Dancing in the Desert

Dancing in the Desert Devotional Bible

Bible teachers have a long history of portraying the stories of scripture two-dimensionally—as flat characters moving across small landscapes and making familiar, predictable choices. That's how we often perceive the people who populate God's story. We don't always read their stories with awareness of the pressures they faced, the doubts they had, the assumptions they made, or the alternatives they could have chosen. We miss many of the layers of their lives.

The devotional readings in this Bible explore those layers because we have more in common with these people than we might think. We wander through the wilderness of life too, and we see the challenges around us, just as they did. But with the eyes of fatih, they were able to envision something of God and his purposes. They not only survived their deserts; they learned to dance in them. We can too.

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Tyndale 2015, paperback, hardcover, and leatherlike
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Moses' Reluctance

The traditional portrait of Moses, taken from his own comments at the burning bush, paints him as a fearful stutterer. He was reluctant to go back to Egypt's courts and challenge Pharaoh, and he used an apparent speech impediment as his excuse. But a closer look at his backstory may give us a different picture.

Moses was Hebrew by birth but raised as an Egyptian. So which culture shaped his identity? On the day he killed an Egyptian to protect a Hebrew, he was a Hebrew. Clearly he saw himself in a unique position to help his own people find freedom. But on the day he encountered the daughters of Reuel in the wilderness, he looked the part of an Egyptian (Exodus 2:19). Like hyphenated Americans today, this Egyptian-Hebrew or Hebrew-Egyptian stood between two cultures, but he did not fully represent either one. He had been rejected by both, yet God was asking him to mediate between them.

So why did this highly educated man who was "powerful in . . . speech" (Acts 7:22) claim not to speak well? Perhaps he spoke Hebrew like an educated Egyptian would—just enough to get by, but not enough to be considered a man of Israel. In other words, he wasn't fluent like his brother, Aaron. If his objections to God reflected an outsider's fear of Pharaoh, they may also have reflected an outsider's fear of Israel.

In Their Steps

You may notice this between-two-worlds theme throughout scripture. In Moses' case, he stood between Egypt and Israel in order to deliver the Israelites. Elsewhere, priests stood between heaven and earth to represent the needs of humanity to God and the voice of God to humanity. Similarly, Jesus, both divine and human, stands between God and humanity to reconcile us with him. And we, thoroughly earthen vessels filled with the Spirit of God, serve between God and humanity as ambassadors of the reconciliation Jesus accomplished.

© 2015 by Chris Tiegreen

©2013-present by chris tiegreen