Today’s Reading: Exodus 1-4
The nation of Egypt had grown very powerful because the hand of God was on Joseph’s life, yet they were still a self-seeking, sinful people and they oppressed God’s children. A new king was now in leadership and he was intimidated by the size of Joseph’s growing family – the Israelites. He created a plan to keep them from growing even more. He made them slaves and appointed brutal slave drivers over them, assigning them with crushing labor.
The more Pharoah oppressed God’s people, the more the Israelites multiplied and spread. Life was bitter for the Israelites as they were worked without mercy and under the pressure of ruthless demands (Exodus 1:11-14).
Pharoah gave an order to the Hebrew midwives to kill every newborn boy, only letting the girls live. But the Hebrew midwives feared God and refused the King’s orders. So Pharoah ordered all the Egyptians to kill every newborn Hebrew boy (1:22). Imagine the terror and grief of God’s people as their babies were yanked from their arms and cast into the Nile River.
BUT GOD IS NEVER CAUGHT UNAWARE. HE IS NEVER WITHOUT A PLAN.
God raised up a leader from one of those baby boys to rescue his people. A married couple from the tribe of Levi gave birth to a son and hid him for three months. When they could no longer hide him, they placed him in a basket and laid it among the reeds of the Nile River, with the baby’s sister watching close by. Pharoah’s daughter found the baby and claimed it as her own. Because GOD IS GENEROUS, He even worked out a way for the baby’s mother to take him back home and nurse him until he was old enough to move into the palace and be raised by the princess, who named him Moses (2:1-10).
Although Moses was adopted into this royal family, he never lost his connection with the Hebrew people. He saw how hard they were forced to work and came to their defense, killing an Egyptian who was beating one of the Hebrew slaves. When Pharoah heard of this, he tried to kill Moses so he fled Egypt and went to live in the land of Midian (2:11-15). There GOD PROVIDED him with a wife, the daughter of the Midian priest, Jethro.
While tending Jethro’s flocks one day on Mount Sinai, the mountain of God, Moses came across a blazing fire in the middle of a bush. The bush was engulfed in flames but was not consumed by the fire. As Moses stepped forward to get a closer look, he heard from God.
“I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt into their own fertile and spacious land. It is a land flowing with milk and honey…Now go, for I am sending you to Pharoah. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.” – Exodus 3:7-10
AGAIN, GOD IS NEVER CAUGHT UNAWARE. HE IS NEVER WITHOUT A PLAN.
He knows how His people suffer and He hears their cries, responding with His perfect plan. Moses had the privilege to be a part of this plan – to have a front row seat to the mighty hand of God at work. But Moses responded in fear and doubt.
God said “Go” and Moses responded “Who am I?” God made it clear – it isn’t about who you are but about who I am and “I Am Who I Am” (3:14). Moses protested – What should I say? God responded – “Say this…” Moses reacted in fear and doubt, asking “What if…?” God pointed out the staff in Moses hand and told him to throw it down to the ground. It turned into a snake. God told him to pick up the snake by the tail and when he obeyed, the snake turned back into the staff. God was showing Moses how He would perform all kinds of miracles to show Himself to both Pharoah and the Israelites.
Then the Lord asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.” – Exodus 4:11-12
GOD IS NEVER CAUGHT UNAWARE. HE IS NEVER WITHOUT A PLAN.
God has a plan and that plan often involves us. He calls us to do something and He desires obedience and faith. When we say – Who am I? What can I do? God says – It’s not about you, it’s about me and “I Am Who I Am.” When we ask how, God says – take what I have already placed in your hand, what I have already equipped you with, and let go of it. I will take it from there. I will tell you what to do and I will give you the words to say.
Many of us are called by God to rescue others who are suffering. We have a message to give those who are hurting – God hears, He is concerned and He has a plan to rescue them. Let’s listen closely to God today as we make ourselves available to be used by Him in the lives of others. Let’s respond in obedience and faith instead of fear and doubt. Let others know that God has seen, He has heard, He is concerned and He has come down to rescue them!!!
Heavenly Father, thank you for the many ways in which you have generously provided for us. Thank you for being present and active in our lives, knowing what has been and what will come. It is comforting to know that nothing about my day will catch you off guard or unaware. Help me to trust you in the midst of it all. When I start to argue or find excuses, remind me that it is about you. Remind me of who you are and what you have already provided in my life. Give me the courage to respond in obedience and faith. Amen.