Moses had issues.
Yes that Moses. The very same military trained, Egyptian-murdering, desert-wandering, interracial-marrying, sheep-herding, plague-announcing, nation-delivering, sea-parting Moses.
I have often wondered what sort of fortitude, or disposition, one would need in order to accommodate and transcend the training regimen required to earn the position of “Emancipator of A Nation”. Having that sort of bulleted reference on your résumé surely would garner some kind of recognition, right? Alas, through no fault of his own, even from as early as the time shortly after his birth into an enslaved Hebrew nation, Moses was targeted for extermination. His only recourse for survival, was to be hidden in some bushes on a river, in the hope that someone from the very race bent on his destruction, would extend mercy and take him in as one of their own.
Thusly, miracle number one was introduced.
Moses’ next level of progression included education in politics; commerce; civil engineering; military strategy and tactics; linguistics; art and culture; along with higher learning imbued with royal etiquette and entitlement. Encompassing a total of forty years, this would have included the best of the best, that could be offered to a privileged citizen of the most powerful nation at the time. The nation of Egypt exuded power on a level that transcended its borders. This staggering influence and opulence, was augmented by a powerful military and was coupled with their advanced (even by today’s standards) building technology; all of which was forged on the backs of Hebrew slaves.
In most situations, biting the hand that feeds you is usually construed as a life-limiting move. Especially during a period of history where Pharaohs considered themselves divine (even though they died just like lesser mortals). The long and the short of it is that Moses ended up killing an Egyptian task master who was beating a slave. According to the constructs of the law of the land he was raised in, Moses had immediately crossed a threshold; from an honoured and high-ranking Prince of Egypt, into a life of crime. From Moses’ perspective, he was righting what to him was a patently abusive wrong. Unsuspectingly, in that defining moment, he was setting the stage for his next level of training. So he did what any self-respecting adopted Hebrew-Egyptian citizen would do….he ran. Out into the desert, literally; for, and from his current life.
That would lead to miracle number two.
For those who have never experienced camping…real camping…not ensconced in a Recreational Vehicle or the comforts of a hotel room, you know that if there is not any water to clean your camping utensils, sand will more than suffice(as unusual as it may sound). Sand has an abrasive, cleaning quality that just….works. Moses’ flight into the desert was more of a permanent sabbatical, than a camping expedition. Unbeknownst to him, he was being set up for a life-defining scrubbing. All of that glitz, gilded privilege and knowledge he had acquired from the powerhouse nation of Egypt, was about to be refined and molded; and what better way to complement this newly acquired, sand-induced, abrasive soul-adjusting metamorphosis?
Get married and herd sheep.
Now there are those who would debate who exactly Moses married (culturally speaking). It has been documented that he married a Cushite woman from among the Midians (Kushim). They were of the ancestry of Kush or Nubia in North Eastern Africa. The Kushim were categorized as very dark skinned Africans. I am not sure if you have ever been thrust willingly, or otherwise, into uncharted territory, but it causes a level of self-assessment that does not usually manifest, unless forged under specific conditions; such as being born a Hebrew slave and then being raised as an Egyptian Prince. Or choosing to kill and fleeing to survive. So by marrying into, and adopting a second culture presented the opportunity to void his mind of the previous 40 years of royal high court pressure and obligation. For all intents and purposes, Moses was thinking a simple, quiet family life tending sheep, would be his life’s norm moving forward.
Not even close.
Before Moses ever got to the place of freeing the Hebrew nation from the bondage of Egyptian slavery, he first had to learn a lot about himself. Much of which, I am sure, was not easily accepted by him. It can be disconcerting being shown what you thought was your life plan, was really just preparation for who and what you were really meant to be and do. It took Moses 80 years of physical, mental and emotional conditioning before he was deemed ready to take on the herculean task of going nose to nose with Pharaoh (granted, aided and abetted by a few billion locusts here and a few million frogs there) and leading tens of thousands of starved, abused and elementally stubborn individuals, through the trackless wasteland of the Sinai. It would be a further 40 years on top of that before his responsibility for the nation of Israel was completed. But it cannot be overstated that Moses was prepared at every turn. How else would one gain the exposure and experience necessary to lead, feed and protect such a large multitude travelling on foot in an unforgiving land? Undergoing the prestigious training in Egyptian technology and culture, coupled with the solitary crucible of life as a desert nomad and shepherd, afforded him incalculable insight and exposure. This in turn enabled him to see who he really was, and what he was destined for.
In our own lives, contending with vengeful Pharaohs and rampaging chariots bent on our destruction, may occur with less frequency than it did for Moses, but we too have our Red Sea moments. When we arrive at a place of no retreat; when our backs are literally up against the wall, and our lives are being weighed in the balance, it is usually in such times when we have the clarity to see ourselves as we truly are. If the lots have not been cast in our favour, we still have a choice in how to respond. Some choose bitterness and regret. Others choose to edify and serve others, in spite of their present status.
When you have a revelation of who you are (or are not), it provides an opportunity to stand against seemingly overwhelming odds. The very things in our lives that seem oppressive and intractable to us, can (and usually) reveal the real value in ourselves. Kind of like a grain of sand trapped in an oyster, or a diamond being formed under immense geological compression. That intrinsic value is always worth discovering; even if life’s processes involve irritation, friction or immense pressure being brought to bear against us.
The truth of the matter is, your value is light years beyond anything a crustacean or granite can generate.
That would be miracle number three.
Matt 6:26-27 – Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
Image source: https://speakzeasy.wordpress.com/tag/the-empty-quarter/