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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Wednesday, February 12, 2020  

Today’s Scripture Reading | Exodus 24:12–18

The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain, and wait there; and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.” So Moses set out with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up into the mountain of God. To the elders he had said, “Wait here for us, until we come to you again; for Aaron and Hur are with you; whoever has a dispute may go to them.” Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. The glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the cloud. Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. Moses entered the cloud, and went up on the mountain. Moses was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights. (NRSV)

Trust. Yes, trust. That was the absolute character of Moses’ relationship with God. From his beginnings, launched from the hand of his mother onto a river in a basket, trust in the providence of God to take the child where he would go. Trust when Pharaoh’s daughter discovered him floating in a basket in the bulrushes, when he was drawn from the water into the house of Pharaoh. Trust when the fire burned on the mountain and the call came to Moses to go down to Pharaoh and demand that the people in captivity be let go. Yes, Moses had trust in God. And God had trust in Moses.

And so, in this text, that trust arises again, or maybe is the bedrock of this call from God for Moses to ascend a mountain to receive the tablets of stone. “Come up to meet me on the mountain,” God says. And we have to wonder if Moses may have been worried when the glory of God was so intense that the mountain appeared to be a towering inferno to those below. And what is more, Moses went into the fire-charged cloud and for forty days resided there. Trust in its most absolute expression.

In human development, trust is the foundational capacity one must establish in order to find one’s footing in life’s course, yet in the sweep of life there are many moments when trust is shaken or even undone. We have to wonder how it is that Moses’ trust in God was so sure that he would step into the cloudy uncertainty at the top of the mountain. But he did. And the blazing glory of God met him with such power that he returned glowing. Trust in God, first and foremost, is the word. Trust in God, yes, this day.

When we stumble in our trust of you, O God, raise us up. And when we hold fast to your call to trust, make us bold to live it out in everything we do this day. Amen.

Written by Lucy Forster-Smith,
Senior Associate Pastor for Leadership Development and Adult Education

Reflection and Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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