READ: Exodus 4-6, Psalm 19, Matthew 19, Acts 19
God is not reluctant to kill those He calls. In one of the more puzzling turns of biblical events, God calls Moses to go to Egypt on a rescue mission and then “on the way…the Lord met him and sought to kill him” (Exo. 4:24). Tracing backwards from the intervention of Zipporah (she circumcised her son and through the bloody symbolic foreskin at Moses’ feet) helps us identify and understand the offense. Evidently Moses was not in full compliance with the Abrahamic covenant.
God demands ALL. Those who are called must give everything. We are masters of the partial surrender. We excel at giving Jesus almost everything, but to hold something back is to doom both our calling and our long-term health. God sets impossible and costly terms for following. It is impossible for a camel to go through the eye of a needle (Matt. 19:25-26), it is impossible to come into the kingdom on our own terms (which inevitably are that we give God most everything but retain control of the one thing most precious to us). God puts his finger on the one thing we won’t surrender and says, “You have to be all in. That retention scuttles the whole covenant. Yes, I have called you, but I will discard you if you do not surrender all.”
The cost of calling is not only to be counted by leaders. Moses’ son sure had an abrupt introduction to the communal cost of God’s call – it was his blood that saved the day. Those that would emerge from slavery must participate in the cost and escape under duress. Deliverance (for both deliverer and escapee) is a painful process, not an immediate translation to a trouble free station. In the process of deliverance things often get worse before they get better. “Anguish of spirit and cruel bondage” (Exo. 6:9) often restrict us from hearing (and receiving) that which would help us to life.
Those who would agree to work under God’s authority to deliver others must realize they cannot do this with secret faults or presumptuous sins (Ps. 19:12-13). Presumptuous sins anger God and secret faults destroy us from the inside out. We may continue for a short season in a public role (while being presumptuous in sin and hiding secret faults) but there will be no transformative power to our words or witness. Formulas (external words/appearances) without internal purity and truth only leave us naked and wounded, vulnerable to the demonic powers (Acts 19:16). Anything less than ALL for Jesus (“all my being’s ransomed powers”) leads to our death — even on the road to deliver others. When God calls you, if you are not “all in,” you are not in at all.