When we don’t prepare, we can’t succeed. Preparation may be boring. It may seem tedious. But unless we take the time and prepare, we will not be able to fulfill what we are called to.
When we think of Moses, our minds often jump to him leading God’s people out of slavery, or parting the Red Sea, or carrying the Ten Commandments and glowing with God’s glory . But before all of that, Moses went through a time of preparation. Eighty years of preparation, to be exact. Eighty years of maturity. Eighty years of sharpening before God used Moses to be the chosen deliverer of Israel.
Text: Exodus 2:11-25
1. Fleeing the Old Life (Exodus 2:11-15a)
A Hebrew child raise as Egyptian royalty. We can only imagine the emotional tug-of-war that would cause in Moses’ heart – to be raised in luxury, to enjoy all the pleasures that life would afford, and yet to know that his own people were suffering every day of their lives in slavery. Two times in one verse, the Hebrews are described by Moses as “his people”. At the most inopportune time, he was choosing to relate to his own slave heritage. God was preparing Moses to act on behalf of his own people.
And one day, at the age of 40, Moses saw an Egyptian taskmaster beating a Hebrew slave. Moses killed the Egyptian and hid his body in the sand. According to Acts 7:25, Moses was acting out of a motive to show his fellow Hebrews that he had come to deliver them. But this was not God’s timing, and this was not God’s way. In his first attempt to be the “deliverer” of God’s people, Moses tried to do it his way, in his own strength, without consulting God. And he failed miserably.
In a span of 24 hours, Moses goes from a royal prince of Egypt to a wanted criminal, fleeing into the desert. In circumstances that seem chaotic, in a time when it seems like man’s hasty actions have derailed God’s plan, that could not be farther from the truth. Sometimes God leads us through uncomfortable times so that we won’t get to attached to our comforts, our own desires, or our illusion of control. And God does this so that we will trust in Him, not ourselves.
Moses flees Egypt, flees the old life, and is led by God to embrace a new life.
2. Embracing a New Life (Exodus 2:15b-22)
Moses, tired and thirsty from his journey from Egypt, sat down by a well in Midian. Seven women, whose dad was the local priest, came to this well to water their flocks. But male shepherds came along, not waiting their turn, and tried to push the women out of their way.
Moses stood up, against several other men at one time, protected the women, and ran off the bullying shepherds. Then, after that, he even drew water for the women and watered their flocks. He didn’t let the guilt of his past define him or paralyze him from helping the helpless. He didn’t let his past hurts and past offenses stop him from being who he was, who God called him to be.
Every person has a past. You have a story. And for most of us, our story includes hurt, guilt, shame and regret. But in Christ, we do not have to let those things define us. In Christ, you are forgiven. In Christ, you have been given a new identity, a new life, and a new purpose. The sins of my past do not define me, but God uses my past to help prepare me.
Moses marries one of the daughters named Zipporah, and they have a son of their own. In just a few verses, Moses went from a fugitive to a father. So God provides Moses with a new life, a new home, a new family, and a new identity. And the reason for all this was not only to bless Moses. God had a bigger plan, to fulfill His covenant promises to His people.
3. Remembering the Covenant (Exodus 2:23-25)
The old pharaoh is dead. But the new pharaoh is no different. He continues the wicked rule of his predecessor and keeps the Hebrews enslaved. But the people did more than grumble and complain. They prayed. They cried out to God. This was a turning point.
God heard their cries. In fact, the Bible says God heard their cries, He remembered His covenant with them, He saw their plight, and He knew their pain.
In our most desperate times, when we are hurting or in need, sometimes all we want is for someone to understand. Someone to relate to our pain. Someone who can say, “I know what you’re going through.”
God knows. He knows every pain, every thought, every heartache. Intimately. Personally. Hebrews 4 reminds us, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).
God heard the cries of His people Israel, He knew their pain in slavery, and he was preparing for them a deliverer in Moses. All of this is to point us to the same God, who hears your cries, who saw our slavery to sin, and who sent us One greater than Moses – one who was also rejected by His own people, one who also has a heart for the hurting and stands up for the oppressed.
Jesus knows. Trust Him. And He will not only deliver you from sin, but He will also use every trial and hurt and scar in your life to prepare you to do great things for His glory…by sharing the gospel with others, and leading others out of slavery, by pointing them to the One who delivered you.