ODJ: sculpting a stump

June 27, 2013 

READ: Exodus 2:11-15 

Moses was afraid, thinking, “Everyone knows what I did”(v.14).

One morning I noticed a man with a chainsaw cutting down a large tree in front of some local farm buildings. He was still there in the afternoon, working on the tree stump with his power tool set at an unusual angle. Days later I passed the place again and noticed the stump had been transformed into a replica of a corncob. The man hadn’t been merely toppling a tree, he had sculpted vertical rows of ears of corn.

That sculpture reminds me that God can take a life that is the spiritual equivalent of a tree stump—unfruitful, unsightly and unusable—and transform it into a work of art for His glory (Ephesians 2:10).

God used Moses to escort the Israelites out of Egypt (Exodus 3:10-12), despite his severe moral misstep. Born into a Hebrew slave family, Moses grew up as Egyptian royalty. As an adult he was out among his own people and witnessed an Egyptian beating a Hebrew. Moses made sure no one was watching, and then he “killed the Egyptian and hid the body in the sand” (2:12). The killing wasn’t an act of self-defence. It was unrestrained violence. It was impulsive sin.

Although most of us have never considered taking anyone’s life, we can relate to the familiar sequence of sinning—the sudden urge to violate God’s ethics, the act itself, and then the dismay and remorse that follow (James 1:14-15). Fortunately, God’s forgiveness and grace allow us to forget the past and look “forward to what lies ahead” (Philippians 3:13).

God used Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, and He can use us too. Let’s put on our “new nature”, “learn to know [Him]” and “become like Him” (Colossians 3:10).—Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Look up Isaiah 64:8 to see a picture of our relationship with God as His creation. Read 1 John 3:20 to see why guilt over past sin holds no power over Christians. 
What might short-circuit God’s transforming power in our lives? In light of God’s grace to us, why is it wrong to cite past offences when dealing with others?