Monday, September 12, 2011

Moses,Discernment and Us

Moses was 80 years old when God called him to lead his people out of Egypt. Not only was he old he stuttered. He really didn't think he was the man for the job but the burning bush had a voice that was insistent. So, the story goes he took his brother and family and went into Egypt where he led his people out of Egypt which was not without obstacles. When he finally got to the other side of the Red Sea he went around the desert for 40 years because his people didn't trust the word of the Lord through Moses that they could defeat the inhabitants of the land that was being promised to them. Some wags have suggested that they traveled around the desert in search of the promised land because Moses was lost and didn't want to ask directions because of male pride. However we shall reject that notion although it might bear some truth to it. Anyway, after 40 years the generation that doubted was almost all gone and the people were ready for the big battles which were to follow. Moses of course wasn't allowed to see the promised land supposedly because he struck some rock twice instead of once to get water but let's face facts, at 120 years old how much fight could he have left in him. He died before the battles began but as we all know the Jewish people were successful and conquered the land having a northern and southern kingdom.

Many thousand years later as we consider the Exodus story one wonders at what age exactly does God have in mind for his followers to do the work he has planned. I know some people around 80, some older some younger, that really do not seem to have any energy left in them that can get them from sunrise to sunset.  AND if they are called by God he seems to do so in a more obscure way than let us say, a burning bush. The thought of a 40 year assignment at that advanced age doesn't really seem possible. Does it? Come to think of it Moses wasn't looking to do anything but shepherd the flock and enjoy his family when God called him. He had run out of Egypt as a young man and was on the lam for the rest of his life so to speak. Makes one wonder, doesn't it?

Can there be a plan for the aged as well as the young? Can the aged discern what the mission might be? OR Has the aged lost the feeling of relevance in today's life and times. It seems that our society only recognizes youth as having value. After the energy and drive has been used and the young have become old they are expected to take it easy and rest, travel, eat and be merry before sickness overtakes them. The relevance lost by the older generation is partly their fault because they want to play the role given to them and have no particular goal or drive other than to have a good time. I am not sure what the answer to this is but I maintain that each human being has relevance beyond just existing and that goals and dreams should be held by all no matter what age. Perhaps we will never see a burning bush with a voice so strong that it will motivate us to some great deed but perhaps if we listen quietly we will hear God's whispering to us with a request for some action on our part. All we have to do is listen and in the quiet stillness of creation hear our God speaking to us. This advice is directed to the young as well because they are so caught up in the noise of this world with the problems of school, family and finances they can't hear God above the din that surrounds them.
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