Moses, hearing the voice of God coming from the middle of the bush, said to him, ‘I am to go, then, to the sons of Israel and say to them, “The God of your fathers has sent me to you.” But if they ask me what his name is, what am I to tell them?’ And God said to Moses, ‘I Am who I Am. This’ he added ‘is what you must say to the sons of Israel: “I Am has sent me to you.”’ And God also said to Moses, ‘You are to say to the sons of Israel: “The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.” This is my name for all time; by this name I shall be invoked for all generations to come.
‘Go and gather the elders of Israel together and tell them, “The Lord, the God of your fathers, has appeared to me, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob; and he has said to me: I have visited you and seen all that the Egyptians are doing to you. And so I have resolved to bring you up out of Egypt where you are oppressed, into the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, to a land where milk and honey flow.” They will listen to your words, and with the elders of Israel you are to go to the king of Egypt and say to him, “The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has come to meet us. Give us leave, then, to make a three days’ journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifice to the Lord our God.” For myself, knowing that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless he is forced by a mighty hand, I shall show my power and strike Egypt with all the wonders I am going to work there. After this he will let you go.’
Jesus exclaimed, ‘Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.’
For myself, knowing that the king of Egypt will not let you go
Have you ever wished you had a sort of User’s Manual for Life? A set of reliable guidelines that would help you navigate the sticky issues you’re facing; instructions you could follow to get you out of messes; clever words you could refer to so that you knew just what to say!
Like us, Moses had his absolutely clueless moment with the talking burning bush in the first reading today. “But if they ask me what his name is, what am I to tell them?” That’s a very natural and logical thing to ask – Moses certainly was not scared witless, but he also didn’t quite have the gift of the gab. He knew that the words “a burning bush sent me to rescue you guys from Egypt” would certify him a loony, and so he had to asked God for the steps to carry out His command.
Patiently and with great detail, God responded “I Am who I Am” followed by a carefully worded script for Moses to repeat. However, amongst all these words, I find that the most assuring thing God tells him is, “for myself, knowing that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless he is forced by a mighty hand, I shall show my power and strike Egypt with all the wonders I am going to work there.”
“For myself, knowing… I shall show my power”. These words tell me that my God is all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful. Moses is given this warning, that not only would he face resistance, he has divine assurance that it is not within his human effort to get those results. Rather, it was God who would wield His might and send all kinds of disasters and plagues upon Egypt to create the outcome He desired. Where man fails, God prevails.
Just like Jesus beckons us in the gospel today “Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest”. It is this same entreating voice from the Son who assures us that we do not shoulder the weight of the world or our mission, alone. Jesus says, “Come. Give it to me. Learn from me. I am gentle and humble in heart.”
When God told Moses not to be flustered by the Pharaoh’s resistance to release the Israelites, he pretty much said, “I know already what will happen; what answer you will get. But you don’t have to worry. I’ve got it covered”. I’d like to see God with a playful smile on His face, because He really knows! And He doesn’t worry like us! We are the ones addicted to worry. But God uses these opportunities precisely to ‘show-off’ His might and power.
It’s only when we really believe in the truly infinite ability of Him, the limitless Being and presence of Him, in every situation or station in life we are in – that we follow His command and allow him to ‘show-off’ His majesty! It can be so hard to let go and trust that He will provide, but He always invites us to rest in Him. His yoke is easy and burden light – not because it is physically light – but because when we rest like a babe in His Perfect Love for us, we lean into His Might, and His Power takes over when our grip is released. “Give it to me, baby” He says. Can you say, “Uh-huh”!
(Today’s OXYGEN by Debbie Loo)
Prayer: We pray for those who are going through tough times and struggle to release their grip on their problems to Our Father, who wants to take over and give them true rest.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Jesus for taking upon the yoke of the whole world, from age to age, and heart to heart.