Everyone is responsible to make their own choice to answer the question, “What are you going to do with what you have?” My answer will most likely not be the same as yours. Each of us has been given our own set of skills and resources. All of us have access to the wisdom of God just by asking for it. (James 1:5)
I really like the story of Moses. You can read about him in the book of Exodus in the Bible. I hope you are reading this story to your children this week particularly because we are still in the season of Passover. A simple thing to do is to eat Matza this week as a remembrance of the unleavened bread as we remember the story of God’s provision for His people.
Moses is born in the time of the Pharaohs of Egypt. His ancestor, Joseph, God strategically places in Egypt ahead of time to prepare for a great famine thereby saving his family from starvation as well as the rest of the known world is in the book of Genesis. If you have never read, Genesis to your family, you need to read that story to your kids too.
Moses is born in a time when all of his family and people are slaves of Pharaoh. They have no rights. They work long and thankless hours creating bricks out of mud and straw. They have become so numerous that Pharaoh is afraid they will figure this out and they will rebel. Pharaoh orders the midwives to kill all the baby boys when they are born. But the midwives fear God and tell pharaoh that the Hebrew women are so strong, the babies are born before they get there.
Pharaoh’s next idea is to send his solders around to every home, check out the babies and throw all the boy babies into the Nile river. How terrifying that must have been for the Israelite families! Moses is born. His mother Jocabed hides him for three months. Having had three babies of my own, I don’t know how she did it to keep him quiet enough so that no one knew he was there. Im sure there was reward money for telling the officials that a baby boy had been born. She must have trusted God so much and prayed for her son to be saved.
She comes up with this idea to make a basket and line it with pitch so it becomes a little boat. She puts Moses in the basket and leaves her daughter Miriam to watch what happens. The Nile river is full of crocodiles and hippopotamus. Not the safest place to leave a little baby to float! I think she must have gone and been praying for God’s help for sure!
Pharaohs daughter “just happens” to show up at the river to bathe with her attendants. She saw the basket and had her maid go and get it. I imagine it was a very beautiful and unique looking basket due to the very precious cargo it carried. She looks inside and sees the baby Moses deciding to adopt him even though she knows “it is one of the Hebrew babies.”. Miriam comes and asked she needs a nursemaid. The princess said “go and find me one and I will pay her”. What a miracle! Miriam must have been ecstatic to run and tell her mother to come and meet the princess who is going to pay her to nurse her own baby! Moses is saved from the river and gets to be nursed by his own mother!
I think that Jocabed told Moses every story about their God she could. In those days, babies were nursed until they were much older than we do now. It was common for children to not be weaned until 4 or 5. When Moses was weaned, he went back to the palace where he was given the best education Egypt could provide. He learned about all their gods, all their rituals and how to rule. He was a prince of Egypt.
One day, he was out and about and saw a task master beating a Hebrew slave. This made him so angry, he killed the task master and buried him in the sand. The next day, Pharaoh was after him to kill him. Moses had to run for his life and left everything behind in Egypt. It would seem that his destiny to help his people has been ruined. He disappears into the wilderness where he meets Jethro’s daughters and saves them from shepherd bullies. He ends up getting married to one of the daughters and takes up a new vocation of sheep herder.
The Bible says he did this for 40 years. One day, out with his sheep, he sees a bush burning but it did not burn up. I have heard that in the desert, it gets hot enough that bushes just spontaneously combust. But they always burn up. This one just kept burning. He goes up to the check out this phenomenon out. Whoah! Not only is the bush burning, but someone is talking and telling Moses to take his sandals off because “You are standing on holy ground.” Moses takes his sandals off and approaches the bush to find out that the God of all Creation, “I AM that I AM” is talking to him! Not only is He talking to him, God has an impossible sounding assignment. God tells Moses, “I have heard my people crying out against their bondage. You are going to Egypt and you are going to lead my people out of slavery.” Moses has quite the conversation with God about how he is not the right guy for the job. He says I can’t speak. I can’t ……. God responds, “what do you have in your hand?” Moses says “A staff” God says to throw it down on the ground.” The staff becomes a poisonous snake! God says, “pick up the snake” and it becomes a staff again. God says, “put your hand in your coat.” Moses does so. He pulls his hand out. It is full of leprosy. This is a horrible disease. God said, “put your hand back in.” Moses pulls it out again and his hand is healed. God says I will help you and give you the words to speak. Even now your brother Aaron is coming to meet you. You will tell him what to say and he will say it. Thus begins the great adventure of God’s deliverance of His people.
I hope you will read this story today with your family. Remind yourself that God cares for the needs of His people. He calls us to turn our backs on sin and to be open Him with all we do. Our country is in effect dealing with the plague of the corona virus. Parts of Africa have a plague of locust. God allowed 10 plagues to get His people free from slavery. Perhaps today, the plague we face is giving us the opportunity to get out of our own form of slavery. We still have slavery today. Sin is a form of slavery. Habits, expectations, thoughtless selfishness, fear, addictions to drugs, alcohol, pornography, videos, all are a form of slavery. God gives us so many chances to choose to trust Him and follow Him leaving our sin behind. It is a learning curve for sure. I am grateful that we have the whole Bible that shows us how God uses flawed humans guided by His Holy Spirit to help us learn and obey God’s word. Here is a link to the song, “Go Down Moses” that I like to sing with people. https://hymnary.org/text/when_israel_was_in_egypts_land
What do you have in your hand? What are you going to do with it?