Do you ever marvel at the lives of the men and women who stepped out in faith within the Bible? What does it stir within you, or does it feel too far removed from your life and how God moves today? Does it make you long to do mighty things for God? Perhaps, it makes you squirm a bit, preferring that God skip over you when he doles out these sorts of tasks? Maybe there is a little bit of all these feelings within all of us. We long to have a purpose and make a difference, to have value and worth, yet fear or preoccupation with ourselves and our own lives make it seem impossible or unwanted. Moses is one of these figures for me. When I take in the purposes of God fulfilled by him, I recognize what a blessed life he lived. Imagine being selected by God to rescue His people, over 600,000 people, from 430 years of slavery. What a life of abundance he lived to guide all of God’s people for so many years, towards God heart and towards the promised land.
Then, I consider the details of his life, the hardships and the sacrifices, not growing up with his family, but in a foreign house. I wonder what life must have been like for Moses to look towards his people instead of standing firm in Pharaoh’s household. Something drove him to look toward a group of slaves and intercede on their behalf. He must not have belonged. I consider his loneliness and isolation within this upbringing. Then to be forced from the only home he ever knew, albeit not ideal, into the wilderness, running for fear of his life. Lastly, to live out the remainder of his days wandering the wilderness with complaining, stiff-necked people only to never actually step foot into the promised land. What seemed amazing in accomplishment, doesn’t seem very glamorous in detail at all, does it? I think we maybe get a glimpse into his previous difficulties when he named his son, a name which meant sojourner in a foreign land. I see the loneliness and I relate to it. It makes me long for just a little bit more detail. In the wilderness, this man who was displaced since infancy, finally finds belonging and contentment. I can once again relate to his heart, asking God to send someone else. Exodus 4:13 “But he said, Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.” Beyond just naming his fears, which we see coming out in the previous verses, maybe in this verse, we finally get to the heart of it, Moses’s desire. I tried to rescue them before, and it was thrown back in my face. I don’t want to go back there, where there was pain and loneliness. Here, I belong and am content.
I long to get caught up in Moses’s story of heartache and how God restored him and transformed him. I long for more details than the Bible provides. When I see the picture of how Moses represented Jesus in this passage, however, I realize that Moses’s struggles in his own house doesn’t quite fit in this beautiful picture of the redemption of Christ and what he was coming to do. The Israelites enslaved by Pharaoh is a picture of our slavery to sin. Moses was not a slave, however, but a picture of Christ who was never bound by sin. Jesus is perfect. We needed a deliverer to come who would look upon our oppression and act on our behalf. Moses’s heart, like Jesus, was towards his own people, those enslaved. There was no strife in God’s household, however, He existed in perfect harmony with the Father, yet he still looked towards our plight and acted on our behalf. Christ wasn’t running from heartache or pain. He was running towards us in love. Like Moses, something drove his actions and it was love.
Recently, I had a conversation with a friend who talked about the brokenness that God has brought into his life. How, looking back, he saw God giving him opportunity after opportunity to turn from his previous behaviors, but that he did not stop to listen or take the time to see, until the point of brokenness. Now, he finds himself in a place of gratitude for the brokenness. When we finally arrive at this place, we find contentment. We no longer toil. But we also tend to not want to leave this comfort bubble and return to places God is calling us to. The pain, isolation, and loneliness find purpose in the rescue and deliverance of our King, not only in our transformation but in the transformation of others.
I’ve spent so much of my life longing to belong, to be seen. God taught me that he sees me. I finally realized that it doesn’t matter if I am accepted by the world. I was made to see the transformative work of Christ in my life. I, however, had no desire to engage with the world any longer. With conviction, God is teaching me that I am also made to see the transformative work of Christ in those around me, to see who needs rescued. It stirs in my heart to long for a heart that mirrors the apostle, Paul. Philippians 3:7-14 “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”