The Fruit of the Spirit: A Week of Questions #3

We’re addressing (at least) 1 question a day this week regarding the Holy Spirit and the fruit he produces in us. Let’s jump right into day 3.

“Why did Moses disagree with God? I don’t understand why he argued with God. It seemed like heresy.”

The best answer to your question, which is referencing Exodus 32 and the specific message on patience and kindness, begins with a humble correction. I don’t believe Moses disagreed or argued. Yes, he did converse, but he didn’t speak in such a way that was threatening, proud, or heretical. That’s why I say he didn’t disagree or argue. He wasn’t trying to get his way or prove a point to God. He simply engaged in a conversation, which is precisely what prayer is — talking to God.

Still, even if one concedes that Moses wasn’t disagreeing or arguing, your question, which is essentially a “why” question, deserves an answer. Why did Moses engage in a back-and-forth with God? Simply put, because that’s part of prayer. And Moses knew God well enough to engage in that level of prayer without fear. So he did. That’s why.

You’re right that the language of the text indicates he was in a back-and-forth with God, but that is exactly what a relationship contains — conversations. Exchanges. We often, falsely, assume prayer is a one-way street; we tell God things and do all the talking. But prayer is also listening. Through the Word of God and Spirit of God, our Father will speak to us, illuminating us and leading us to his will. That is, in essence, an exchange. A conversation.

Sometimes those moments of illumination and leading can be massive. Life-changing. God, at times, leads us in ways that we realize our our world is about to be turned upside down. And while this is not necessarily negative (his commands are not burdensome), what usually ensues is a back and forth with God. More conversation to clarify and confirm. We continue to listen and talk. Hear and respond.

I remind you this type of praying is common in the Bible. David expressed deep, personal desires to God, Job asked challenging questions of God, and Jonah actually became exasperated with God, complaining to him about his compassion to Nineveh. Dare I say that few of us have delved into that level of freedom in our prayer life.

As I pondered this unexpected answer, I found it ironic that Moses, who is the one we’re focused on in this specific question and answer, is also called a friend of God (Exodus 33:11). There we read that he was called this because he related to God “face to face.” We shouldn’t be surprised. Friends know exactly how to converse with one another deeply. I pray we will learn how to pray as deeply and personally as Moses.

#3 is headed your way tomorrow!

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