Thursday, December 27, 2018

Exodus 2:11-3:4


The Lord somehow preserves our individual choices while at the same time molds our personalities to accomplish His sovereign will. It is a mystery, but a mystery that certainly plays itself out within the pages of Scripture. We see it throughout Moses' life. 

Notice in 2:11-12 that Moses decided in this moment and of his own accord to act as a deliverer for God's people. (Who among us have not often thought to take certain matters into our own hands?) Moses' intentions were likely well meaning but they were not well thought out. Killing one Egyptian slave master would not make a significant difference in the plight of Israel. Moses was a young man at this point.

Notice in 2:14-21 that Moses decided to flee in light of how Pharaoh would respond to what he had done. (Who among us have not sought to flee from negative consequences created by our ill-advised or sinful choices?) No doubt the Pharaoh would not sit idly by at the disappearance of one of his high ranking men, but he would investigate the matter. Upon discovering Moses - the adopted Hebrew under his roof - had slain the slave master, Pharaoh would call for Moses' neck.

Yet, even amid Moses' flight, we discover his penchant for wanting to help others. Having fled to Midian, he assists seven young women by a well who were mistreated at the hands of some shepherds. His decision to come to the aid of these ladies resulted in Moses agreeing to take for himself a wife.

Notice, finally, in 3:3-4 that Moses chose to turn to the marvelous sight of the bush that burned but was not consumed. This choice, according to the text, prompted God's calling. Moses was a mature man at this point.

Moses chose to kill an Egyptian slave master. Moses chose to flee to Egypt. Moses chose to help the ladies at the side of the well. Moses chose to stay with Reuel (aka, Jethro) and take Zipporah as a wife. Moses chose to turn and look at the burning bush.

Meanwhile, just as Moses was choosing, God was also using each of the experiences to prepare Moses for the Lord's purposes in his life. All the moments and all the movements were shaping Moses for something great.

I write this entry on the eve of 2019. The past year in each of our lives have certainly consisted of numerous choices - some good, some bad; some well-intended albeit likely some not well thought out.

What we freely have chosen has ramifications. Still, the lesson I think we can take from Exodus 2:11-3:4 and the details surrounding Moses is that our past choices should never cripple us. The Lord is at work amid our choices to craft us into the men and women He calls us to be.

It takes around 80 years (40 in Egypt, 40 in Midian) for Moses to be truly prepared for God's grand purpose in his life. So, too, you and I remain works in progress. Let us take to heart that even our wrecked and/or wretched pasts can shape us into individuals with wonderful testimonies of how God was faithfully at work to prepare us for something great.


In what way(s) can you discern how God is at work to use your past choices - good and bad - to shape your personal story for His glory:



from Best Devotional Commentary - "If we look at 2:11-3:10 we find four obvious sections: Moses' life in Egypt (2:11-15a); his settlement in Midian (2:15b-22); God's 'sudden remembrance' (2:23-25); and God's self-revelation to Moses (3:1-10). The first two sections are all about Moses - in verses 11-15a there are sixteen verbs, and Moses is the grammatical subject of fourteen of them. In the second two sections, however, the action passes into the hands of God: it is He who 'intervenes' (24-25), and it is He who intrudes so abruptly, so disruptively, into the even tenor of Moses' adopted role of shepherd (3:1-10). Thereby hangs a tale indeed!
     It is not common for biblical narrative to draw lessons or stop to make moral comments. Yet the point to be made here and the conclusion to be drawn is obvious: in the work of God mere human effort, however well-intentioned, committed or influential, results in failure. The only way forward is (speaking reverently) to 'mobilize God' on our side. Seen in this light, 2:11-22 may be called 'the way of failure', and, by contrast, 2:23-25 bring us into 'the place of effectiveness'" (Motyer).

from Best Academic Commentary - "The account of the encounter at the well in Midian in vv. 16-19 tells several things about Moses' character: his flight from Egypt had not blunted his instinct for intervening against injustice and righting wrongs; he was quick to act against oppression, even alone, isolated, and with the odds against him; he was sufficiently imposing and/or assertive to intimidate several shepherds; he was physically vigorous enough to chase off a group of shepherds and then do work that seven girls were planning to do; he was not easily cowed himself; he was generous and helpful to people he hardly knew, acting from principle rather than merely from personal loyalty; and he did not ask for personal reward for what he had done. All of these characteristics are seen again in various ways as Moses responded to God's call to deliver the Israelites from Egypt. In other words, the Moses we see here is basically the same Moses we have already seen as an adult in Egypt and whom we will see again throughout the Pentateuch - a figure whom God continued to prepare for a great and daunting task yet for whom such a test, however potentially dispiriting, would not be something inimical to his basic nature" (Stuart).

from runner-up to Best Preaching/Teaching Commentary - "In fact, humiliation is one of the means by which the Lord builds Christian character. Moses' exile is what prepared him to shepherd Israel out of Egypt. His flight from Egypt to Midian was the beginning of a lengthy spiritual journey. It came to a climax on Mount Horeb (ch. 3), where Yahweh announces that He is going to use Moses for a mighty purpose. We can even say that it is the Lord's hand that drives Moses out of his comfort zone and into the desert. Would Moses have been adequately prepared for his ministry had he remained adorned in royal splendor? I think not. Rather, he is humbled by the Lord precisely so that he may be made into an instrument of deliverance. ...
     The Moses of Exodus 2:11-25 must precede the Moses of Exodus 14. The Christ born of lowly circumstances, who was despised and rejected by men, who died with great shame, must precede the Christ of the resurrection. We, too, must be broken before we can be built up again, for His sake" (Enns).

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