Does God Act in the World?
Sometimes people and circumstances write your devotional for you. So last night we were doing our follow up Bible Study to Moses. In it I pointed out that when Moses wants a name for God, God’s response is, “I Am.”
“Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’“ (Exodus 3:14)
God doesn’t answer the question that Moses asks (or God does in that not what I expected kind of way God has) instead God answers the question that is really in the minds of Israel. Whether it is Israel in the exile writing down these stories after the destruction of the temple by Babylon, or whether it’s Israel in slavery in Egypt the question on their minds is, “Does God really exist?” In the contest of many gods that is a constant battle in the ancient near east, Israel has to wrestle with the question – does our God really exist and have real power?
This is the question God answers when asked by Moses for a name: I AM. I EXIST. It doesn’t matter what my name is, it matters that I am here to be named, and to name you by my name.
So then in our study someone said, “If today’s question is, ‘Does God act in the world?’ what would God’s response be in the way of God’s response to Moses?”
(Side note: answering for God is dangerous business, and I’m not presumptuous enough to say I know, but I’m not also one to dodge the act of provisionally incarnating the word… of interpreting what I hear God saying. So I responded with my imagined response, with great qualifications as noted here.)
I imagine what God might say to that question is: You do.
Do you act in the world God? You do.
Because what I get from the story of Moses is something of a three-fold assurance.
- You can do this – you are capable and good-enough for the responsibility that God has called you to in the world and for the world.
- You can’t do it alone – you need a community around you, you need help and support; you need accountability and affirmation.
- I am with you – God is present to Israel in a many ways. Moses glowing face, the tabernacle, a pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night. Still yet Moses wants assurance and gets to see God’s backside (Exodus 33). God is constantly offering Israel the reminder that they are not alone, the God that is- I AM – is with them.
You can do this, but not alone, and I am with you.
Is God active in the world? Look around you – God is all around, with all of those around you, and there is much good to be seen even in the midst of the hardship, sorrow, and tragedy.
I will leave with one final thought on this You-do line of thinking. Last year an internet meme was going around Facebook. It cleverly said, “Sometimes I wish I could ask God why God allows poverty, famine, and injustice in the world… but I’m afraid God might just ask me the same question.”
How are you living as part of the answer the injustices of the world?