So on Tuesday I got a little off track telling a story, but it was a good story, so we’re not gonna worry about it too much. As I wrap up this look at what I’m calling “shaky faith” I want to touch upon a display of shaky faith in the Bible as well as wrap up the story about Ezra that we started on Monday.
If you followed my blog late last year and into early 2016 you know I did a long series about Moses. To me, he’s the poster boy for shaky faith. Moses’ interaction with God at the burning bush remains one of the most frustrating things in the Bible for me. This dude is so unconfident, so whiny, so hesitant, it just drives me crazy. He makes excuse after excuse, before finally just getting straight blunt with God.
Exodus 4:13 13 But he said, “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.”
Eventually, after a lot of whining and hesitation, Moses reluctantly agrees to go to Egypt to set God’s people free. He took the first step on what would turn out to be a very long journey. Was this first step filled with confidence? Not how I read it. It was the exact opposite. Moses tried multiple different methods to get out of having to do this assignment. I don’t think that just because he finally agreed to go that he somehow become immediately full of faith and confidence. As a matter of fact, if you read on when he starts interacting with Pharaoh you see even more evidence that Moses still is full of doubt and uncertainty. He questions God’s plan on multiple occasions, whining that things aren’t going like he thought they should.
Yet each time, what did Moses do? He took another hesitant step on the path God laid out for him. And step by step, something amazing happens to Moses. His faith grows. He goes from whining at the burning bush, to standing on the shores of the Red Sea, trapped in a seemingly hopeless situation, having led God’s people to what appeared to be certain doom. And in this moment, Moses delivers one of my favorite lines in the entire Bible.
Exodus 14:13-14 And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”
Every single logical sign pointed to extinction. There wasn’t any force in the natural realm that could’ve saved Moses and the Israelites in that moment. They were absolutely, unquestionably doomed. But, Moses had gained a little something along the way. Step by step, he’d been building something new. Not too long before, he’d argued with God at the burning bush, rejecting God’s assurances and promises of help to carry out the task. Moses didn’t have enough faith to accept direct promises of help from the mouth of God. Yet now, with failure and death looming large, Moses delivers one of the most faith filled lines in the Bible.
That’s the journey I’m on, and I hope it’s the journey you’re on, too. I’m not always proud of how shaky some of my steps for God are, but I’m proud that I’m stepping for Him regardless. And I know that step by step, He’s building my faith. I may not have that level of certainty that I want yet, but I have noticed that the frequency of steps I take for God has gone up ten fold.
So, let’s bring this full circle. Do you remember back to Monday? Ezra’s leading hundreds of God’s people out of captivity with a ton of gold and silver and treasure in tow. 900 miles to go, but he’s talked such a big game about the power and protection of God that he couldn’t bring himself to ask for soldiers to escort them. The Bible tells us that he would’ve been ashamed to do that. I think he wanted to, that’s what I get out of that, he wished he could have those soldiers along, but he couldn’t do it, couldn’t bring himself to damage the image of God that he’d given to these people. So here’s what he did instead.
Ezra 8:21-22 Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from him a safe journey for ourselves, our children, and all our goods. 22 For I was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and horsemen to protect us against the enemy on our way, since we had told the king, “The hand of our God is for good on all who seek him, and the power of his wrath is against all who forsake him.”
Ezra backed himself into a corner, and the only way out was up. No soldiers, can’t ask for soldiers, and so he looks up to God instead. This journey just became a moment of shaky faith. They’re transporting incredible riches with no way to protect it, so they turn to God and ask for protection, then take that first shaky step on a 900 mile journey. Here’s how the Bible wraps that story up as Ezra and his people have just asked God for protection of themselves, their kids, and their stuff. It’s short and sweet.
Ezra 8:23 So we fasted and implored our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty.
Take that step in faith, find God waiting there with all that you need to carry out the mission.
PRAYER AND CLOSING
Father God, thank you for your constant presence. It’s a funny thing that happens when we walk your path. You’re there. The ways in which you provide for us never stops amazing me. Your timing’s great, too, God. As nervous as I may get sometimes, right now I just thank you that we don’t receive all the answers and all the things we need at the start of the journey. I like the adventure. I like that we get to show you something in those first few steps, and my hope is that what we show you is pleasing to your eyes. God, I’d like to make a bold cry for all of my friends and family members and just anyone reading this, anyone who has a heart to do your will. Send us out, God. I ask you right now to make this the time of great adventures and big missions. Your word says you establish our steps, and so I ask today that you establish them on new paths, paths that may cause us to feel a little shaky at first, but paths that ultimately lead to your glory. And make us sensitive to your Holy Spirit, help us to hear and feel any urgings or nudges that would set us on these paths. Burning bushes would help, God, those are hard to ignore, but I proclaim right now that we’ll take whatever form of guidance you see fit to give. But please, give it to us. I don’t want shaky faith to be something that describes me anymore. I’m ready for the next level. I’ve walked the valley and I’ve climbed the hills. I’m ready for the mountains. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
I love you guys. I hope you’re having a great week and that you’ve got something fun planned for the weekend. God really had me feeling a deep sense of His joy today, and I just pray that joy over all of you. Get with the Lord, get in line with His will for your life. It’s an incredible time to be taking steps for our God!