Friday, November 10, 2006

Go to the Pharaohs

This week's Hebrew Bible class was about the call of Moses and the Exodus story as a pattern that we are supposed to follow. We spent some time talk about:
Then the LORD said, "I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians..."
-Exodus 3:7-8a
God saw what was happening to the people of Israel, and experienced their sufferings. God came down to deliver the people, but it wasn't a matter of deus ex machina. God didn't appear to Pharaoh, and strike fear into his heart. God didn't create a regime change in Egypt. God didn't cause the people of Israel within Egypt to rise up against Pharaoh (as Pharaoh feared they would). God appeared to Moses.

Moses also knew the suffering of the Israelites, because he had seen it. At the time that Moses was called by God, he had fled Egypt because he committed murder. He escaped Egypt, and started a family with the Midianites. He had no reason to go back. But God sent him back, because the people of Israel didn't have time to liberate themselves from the cruelty of their taskmasters. They had been oppressed so long that maybe they didn't remember that life could be better. God sent Moses, because God works most often through God's people.

It strikes me that this is so relevant to the Mission: Africa unit we are studying in youth group. World leaders and politicians argue about whose problem Africa is. Many of the governments are leaving their people to die, and its their job to protect their own people. But can we tell 12 million AIDS orphans that its not our job keep them alive? Can we tell millions of people who suffer from extreme poverty and AIDS that they are out of luck if they don't have access to food and medication? What do we tell the children of Darfur who are being raped, killed, and mutilated?

God sees the misery of the people who are in Africa; God hears their cries on account of hunger and disease. God knows their sufferings, and God is coming down to deliver them. God is calling us to go to the Pharaohs, and to demand that these people be released from their affliction. We are safe in Midian with our families and our security, but if we leave these people in bondage we become less human.


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