By Brooke Holt
“One day, when Moses had grown up, he went out to his people and looked on their burdens, and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his people. He looked this way and that, and seeing no one, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. When Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and stayed in the land of Midian. And he sat down by a well.” Exodus 2:11-12, 15 ("The Great 'I AM'" Study Reading: Exodus 2:11-25)
As a teenager, I became engrossed in the daytime show Days of Our Lives. Much to my mother’s dismay, I faithfully plopped down in front of the television every afternoon at 1:00 pm to see what would happen. The ongoing drama gripped me. Each day revealed new secrets, trials, and relationships. I did not understand then that the soap opera screenwriters had nothing on the Old Testament.
Anyone who believes Scripture is dull truly has not read through these stories. Sadly, God’s people have experienced much drama since the fall of Adam and Eve in the garden, and Moses was no exception. In the second chapter of Exodus alone, he is abandoned, adopted (by royalty, no less), murders a man, flees his home, marries, has a son, and escapes Pharaoh’s death sentence - twice! I would hardly call that boring.
At the beginning of today’s reading, Moses is a man caught between two worlds. As a member of the Pharaoh’s household, he was afforded privileges and comforts very few ever enjoyed. At the same time, he was moved by the suffering the Hebrew people, his people, endured every day at the hands of their masters. When he witnessed the beating of a Hebrew slave, he intervened and killed the Egyptian - an act punishable by death, even for someone of his station. The following day, Moses tried to settle a dispute between two slaves, and the encounter reveals two important facts. First, the Hebrew men did not consider Moses one of their own, despite his parentage. Second, the crime Moses thought he had hidden was not a secret at all.
As Pharaoh again commanded his death, Moses immediately fled Egypt. And once again, God provided a refuge. While resting beside a well in Midian, Moses intervened on behalf of a group of women being chased away by shepherds. So grateful was Ruel, their father, he invited Moses into his home and eventually into his family through marriage to his daughter, Zipporah. While not nearly as glamorous as the royal courts, Midian nevertheless played an important part in Moses’ preparation for his calling. There, he discovered a completely different way of life as a tender of flocks, a husband, and a father. Later, he would draw on every one of those experiences, as well as those from his life in the palace, to lead God’s people.
When it comes to drama, Exodus 2 has it all: privilege, injustice, murder, peril, and even romance. But it is also a single chapter in an ongoing story. While Moses’ life was completely upended several times, the Hebrew people continued to live, day after day, enslaved and oppressed. In the final verses, we get a glimpse of what is to come and what has been happening behind the scenes all along. God heard his people’s cries of misery and remembered his covenant with the patriarchal fathers (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob). He was already preparing the path and Moses for the salvation of his beloved children.
The story continues far beyond the next chapter or book and into our own time. We face some sudden and unexpected trials; others are prolonged and feel never-ending. Sometimes, like Moses, we try to take control and get ahead of God’s plan. Sometimes, like the Hebrew slaves, we feel powerless to do anything at all. In every circumstance, the Lord sees our pain, hears our cries, and works our mistakes and misfortunes for our good.
Are there things in your life that God would like to redeem and use for your good and the good of others? You have never had a day of your life when he did not see you, hear you, and know you. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Want more content about the book of Exodus? Check out "The Great 'I AM'" study written by Charlie and Brooke Holt below.
Let's face it, the Christian life is hard. Relationships take work. Christians forget. Sometimes it is tempting to go back to the days when God was not the center of our lives - to backslide. We are all faced with tremendous pressures to drift away from intimacy with Jesus and the community of the Church. However, the Lord invites us to pay attention, to move forward, to draw near, and to live lives of worship. Draw Near: Hebrews on Christian Worship is a small group Bible study on the Book of Hebrews intended to lead participants into a deeper intimacy with the living God in the context of New Testament worship. Draw nearer to God in authentic worship today!
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