Thursday, February 9, 2017

Our Way, or God's Way? Exodus 2:11-25

Whose Plan, Whose Way?

Was it God who decided to use Moses as a deliverer, or did Moses appoint himself to the task?  Click here to read Exodus 2:11-25.

God's Plan

God protected Moses as a baby.  God arranged for him to be put in a position of power and influence.  God arranged for him to still know his biological family by arranging his own mother to be nurse maid.  God did all this with the intention that when Moses grew up, he would deliver the children of Israel out of slavery, out of Egypt, and lead them back to the promised land.

It was all in God's plan to use Moses for this task.  The idea didn't originate in Moses' own mind, God put it on his heart and mind.  However, Moses decided to try to make it happen in his own way and in his own strength, instead of waiting on God.  There's no telling now, how God might have brought this about if Moses had waited patiently and prayerfully.  Maybe God would have used Moses' position of influence to accomplish the whole thing peacefully, and then would have judged Egypt for their sins in a separate series of events.  Or maybe the deliverance itself would have still happened the same way, but Moses wouldn't have spent years on the run in desert before being used.  We don't know, because Moses didn't wait, but decided to make things happen on his own.

Moses took matters into
his own hands.

Moses' Way

Moses' childhood was probably one of conflicted loyalties.  He knew that his adoptive "grandfather" would have had him killed if not for his adoptive mother taking pity.  No doubt there was some resentment between him and Pharaoh, and probably between Pharaoh and Pharaoh's daughter, and between Moses and Pharaoh's biological grandchildren.  Even though he was protected from death by Pharaoh's family, and there was probably a bond between Moses and his adoptive mother, it is quite likely that he grew up feeling like an outsider to the family, and felt more of bond with his biological family. 

One day Moses was walking along, with the burden for God's people on his heart because God placed it there, and the conflicted loyalties in his mind because of his upbringing, and he saw an Egyptian man beating his Hebrew slave.

Anger rose up in Moses' heart, and he didn't stop and pray, he didn't ask God what he should do. Instead, he acted in his flesh, and in his anger murdered the Egyptian man.

That was Moses' way, not God's, and Moses paid the price acting on his own.

The Aftermath

Because of his indiscretion, Moses had to flee for his life.  He ran off into the desert as a fugitive. Acts Chapter 7 tells us that he had supposed that his fellow Israelites would understand that he was called by God to deliver them, but they did not.  So he spent the next 40 years in the wilderness caring for sheep.  He was in exile, but God still had mercy and blessed him during this time.  He was married and had children, he was close to his father in law.  He was not living the comfortable life he had before, but he was living a life that was normal for that time in history.  During this time, the Pharaoh died and new one rose in his place, this was most likely Moses' "adopted" brother, who would have viewed Moses as a betrayer and an ingrate.  God's people in Egypt, however, were still suffering, and it was getting worse (further evidence that this new Pharaoh too, was hardening his own heart).  Of course, God still knew what His plan was, and when God's time was right, He moved.

Moses spent 40 years in exile because
of his impatience and anger.

Still all in God's plan

Much of scripture presents us with a paradox, man has free will, but God is sovereign.  I won't pretend to understand every nuance of how both of these are true, I just know that they are.  What I will say though is that Moses' life is a good example of both of these things.  God had a plan to use Moses, but Moses in his free will acted on his own before the time was right, and suffered consequences for that.  God's will though was not thwarted.  In fact, God in his sovereignty knew all along that Moses would do this, and planned to use the time of exile to prepare Moses for what he was called to do.

Before exile, Moses had lived a protected and lavish life.  He lived in the palace.  He may have not had a complete feeling of belonging, but even so he was able to avail himself of all the comforts of royalty.  It is reasonable to assume that he was not accustomed to hard work, and probably not in the best physical shape.

Before exile, Moses seems to have been a bit proud and possibly bitter over both his alienation from his adopted family and his distance from his biological family.  Its likely that he didn't really feel like he belonged any place, and yet with all that he was still somewhat accustomed to getting what he wanted because he lived as royalty.  This probably had a lot to do with why he presumed to take matters into his own hands rather than wait on God.  He thought he knew well enough on his own, he didn't need to ask God for help, he assumed that the Israelites too, would recognize that he was doing God's will, and would deliver them.  In short, he was arrogant.

After 40 years of living in exile, Moses was used to hard physical labor.  He was used to working for everything he got.  He was used to living with little.  In that time he had probably also had a lot of time to think and to mature, and probably realized how he had messed up.  He probably even questioned whether it was really his calling to deliver God's people, he probably didn't feel worthy of such a call.  Moses was physically hardened, but spiritually softened.  He was aware of his own sins, weaknesses, and inadequacies.  In short, he was humbled.

And that meant, he was ready to be used.

God used Moses' exile to
humble him and
prepare him for his calling.

Lord help us to be humble and to pray for your guidance in our lives. Help us to fulfill your call on our lives in YOUR way and in YOUR time.  Thank you though, that even when we fail, we can be assured that you will use even those failings to accomplish YOUR will. 

No comments:

Post a Comment