I haven’t blogged in quite some time. Partly that has been because I’ve been spending most of my theological energies on my dissertation, partly it’s been for other reasons. One of those other reasons resonates with the title of this post, which is a quote from Exodus 3:11.
Exodus 3 is the famous story of Moses and the burning bush. Moses had fled from Egypt because he was wanted for murder (Exodus 2:11-15). He had married the daughter of “the priest of Midian,” Jethro, and was working Jethro’s flocks when “[t]he angel of the LORD appeared to [Moses] in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed.” (Exodus 3:1-2 (NASB)). God spoke to Moses “from the midst of the bush” and commissioned Moses to “bring My people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt.” (Exodus 3:4-10).
I’d like to think that if I experience a theophany like this I would respond with humble faith. In fact, Moses’ response could be read that way: “Who am I,” Moses said to God, “that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11).
“Who am I that I should blog?” “Who am I that I should teach law, or write about theology and culture, or try to raise children, or say anything to anyone?”
But Moses’ humility in Exodus 3, I think, was false. Moses, born a condemned Israelite slave baby, was rescued from death by Pharaoh’s daughter and was raised as a prince of Egypt. (Gen. 2:1-10). Among the shepherds of Midian, he would have been the most educated and cultured of men — qualities the Priest of Midian surely recognized when Moses lived in his tents. There is a hint of this excitement about Moses when Jethro’s daughters report to him “‘An Egyptian delivered us from the hand of the shepherds, and what is more, he even drew the water for us and watered the flock.” (Gen. 2:19). How else to fill in the interstices of the terse narrative in Exodus 2:16-21? I wish we had reports of some of Moses’ conversations with Jethro deep into the night. No one outside Egypt was better qualified by birth or training to rescue Israel from Egypt than Moses, the Jewish-born Egyptian prince.
Well, I am no Moses. In any social network with which I am connected, there are people with better qualifications than mine, and with life narratives more dramatic and obvious than mine. Yet I suspect that these narratives about Moses can speak to someone like me as well. For each one of us stands before the burning bush every day. If we wake with breath in our lungs we find ourselves in the presence of the God who created us and whose glory continually fills His creation. We each, from the most accomplished and able to the most humble and “dis”abled, are given gifts, struggles, and circumstances that as things given can be invested and multiplied. Let the recognition of these things as “given” turn our thoughts away from ourselves — “who am I” — and towards the giver, who also told Moses: “Certainly I will be with you.” (Exodus 3:12).