“Existential Exodus”

Have you ever just ended up in situations, qualified or not, with out meaning too, yet you handled it? I have. I have the gift of blundering into the middle of sticky wickets I’m not qualified to be in the middle of. I handle them, not perfectly, because they need handling. It’s always in the haze of retrospect that I realize, God used me! God equipped me to be in the middle of those particular wickets. Then there are other times I long to be used in certain area’s because I want it, and end up tripping over my very unqualified self. That’s when I feel I don’t fit, even if I’m trying to do good. It’s a merry go round…less the merry.

I’ve been back in the book of Exodus for a couple of weeks, studying Moses.

I have a new appreciation for him. He was in way over his head when he rolled through the wicket to the Burning Bush. I mean, here is this Hebrew, who as a baby, had been placed in a basket and set adrift on the Nile River by his momma. She was sparing him from certain death. The Pharaoh of that day feared being usurped by the Israelite’s numbers, so ordered all male Hebrew toddlers killed. The irony? The daughter of that very Pharaoh pulled the babe from the river and kept him as her own, yet he was nursed and nurtured by his very own mother. Coincidence? No. For the first forty years of his life, Moses was raised and educated as an Egyptian, perhaps being groomed to be the prince. There is no evidence leading us to believe that Moses didn’t know his lineage, even if others were confused. I wonder though, did it leave him feeling inferior to his Egyptian counterparts somehow? Like he wasn’t all that and a piece of cake too?

Years later Moses visited the labor yard, where his race toiled. He witnessed an Egyptian slave master beating a Hebrew slave. In defense of this slave, Moses killed the overseer and tried to hide the body, and his deed. Not long after, he saw two Hebrew slaves bickering and tried to reconcile them. They turned on him…asking if he’d kill them too. They knew his secret! Pharaoh knew it too and wanted Moses dead. So, he fled. He left his homeland, leaving family and friends in fear for his life. But his training during that time period taught him battle and organizational skills. Moses became a man without a place to be. He couldn’t stay in Egypt. The ones who raised him and loved him as their own had turned on him. I truly believe Moses thought he was doing something good in that slave pit. He’d left his princely lifestyle and met his heritage head on, only to be despised by them too! How lost and alone he must have felt.

His flight ended in Midian. He became a lowly shepherd, gaining a wife, two sons, and a priest for a father in law. Moses learned more about the God of his forefathers. He was content and living his happily ever after. He’d found a place to be…to belong. For forty more years. One day as he tended his herd, a blazing bush that didn’t burn up, peaked his curiosity so he went to it. Would you have? Imagine Moses’ state when the very voice of God came to him. He’s told he’s to be a leader in God’s army, at eighty years of age. Wow. It’s no wonder Moses balked at first. Here he’d been minding his own business, maybe wondering what was for dinner, and wandered right into an assignment such as he could never have imagined. But he did answer the call. He said yes, even as unqualified as he felt. Once again Moses left the serenity of home. He left the quiet life of shepherding sheep, to become a shepherd of God’s people. Moses was to return to Egypt and to the Israelite’s. All of which forty years earlier had despised him or wanted him dead. His training during this time taught him how to be a patient shepherd.

Moses was no longer an Egyptian prince in training. Nor was he a Hebrew slave. Nor was he a fugitive. In the Egyptians eyes he was but a lowly shepherd. He was also, and forever to be remembered as, the man who answered God’s call to lead His people out of bondage. When Moses returned to Egypt it wasn’t easy. A lot of time had passed, there was a new Pharaoh in place, but he too feared being usurped by the Israelite’s. It wasn’t the their numbers he should have feared though…only God. God used all of the miraculous events recorded in Exodus to show His people who He is. Even the hardened heart of Pharaoh. Even the scoffing, grumbling hearts of the people Moses was to lead. But Moses was prepared, he’d been trained. He sought God’s counsel at every turn.

A beautiful tapestry was being woven. Moses left his princely heritage to go and serve as God commanded. Moses was meant to lead the people out of physical bondage but more importantly to teach about the bondage of sin. People had wanted him gone, yet God spared him and used him to teach the people about His Sovereignty. God instructed Moses in the ways of worship. Moses mediated between the people and God.

All of this teaching and leading up to Jesus. Jesus, Messiah.

He left His princely throne, the very right hand side of God, to come and serve His children. An earthly king was threatened by this Jesus and wanted Him gone as a toddler too. He was despised by His own, yet He willingly came. Our Christ came in the form of a babe, born in lowly estate. His mission, to shepherd us through this pasture called life. But above all, to lay down His life and free us once for all from the bondage of sin. He came to mediate between us and our Father forevermore. Even when we mess it up. Even when we wander in a wilderness of our own making, we’re being trained for the time we say yes to God.

I imagine Moses felt so overwhelmed and under qualified, but he handled what God gave him the ability to handle. When we feel called to something, or bungle into a situation feeling unqualified, yet saying yes to God, He’ll equip us. Our lives and our trials train us up. Our failures spotlight areas we need to either let go of, or let God refine. You never know what roll your yes might play in someone’s life.

As the saying goes, “If God calls you too it, He will get you through it.” Goodness…I didn’t even talk about the Red Sea!

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