• Karen Pennington

When God Asks the Impossible: The Call of Moses

Updated: Jan 23

I was recently asked to do an impossible job. By impossible I mean that I lacked the credentials, education, preparation, resources, skill and even motivation to do the task.


Quite frankly, they asked me out of desperation, because they could find no one else to do it. Quite frankly, I wanted to say no. But I sensed that this was where God wanted me. Also, I needed the money. I cried about it for days. But I said yes.


Have you ever been asked to do the impossible? Perhaps even worse, have you ever been forced into an impossible situation without having any choice in the matter? If you are a human being who is old enough to talk, or walk, or perhaps even breath, the answer is most likely yes. Life is full of calls to do things that we absolutely cannot do- at least not on our own. That's how we grow.


Moses knew a little something about being called to do the impossible. He was an 80 year old fugitive shepherd with a speech impediment who lacked military resources. God called him with these exact qualifications to speak to the most powerful man on earth, lead an entire nation of around two million people (About 626,000 men plus women and children) out of slavery, and eventually defeat the most powerful army of all time up until that point.


Add to this the fact that Moses did not want to do it. Who in their right mind would actually want to do it? And Moses did not even personally know this God whom he was called to represent (Exodus 3:13). He may have been Israelite (the people of God) by birth. But he was raised Egyptian and had spent the last 40 years living as a Midianite.


Who would not feel dwarfed by this task?


And yet the very first verse of this story gives four clues as to how God had already prepared Moses for this work:


"Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God." -Exodus 3:1


Qualification #1- Moses was a shepherd.

"Moses was keeping the flock...." In other words, he was used to leading around obstinate, overdependent creatures to get them where they needed to be, constantly redirecting the stragglers into the flock. Is there any better description than this for the hard-headed Israelites who had known nothing but slavery their whole lives?


Qualification #2- Moses had a spiritual mentor

"His father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian...." Though Jethro was not described as a priest of Yahweh, he was portrayed as a good man. His religious devotion would have set an example for Moses. His training helped prepare Moses for leadership and survival in the harsh land in many ways. Later in the story, his advice helped Moses to better lead the Israelites and avoid burnout.


Qualification #3- Moses had experience in the wilderness

"He led his flocks beyond the wilderness." After his flight from Egypt, Moses survived a journey through the wilderness relying only on the grace of God and his own wits. For the 40 years following that he developed in those wilderness survival skills through the training of Jethro and personal experience. As a shepherd he had much practice in leading other helpless creatures through the rough terrain.


Qualification #4- Moses had already made the journey

"Moses... came to Horeb, the mountain of God." Who better to guide a tour than one who has already made the journey? A few verses later God told Moses that he would lead the Israelites from slavery in Egypt to the place where he was standing at that moment. The fact that Horeb was also referred to as the mountain of God has both literal and symbolic meaning.


In Exodus 3:12, God used five simple words (only two words in the original Hebrew text) to reveal the greatest qualification that anyone could have for any task:


"I will be with you." -Exodus 3:12


Qualification #5- Moses was equipped and helped by God

The presence and favor of God are so all-encompassing. They can include the practical ways God equips us, the people God sends us or really any and all factors that lead to our success.


If you feel called to a task or placed in a situation that you are absolutely certain you cannot handle, you are probably right. That's where grace comes in, because God never asks us to do or endure anything on our own. On the other hand, you probably have no idea how much God has worked to equip and qualify you for the very thing you facing at this moment. In my own situation, I am discovering that many of my background experiences and training in other areas have helped uniquely prepare me for the challenges of my current job in ways that would not be covered by traditional training and experience.


I have just completed my third week of this six month calling. Here I am, fully relying on God to do what I am absolutely certain I cannot do on my own. What other choice do I have? I'm walking daily by grace and discovering true joy in these hidden, unexpected places that I would not have found had God not pretty much forced me into the situation. I am succeeding at the impossible, simply because God is more than capable to fill in the gaps of where I lack (which includes a lot of places in this case).


Here I am, already excited about each day's new possibilities and challenges. When I asked God to supply the passion and vision I lacked, God said yes. Days are challenging, exhausting, and a bit longer than I would like. But I can already see how the blessings outweigh the difficulties.


Living the impossible is not such a bad place to be after all.



Photo by Mohamed_hassan on Pixabay





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