Too often we think the only hindrance to freedom is the power that holds us in bondage. In the narrative of Exodus it’s Pharaoh. He is the one who keeps ‘digging in his heels’ and keeps thinking he can stop God from delivering His people. His arrogance knows no bounds. When he says, “who is the Lord?” or “I don’t know the Lord,” he has no intention of getting to know Him (Ex. 5:2-3). He is indeed a powerful enemy.
Pharaoh’s arrogance & Moses’ doubts.
But Moses has issues too, expressed in a “crisis of faith” of his own. He doesn’t really believe God will actually pull off this deliverance from Egypt. He needs signs to believe, so the Lord gives him the sign of the rod/staff (Ex 4:4-5). The second problem is equally serious: once Moses gets the point that God is sending him (“Now, go and I will be with your mouth” Ex. 4:12), Moses still thinks he’s the one doing the delivering, which is why he doesn’t want to do this: “please send someone else!” (4:13). So the deliverer’s syndrome is a big problem for Moses (see how he killed an Egyptian in Ex. 2). We know he eventually does get it when he says to the people in 14:13-14 “Fear not, stand firm and see the salvation of the Lord. The Lord will fight for you, you only have to be silent.” He now knows (after no less than 10 powerful signs, see Exodus 4-14), that God does the delivering, not himself. God was patient with Moses!
Moses’ story is our story too.
What about us? This is our story too. We too struggle with believing that God can deliver us from the oppressor/king now called “sin” (“Let not sin reign in your mortal bodies to make you obey its passions,” Romans 6:12). We too need signs to believe that we can be free from our various addictions and attachments. We too have a sign made of wood, only it’s not the rod of a shepherd, it’s a cross. Paul says, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, it is the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:18). None of the powerful signs performed in Egypt can compare with the sign of the Gospel in the Cross. When Christ dies for our sin and secures victory over death, this new Exodus becomes the supreme manifestation of God’s power!
We are not our own deliverer.
We also have Moses’ other problem. We need to learn that we will never be our own deliverer, nor the deliverer of our daughter, son, father, mother, husband, wife, friend… who struggle with long-term addictions and failures. We too need to let go of the deliverer syndrome! The power to deliver is with Jesus, not with us (Luke 10:17-20).
Let’s pray we can all get to that place of true freedom, when we know we’re not really in charge, delivering ourselves and others!
Are we ready for God’s power?
Is our view of what God can do limited by our own rational logic and experience? The journey to accept we are not the deliverer of ourselves and others can be long, are we ready to let God bring us to this place of true freedom?
We really do want to hear from you! Feel free to share your thoughts and reactions to this and Sunday’s message in the comments below.