“Markets rely on confidence and certainty. Right now there is neither.” So commented one economist on yesterday’s market slide. As you know, the Dow Jones closed down 391 points Thursday. According to this morning’s Wall Street Journal, all blue-chip stocks finished in the red.
The market decline followed news that young adults are suffering from the highest unemployment rate since World War II. Forty-five percent are without jobs; nearly one in five live in poverty. Among teenagers, unemployment is more than 70 percent. As a result, young adults are 25% more likely to live with their parents than before the recession. Only 44.2 percent of adults ages 25-34 are getting married, another record low.
Is there hope in all of this? Absolutely.
I’ve been studying the book of Exodus lately, learning from Moses about listening to God. Scripture says that “the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend” (Exodus 33:11). How can we learn to know God as he did?
In Exodus 17 we find an answer. After the Egyptian army drowned in the Red Sea, the children of Israel began “traveling from place to place as the Lord commanded” (v. 1). However, God soon led them to camp where “there was no water for the people to drink. So they quarreled with Moses and said, ‘Give us water to drink'” (vs. 1-2).
Moses then “cried out to the Lord,” who instructed him to take the rod with which he struck the Nile and use it to strike a rock at Horeb. God then gave water from the rock to the people, confirming his miraculous power and Moses’ leadership (vs. 4-7).
Soon the people were attacked by the Amalekites. This time Moses knew what to do: “I will stand on top of the hill with the rod of God in my hands” (v. 9). As he held the rod high, Joshua and the people fought and God gave the victory.
I often say that God redeems all he allows. In this case he led his people to the desert, which he redeemed by demonstrating his power, affirming Moses’ leadership, and teaching him how to use the “rod of God” to glorify the Lord and serve his people. In the same way, he stands ready to redeem the economic desert in which we find ourselves this morning. If we will cry out to him and do whatever he leads us to do, he can still bring water from rocks.
He has given us all we need to know and serve him today. What’s in your hand this morning?