Exodus 10-11; Acts 21; Psalm 58-59
So much of the apparent ambiguity of the life of faith is explained in God’s strange choice to work in and through his creatures. So often we may well ask, ‘Why does God not do something?’ . . . and upon observation we might discover that he has done something, but that something has been through the agency of frail human flesh.
And again we might say, ‘why did God do THAT??’, and once more the answer is to be found in God’s chosen instruments.
It is Moses, hot with anger who declares to Pharaoh the death of all the firstborn, and Paul who in stubbornness does not listen to those who speak guided by the Spirit not to go to Jerusalem. Paul seems in a sense to have some ‘heroic’ vision of his mission – ‘I am ready not only to be bound, but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.’
And the scriptures do not hide this from us. The ‘Greats’ of faith are revealed to be all too frail – but more wondrous, God is revealed to accommodate himself to us – to work within the parameters of our frailties – to effect something beyond our ken.
Moses is still the same – he was fearful of Pharaoh, he is still ungrown and angry, an anger that years later will prove his undoing. Paul is almost seeking to die as a great hero – there are clear echoes here of Peter – but the Scriptures are silent as to their eventual death. The words of the risen Christ to Peter ‘But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go’ – ring true also for Paul.
In the end, this is not about us – it is about God – and for that we should be unutterably grateful.