It has been a while, but I still remember the days of holding our infants while they fight sleep. Often sleep is the very thing they need, but embracing it, surrendering to it will not come. But then the moment does come when they can fight no longer and sleep overtakes them. Such sweet surrender; very few things are as peaceful as a child at rest. David captures this picture in Psalm 131, talking about the surrender of the believer, "But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me."
Throughout our series on Exodus we have been talking about belief and belonging. If you are looking for a single word that captures the idea of what it means for an individual to believe and belong, surrender comes as close as any word. Believing is not merely an intellectual activity, but it is a giving up of counter-arguments, a lowering of defenses and an active trusting in the truths of the Gospel story. Through this surrender we find that we are held by a loving Father, and we belong to him.
Milton Vincent, in a helpful little book called The Gospel Primer, describes the life of the Jesus follower this way: "I am called by God to daily surrender the members of my being…it could be said that 'sanctification' is merely the lifelong process wherein I joyfully surrender myself to God's imputed righteousness and then do whatever this righteousness directs me to do. Indeed, God has clothed me with His righteousness. Now he wants this righteousness to master me…[that I may] experience the full breadth of eternal life that God has given to me in Christ."
I realize that the above quote has some technical language, so feel free to mull it over or ask questions if you need to. However, despite the technicality the picture is clear. Like a little baby, when we stop fighting sleep, stop exercising our stubborn will, we experience a graciousness beyond anything we can imagine as we rest in the provision of the Father.
As we pick up Exodus 4 on Sunday we see Moses fighting sleep. God is asking for his surrender and Moses will not go down without a fight. What a window into our own souls… But take heart, YHWH will not give up!