Her mutation allowed her to control the weather which sounds tiny until you realize all of the wild things she could do with it. Controlling the wind allowed her to fly, toss enemies around like rag dolls, and even bring down aircraft. Power over the clouds meant she could create spontaneous floods, blast her foes with lethal lightning, and blind everyone with thick fog. Even when her enemies were unstoppable, she would blast them with arctic winds and freeze them solid. The the X-Men had time for lunch and naps before they thought up a plan to stop the bad guy. Storm was great. Too great. She was an "I win" button that made everything way too easy.
There is a man in the Bible who became that sort of legend and powerhouse to the people of God. He too grew up in Egypt. He too performed phenomenal miracles over nature that would cause Storm's powers to look like the magic tricks you see at a child's birthday party. He too was an "I win" button and no situation the people ran into was unsolvable with him around. But Moses didn't start out that way. The movies you've seen may have painted a very different picture than the truth in the Bible. Moses actually starts off as a bit of a loser. So what turned him into the hero we know?
Moses was a Hebrew that grew up in the Pharaoh's palace but eventually fled Egypt after murdering a man and then became a shepherd and started a family out in the sticks. There's enough drama in his life for that alone to be an interesting movie but his story really gets started when God shows up to Him in the form of a burning bush.
There is a lot to this conversation that can be found in Exodus 3 and 4. The bottom line is that God tells Moses to go tell the Pharaoh to "Let My people go!" But Moses wasn't up for the task. More than that, Moses didn't really believe God was up for the task. Let me highlight some parts of the conversation (I'll use italics rather than quotes when I'm paraphrasing).
"Who am I?" (Ex 3:11) Moses severely doubts himself and his ability to get the job done. God's answer? "I will be with you." (Ex 3:12)
"What if they don't believe me?" (Ex 4:1) Is this self doubt or is Moses doubting God here? God just said that He would be with him. Moses didn't seem very reassured by that thought. He didn't seem to think God being with him would be of much help. God's response? "I will give you three miracles to show them that will be signs to prove what you are saying is from me." (Ex 4:2-9)
"I am slow of speech and slow of tongue." (Ex 4:10) Despite God's clear call, promise to be with him, and provision of miracles, Moses is still only seeing the obstacles in his way. He still isn't realizing that God can overcome anything. God responds. "Who has made man's mouth? . . . Now then go, and I, even I, will be with your mouth." (Ex 4:11-12)
"Lord, please send someone else to do it." (Ex 4:13) Moses is so focused on the obstacles that are in his way that he doesn't realize God is big enough to overcome them all. Moses is so concerned with the things that stand in his way, that he is too frightened to do what God is calling him to do. Oddly, God concedes. "Take your brother Aaron with you and let him do the talking." (Ex 4:14-16)
Talk about missing the forest for the trees. Have you ever done that thing where you take a quarter or even your thumb and hold it up in front of you to completely cover up the sun. Isn't that crazy when you think about it? Your little thumb, maybe an inch wide, covering up the entire sun from view. I mean, the sun can fit 1.3 million earths in it and here you are covering it all up with your insignificant thumb. That's how important perspective is. Some things can look so much bigger than they really are while others can seem so much smaller. Moses has his eyes on all of the obstacles to what God is calling him to do. And because his perspective is dominated by those obstacles, He is failing to realize just how big God is.
So Much for My Childhood Memories
So here is where I ruin movies like The Ten Commandments and Prince of Egypt for you. In the movies, Moses leaves the Burning Bush and storms into Egypt boldly rallying the Israelites, commanding Pharaoh to free the people, and dropping divine retribution on the nation. But if you read chapters 4 through 8 of Exodus, you may be shocked. Honestly, you may even feel lied to.
Who rallies the Israelites together with words and signs? Aaron, not Moses (Ex 4:30)
When Pharaoh doubles the labor of the people rather than letting them go, what does Moses do? He doesn't stand firm. He questions God saying things like "Why did you ever send me" and You haven't delivered us at all." (Ex 5:22-23)
Who stands before Pharaoh and turns the staff into a serpent? Aaron, not Moses. (Ex 7:10)
Who turns the Nile to blood bringing the first plague on Egypt? Aaron, not Moses. (Ex 7:19)
Who brings the plague of frogs against Egypt? Aaron, not Moses. (Ex 8:6)
Who brings the plague of gnats against Egypt? Aaron, not Moses. (Ex 8:17)
Moses may not be the courageous lion of a man we've made him out to be. In fact, Moses doubts God so badly that he can't find the courage to do what God has commanded. Instead, he hides behind Aaron. Can you blame him? Do you bravely do all that God has called you to do? Have you never chickened out of doing the right thing? Have you ever been too nervous to work up the courage to share the gospel or been too afraid to stand up for the victim of bullying? Have you ever sat back and waited for someone else to do it for you? That's how Moses was. So what changed him?
