Pity poor James Fallon. Fallon, a professor of human behaviour and psychiatry was studying the PET scans of killers when he made an alarming discovery. Professor Fallon had also been involved in a study into alzheimer’s at the time and his own brain had been scanned. To his horror he found that his PET scan was similar to those of psychopaths and murderers. What must have made things just a bit worse was the knowledge that he was also related to the alleged ax murderer Lizzie Borden and also to the first person hanged for matricide in the colonies – plus others who had committed murder.
Sometimes it’s hard to know what to do with who you are or who you have become and it can be complicated by unwanted associations past or present. Fortunately, for most of us life is not quite as complicated as it was for professor Fallon.
It was, however, complicated for Moses – complicated enough for him to have to wrestle seriously with God before he could countenance a call back to Egypt to lead the people out of their slavery. I don’t know what a PET scan of Moses’ brain would have revealed. One thing was certain, he had a criminal record in Egypt. Another thing was pretty much certain as well: he was pretty uncertain about any call from God. Apart from the murder that resulted from his botched attempt to establish himself as Israel’s deliverer, there was the whole issue of why anyone should accept his authority, his revelation.
No doubt those concerns drove most of his dialogue with God in Exodus 3 and 4. And it was the way that he flagged up those concerns that led him into a deeper revelation of God:
Moses said to God, ‘Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, “The God of your fathers has sent me to you,” and they ask me, “What is his name?” Then what shall I tell them?’ 14 God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: “I am has sent me to you.”’ (Exodus 3.13-14).
Moses had very good reasons to be concerned about a return to Egypt. And it was very understandable that he had questions about whether and how he would be received by his own people. The answer to his concern was a new revelation of God.
Sometimes we are faced with a “big ask”. Sometimes that “big ask” is from God. He doesn’t give us all the details of how He is going to work things out. What He gives us is a new revelation of Himself. Of course, it’s not a new revelation in the sense that Moses had a new revelation. “I AM” was a completely new move in God’s self-revelation to the world. However, the Holy Spirit is able to bring us a new revelation of God in the sense that He is able to open up aspects of God’s character and person that perhaps we hadn’t seen before. Those fesh insights are tailored to meet us where we’re at. God meets our God questions with a God answer.
The answer Moses received was that God was the God of today. He is I AM. A God who is present with us. The God of now. He was with Moses. He was with Israel. He was concerned about the here and now, not what had happened forty years previously.
Whatever the complexity we’re facing. Or the previous chequered experience. Or the ham fisted failure of yesterday, God is with us now. That is fact – whatever you think your spiritual PET scan is telling you.