February 25, 2014 by Chris French
What do you think Moses’ face looked like when God told him not to come any closer to the burning bush? When I picture this going down Moses sees something on fire in the distance. When he gets closer he realizes that it’s a bush, but it’s not being consumed by the fire so it’s odd. Then the bush says his name and all bets are off! I’m betting Moses cocked his head to the side and looked around for a hidden camera. When the bush tells him that he shouldn’t come any closer I’m guessing he didn’t have a problem with that. He was probably wishing he hadn’t gotten as close as he did!
Moses’ day is about to get even more interesting though. Now the bush wants him to go back to Egypt and save Israel from Pharaoh’s hand and lead them to Canaan, the long-awaited Promised Land. Israel’s future heroic leader has some quandaries with this whole idea though. When God first starts talking about His desire to get Israel out of Egyptian slavery Moses is probably nodding his head. It’s a desire he’s held for over 40 years! It’s the reason he found himself watching the Israelites work that one day he killed the Egyptian master for beating the Israelite, so he’s on board for getting his people out of this awful situation he just doesn’t want to be the one to do it. So after God lays out His plan He says, “No go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You will lead my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.” Moses’ head probably snaps up. “Me? You want me to do this huge thing?” You can read the rest of Moses’ excuses in Exodus 3-4. He gets pretty creative so it’s an interesting read.
I want to focus on the one reason for not going Moses doesn’t talk about. In Acts 7 Stephen is giving a review of Israelite history so he can sneakily show the Sanhedrin that Jesus is the One the Old Testament promised would deliver Israel. In verses 23-25 though he says something interesting about Moses.
“When he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brothers, the children of Israel. And seeing one of them being wronged, he defended the oppressed man and avenged him by striking down the Egyptian. He supposed that his brothers would understand that God was giving them salvation by his hand, but they did not understand.”
Moses was ready to lead Israel’s revolt against Egypt, but the people wouldn’t follow him. When he tried to break up fight between two Israelites the next day one of them shoved him and wanted to know who died and made him ruler over them (slight paraphrase there). Now 40 years has passed and Moses isn’t so sure about this whole revolt thing. It probably looked to him like God had put him in his position so he could do something about Israel’s captivity. Why else would God save him as a baby and land him in Pharaoh’s house with all the power and respect his station brought? Everything had aligned too perfectly for it to be anything other than God…but then it all fell through.
Have you been there? You thought this was God’s will, but the bottom dropped out of it and now you’re struggling (hanging out with sheep in the wilderness). Stay faithful. Don’t lose trust. Look for opportunities to bring attention to God in your wilderness. It could be that you’re in training for an Exodus moment. If your Exodus moment never comes though look for ways to make God famous in your dead-end job, go to deeper depths of trust in God in your tough relationship, find your joy in God during your heartbreak in the wilderness.