this on lockdown, guys! RELAX.” And then God throws down a well-timed reality check and says, “You need to be rescued? Then perhaps you should stop talking to me about it and start, you know, using the legs and brain I gave you to actively run for your lives.”
(Paraphrasing is running rampant here; just go with it.)
But God’s not done yet. He probably knows that Moses, like me, would have been like, “Ok. Good call. Moving: I’m down with that. But first, can You please tell me specifically and in minute detail how exactly You want me to move? Because that’d be great.”
Poor God. We require so much extra work.
So God delivers the 411 on what’s about to go down: “Pick up your staff and raise your hand over the sea. Divide the water so the Israelites can walk through the middle of the sea on dry ground. And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they will charge in after the Israelites. My great glory will be displayed through Pharaoh and his troops, his chariots, and his charioteers. When my glory is displayed through them, all Egypt will see my glory and know that I am the Lord!”
Now, if I were Moses, I probably would have felt the need to interject something to the tune of, “You lost me at ‘divide the water.’ Don’t get me wrong – it sounds awesome. But I’m just wondering how exactly You’d like me to part miles of water down the middle with this here stick?”
But Moses has more faith than me. He just went ahead and followed through:
“Then Moses raised his hand over the sea, and the Lord opened up a path through the water with a strong east wind. The wind blew all that night, turning the seabed into dry land. So the people of Israel walked through the middle of the sea on dry ground, with walls of water on each side!”
Did you catch that first verse? Moses raised his hand over the sea, and the Lord opened up a path through the water.
Action = us. Miracles = God. It’s a clear division of labor.
And did you see what God’s main purpose was? Stated a few verses above? That all of Egypt would see His glory and know that He is the Lord. Basically, that people who didn’t know Him would come to know Him because of what He did through Moses and the Israelites.
Which raises the stakes quite a bit. Because when I choose not to hold up my end of the bargain by either a) not taking action or b) forgetting that God can do the impossible, I’m not only hurting myself by missing out on the miracle. I’m denying other people a chance to see what God can do and come to know Him as a result. I’m shutting the door on an opportunity to be used by God for His glory through what I clearly could never do for myself.
All the more reason to get moving, right?