Today’s Bible Reading and devotional study is Exodus 3-4.
A period of change, especially in leadership, is a perilous time for churches, institutions, corporations, and nations. Inexperienced leadership combined with a failed appreciation for legacy and history invariably leads to decisions and changes that often prove detrimental.
Such is the case in the opening verses of Exodus 1 when we read, “6Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation…8 Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph” (Exodus 1:6, 8).
The new Pharaoh did not know Joseph or his service to Egypt; however, he recognized the population growth of the Israelites in the midst posed a threat to his nation (1:9-22).
Some might ask, “Why would God allow His people to suffer such calamity?” My answer: The sorrows and suffering Israel faced was God’s plan to move the Hebrews from the comfort and riches of Egypt to the land He covenanted to give the descendants of Abraham.
The children of Israel were slaves when Moses was born under the threat of infanticide (1:15-22; 2:1-4). Risking her life, Moses’ mother “hid him three months” (2:2), eventually making a small vessel of reeds and setting her son adrift on the Nile River, entrusting him to God’s care (2:3-4). Providentially, infant Moses found favor in the heart of Pharaoh’s daughter and she, having compassion on him, employed his mother Jochebed as his nurse (2:5-10).
Moses spent the first 40 years of his life as an Egyptian prince and favored with the finest education and training of the age (Exodus 2:10; Acts 7:21-22). In spite of his Egyptian facade, the heart of Moses was knit with the suffering of the Hebrew people (Exodus 2:11-15a; Acts 7:23-29a) and in an act of vengeance, he took the life of an Egyptian (2:11-13). Fearing Pharaoh would soon know his crime (2:14-15), Moses fled into the wilderness, spending his next 40 years as a shepherd (2:16-22; Hebrews 11:24-27). Moses, the prince of Egypt, accepted the humble life of a hireling shepherd and married Zipporah, the daughter of a Midianite shepherd, who bore him two sons (Gershom– 2:22 and Eliezer– 18:4).
Now the children of Israel began crying out to God and He “heard their groaning, and… remembered His covenant” (Exodus 2:23-24). In spite of his solitude in the wilderness, God had not forgotten Moses and when the time came, He summoned His servant (3:4-6).
Exodus 3:5-6 – “5 And [The LORD] said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. 6 Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.”
Forty years in the wilderness had changed Moses. The once proud prince of Egypt was content to live as a shepherd and wondered aloud, “Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh…?” (Exodus 3:11).
Alone, Moses knew he could not deliver Israel from slavery and his question was sincere. How can one man challenge the most powerful man leading the most powerful nation in the world? God gave Moses the assurance he needed… “I will be with thee”(3:12a). The God of Israel was his commissioning officer (3:16-22)!
God answered Moses’ fears of inadequacy with three signs… a rod turned to a serpent (4:2-5), a leprous hand restored (4:6-8), and the promise of turning the water of the Nile to blood (4:9). When Moses protested his inadequacy to speak, God commissioned his brother Aaron to speak for him (4:10-16).
“Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel…[and] spake all the words which the LORD had spoken unto Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people…. And the people believed…and worshipped” the LORD (Exodus 4:29-31).
I close encouraging you, whatever the task, if God has called you, you can do it with His help and strength! The apostle Paul, living out the same principle, would write, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).
In the words of the NIKE athletic shoe commercial, when God calls, “Do It!”
Copyright 2019 – Travis D. Smith