(Writer’s note: We’re considering God’s “Comeback Kids” currently. Moses is our focus, and the context is pretty much the entire book of Exodus. It’s my belief that God chose and empowered mere men to carry out His work. They were not saints. Far from it, in fact. If anything, you’ll find many of their lives were as spoiled and soiled as our own. Perhaps even more so in some instances. My prayer and hope is that each of us (I include myself) will grasp that important fact. And that we will draw a logical conclusion that: If He could use them, then He can also use me. . . in spite of my flaws and failures, public or private. If you read the stories of the great personalities of Scripture and view them as merely interesting, even exciting accounts of really outstanding people, you miss the point. Entirely. If you see their lives as examples of what God can (and will) do with surrendered lives, you are beginning to see the light! We don’t have to be perfect. We can not be perfect. The point is that a loving, merciful God can forgive sin, cleanse and mend broken hearts and lives and use them as instruments to inspire and lift others. ~dk )
Mighty moe: his message. I’m convinced this figured largely in his “comeback” and continued success.
The message was so clear and simple. That is key. Suppose Moses had made a “comeback.” And didn’t have anything to say. Certainly nothing understandable or convincing. If he were unsure of himself. If he weren’t convinced, clear and confident, would anyone have listened to anything he had to say? Much less the Pharaoh?
When Jesus stepped across a man’s path and said, “Follow me,” the disciples stopped what they were doing. Dropped their nets (their ‘careers,’) and FOLLOWED HIM. Do you think anyone would have followed Him anywhere, if they felt He had no clue about where he was going? Or simply could not understand what He said?
The instructions Moses received were quite clear: I want you to go see Pharaoh. The message he was told to deliver was very plain: “LET MY PEOPLE GO.” Turn them loose. Set them free.
Before we simply “scoot” by that, think of the impact such a move would have on the Egyptian economy. The figures and statistics quoted in this story aren’t required to meet the U.S. Census standards, but we must be talking about 600,000+ men, “beside women and children.” God did not tell the Egyptian ruler to LET MY PEOPLE GO because it was the best thing to do in terms of economic policy. Or the politically expedient thing to do. In the minds of some, such an act on Pharaoh’s part may have in fact been tantamount to political suicide. His advisors may have felt they had reason to have Pharaoh committed to the “Looney bin.”
Something else I believe figured in the comeback. That was Moses’ patience and courage. Once he got it in his mind what he was supposed to say and do, he stuck to the task no matter what the risks or demands may have been! How many times did he go right back into the face of Pharaoh with that simple, single sentence speech? Knowing full well that Pharaoh considered himself above all others and perhaps a god himself, how much courage of commitment do you think this man had!? Moses knew full well that, at the slightest provocation and with a flick of Pharaoh’s wrist, his doom was sealed.
Think about Moses’ willingness to work with difficult people. Downright ornery, in fact. They wanted to be free and able to eat plenty, but they didn’t want to plant, or plow, or reap corn. And they grumbled and whined and complained. Couple times Moses complained to God about why he’d inherited such an assignment with such a hard-headed, hard-hearted, rowdy crowd. And the murmuring turned a six-week to-two-month-trek by foot as the crow flies, into a forty-year jaunt while they looked like a bunch of silly adults playing “ring around the roses,” grumbling and wondering around in aimless, endless circles, and then they all fall down in the sand! Dead!! An entire generation of Israelites blocked from realizing their dreams because of sullen, lousy attitudes. Surely, there is a lesson in it for me somewhere about the ignorance and futility of stinking thinking! The foolish absurdity of failing to follow God’s leaders as they follow God! The failure on our own part to seek and find and follow God’s will for our own lives will always run into a dead end. More often than not, a bottomless pit of failure, guilt, and shame and plaguing thoughts of “what might have been.”
While still pondering the factors which contributed to Moses’ “comeback,” I’ve become convinced that much of his early training had MUCH to do with the kind of man Moses became. And thus, later in life, were prominent factors which figured in his “comeback.” There’s a Biblical principle, which, although written in Scripture much later, must have come into play here: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” He may stray away. But he won’t stay away. Apparently, that was what happened in Moses’ case. In spite of his angry outbursts, principles had been instilled in him deeply, early, and permanently. His character, undoubtedly, was influenced mostly by his mother. Don’t ever overlook that. She helped him establish his true identity and worth. And if you had the blessing of having a good Mom, never discount the value of that lasting influence. It will follow you all the days of your life! Also, if you have opportunity to be a good Mother now, rest assured that God places a premium on your service and a stamp of approval on that influence! The lessons you teach by words and with your life, are indelibly imprinted on your child’s character forever.
