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From Slavery to Promise

By Pastor Donna Muston, Rural Mission Ministry agent for the Presbytery of Central Queensland.

Numbers 13:

Moses was a great leader – we know that, but the wisdom of his leadership comes only from his deep relationship with God. In the Book of Numbers, starting in chapter 13, the time had now come for Moses to send a party of leaders from each of the twelve tribes to explore what life might be like in the land of Canaan – the land that God was gifting to them. 

So after 40 days of scouting out the land, their reports were overflowing with accounts of just how good this land was. The only trouble was, while the land was great, the current occupants of Canaan posed a problem; they were fierce, huge giants – there was no way the Israelites could take them on! Two of the leaders – Joshua and Caleb, spoke out against the other 10, firm in their belief that the Israelites were up to the task. Of course, uproar resulted, causing Moses yet again to call on God to be merciful. 

The story of the Israelites being held back by fear is perhaps something that we may identify with.  Throughout this story of being so close to the promise yet still at a distance, Moses continued to be in prayerful, honest conversation with God. 


The rescue from slavery

the taste of freedom.

Promise ahead


murmurings of unease

as they remembered.

The Lord speaks.

Someone is listening

Moses – ever faithful

holds fast

to the promise.


Moses sends out


from ancestral tribes.

Out where?

into the promise

of land

of home

of a place to belong

to have enough

more than enough.

And we?

What is our Egypt?

What are our bonds?

What is our unease?

And your promise Lord,

is it so different?




More than enough.

We listen.

A place of many rooms, Lord?

Your promise

is not just for me

for my tribe

but also

for those from

the east, west, north, south.


how will they know?

I, Lord?

I’m not  Moses

I haven’t heard you in the burning bush

I’m not Caleb or Joshua

Courageous in the speaking

brandishing the

absurd notion

 – it can be done!

But, you Lord,

in the stillness,

in the whispering of the silence,

have called me,

have called us,

do send me,

do send us.

And so


Into Your promise

of all we are now

all we could be,

we step out.

Somewhat shakily,

With eyes fixed on you.

For in you,

our trust is found.

For you are

with us

behind us

beside us

before us

for us

for those we do not yet know.

Your holy people.



forever more. Amen


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