The Hero Awakens
Moses changes when he sees the power of God. Aaron turns a staff into a snake, but the Pharaoh's magicians copy the trick. The magicians even copy the first two plagues. They are unimpressed. The obstacles that stood in the way still seem big to Moses. They still seem bigger than God. Until the third plague. After that, everything changes. "The magicians tried with their secret arts to bring forth gnats, but they could not; so there were gnats on man and beast. Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, 'This is the finger of God.'" (Exodus 8:18-19)
As Moses sees God's power beginning to triumph, he gets a courage boost. It's like he starts slowly pulling his thumb away from his eye and begins seeing the sun. His perspective starts to shift and he begins realizing that God may be bigger than the obstacles after all. From that moment on, he begins to do what he should have been doing all along.
Who brings the plague of flies? Moses with no mention of Aaron at all. (Ex 8:20-25)
Who tells Pharaoh of the coming pestilence? Moses, again no Aaron. (Ex 9:1-5)
Who brings down the plague of boils? Moses. (Ex 9:10)
Who calls down hail and lightning? You guessed it, Moses. (Ex 9:23)
Who summons the winds that bring in the locusts? If you said Aaron, you're pretty bad at this. (Ex 10:13)
Who spreads darkness over the land? Good old Moses. (Ex 10:22)
Then comes the angel of death and Pharaoh's son dies. The king of Egypt lets God's people go. They flee the land of Egypt and reach the Red Sea, when Pharaoh changes his mind. Moses finds himself responsible for over a million people including women, children, the elderly, and the sick. And he watches as thousands of chariots lead an army toward his helpless people who are trapped by the Red Sea. Can you imagine the panic? Can you imagine how scared you would be? The Moses at the beginning of this story might have cursed God and fled for his life. But not this Moses. This Moses has put things into perspective. This Moses knows that no matter how big the obstacles may seem, God is bigger. This Moses knows that if God has called or commanded, then God will provide and nothing can stop Him. This Moses is no coward. This Moses is a hero.
But Moses said to the people "Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent." -- Exodus 14:13-14
And then it happens. Moses lifts up his staff and God splits the Red Sea. We've heard this story so many times that we expect this. I wonder if Moses had the slightest clue that God was going to split the sea in two. Maybe. Maybe not. He may not have known how God would do it, but Moses knew that God was big enough to handle this hopeless situation. Moses was a hero because he had grown to believe God could do anything.
Super Calling Plus Super Obstacles Equals Super Deliverance
There is a hero inside each one of us. God wants to use us to do great things. But we need to get things into perspective. When God calls us to do something, there is no obstacle on earth big enough to stop Him from doing it! Sometimes we hold our fears and worries so close to our face that they block out all hope and they even block out God. We need to put them in their proper place, stop focusing on the obstacles, so that we can begin to see how big God is.
Let me be clear, I'm not saying that you can do anything you set your mind to. I'm saying you can do anything that God calls you to do. If God calls you to be a plumber, you can try as you may to become an astronaut and it may not work out. But if God calls you to be a brain surgeon, you may not believe in yourself but He can do it. Would you start to believe like Moses? Would you rip the obstacles that are blinding you from God's power away from your eyes so you can see the truth? Will you stand up with courage and do what God is calling you to do? Will you trust God and follow Him even when it seems hopeless and you have no idea how God can save the day? Will you be a hero?
- What is God calling you to do in the Bible? (Share the gospel? Love your enemies? What else?)
- What is God calling you to do personally? (Has the Holy Spirit convicted you of something lately?)
- What obstacles stand in your way? What are you afraid of? What keeps you from acting?
- Who is your Aaron? Who is the person you look to when it's time to do the tough things? Is it your pastor? Your Christian friend?
- How has God come through for you in the past? How can you remind yourself of that to draw faith and courage from it?
- Do you really believe that God is bigger than your obstacles? What will you do about it?
- Have you joined God's team by placing your faith in Jesus, the greater Moses who freed God's peple from slavery to sin, Satan, and death? What's stopping you?