Exodus 6:1–13, Psalm 37:1–24, 1 Corinthians 3:18–4:5
“I want you to walk up to your estranged family (who just so happens to be the world power at the moment) and tell them to release their biggest labor force.” Hmm. We are so accustomed to Moses’ story that we often will miss pieces of the story. Everyone in your family gets along, right? Even the distant cousins, right? Of course not! Sometimes the biggest and longest lasting fights and painful relationships are within families. When the family is a family of power and influence (such as Egypt was), the significance of family relationships or battles becomes much larger than just interpersonal relationships. On top of that, Moses was only an adopted child, and he was adopted from the Hebrews he’s being sent to lead out of Egypt. No pressure. What crazy person would dare oppose one of the most (if not the most) powerful militaries in the world? Who’d (basically) walk up to the leader to basically thumb his nose at him? No one. It’s just not normal!
Moses’ reality was that he would have to oppose his powerful adoptive family who wouldn’t be happy with him. He’d also have the tension within his extended biological family, many of whom wouldn’t trust him because he was from Pharaoh’s house and he had run away years ago. This just wasn’t a good place to be. When in the middle of these two tensions, we have to give Moses credit, he kept a balanced head, no matter much either “side” would have driven him crazy.
When we deal with opposing tensions we can all have a tendency to lose it a bit. We can lose our temper, our positivity, our humor. We often end up fighting ourselves first. While we may not be currently upset or caught between evildoers, as the psalmist is concerned about, the agitation is often the same. We can be caught between two “goods”, two “bads”, and even between a good and a bad. Where we turn when in a place of tension, tells us where our heart is focused. If we turn to work, money, alcohol, drugs, and such, we can soften the tension for time, but only put it off. Our families often receive the brunt of our tension, but they generally cannot deal with it either. That leaves us with God, who can handle it all. Or, at least that is how it should be. Instead, we often try to hand off our decisions, responsibilities, or consequences to others, especially those we perceive as smarter, wiser, or more powerful than ourselves. That is the wisdom of the world.
We are often reminded of the craziness, futility, and just plain wrongness that pervades humanity, yet for some reason, we insist on its wisdom. We look around the world wondering what’s wrong. The world around us is the expression of human wisdom. It is not that God’s wisdom is not there, but human “wisdom” is so common it seems as if God’s wisdom is not there. This is why Paul says the (worldly) wise should become fools. For when they see their human wisdom as foolishness, they can finally become aware of God’s wisdom. And this brings us back to Moses. According to the world, he was a fool. He was in awe of (often “feared” is used) God, which is the beginning of true wisdom.
1) Lent is often viewed as foolishness by many. Why give up the good stuff? What is the Godly wisdom of giving up the “good” stuff?
2) It is often easy to “know” the story of Bible characters. What happens if you put yourself in their place? Does that change your perspective of them and their story?
3) Wisdom and knowledge can be passed on. We focus a lot on wordly wisdom, as we want our legacy (children, grandchildren, etc.) to be successful in this world. However, worldly wisdom is often at odds with God’s wisdom. How have you dealt with that? How can you help others deal with it?
FD) Who do you ask for guidance when you have 2 good (or bad) decisions to choose from?