Do we really believe what we read and know about God to be really real?
Do we believe that God sees all, listens to all we say and pray with understanding?
Do we really believe that God remembers his promise to “always be with us”?
Do we believe only that God comes in times of trouble?
Do we believe that God knows everything about us?
Do we believe God is already at work to supply and provide even before we know we need Him?
Are we just impressed with His Son, Jesus?
Do we really believe Jesus came to earth to rescue us, to save us from our own selfishness, to pay for our punishment for all the wrong we have done, wiping the slate of sin clean from our lives so we could be free to love like He loves us—unconditionally?
Do we really believe enough to want to be like Him?
Answers to these questions will measure the depth of our love and faith in God. The measure of our faith and knowledge will be evident in our walk with God. Being and doing. You can’t have one without the other.
The Israelites (sons of Jacob), God’s chosen people, are struggling in Egypt and land where they no longer belong but are trapped there in slavery. They need a rescue. God listens, remembers His promise, sees what is going on and understands. He never stopped working on their behalf. A Hebrew child is born from the nation of Israel. The mother knows he is special. God protects the child He has created and chosen to be the Rescuer for His people. This is only the beginning of the story of God in Moses who will lead the great Exodus of God’s people from Egypt.
As we read, may we remember who God is to all of us who say we believe in Him. Use the questions above to evaluate the depth of our own faith in the God who was, is and is to come. God—then and now. God is still at work in our lives. God rescued us by sending His own son. Believe in the One who still sees, listens and understands and never forgets His promises.
Exodus 2, The Message
1-3 A man from the family of Levi married a Levite woman. The woman became pregnant and had a son. She saw there was something special about him and hid him. She hid him for three months. When she couldn’t hide him any longer she got a little basket-boat made of papyrus, waterproofed it with tar and pitch, and placed the child in it. Then she set it afloat in the reeds at the edge of the Nile.
4-6 The baby’s older sister found herself a vantage point a little way off and watched to see what would happen to him. Pharaoh’s daughter came down to the Nile to bathe; her maidens strolled on the bank. She saw the basket-boat floating in the reeds and sent her maid to get it. She opened it and saw the child—a baby crying! Her heart went out to him. She said, “This must be one of the Hebrew babies.”
7 Then his sister was before her: “Do you want me to go and get a nursing mother from the Hebrews so she can nurse the baby for you?”
8 Pharaoh’s daughter said, “Yes. Go.” The girl went and called the child’s mother.
9 Pharaoh’s daughter told her, “Take this baby and nurse him for me. I’ll pay you.” The woman took the child and nursed him.
10 After the child was weaned, she presented him to Pharaoh’s daughter who adopted him as her son. She named him Moses (Pulled-Out), saying, “I pulled him out of the water.”
11-12 Time passed. Moses grew up. One day he went and saw his brothers, saw all that hard labor. Then he saw an Egyptian hit a Hebrew—one of his relatives! He looked this way and then that; when he realized there was no one in sight, he killed the Egyptian and buried him in the sand.
13 The next day he went out there again. Two Hebrew men were fighting. He spoke to the man who started it: “Why are you hitting your neighbor?”
14 The man shot back: “Who do you think you are, telling us what to do? Are you going to kill me the way you killed that Egyptian?”
Then Moses panicked: “Word’s gotten out—people know about this.”
* * *
15 Pharaoh heard about it and tried to kill Moses, but Moses got away to the land of Midian. He sat down by a well.
16-17 The priest of Midian had seven daughters. They came and drew water, filling the troughs and watering their father’s sheep. When some shepherds came and chased the girls off, Moses came to their rescue and helped them water their sheep.
18 When they got home to their father, Reuel, he said, “That didn’t take long. Why are you back so soon?”
19 “An Egyptian,” they said, “rescued us from a bunch of shepherds. Why, he even drew water for us and watered the sheep.”
20 He said, “So where is he? Why did you leave him behind? Invite him so he can have something to eat with us.”
21-22 Moses agreed to settle down there with the man, who then gave his daughter Zipporah (Bird) to him for his wife. She had a son, and Moses named him Gershom (Sojourner), saying, “I’m a sojourner in a foreign country.”
* * *
23 Many years later the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned under their slavery and cried out. Their cries for relief from their hard labor ascended to God:
24 God listened to their groanings.
God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.
25 God saw what was going on with Israel.
WHAT DO WE LEARN—HOW DO WE RESPOND?
Wait, what? Moses our hero of faith murders a human? Yes, that behavior is not left out of the story. Moses knows he was adopted. Moses knows he was born a Hebrew. He visits “his people” and sees what they are going through. His passion builds to a fit of rage. His own people, his “family”, are being mistreated with whippings. His passion becomes so great that he attacks and kills the Egyptian who is beating on them. Seems justified but so not right.
Ah, but aren’t we being a bit judgy? We in the “family of God” sometimes get so passionate about walking right with God, doing the “work of God” that we judge all who do not do the work like we do. We even end up beating not yet believing people over the head with our Bibles, using God’s Word as a weapon to maim the faith those people were exploring. Our “passionate” behavior sometimes sends people away, killing any chance of folks coming to Christ and growing in His message of love and peace. Yes, I said this out loud. I have experienced the “beating” and in my younger years I was guilty of the administering the chastisements. Ugh. But I grew up.
All the while, God is at work preparing the Rescuer. Moses will grow up and learn what God really wants Him to do. But right now, he is running away from the situation. The guilt will follow him. God will meet Moses later in the desert of his foolish behavior and self-doubt and send him to do what Moses was born to do.
God knows, sees, listens and understands. God is always at work to fulfill His promises. And He will use us at times in the process. Yes, us, failures and all! We cannot emphasize this truth enough.
We respond with pure belief in the One who rescued us! Paul writes later, much later, based on the teachings of Jesus with how believers in Jesus behave:
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:2-6
Jesus, you came not only to rescue us, but to fulfill the promise of God to save us. You came to save us from our own misconceptions of self-serving faith in God, too. Your teaching was and still is counter culture, revolutionary, and certainly unacceptable to those who use God to serve themselves bringing a new kind of oppression over your people. Help us not to fall into those traps of self. Save us from ourselves! Help us to love like you love, full of grace, making the most of every opportunity to point people to You.
In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, Amen