It seems I’m gradually falling in love with the book of Exodus. One would have expected me to be done with the story of Moses but as fate would have it, I’ve still got something to digest. There’s an interesting lesson I came across in Exodus 3 that I think is an eye-opener for all of us.
While Moses was tending to his father in-law’s flock, God spoke to him through a burning bush and said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.”
He then goes on to say “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 9 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”12 And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”
The first thing God did when Moses wanted to find out what was in the burning bush was to make reference to Moses’s forefathers. I believe Moses’s knowledge about God was based on hearsay, so God had to make reference to prove to Moses the kind of person he’s dealing with. Abraham, Jacob, and Isaac were men who encountered God mightily and were made great by God. Usually, when we want to convince someone on our first encounter to gain their trust, we make reference to our best works or influential people who have encountered us. Here is God trying to tell Moses what he represents by making reference to his great works (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) from whom Moses descended from. He was inadvertently trying to tell Moses that, his genealogy is filled with greatness.
Moses fails to see from the perspective of God so he looks at himself and starts telling God about his fears. He, first of all, tells God how unqualified he is to be sent on such a mission by asking God “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt? God then tells him he’s not going in his own accord but in He (God’s) accord.
He continues going back and forth with God concerning what to do in case the Israelites question the veracity of him being a messenger of God to save them. God being omniscient directed him on what to do should the Israelites question his personality as a messenger of God.
Moses is not done exhausting all his excuses so he tells God “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”11 The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”
Moses then drops the final bombshell, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”14 Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses and he said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and he will be glad to see you. 15 You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do. 16 He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him.
The verse 7 of Exodus is what caught my attention and on which I’d base this post. After Moses finally embarked on his rescue mission, intransigent Pharaoh was unwilling to accede to the demands of Moses just as God predicted. Moses began giving God feedbacks and in the verse 7 God said “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet. 2 You are to say everything I command you, and your brother Aaron is to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go out of his country.
The end goal of this rescue mission was to bring the Israelites out of their oppression (Egypt) into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey.
A laudable goal, isn’t it? But what was standing between the accomplishment of this great goal was fear (Pharaoh, Moses’s flaws and his fear of being rejected by his own people).
In the beginning, Moses was doing a job that he thought fit for his capability i.e. shepherding while his people were suffering in Egypt. God then comes into the equation and tells him to leave that work and go on a rescue mission. Is it right to say, Moses’s purpose on earth was to save the Israelites? The Bible didn’t highlight Moses’s occupation as a shepherd but it highlighted Moses’s mission as a rescuer or messenger of God.
The destiny of a whole generation was in the hands of Moses and here he was, comfortably taking care of someone’s sheep. Since the day, God told Moses about his mission, his language was that of impossibility. In as much as God gave him several reasons why he can accomplish the mission, Moses kept on telling him why it cannot be done. He didn’t even consider the end goal but all the focus was on his flaws. God got angry at a point in time because people’s lives were at stake and here was Moses wasting His time.
Here is the catch in Exodus 7 when Moses was complaining to God while on his mission; “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet. Does it mean all along ,Moses was blind to the fact that he was a God to Pharaoh? All this while, God made Moses a God over his fear (Pharaoh). If you read further, you’d realize that Moses’s language changed from God “I can’t” to God “what should I do”? after he was given this revelation.
I’ve always believed everybody was born into this earthly life for a purpose. That purpose is to be a solution to the problems of humanity. Problems are there to destroy. Unfortunately, most of us are oblivious of this. Just like Moses, we desert our purpose and downgrade ourselves to become shepherds. We allow our fears to cloud our judgment about who we truly are. Our purpose is to add value to life and not just deduct from it and pass through.
Our purpose is not about what we see, think or believe. It’s about what God sees and thinks about us. We are the solution to the problems of this world (our environment and surroundings).
Moses wouldn’t have been recognized if he was still a shepherd because that wasn’t his calling. Your real value lies in your calling. God even rated the unqualified Moses above the one who Moses thought was more qualified for the job, Aaron. Nobody can best accomplish your purpose apart from you.
Let’s stop wasting God’s time and getting him angry by allowing our fears to stop us from accomplishing our mission. Just like Moses, we've been made God over our fears.
Let’s conquer our fears like a God and bring the world to a place flowing with milk and honey because that’s the end game; To make this world a better place.
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Published by Desmond Tawiah