There was also the contribution which Pharaoh’s daughter made. She wasn’t just an “air head” or a dumb blond (We’re in Egypt, not Sveden!). You know she probably spoiled young Moses rotten. He was her “little toy.” Her “hobby.” In spite of that, though, she, or certainly someone, had taught him manners and social skills which stood him in good stead shortly after he fled from Egypt. And, by osmosis, he must have absorbed some of the courtly conduct- a sense of how to properly deport your self in almost every situation. He became a gentleman, which by my definition, is a “gentle man.” Remember how he “took up” for the daughters of Jethro Reuel when the shepherds bullied them at the well? Then, in another gentlemanly gesture, he drew their water for them? The girls were so impressed they told their Dad, who insisted that the polite stranger be invited to their home for lunch. One of them later became his wife! You might have done the same thing, but rest assured common courtesy to women in that day and age was uncommon as snow in the desert. Women were little more than chattel. Beasts of burden. They bore children, did chores, and were considered useful for little more than that.
The gentlemanly grace and courtly bearing appears evident again when he comes back to Egypt years later to confront the king. (He has stood, you remember, directly in the presence of God ( El…carried on conversation with Deity. Check on name of God used here). Even argued his point. So you’ve probably correctly gathered the same impression I did, namely that he knew his way around town. He was not ‘country dumb,’ newly come to town with a fresh load of turnips or tobacco or watermelons. He knew whom to approach, how to gain an audience with him, and how not to be awe-struck or intimidated by even earthly royalty. Incidentally, the Pharaoh (like other kings and Caesars in Rome, china, and other nations) was conditioned early on to believe he was descended from the “gods.” He believed he was one of them. And his subjects were routinely brainwashed with the same hogwash. Hence, the false notion of “the divine right of kings.” Moses, then, on these occasions, was not simply having a chamber chat with a royal chum. He was in the presence of Deified Royalty. Even if wrongly perceived, it was firmly believed! It would be a very wise idea, if he valued his life, for Moses to tone down the rhetoric.
But he did not do that. He said: “GOD told me to tell you: LET MY PEOPLE GO!” And he did not stutter. And he did not whisper. Pharaoh understood perfectly whom Moses was addressing and what he was saying.
I tend to examine some things closely, and just because I don’t discuss them at length doesn’t mean I don’t think about them carefully. For instance, I’ve wondered how Moses must have felt after he killed the Egyptian. I know how I felt when I killed a little rabbit first time. You’d have thought I shot Thumper! And I could never have gone deer hunting . . . with a gun! No way would I have run the risk of shooting Bambi! Under some conditions, there’s no doubt in my mind I would do what I felt I had to do. If necessary to defend my family, I’m sure I would be compelled to kill. Perhaps I’d do the same in self-defense. But enjoy it? Take it lightly? Shrug it off and forget it happened? Never in a thousand lifetimes!
Hold that thought for a while. I want to ponder it further, and will be back online shortly. In keeping with my objective stated early in the “history” of this blog, I want to be clear about my purpose. It is to bring hope. Help restore faith. To offer positive assurance of forgiveness. Some things I feel are very clear in my study so far have been: (1.) God is at work in your life. Even if it is behind the scenes and unrecognized by you. Please remember that. There is no wasted effort, and God was determined even then that “all things would work together for good (Be sure you read the entire sentence in context, Romans 8:28 ff.). (2.) He can cleanse and use even those whom the world has cast aside. Even those who consider themselves not worth being salvaged or used. (3.) Your “failure” does not mean God is through with you!
Now, I hope that doesn’t sound like “preaching,” or a “sermon.” It seems to me to be perfectly logical conclusions which can be drawn from repeated instances in Scripture. It is especially visible in the lives of the “Comeback Kids.”
Even if you don’t need to hear that for yourself right now, one of your friends does. If the power of that realization dawns upon you, I expect you will feel compelled to share the good news of your discovery!
His servant, your friend and fellow student, donkimrey