In some ways, Moses was perfect for the task of delivering Israel from Egypt. He was a Hebrew who grew up in the courts of Egypt, and therefore in some ways lived in both worlds. He spoke the language of Egypt, had access to its structures of power, and yet in his veins had the blood of the Hebrews, as is clear from his ferocious defense of his Hebrew brother being beaten by an Egyptian (Exod 2). And in some ways, he lived in neither world—never fully Egyptian and never fully Hebrew. This would, at times, be a lonely calling. Such was the man the Lord chose to carry out this work.
And it was a tremendous work, full of glory and fear, for Egypt was both strong and determined. When Moses asked “who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt,” the Lord did not answer his question, at least not as Moses asked it. The Lord did not address Moses’ background as appropriate to the task or any intrinsic abilities that Moses might have that would enable him to pull this off. In fact, the Lord said nothing of Moses at all. He said simply, “I am with you.” Moses’ strength would be, at one level, irrelevant. The presence of God would be decisive.
This is a pattern. When the Lord called Gideon to lead the people out of mighty Midian, Gideon recoiled: “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house” (Judg 6:15). The Lord’s response to Gideon’s sense of inadequacy and fear? “But I will be with you.” Jeremiah? “I am with you to deliver you” (Jeremiah 1:8). Mary? “The Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28). The church? “I am with you always, even until the end of the age” (Matt 28:20).
The Lord will give His glory to no other. He will also see to it that His work comes to fruition. Part of what this means is that the Lord remains the strength behind the calling. While I am sure that the Lord prepared Moses in his background and upbringing, Moses will not deliver based upon his tactical skill or the persuasiveness of his speech with Pharaoh or with Israel. Gideon will not deliver Israel based on the size of his army. Jeremiah will not be eloquent but will be called firstly to listen to the Lord. Mary is called simply to trust, and to be available. In other words, calling depends not on the strength of the person, but the strength of the Lord. Which means that the servant of the Lord is, above all, called to be available and faithful. Because the calling is carried out in the presence of the Lord, and in His strength, the servant of the Lord must walk out his calling in a manner consistent with the Lord’s character.
To put it in modern (although perhaps awkward) terms, the strategy for succeeding in the Lord’s service is rooted in one thing before all else: walking with God. Submit everything to him. Remember that your calling is a calling to the Lord’s work. Never take it back from Him or undertake it in a way that is inconsistent with who He is. Let the Lord define success, and let Him be the strength behind that success. For, in the end, that is the only way for our callings to bear fruit, and thereby realize both His glory and our good.
To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory (Col 1:27).