Moses and Scrabble; lessons learnt along the way

I have a couple of fond memories as a kid but I think one of my fondest was playing Scrabble with my dad and sister. He was obviously better than the two of us but he would always give us an additional fifty (50) points at the beginning of the game to place us ahead of him. But I guess you know who always won… yes you were right – My Dad. Regardless of the numerous losses as a kid, he increased my capacity to know lots of word. I would often and still do it now, try to form words from a word I see from bill boards, to car stickers (the thought just makes me smile). I can say some sort of confidence was built over time in playing Scrabble. I took that confidence to the National Youth Service Corps  (NYSC) orientation camp. Initially I was really humble watching the guys play the game and boy! they were so good. The first time I played with them, I won after the elimination stage, they were all shocked.

And that was how our little group of Scrabble players started to increase. I went on to win more games and soon represented my platoon in the camp games competition. I did well at the elimination stage, my all male squad was there to cheer me on. Oh it felt really cool but there was another player in the female category who was also very good. My platoon and her platoon made it to the final stage but something happened. The day of the finals she wasn’t available and it was a game of two (2) people each for a team. The coordinators had insisted we play 2 against 1 which would have been unfair so we decided to have a level playing ground for the two teams. But the other lady was scared of playing with me and insisted on us waiting for her partner, time was running out, I was feeling myself as “she who is the greatest champion”. She eventually agreed to play against me, in a turn of events we were at a tie midway into the game and then she started to have some more points ahead of mine. Men and brethren she won, one of my cheerleaders whispered to me later “you know you were better than her” and in retrospect I think I was too confident and that for me was a life’s lesson.

Incidentally many of us have passed through such scenarios, which may have had dire consequences, thankfully mine was just a game. I’m currently studying the life of Moses in the Bible and I’m amazed at how a regular child turned out to do extra-ordinary things cos’ God chose him. He probably wasn’t the best child at that time, but he sure had the best as a child. From been listed by Pharaoh to be killed to moving into Pharaoh’s palace as a royal child and then getting his mother to nurse him while she was been paid. Let’s applaud God’s huge sense of humor.  His’ was surely a fairy tale but the story doesn’t end there. God started working with Moses with his rod to save the Israelite, from the rod changing into a python, to using that same rod to divide the Red Sea. In most cases he didn’t speak, the rod did the speaking but you know, you can never fully understand God’s ways. We can never get used to His way of doing things neither can we let familiarity creep in on us.

The Israelite had complained again against God and Moses that they had no water, God instructed Moses and Aaron “Take the rod, and you and your brother Aaron assemble the congregation and speak to the rock in front of them…Moses said to them listen now, you rebels must we bring water out of this rock? Then he raised his hand in anger and with his rod he struck the rock twice… and the water poured out abundantly” Numbers 20 : 8 – 11. Did you notice any similarity with Moses’ previous works – the rod was always in his hand. But while in other cases God asked him to stretch forth the rod in this case he was instructed by God to speak even while holding the rod. Is it convenient to say Moses assumed it was business as usual, he had applied the same principle in the past and it always worked therefore this particular one wasn’t any different. Can we also assume I had always won previous Scrabble games and didn’t pay attention to really see how my opponent played to predict the best moves?

How often have we missed out opportunities cos’ of assumption or familiarity, for the Bible scholars you remember this singular act of Moses prevented him from entering the Promised Land flowing with milk and honey. God is a good God but His methods of expressing His goodness changes. At some point He’s mixing spit and clay to open blind eyes, at another point He’s speaking. Imagine if Abraham’s ears were closed to God, he would have sacrificed his son Isaac and still tell his wife that was God’s instruction but God said something after the first instruction. The issue isn’t if God is speaking rather are we listening or do we go to God with our already pre-conceived familiar idea and act upon it. I pray our ears and hearts are really open to hear that still small voice direct us.

Loads of Love




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