I Want to Be Moses

I want to be Moses.

There are several impediments to being Moses, not the least of which he was not female. Promenade, original and signed limited edition print at Steve Henderson Fine Art, licensed open edition print at Great Big Canvas.

Admittedly, there are a few impediments: Moses is another person; he is no longer alive; he was male — even in today’s remarkably tolerant societal structure these are factors of consideration.

But no. I want to be Moses because he was God’s friend. He talked to, sometimes talked back at, God; was free to express his misgivings, doubts, and frustrations; and he lived a really long time in really good shape. He got angry now and then; anybody who has ever felt bad about  impatiently snapping at someone might conjure up the image of Moses hurling the stones with the 10 commandments to the ground. Makes a broken coffee mug look minor.

And despite all this, God delighted in him.

If I can’t be Moses, I will gladly settle for Joshua or Caleb, the only two men in their generation who lived through wandering in the desert, because they were the only two out of 600,000-plus warriors who said, “Yes! We can do this, because God says we can.”

Same problem though: another person, no longer alive, male.

But I suppose it’s more of the concept of the thing, and one of my problems is that I aim too low. Most of us do.

Crunch the numbers here: 600,000 warriors, add women and children, what are we coming up with — several million people? And the main thing we hear about these several million people is that 1) They don’t want to talk to God personally but would prefer that Moses do it and 2) They’re not particularly known for their strong, individual spirituality.

We aim too low, most of us; we need to dream bigger. Dream Big poster based on Bold Innocence, by Steve Henderson.

This sounds like contemporary Christianity, which encourages followers to look to the pulpit for weekly teaching, rounding out any gaps with a small group study or workbook-led Bible study time telling them what the words on the page are saying. I flipped through a book the other day, written by a notable Christian author whose name on the book’s cover is bigger than the title, who (paraphrased) said,

“Commentaries are vital to understanding the Bible. Do not think of studying the Bible without a commentary at your side.”

Perhaps it would be better if he had ended the sentence with, “Do not think.”

Granted, the Book gets a little complicated, but it has been conveniently (and at the cost of many lives) translated into English, Spanish, French, Norwegian — quite a few languages of choice — and we read complicated books in whatever language we speak all the time. Millions of readers of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice derive great enjoyment from the author’s wisdom, and they pass on what they’ve learned to others. Most of them manage just fine without workbook sheets and study guides. That they do not understand every single word which Jane wrote does not prevent them from enjoying what they do. And I don’t think that they’re particularly open to the concept that only professorial types are qualified to speak on and about Jane.

Millions of Israelites were content to let Moses speak to God for them. Millions of Christians underestimate their ability to speak to, question, walk with, understand, and love God, without the proddings and instruction of a leader, a study guide, a DVD, or a facilitator. In their concern to avoid getting something “wrong,” intelligent people rely upon others to interpret truth for them, intrinsically believing that these people must be interpreting everything “right.” Who needs the Holy Spirit when we have Ph.D.s?

Each of us has our individual path to walk, with God. Blue Ribbon by Steve Henderson Fine Art.

And while these leaders are presumably more qualified than the rest of us because they have purportedly studied the intricacies of Greek and Hebrew and Aramaic and Latin (don’t bet on it), this doesn’t give us excuse to hand over the reins of our learning about, interacting with, and walking beside God to a third person party. Others, “experts” or not, can be a part of the process, if we so choose, but our walk with God is just that — our individual and unique walk with God.

So why can’t I, or you, be Moses? He was God’s friend.

Same God, interacting with a different person. I’m sure if we ask Him, He’ll respond.

Manufacturers and retailers, license Steve’s art through Art Licensing.

This article is linked to The Christian Home Magazine

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5 Responses to “I Want to Be Moses”

  1. Jana Botkin says:

    Me too – to be considered God’s friend would be the Best Thing Ever. One of my favorite verses is in Exodus, where Moses says “If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you”. So conversational . . . that’s what prayer is supposed to me, but it feels like a monologue on my part waaay too often.

    And I have found it really helpful to learn from study guides and teachers. I’m sorry it hasn’t been a good method for you. But, God is a God of variety, and any method of learning to know Him better is good. (I’d put in a friendly smiley face, but then you might want to delete my comment!)

    • Jana — that is a beautiful, heartfelt statement of Moses’, and a prayer for all of us.

      I agree — so often prayer feels like a monologue. I’ll be nattering on and then stop. “Are You Listening? Better yet, how will You answer me?” He’s so . . . quiet. So much involves my being silent and waiting, both of which I’m not particularly good at.

      You are so right — God is the God of diversity, and books and guides can be most helpful. I myself enjoy the notes at the bottom of my study Bible, but I take them with a grain of salt, doing my best not to let them unduly influence how I think.

      This is my thought, however — Steve and I interact with a lot of artists, and Steve teaches them through workshops and lessons, and he finds many that are overly reliant upon other people telling them what to do, and very, very reluctant to chuck everything they’ve heard, closet themselves in the studio, and spend a year hashing things out. No magazines, no DVDs, no workshop instruction, no YouTube, no nothing but what they generate from themselves — because many artists already have a lot of training in their background, but they never independently use it.

      This is what I encourage Christians to do: put away the books and workbooks for awhile; get the pastor’s voice out of your head — and just spend a month reading, and absorbing, the words in the Bible yourself. If you don’t understand a passage, ask God about it. It’s very, very strange, but He really will, somehow, nudge you into a thought or idea that hadn’t occurred to you, if you drop all efforts to analyze it so hard.

      I started this years ago when I was truly needing to find God (this, after 20 years of being a Christian), and the only independent written source I could find about Him, was the Bible. But I had a lifetime of other people’s interpretations — many of which were askew — that influenced how I thought about everything else. So, as I read, I expurgated everything I had been told from my head about a passage or a concept, and I approached it anew. This is becoming my default, and it is remarkably wonderful. — Carolyn

  2. Laura says:

    Carolyn,

    Absolutely fantastic article, have been signed up for your blogs for the last month and have really enjoyed them, fresh, clean and forthright! Keep illuminating the obvious: He’s real, relational and wants to interact with us all the time. Thanks again. –Oh, love you sense of humor!

    • Thank you, Laura, for your kind and gracious comments. Yes, He is real, Real, REAL, but in our overworked, comfortable-with-deception society, we put so many impediments in the way, that He’s difficult to find. But that’s okay — because He always finds us first. He never stops seeking us out.

      I myself seek out, and feel an affinity for, the many many Christians today who feel as if they don’t fit in somehow, and for too long, have figured that the problem lies with them. We ourselves, after many years of trying to fit in, were ultimately and completely marginalized out of the church environment, and for many years we walked alone. At first, we thought that we were odd, and that if we would only conform somehow, we would fit back in, and then we realized that our non-conformity wasn’t a bad thing, it was a real thing. If Jesus Himself had conformed to the norms around Him, things would have ended up very differently.

      So we empathize with those in our predicament, and want them to know that they have a very real, vibrant relationship with Christ, and that there is work for them to do, as there is work for all of us who are Christians, regardless of where we spend Saturday or Sunday morning. Thank you again for finding me, reading me, and writing me! — Carolyn

  3. [...] over at This Woman Writes shares I Want to Be Moses.  She presents a rather interesting post on wanting to have that relationship with God like [...]

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