Thursday, March 5, 2009

Dear Moses, Deliver Us from Selfishness

Speaking of fruitless resolutions, and setting yourself up for disappointment, I am just realizing on this cold day in March that my first quarter of 2009 is nearly over. And also that I wanted to read the entire standard works this year.

Since the standard works are essentially in four sections, that means I should be finishing the Old Testament by the end of this month. And I'm just barely escaping out of Egypt...I haven't even supped in the quiet grace of Esther, beheld the armies of Jericho, or thrown Daniel in the Lion's Den.

But I have to remind myself, that enjoying the scriptures as a long tall glass of water is the better part to being in a mindless hurry. So in order to not be discouraged, and give up altogether, I remember Moses:

Ever mindful of his weakness (slowness of speech among others)he steps into the darkness with faith: The Lord has a plan for me and His people.

With a staff of wonders, a faithful brother as a spokesman, he approaches powerful prideful Pharoah. He has permission to unleash wonders, signs, and tempests if it will get the job done. He has a covenant people who have a special election:

not to be an uplifted people, but to be an uplifting people.

Slavery, burdens, and disregard for their life is standard. They have heavy hearts, and in modern-day society, a big-time class action lawsuit would have clearly laid out their injustices, and paid for the college education of the upcoming 3 generations of Israelites.

My movie-sense knows what is coming next, and how mighty Moses, with the Lord at His side, could rightly condemn the idolatry, dictatorship, and greed of Egypt.

Mrs. Olsen as Hollywood Screenwriter writing for "Moses": Your false gods will sustain you no longer. The true and living God shall scourge you for your disregard of human life! Let my people go or you will pay...big time! [glower eyes and lean in aggressively] You. Can't. Win. [steps back from a frozen and bewildered Pharoah and nudges off to the side]. Israel, go get your things. We're leaving. [pause. snickers quietly and turns back to Pharoah] Good luck getting your golden gazelle to the fourth story antechamber. [swaggers off as Pharoah's countenance hardens into an angry furrow].

So something like that right? But his first petition to Pharoah actually goes like this (Exo 5:3):

The God of the Hebrews hath met with us: let us go, we pray thee,
three days' journey into the desert, and [serve] the Lord our God.

As in "Pretty please! We're just taking a week off, we need the blessings of service in our lives. Listen, I'm giving you the full itinerary here so we're not pulling the wool over your eyes...we'll come back".

What all those movie-renditions kept leaving out, was that with each new petition to the Pharoah, and each subsequent wonder from heaven, was the quiet request NOT to "Let my people go you big jerk!"......but rather,

"Let my people go, that they may serve"
(see Exodus 8:1, 8:20, 9:1, 9:13, 10:3, 10:26)

Undoubtedly Pharoah made things worse than they could have been, what with his continual hardening of his heart. And who knows, perhaps the faith of Israel could have flourished alongside that harsh environment, but it seems to me the greater sin of this arrangement was this: refusing the blessings of service.

1957. "Moses leading the people" by Arthur Boyd

While it is clear that their law required sacrifice, feasts, and rituals as a form of service to their God, the Lord has made it abundantly clear the full definition of service to include: "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of have done it unto me."

Sometimes the Lord makes us strong enough to bear our burdens, and sometimes he puts on a multi-million-dollar fireworks show to lead us into a new haven in the wilderness. But in both instances, it seems we are not to lose our focus of the importance of reaching outside ourselves, to serve.

Which is why this blog post is over! I've got the littlest people of the kingdom to take care of: fevers to drop, diapers to change, pee-stained sheets to wash, and songs to sing....all of this amidst the undone resolution to be thin and fabulous, among others. Here's to your health and wellness (and mine!) growing grace by grace.

Have the best of days. With love,
Mrs. Olsen
current lover of Moses... though it should be Isaiah, and ideally Shadrach, Mesach, and Abed-nego


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reminder, Amber. You are awesome.


P.S. Have you taken the price off my head yet? Shouldn't "forgiveness" be on your resolutions list?

Monica said...

Deep thoughts for me to ponder...and I vote for you to write movie scripts. Your version was way better!

Lee Family said...

It's good to know how important service is to the Lord throughout all of history. Service, sacrifice, respect . .. we're asked so little today.
I hope you have a good day too.

LGH said...

Amber, this is a thoughtful reminder of how significant Service is. And, your goal is a noble one, indeed. But, what you are doing is very important because you are actually STUDYING the scriptures..not just reading. I'll be happy to have more insights from your scripture study.

Mrs. Olsen said...


this lesson was about service, not forgiveness. Tell me all the inside information you tortured out of Bill and I'll see what I can do.

Anonymous said...

thank you.