Each week I teach a few Scripture classes in public schools. I enjoy seeing children learn Bible stories for the first time, since many of the students do not attend any church. Their enthusiasm and curiosity also help me to see the word afresh.
Recently we’ve been learning the story of Moses and the Exodus. You know how it goes: baby Moses in the basket, Moses flees Egypt to herd sheep, Moses meets God at the burning bush, and so on.
But this time, I noticed how Moses illustrates our inability and God’s grace:
God’s grace was clearly evident in Moses: as a baby, he was hidden from the Egyptians for his life’s sake; he was kept from harm in the river; he was found by the daughter of Pharoah; he grew up with royal privileges.
Yet when God commissioned Moses to lead His people, Moses baulked. “Who am I?” “Who are You?” “They won’t believe me.” “I can’t speak.” “Send someone else.” Moses couldn’t go—he didn’t want to go. He was unable.
Today, people might have responded: “Yes, you can, Moses! Believe in yourself!” Or alternatively: “Hmm, maybe we’re expecting too much of him?”
But God did not encourage Moses to look within himself, nor did God lower His requirements. Instead, God resolved Moses’ inabilities with His own ability: revealing himself, demonstrating His power, promising His presence, and providing a brother to go with him. By God’s grace, Moses stepped forward in faith.
Like Moses, we cannot do what God requires. Even after experiencing God’s grace, we struggle to obey. You could either try harder or stop trying. Or you can learn from Moses. When you are faced with your inability, now is the time to look at God’s ability, and to trust him as you keep going. “I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)
“God bids us do what we cannot, that we may know what we ought to seek from him.” (Augustine)