God and Moses are having their little back-and-forth about whether God knows what He's doing in choosing Moses to get the rest of the Israelites out of Egypt, and whether Moses is going to do it, and God says, "Here's how you'll know it was me who sent you to do this: after you guys all get out, you'll come back and worship me on this mountain."
The first time I really noticed that (and many times subsequently), I thought, "What kind of a sign is that? It's after the fact." You really have to step out in faith for that kind of thing . . . only finding out if you went the right way or made stuff up after you've tried it.
Well, Moses and the Israelites got out of Egypt, and they did worship God on that mountain, but it wasn't exactly easy sailing (or hiking, or whatever) anyway, and the Israelites were more prone to say, "Why didn't you let us stay in Egypt? Huh? At least we could eat leeks and garlic there." (I like leeks and garlic--a lot--but I have often thought that was a strange thing to choose as a consolation for slavery. You'll say anything when you're desperate, though, I guess.) Even though that worship-on-the-mountain sign was after the fact, it ended up being before a lot of other challenges, in the end, and I wonder if Moses hung onto that when the people he was more or less babysitting for forty years got particularly annoying. "Well. I'm not entirely sure how wandering around with this lot is God's will, but He did say we'd worship Him on that mountain, if it were true he sent me to get them out, and we did it, and here we are. I guess I'll carry on then." I suspect there were times, though, when he wished for a few more signs to keep him motivated.
Right now I have a much less history-altering (I think) application of this same after-the-fact-but-you-aren't-out-of-the-desert-yet-honey sign principle. Remember how I was trying to figure out if I should get that car? And I was wondering if the $2 over the monthly amount I was wanting to spend was significant or not? Then I made the decision to get the car after all, and took out a loan from a local credit union. Not only did I get an excellent APR (relatively speaking, of course), but I also learned that the amount I thought I'd have to pay per month was $27 less that $202. (It is not difficult to do the math. I just wanted to write it that way. So there.)
This, I thought, was kind of like one of those retroactive signs: "As a sign that I have chosen this car for you, you will have smaller monthly car payments that you asked or imagined." Pretty cool.
Only . . . then I discovered I'm not out of the desert yet. My car insurance rates just jumped up with this purchase, and I didn't realise just how much excise tax and all that stuff was going to cost, so I probably should've asked for a slightly larger loan, and in the meantime, my health insurance changed hands, so I'm now paying for premiums and deductibles again, and I have no financial buffer. Is this evidence that I made a bad decision and should have waited on the car? Or is it the Red Sea and dearth of water and the plague of poisonous snakes and the battle with the Amalekites? These are just some of the things I'm thinking about these days . . . but I'm kind of a fan of Moses.