For the Body

Exodus 3 and 4 recount Moses’s encounter with God at the burning bush. God tells Moses that He has heard the cry of His people and He knows their sufferings and that He has come down to deliver them from the Egyptians. He said to Moses, “‘Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt.’” Moses understood the enormity of this—Go, gather up a nation of people who have been settled in this place for a few generations and have homes and families and who are being held as slaves under the Egyptians. Gather them up and bring them out here.

Moses said, Who am I? “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?” God answered, “But I will be with you.” God gave him a name to stand under, the authority of the name of Yahweh, and signs to authenticate his standing. He gave Moses his brother Aaron to be his mouth.  So Moses went back to Egypt as the messenger of Yahweh to tell Pharaoh that Israel is the son of God, the firstborn son of Yahweh, and He says, “let my son go.” When he went back to Egypt, he told all of this to the elders of Israel and showed them the signs, they knew that Yahweh had visited His people.

What God gave to Moses—authority, signs, the Word of God, the message of deliverance—was not given to Moses for his sake. These gifts weren’t for Moses to keep; the only benefit they were to him at all was in their service for the whole body. Paul talks in Romans 12 about presenting your bodies as a living sacrifice. He doesn’t say, “present your bodies as living sacrifices,” but rather, “a living sacrifice.” We are all members of one body. What we are given, we are not given just for our own benefit, but for the benefit of the body. He says that everyone should not “think of himself more highly than he ought to think.” This is not a call to some sort of manufactured self-effacing. He says instead, “think with sober judgment,” that is, think rightly; understand your place in the story and in the body. The same thought is expressed in Philippians 2 as, “in humility count others more significant than yourselves.“ We aren’t to think of ourselves above one another because we are all members of the same body. Romans 12 is a fantastic exhortation and encouragement toward this kind of thinking. “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”

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