I’ve noticed some interesting things as I watched some old Bible movies after reading the accounts in the Bible. God will do many great and wondrous things, but God does these through His people who are willing to follow Him. He calls people, sends them to give warnings, and then He follows through with what He said. When I think about Esther, Moses or even non-named followers of God, it reminds me of the sovereignty, protection and love of God in the face of our enemies.
Look at Moses. Here was a man that was saved from an early death (male Hebrew infants were to be killed) and raised in the palace of the pharaoh. Does he rise to power and release the Israelites by royal decree? Nope. He kills an Egyptian that is harming an Israelite, buries him, and believes he’s done this in secret. Once he knows other people know, he makes a run for his life to the wilderness. At age 40, Moses has gone from a prince to a pauper, is a fugitive, and a stranger in an unknown land.
Does God have Moses gather an army for retaliation, command an attack and takeover the kingdom so he can release the Hebrews to live as they did when Joseph was alive? Nope. Moses becomes a shepherd, lives in a tent/tent-like home on the backside of a mountain of few inhabitants, marries the daughter of a priest of Midian, has a couple children and prepares to spend the rest of his life tending to his family and animals believing he’s left his past and heritage behind. At age 80, Moses is quite settled in his lifestyle.
NOW God gets Moses’s attention and calls him to lead the Israelites to freedom.
Before we get into this well-known story, let’s imagine what might have been going through his mind. I pictured myself in the shoes of Moses, and this is how I imagined I’d react. The lifespan of a person usually ended by 120 after the flood (if they were permitted to live that long). Nowadays, 55+ (65 in some places) is considered senior citizen, and people look to retire by 62. I’m old enough to be the parent of a senior citizen and certainly not thinking about a career change such as becoming a world leader to be used as an example for billions to follow for the next few thousand years. I’m old and set in my ways when, all of a sudden, a bush catches fire. I’m nosy and curious and venture closer when I hear my name. I must be hearing things because I’m the only person I see around. This voice calls my name again and tells me He’s GOD. If I don’t wet my pants, I am probably clutching my chest afraid I’m having a heart attack because God has made a personal visit to deal with me for something I’ve done (like the murder I didn’t confess 40 years earlier). Now, I learn the God my birth parents worshiped is upset because they’re enslaved under my adoptive parents’ family and wants them freed. That sounds like a good idea…until He tells me it’s my job to make sure it happens. The LORD is going to send me directly to Pharaoh to demand he release an entire nation. Why? Why me, and what am I supposed to say? “God sent me.”
I then learn that I am to tell Pharaoh to allow us to go worship, he won’t permit this, God will strike Egypt, and then they go free. Hmmm…..I think I need a little more than that to convince these people to follow me and convince the ruler of the world to release them. (I will sound crazy. Maybe I am crazy. It’s the heat, yes. I’ve been under this sun too long. I’m hearing the voice of God and believing I’m going to lead a nation.) God tells me to throw my staff which becomes a serpent and a staff again. Frightening, but pretty cool. Okay, maybe this is for real. Then, He has me stick my hand in my cloak. Ack! Oh, oh, ow, ow, ow! I’m a leper. No, no, no! Leprosy kills people. There’s no cure. WHY? I put my hand back, and it’s healed. This is God….and He just made me an offer I can’t refuse. I could be killed by Pharaoh, or I could be killed by God. Oh, please, please, PLEASE don’t make me go! I can’t speak. I don’t know what to say. There are too many things wrong with me. The Lord tells me He’ll be with me.
I get ready to go with the wife and sons when God tells me – by the way, HE’S going to harden Pharaoh’s heart so that he won’t let Israel go, and strike Egypt even to the death of his son. While I’m thinking about my nerves and what to say, the LORD meets me to kill me (Exodus 4:24)! Really?! I’m on my way to what appears to be a suicide mission planned by God, and God stops me with the intent to kill me! (The boys need to be circumcised in order to partake of the covenant of God, so they’re circumcised.) By this time, my nerves are shot. God sends Aaron (who somehow got out of Egypt while still being a slave) to meet me. I feel a little better. My big brother is here and heard the same thing I did in another land.
Can you imagine the absolute terror that must have filled the brothers’ hearts? Moses never lived the life of a slave but was a runaway fugitive, and Aaron was a runaway slave that never saw the inside of the palace. The two of them had already visited the children of Israel and gotten them excited about how God was going to deliver them (end of ch 4) and were now about to march unannounced before the pharaoh and countless attendants and tell the man who considered himself to be god on earth that the God he doesn’t recognize orders him to release his slaves. Whatever bravery they felt going in with the miracles may have diminished as soon as the magicians did the same with their staffs. Not only does Pharaoh not release the Israelites, but their workload is increased, they’re beaten for not keeping up the work demand and the Hebrews are angry at Moses for getting their hopes up! I’m pretty certain this is not how Moses envisioned the outcome of this mission.
But we know the outcome. With each message from the Lord, Moses’s faith builds. He learns the voice of the Lord, sees He does what He says He will do, grows in boldness and confidence to speak about the things of God and is molded into the prophet God preordained. What we see is that the tasks God gives don’t necessarily get easier or stop. They are different and are often overwhelming/impossible – crossing the sea, battles, feeding a multitude, getting water from a rock, judging the nation, proving God really chose Moses or Aaron for certain positions, etc.
Someone asked me where I see myself in 5 years. I have no clue. There are certain responsibilities that are constant such as my duties as a mother, but I can’t predict what God has in store for me because I didn’t know I’d be dealing with what I’m dealing with now 5 years ago. Moses had a career change at 40 and again at 80. He didn’t plan it, but God did. By himself, Moses was incapable of freeing the Israelites, but that’s what he was called to do. God calls us to do the impossible. He gives us what we need when we need it. His grace is sufficient for each day. When we’re doing what is beyond our capabilities, we learn to rely on God for the victory and stay close to Him. God’s way will be sure to amaze us while also rewarding those who were faithful to Him and dealing with those who despised Him. God covers everything, and our best plan would be to follow His.