January 29, 2017: The God Who Won’t Take “No” for an Answer

Posted on : Jan 26th, 2017 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

Which inner voice to you hear more often: “Yes, I can!” or “No, I can’t!” Which voice from outside of your head do you hear more often: “Yes, I can!” or “No, I can’t!”

I always find it interesting that so many of the great people of faith in our tradition, began their faith journey in the “No, I can’t!” camp. Sarah, Moses, Elijah, many of the prophets, most of the disciples, Martha, Peter and the apostle Paul, are just a few examples of those who tried to say “NO!” to God. None of them succeeded in turning down God’s call to faith or call to action.

Moses is one of my favorite examples of someone who thought he was not up to doing what God was calling him to do. He offered God just about every excuse he could think of – and he had a lot of them. As we would say today, Moses was not a “high value” candidate for the job!

Most of us today think of Moses as this great leader who acted on behalf of God and got Pharaoh to let God’s people go free from the bondage of slavery. And as if that were not enough, then Moses led the people of God on a forty-year journey through the wilderness, all of which is true. But we often forget that Moses was as hesitant to respond to God’s call as most of us are today.

Moses came up with just about every excuse he could think of. Two of my favorites are, “God you know I am not an eloquent speaker! I stammer and trip over my own words! Why don’t you choose someone who is more eloquent, like my brother, Aaron!” And my all-time fav, “O my God, please send someone else.” Anyone but me, God!

The great moral of this story is that God is not persuaded. And here is the reason: God sees in Moses that which Moses doesn’t see in himself. The same is true for each of us today. God sees in us that which we don’t see in ourselves. God believes in us, even when we lose faith in ourselves. God trusts us even when we don’t trust God. So, before you think you can’t or there is no divine purpose in your life, think about this encounter that Moses has with God.

This Sunday, a we continue our worship series “Awakening Faith,” that is, awakening to the Faith that is already with us and within us, we will explore “The God Who Won’t Take ‘No’ or An Answer.” Yup, that’s our God! And ironically, it was the Apostle Paul, who wanted nothing to do with the followers of Jesus, who discovered the reason for God’s persistence: “Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits.” I Cor 12:7.

Blessings, my friends, as we awaken to the reason why God will not take “No” for an answer!

Dan

 

~ This Sunday’s Scripture ~

Exodus 4: 1-17

The story of God’s call to Moses – and Moses’ reluctance to do what God asks of him.

Then Moses answered, ‘But suppose they do not believe me or listen to me, but say, “God did not appear to you.”’ God said to Moses, ‘What is that in your hand?’ Moses said, ‘A staff.’ And God said, ‘Throw it on the ground.’ So Moses threw the staff on the ground, and it became a snake; and Moses drew back from it. Then God said to Moses, ‘Reach out your hand, and seize it by the tail’—so Moses reached out his hand and grasped it, and it became a staff in his hand— ‘so that they may believe that I, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham & Sarah, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.’

Again, God said to Moses, ‘Put your hand inside your cloak.’ Moses put his hand into his cloak; and when he took it out, his hand was leprous, as white as snow. Then God said, ‘Put your hand back into your cloak’—so Moses put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was restored like the rest of his body— ‘If they will not believe you or heed the first sign, they may believe the second sign. If they will not believe even these two signs or heed you, you shall take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground; and the water that you shall take from the Nile will become blood on the dry ground.’

But Moses said to God, ‘I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor even now that you have spoken to your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.’ Then God said to Moses, ‘Who gives speech to mortals? Who makes them mute or deaf, seeing or blind? Is it not I, your God? Now go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you are to speak.’ But Moses said, ‘O my God, please send someone else.’

Then the anger of God was kindled against Moses and God said, ‘What of your brother Aaron the Levite? I know that he can speak fluently; even now he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you his heart will be glad. You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth; and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth, and will teach you what you shall do. He indeed shall speak for you to the people; he shall serve as a mouth for you, and you shall serve as God for him. Take in your hand this staff, with which you shall perform the signs.’

 

I Corinthians 12: 1-7

From The Message, a contemporary paraphrase of the Bible.

Spiritual Gifts

 What I want to talk about now is the various ways God’s Spirit gets worked into our lives. This is complex and often misunderstood, but I want you to be informed and knowledgeable.

Remember how you were when you didn’t know God, led from one phony god to another, never knowing what you were doing, just doing it because everybody else did it? It’s different in this life. God wants us to use our intelligence, to seek to understand as well as we can. For instance, by using your heads, you know perfectly well that the Spirit of God would never prompt anyone to say “Jesus be damned!” Nor would anyone be inclined to say “Jesus is Master!” without the insight of the Holy Spirit.

God’s various gifts are handed out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit. God’s various ministries are carried out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit. God’s various expressions of power are in action everywhere; but God is behind it all.

Each person is given something to do that shows who God is:

Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits.

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