SOAP Series # 4 – “I will be with you”

I started this blog because I wanted to make my faith, in some way, applicable. I wanted to “do” something with it. Before the blog I would do that by writing down my SOAPs. SOAP is a practical method for studying individual passages of the bible. It’s an acronym that stands for:

  • S cripture – which verse or verses am I studying.
  • O bservation – what stands out to me, what do I think it means in the context of the story.
  • A pplication – how can I apply that meaning to my own life.
  • P rayer – what do I need to thank for, appologize for or ask for as a result of this wisdom.

I figured it might be helpful to take you along with my bible study, and post my SOAP notes here. Do bare in mind that these are my personal observations, and that I apply them to my personal life. I still believe you can learn something from that, if only a stronger conviction of your own beliefs.

S – Scripture

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” And God said, “I will be with you.”

Exodus 3:11-12

God said “I will be with you.”

O – Observation

Here, God tells Moses that he has heard the cry of Israel en that He will save them from their oppression. He will bring them out of Egypt, and give them the land He had promised to Abraham long ago. God then goes on to say that Moses will be the one to go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt. Moses then asks an, in my opinion, totally understandable question. Who is he indeed to lead Israel. I think he has several fairly legitimate reasons to be reluctant to lead the Israelites.

  • He was not part of the Israelite community in Egypt; he was raised as an Egyptian. This begs the question to what extent he knew anything about the history of his people and the covenant God had made with Abraham before God told him about it from the burning bush. I’d like to believe that Miriam and Jochebed told him these stories as a child when they were nursing him at the palace. (Read more about Miriam in my character study on her.)
  • He also had left Egypt a long time ago and settled in Midian, for decades. He hadn’t been to Egypt in that time.
  • The reason he had left Egypt in the first place was because he had killed a man. It was a man who had beaten a Hebrew slave, but still, he had left as a fugitive, running from the death penalty.
  • On top of all of that he says he could not speak well. Some even say he stuttered. Can you imagine, knowing you are not the best public speaker, going to a king to tell him that he needs to let millions of his slaves go because their God commands him to? I’d be saying I couldn’t do that either.

But God does not even acknowledge these reasons. He does not respond to them at all. Because none of them matter. All that matters is that God is with him. It does not matter that Moses cannot speak well; God will tell him what to say. God will be with him when he goes back to his own people, but also when he faces Pharaoh. God is there, every step of the way guiding Moses and leading him to the position of leadership He had already chosen him for.

A – Application

This is a classic story of trusting God rather than our own abilities. This morning in church a verse was also read from 1 Corinthians, saying God does not lead us beyond our own abilities. When God asks something of us, He will enable us to do it, however unlikely it is for us to succeed. So for me this story challenges me to trust God more.

But for Moses it is, from one perspective, easier to do what God asks of him. Because Moses can actually hear Gods voice. He has spoken to Him. For me that is unlikely to happen, now isn’t it. I don’t know about other people, but I have never actually heard God speak. But as I have grown on my journey I am starting to be able to discern His voice within my thoughts. I am starting to realize which thoughts come from me, which ones come from God, and even which ones come from the enemy. God though, is subtle at first, which for me means that He is easy to ignore or dismiss. But God is nothing of not tenacious. Thoughts will repeat; come up again and again.

Right now I am in one of those moments. I am fairly sure that God is asking me to step up, to take on a role of leadership. And He has been asking me for months. I have been thinking of possibly, in the future, take on that role. But then I would think I was not yet ready, so I dismissed it. But it would come back, this thought, and repeat, again and again. I kept thinking, I’m not ready yet, and who would I lead anyway? Who would want to follow me? Or, would I not encroach on other leaders in my church?  All these thoughts have been playing in my head for months, growing in strength, to the point where I can no longer ignore them.

At that moment I read this exact story of Moses, and I realized that none of it mattered. God is asking me to do this. God will be with me. He will guide me, show me and tell me what to do. It may not be as clear cut as it was for Moses. It may not be a booming voice from a burning bush, but I will be able to recognize now what God is telling me, or asking me to do. There are people in need, people who need a leader, who need connections and who need to be brought closer to God. Who am I to allow my doubts to deny these people that, especially when God is asking me.

P – Prayer

Dear Lord,

thank you for Your infinite wisdom. You know what I need, but also what I can be. You see all of me, all my potential and possibilities. You see my flaws and doubts, and see how they can be shaped and used to help others.  I am sorry I have not always trusted You, or been able to fully understand the things You were speaking to me. I am sorry I have doubted my abilities, when instead I should have trusted You and Your abilities. You work through people, and with You nothing is impossible. So I will take the next step You are guiding me towards and trust that You will make a way for me, that You will help me and that when I stumble You will be there to comfort me and help me back up. Help me to be who You made me to be, so I can do the good works you have set for me long ago.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Categories: SOAP Series

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