April 27, 2016

Sheep Never Acted Like This!

Exodus 17:1-7

Moses cried out to the Lord, “What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.”

—  Exodus 17:4

Part of Moses’ education in his role as Israel’s leader had been a forty-year course on leadership, a course that could have been called “Shepherding 101.” Moses had tended his father-in-law’s herds in Midian and, during that time, he had learned plenty about taking care of sheep. Many of those lessons carried over into the world of leading people such as the Israelites.

However, during those forty years in Midian no sheep had ever picked up a stone to throw at Moses, their shepherd! In that way, sheep are more well-behaved than people—and Moses didn’t know what to do with the Israelites who wanted to stone him.

However, he did know what to do next: call on the Lord. In our reading today we see Moses’ distress signal to the Lord, a signal to which God responds with clear instructions about what Moses should do. And Moses, who trusts God more than the Israelites do, follows God’s instructions and leads the thirsty nation to water.

Do you know what to do when you don’t know what to do next? In other words, do you trust God more than your own cleverness, strength, and insight?

In this story, Moses the student becomes Moses the teacher. He teaches us to trust God always—especially when our cleverness and wit are not enough.

Trust is so hard for us, Lord. Help us, we pray. We believe; help us overcome our unbelief. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

About the author — David Den Haan

Pastor Dave Den Haan has served at Fairway Christian Reformed Church in Jenison, Michigan, since 1999. Previously he served a church in Minnesota. Dave and his wife, Connie, have three children.

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