Scripture Reading: Exodus 17:5-6
Has God ever called you to take a risky step of faith in front of other people? Why does He do that?
I know I’d rather take a risky step of faith when I’m all alone, in private, with no one watching. Sometimes we’re able to do that, but there are other times when God calls us to take steps of faith with others looking on.
With today’s lesson, we’re turning a corner in the book of Exodus. In the first ten lessons, we looked at how to “get free” from the bondages in our life. In lessons 11-20, we covered how to “stay free” once we’ve gotten free. In the next ten lessons, we’re going to look at how to “set others free,” a big part of which involves enlisting the help of others.
Take a look at how God begins to do this here in Exodus chapter 17:
“The LORD answered Moses, ‘Walk on ahead of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink’ ” (Exodus 17:5-6).
Why did God tell Moses to take some of the elders of Israel with him on his way to strike the rock?
Although the text of this chapter doesn’t say specifically, we can get an idea of what might be going on by looking ahead at the next few chapters. Moses’ father-in-law is about to come onto the scene and tell Moses to divide up the work of leading the people, encouraging Moses to choose leaders over groups of tens, hundreds and thousands to help share the leadership load. The elders that go with Moses to the rock are likely to be some of the same elders who will take on these new roles.
While taking our steps of faith in private may be “safe,” taking those same steps in public may be significant in helping others take their own steps of faith down the road.
When I began my Internet ministry, I reached a point where I was overwhelmed with requests for prayer and advice. So I invited some people to help me respond to all the emails that were coming in. One of those who volunteered was a woman from Tennessee who had a heart, and a gift, for helping people. Over the years of helping us, her burden for helping others over the Internet continued to grow.
The week that I wrote this lesson, she launched an Internet ministry of her own at www.DayByDay7.org. Taking what she has learned about doing ministry over the Internet and combining it with her other God-given gifts and talents, she’s now poised to help many more people grow in their faith. Here’s part of a note I got from her that week:
“I just wanted to share with you that I got my first prayer request from someone in California. I don’t even know how they got my website. I can’t tell you how hard that hit me―it was so sudden and I didn’t expect to get any hits or prayer requests so soon. It was completely awesome. You should have seen me praising the Lord. All the hard work was worth it! At that moment, the poem on my website came to pass: if I can ease one pain, it will all be worth it!”
The closing of her note tied together this idea of the value of taking others with us while we step out in faith. She wrote: “Thank you for allowing me to volunteer with The Ranch and for encouraging me to reach out to others through your ministry and this one. I don’t know where God will take it, but I’m ready! You are my inspiration for DayByDay7.org.”
Why does God call us to sometimes take steps of faith with others watching? Perhaps one of the reasons is so that when we walk along with each other, we can encourage each other to keep taking more steps of faith, thus expanding the ministry of “setting others free.”
Want to learn more? You can watch a podcast with more discussion about this topic below.