Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Exodus 3:11-12 Why Me? (Second Try)

"But Moses said to God,
'Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh
and bring the Israelites out of Egypt:'

And God said, 'I will be with you.
And this will be the sign to you
that it is I who have sent you:
When you have brought the people out of Egypt,
you will worship God on this mountain.' "

Exodus 3:11-12 (NIV)

Remember how Moses had made a decision at some point that he would not be identified as the Pharaoh's daughter's son, but would align himself with his people, the Israelites?  The book of Hebrews says this about that decision:

"By faith Moses, when he had grown up,
refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter.
He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God 
rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time."
Hebrews 11:24-25 (NIV)

Some time after that decision, Moses had come to the aid of one of his fellow Israelites who was being beaten by an Egyptian.  However, in his zeal, he killed the Egyptian.  Apparently he thought that the Israelites would appreciate his efforts in delivering them, but when he rebuked two Israelites for fighting amongst themselves the next day, the one in the wrong asked Moses if he was thinking about killing him just like he had killed the Egyptian.  Moses realized that his actions had become known, and when he realized that the Pharaoh was now intent on killing him, he fled to Midian.  He married the daughter of Reuel, a priest of Midian, and had two sons.  (Genesis 2:11-21;Acts 7:23-29)

Moses spent the next forty years as a shepherd in the desert area of Midian.  It must have been quite a change from the life he had lived while growing up in the household of the Pharaoh.  However, caring for his father-in-law's flocks was excellent training for the job he was to do in the future.  Sheep seem determined to wander into all kinds of difficulties, and need constant care lest they bring about their own destruction, much like the flock of God, who are prone to wander in a spiritual sense.

Now, forty years later, Moses seems to be quite a different man from the one who had rashly killed the Egyptian.  Even though some historians (Josephus, Philo and others) have written about Moses' successful military endeavors while he was still part of the Pharaoh's household, he is no longer that brash young commander of some of Pharaoh's forces.  He is older, and humbler, a husband and father. 

There is also that matter of his having killed the Egyptian.  The Pharaoh who had been in charge was dead, but there could be some people alive in Egypt who would still be interested in getting revenge for that death.

God knew that Moses was reluctant.  He give Moses two assurances:
  1. "I will be with you." (v.12)  Moses would not be alone on this mission.  God promised to be with him and help him.
  2. "When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain."  I always thought that this was a funny way to assure someone.  With all due respect, what kind of a sign was that, to be told that you will one day return and worship God on this mountain?  Then I realized that this sign was an incentive for Moses' faith to grow.  The God who made the universe, who doesn't lie, was assuring Moses that he would be successful and would return someday to worship God on this mountain.
What a privilege to be able to serve such a God!  Perhaps Moses (and all of us) should be saying "Wow, me?" instead of "Why me?" when we find ourselves in a difficult situation or when God calls us to do something which we think we can't do.

As for my lost post, well, it was probably too wordy anyway.  This one is much shorter and still says all that I wanted it to say.  Much thanks for the heavenly 'editing', for being with me, and for reminding me that my attitude should be not be 'Why me?" but instead, "Wow, me?" when an opportunity to grow comes my way.

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