I was just thinking about Moses and how he had it made in Egypt. He was highly educated because he was a Prince of Egypt. His future seemed so bright and he would one day be a part of ruling one of the greatest countries of that era. He knew he was adopted and he knew he was Jewish. I think that he also knew on some level that he would be the one to lead his people, the Jews, out of Egypt. Yet as a young educated rich man he was not prepared to be a leader. He killed an Egyptian man out of anger because the man was beating a Jewish man. God knew that Moses had many lessons to learn before he would be ready to lead a nation and so Moses was not called at that time to overthrow the Pharaoh and free God’s people. God wanted Moses to understand some things and so Moses fled for his life and ended up living in the desert. I can just imagine that Moses thought life was over and that God would never use him again.
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. He went out the next day, and behold, two Hebrews were fighting with each other; and he said to the offender, “Why are you striking your companion?” But he said, “Who made you a prince or a judge over us? Are you intending to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid and said, “Surely the matter has become known.” When Pharaoh heard of this matter, he tried to kill Moses. But Moses fled from the presence of Pharaoh and settled in the land of Midian, and he sat down by a well. Exodus 2:11-15, (New American Standard Bible or NASB).
Have you ever thought of how hard it is to live in a desert? I lived in the Mojave Desert in California for a few years and it was hot, hotter, and hottest! And that was with air conditioning!!! I can’t imagine living in a tent with rugs covering the sand as my floor. I can’t imagine going from being a Prince in a palace where servants fanned you, bathed you, dressed you, and anticipated that you would be thirsty and brought cool water for you anytime. I can’t imagine going from the table of the Pharaoh to fending for yourself. I can’t imagine going from the halls of college to the desert to herd goats and sheep! I can’t even imagine! Can you? Life in a desert is hot, sticky, sandy and without much relief. Day in and day out survival is what you strive for. It must have been what God felt that Moses needed to learn or otherwise Moses would not have been there. Let’s read on about Moses.
Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters; and they came to draw water and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. Then the shepherds came and drove them away, but Moses stood up and helped them and watered their flock. When they came to Reuel their father, he said, “Why have you come back so soon today?” So they said, “An Egyptian delivered us from the hand of the shepherds, and what is more, he even drew the water for us and watered the flock.” He said to his daughters, “Where is he then? Why is it that you have left the man behind? Invite him to have something to eat.” Moses was willing to dwell with the man, and he gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses. Then she gave birth to a son, and he named him Gershom, for he said, “I have been a sojourner in a foreign land.” Exodus 2:16-22, (NASB).
I believe that God wanted Moses to survive and in the desert the best path to remain alive is within a family where there is help and companionship. We have many stories in the settling of our own country about people who were alone and went mad. Moses needed to grow and mature and God was preparing him to become a leader. Of course Moses didn’t know the plan. He was just a lost soul that needed help to start over his life. How amazing that he found seven women who needed help! What father wouldn’t be grateful for a man to step up and protect his daughters. He brought nothing to the marriage but his youth , strength, and intelligence but in the desert that is really all he needed. Moses settled into his new life and was a family man and was learning how to be a shepherd. I can’t help but think that those qualities were important as he developed many skills during this time. So what next?
Now it came about in the course of those many days that the king of Egypt died. And the sons of Israel sighed because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry for help because of their bondage rose up to God. So God heard their groaning; and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God saw the sons of Israel, and God took notice of them. Exodus 2:23-25, (NASB).
The first thing I notice in this passage is in the course of many days that the king of Egypt died. In other words a long period of time has passed. What happened during that time? Well, what happens in your life during a long period of time? My answer may be different from yours but many of us will have similar stories. We married, we had children, we reared our children, they left home, they married and now we are grandparents. I can only imagine that this is what happened to Moses. He grew older and wiser and smarter about how to survive in the desert. He acquired management and people skills, had years as a herdsman, and he knew how to manage his own family and children. He developed a good relationship with his Father-in-law as they went into business together. He probably was an uncle as well. In other words, he lived out his life in the desert and he matured and grew old. It is what happens to most of us in our lives.
The second thing in this passage that I notice is that God doesn’t hurry the master plan. God has a different view of time than we humans have. We grow older, we are not made to live eternally as our bodies age and decay. God doesn’t hurry the master plan but God also does not forget. God was about to unleash the master plan for the Jews to become a nation and Moses was to become a shepherd of human beings. Why now? Why not a generation ago or a generation from now? Only God has the answer but it probably has something to do with the fact that God heard their groaning; and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God knew it was time and God had a man in mind who was now ready and capable to be the leader.
I take comfort in this chapter of Exodus because God does not forget promises, God also hears our prayers and our cries for mercy. That is a marvelous and miraculous comfort to me as I age. Also age is not a factor for Moses. He was old, so was Abraham when Sarah had Isaac. God can use the young as He did David and Solomon but God can also use the aged. I take from this that I will never be too old to be used by God for the master plan. I may not see or understand the master plan but I can still be useful as long as I have breath in my body. You are useful to God as well no matter your age or circumstances. Isn’t that a comfort to you too? Our society may tell us to hang it up and sit in the rocking chair but God doesn’t tell us that!