Who has been in a talent show? Remember that one kid who did this amazing stunt and had to come back and bow for an encore? And then you were the next act up? I’m sure that after Joseph, it would be hard to be in the business of saving the nation of Israel. But God had someone very specific lined up for the job. His story starts in Exodus 1-3.
At first, everything was great in Egypt. Israel settled, raised families, grew, and grew, and grew…until they made the Egyptians nervous.
Pharaoh started with slave labor. Get projects done, oppress these potential enemies, great combo! But God had other plans, as Exodus 1 records:
“12 But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad. And the Egyptians were in dread of the people of Israel.”
So Pharaoh called the midwives up. Kill all the males, let the females live, he instructed. But the midwives did not. And God rewarded that. Pharaoh recruited everyone to kill the babies. He sounds very like King Herod around the time of Jesus. And like that episode, one little one did escape. He was from the tribe of Levi. After three months, his mom couldn’t hide him any longer. But she was a smart lady. She nestled her baby in a basket, set it among the reeds where the Egyptian princess bathed, and left a daughter to watch. In the end, that mom was paid to nurse her baby, and see him go live with the princess.
Moses grew up as a prince. Educated, smart…and apparently patriotic towards his origins. He killed an Egyptian and was forced to flee. Like Jacob, he found some beautiful girls by a well and helped them water their flocks, then was invited to settle with the family.
Meanwhile, back in Egypt (Exodus 2):
“23 During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. 24 And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 God saw the people of Israel—and God knew.”
God heard their cries, saw their pain, and He set in motion his plan to bring Israel on the return-trip to Canaan. And he had just the person to do it…
Who was Moses? Was he aggressive, a born leader? Or was he mild-mannered, content to tend sheep and live a quiet life? Moses was tending his father-in-law’s flock, and he came to the Mountain of God. Just another typical day in the wilderness leading a bunch of sheep…until he noticed a bush burning off to one side. And burning. And burning. And not burning up. He decided to go check it out. And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in the flame.
Moses, this is holy ground. Yes, I know your name, and have chosen you to bring My people out of Egypt to a good land.
Moses wasn’t too sure about that – why did you pick me again?!
God replied: “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”
“13 Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I am has sent me to you.’” 15 God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.”
He is a personal God. He took specific interest in Israel. And He was determined to use Moses. He laid out a battle plan: you go in and talk with the elders of Israel. You all go to Pharaoh. But he won’t let everybody leave Egypt. So then I come in and show him who’s boss. And you all leave with a lot of stuff!
God saw the big picture. He saw the problem, He made a plan, and He stepped in to fix it. And He chose to use someone, saving his life from birth. In the end, Moses did come back to the mountain, leading a bunch of people like sheep. He became a legend in Israel greater than Joseph. But he had some growing to do first…
God, thank You for hearing our cries. You are so personal, the same at all times. You do not stop fulfilling Your promises. You hear, You remember, and You act in our lives. Thank You for what You are doing in me. Please help me to trust You and walk with You. And thank You for Your patience in my hesitating. It’s an adventure, and I’m excited to be on it! Amen.