The Soul of Moses:  A Bible Study for Asbury's Worship
(September 19 & 20)
by Rev. Lee Johnson

september 19, 2020


In her book, Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership, Ruth Haley Barton reflects upon the early gatherings of the Wesleyan Tradition of our Methodist heritage.  There, weekly, those who self-identified as followers of the Wesleyan movement, would ask the question: “How is it with your soul?”  So, how is it, with your soul this week?  Barton says these are “tough” times for our souls.  Yesterday, a friend told me his soul is hurting, hurting because of the isolation brought upon us all by a pandemic.  Then, this morning, while talking to a colleague of mine, a retired United Methodist pastor who lives in Omaha, talked too about her soul.  My colleague was the first African-American woman to be ordained an elder in The Nebraska Annual Conference.  She said her soul is hurting because we are having the same discussion on racism we had 30 years ago.  Two times in less than 24 hours, people have told me their souls are hurting.  So, “How is it with your soul right now?”  Barton says it’s a tough time for our souls.  What do you think?


To reflect upon the emerging difficulties which challenge our souls today, Barton turns to the story of Moses, much of which is found in the Old Testament Book of Exodus.  Moses, who led the Israelites to the verge of The Promised Land, knew the limitations and imperfections which challenged the well-being of his soul.  To work through those moments, Barton notes, Moses was forever turning to God.  Says Barton, “What staying power Moses had, battling it out with God, rather than giving up when the going got tough.”  Through his battles, God led Moses to discover a grace that helped him live well with his own soulful limitations and imperfections, instead of becoming derailed by them.  Ponder the moments of your downcast soul.  Have you ever sensed God at work in them, revealing a new way to live?  Is your thought, like Moses, to “turn to God” when your soul is troubled?  How has God ever worked to strengthen your soul?


Interestingly, from his birth, Moses’ soul and life were at risk.  Times were tough then, too, for Pharaoh had decreed every Hebrew boy born in Egypt was to be thrown into the Nile River and drowned.  Knowing this, Moses’ mother made a basket of paper, and placed her son in it, hoping to float Moses safely amongst the reeds of the Nile.  Just then, Pharaoh’s daughter came to bathe in the river and discovered the basket and baby.  Says the story in Exodus 2, “Pharaoh’s daughter had pity on the baby” and he was saved.  Later, Moses own mother was chosen by Pharaoh’s daughter to raise the child.  From the very beginning of his life, God worked to care for the soul of Moses.  It’s a most unusual cast of characters that care for baby Moses.  Which serves to remind us that God works creatively to care for us.  Who are some people God has placed in your life to care for you, and your soul?  Like Pharaoh’s daughter, are there some surprising people on your list?


Exodus 2:1-10.


Asbury's Weekend Worship:
Beginning Saturday, September 19 at 5:00 pm

"It is Well with My Soul" -


"Strengthen me, I turn to you.  Make it well with my soul." 

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