Week 52 Submitting to God’s Will

By Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell (Guest Blogger)

Week 52

Scripture Readings: Deuteronomy 32-34

Key Scripture Verses: Deuteronomy 32:45-47 (NIV, Life Application Bible)

“When Moses finished reciting all these words to all Israel, he said to them, ‘Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you may command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law. They are not just idle words for you—they are your life. By them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.”

Moses has just recited the words to a song before the Israelites which told of their history and how God was always with them, in spite of their continual rebellion against him. Moses reminds them of God’s faithfulness and how he has kept his promises to them. He praises God saying, “I will proclaim the name of the Lord. Oh, praise the greatness of our God! He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.” (Deuteronomy 32:3-4). He reminds them that God will take care of them, but that they should heed his commands, because “they are your life.” It was an eloquent ending to a long-standing job as their leader and now he was passing the baton to Joshua and the Israelites would enter the Promised Land.

God had taken care of Moses and his fellow Israelites over and over again and had proven to Moses that if he trusted in him, he could do whatever God needed him to do. It had been a long journey and God had given Moses the strength to overcome and to endure many trials, including his feeling of inadequacy to lead the people and to teach them because of a speech impediment.

Moses did not want to be God’s spokesman initially. “Moses said to the Lord, “’Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.’” But, God insisted that he was the one whom he had chosen to lead the Israelites, responding to Moses, “’Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.’” (Exodus 4:10-12)

Moses is a wonderful example of someone who followed God’s instruction and had a productive life, doing what he thought he would not be able to do. And we see that he turned out to be quite capable as a leader and teacher, speaker, and song leader. Because he trusted God, he was able to not only teach them the law, but to be an example to us as one of God’s most loyal servants. God used his natural abilities for involvement and leadership and helped him become the speaker he needed to be to get the job done. Aaron helped him at first, but clearly Moses became a great teacher and leader in his own right. All with God’s help.

God has a way of using human resources and efforts to his own purposes. He knows us better than we know ourselves and he knows how he can use our personal characteristics to make things happen for the needs of his kingdom.

The Bible is full of stories of God using the very people who seemed unlikely to do the job and having them do a splendid job with his help. David comes immediately to mind—the young shepherd boy was the one who stood up to the giant Goliath whom no one else would fight. And, yet, David was the perfect one to do that job.

Perhaps God has a job for one of us that we don’t believe we are capable of doing. Are we open to what God is calling us to do—even if it seems implausible? Consider Noah—he built an ark because God said to and everyone thought he was crazy to build such a big boat on dry land when there was no obvious reason how he might use it.

If we trust God and follow his commandments, we may find ourselves as faithful servants being presented with special tasks to do. We might just learn from the words of Moses that “these are not just idle words for you—they are your life.”

Maybe, just maybe, God has plans for us that we can’t yet understand. May we be open to his calling. May we trust him enough to show us how to do his will. May we have the faith of David, the faith of Noah, and the faith of Moses to answer his call with: “here I am—send me!”

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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