The New Liturgist | Moses and the Three Writers

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For Moses, God proceeded to lay out the mission. He went over it detail by detail in Moses’s quiet place, where he could hear the voice of God. For the writers, God did the same:

To Writer One, with her face buried in the carpet, God was very direct. “Come back tomorrow. I want to spend time with you.”

To Writer Two, walking in the woods, God didn’t say anything specific. But the writer felt refreshed and went home to finish the last chapter of the novel he shelved months ago.

To Writer Three, God said something seemingly unrelated, “Go make things right with your son, who is a prodigal. Ask him to forgive you for your anger.”

The writers had their marching orders. So did Moses. Consider the rest of the story:

Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, “’The Lord did not appear to you’?”

Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?”

“A staff,” he replied.

The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.”

Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. Then the Lord said to him, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail . . . . that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers . . .has appeared to you” (Exod. 4:1-5).

After hearing God’s instructions, Moses replied, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me?”

Can you resonate with Moses’s objections? I can. As writers, we fight it all the time. What if I’m not good enough, God? It’s a fear that haunts us every time we stare at the blank page.

God’s response to Moses is provocative; it comes in the form of a question.

What is in your hand?

A staff.

Throw it down.

It became a serpent, alive with the power of God. And Moses ran away. I believe God is challenging writers in a similar manner, “By the way, what’s that in your hand? That pen (or keyboard)? Don’t hold on too tightly. Lay it down at the foot of the cross and watch it come alive with the power of God!”

The Lord didn’t leave it at that, with Moses throwing down the tool he used every day and then running the other way. “Stretch out your hand and grasp it by the tail, “ he said. Pick it up, Moses. By the tail (because the power is in the head.) Pick it up and use it for the Kingdom.

Writer One got up from the living room floor. She wrote articles in her spare time; many of them appeared in the local newspaper and some in small magazines.

Writer Two returned from the woods, pulled the long-forgotten novel from his desk drawer and finished it. His book was a bestseller.

Writer Three spent her evenings writing stories. Though they were never published, her son kept them, and the legacy impacted her family for many years.

The Lord challenged Moses. He challenged the three writers. He challenges me. I believe He is calling us to throw down our gifts at the foot of the cross, watch them come alive with the power of God, pick them up, and use them for the kingdom.

Why write? For one reason alone. He told Moses. He tells us. “That they may believe in the Lord, the God of their fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”

In our quiet place, so quiet that we can hear the very voice of God, especially the voice of God, he whispers to us with his own question. “Will you obey?”

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