Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Lenten series # 6: Moses

"The child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter and he became her son. And she named him Moses, and said, "Because I drew him out of the water." Now it came about in those days, when Moses had grown up, that he went out to his brethren and looked on their hard labors; and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren. So he looked this way and that, and when he saw there was no one around, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand." (Exodus 2:10-12 NASB)

The Pharaoh in Egypt was killing all the Hebrew babies, but Moses' parents took one look at him and loved him. They were desperate to protect him. After three months, it was no longer possible to hide him, but his mother had a very unusual plan. She put the baby in a floating basket and put it in the reeds at the edge of the Nile, then she set his sister nearby to see what happened. Amazingly, Pharaoh's daughter found him and decided to adopt him. In an even more amazing twist to the story, she hired his own mother as Moses's wet nurse. When he was weaned he became her son, he lived as a prince, and grew up in the palace, where he was trained in the leadership expected of Pharaoh's grandson.  

When Moses was grown, he saw an Egyptian beating one of the Hebrew workers. Pharaoh's daughter might have pretended he was her son, but it is clear Moses knew about his Hebrew heritage. He saw the man beaten and was enraged. In fact, it was a rage that resulted in the murder of the Egyptian. In an attempt to hide his crime, Moses buried the Egyptian in the sand, but his crime was discovered, and he ran for his life. 

In what seemed like the blink of an eye, Moses went from being a Hebrew baby in a basket to an exalted prince of Egypt to a fugitive murderer. Here is where the story takes another twist. He fled to the wilderness of Midian, where he became a shepherd. 

Forty years later, he saw a burning bush, God called to him, and he approached the bush. When he realized that it was God calling, he was afraid and hid his face. In that instant, God's plan began to come together. The years of training in administration and leadership in Egypt, followed by the years as a shepherd in the wilderness were not wasted. They were part of the essential preparation for the most important job Moses would ever undertake. He was to lead the Hebrew people out of Egypt and to the promised land. 

Over the course of the next forty years, Moses walked with God. In fact, he became a friend of God, so much that he met face to face with Him. Afterwards, his face shone so much that, instead of hiding his face from God, he had to cover his face with a veil and hide it from the people. (Exodus 34:34) Being in the presence of God left a change in Moses that everyone could see. His experiences caused another change, too. Instead of the angry, vengeful young man, Moses became the most humble man on earth (Numbers 12:3).  That humble man led millions of Hebrews to freedom from slavery as he walked with God. 

Remember the people in Sodom? Those people weren't humble. They were filled with pride, arrogance, and selfishness, and it ultimately led to their destruction. Moses, on the other hand, left his world a different place because of his humility and his faithfulness to God. Despite his rocky start and his immense sin, our God of second chances gave Moses a fresh start and the opportunity to change the world, and Moses ultimately embraced it.

Perhaps you, too, have made mistakes and have had a rough start to your life thus far.  In the shortest time imaginable, you can answer the call of God and He can begin to unfold your second chance.  He can reveal His plan to use all the mistakes in your past to make a difference in your future. No matter how far you have run, how low you have sunk, how long you have been mired in sin, our Lord can deliver, cleanse, and transform. We can't do it on our own. That's why we needed Jesus. He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we can ask or think. The most amazing thing is that He can use people like you and me to accomplish that work!