Moses was called the "meekest man on earth" (Numbers 12:3). This is a testament to the work of the Holy Spirit in his life. Moses didn’t have the most promising start. ‘What are you talking about Ami?’ you’re probably thinking. ‘The man grew up as a prince.’
Well sure, but initially, he was an unwanted baby. He was unwanted by the leadership of the country he lived in. As a baby boy born in Egypt at that time, he should have been killed. But his parents loved him so they hid him. They gave him the best chance of survival they could think of. For most of us, a floating basket down a sometimes tumultuous river may not seem like a “good chance”, but for Moses it was.
When we read his story in Exodus 2:1-10, we learn he had spent part of his life with his birth mother. How much time, we do not know. But based on this statement in Hebrews, we can infer enough time passed that he was aware he wasn’t an Egyptian.
By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward. Hebrews 11:24-26
Maybe his family told him he was a Hebrew. Or maybe he guessed. Imagine how it must have felt to grow up in an environment where you didn’t fit in.
He grew up as a prince but he would never be king because he wasn’t quite an Egyptian. He grew up rich and free, while his brothers and sisters – and his parents – were enslaved and forced to do back-breaking manual work.
At age 40, he did an awful thing. He murdered an Egyptian for mistreating a Hebrew. In his heart, he was defending his people but it didn’t seem that way. To someone who didn’t know his story, it would seem as though he was a traitor to his own kind. Moses feared for his life and ran away.
His flight took him to a place far away from his previous life. It may be that he deliberately went to Midian because he knew shepherds were abominable to the Egyptians (Genesis 46:33-34). Whatever the reason, Prince Moses had to learn to do new things.
If he had a fear of change, he would struggle to get over it. If he had a fear of losing control, this was as out of control as things could get. At any moment he could be found and put to death for his crimes.
It’s a familiar story. Moses saw a bush on fire but it was not being consumed. He approached and heard the voice of Jehovah. He was told to take off his sandals because he was standing on holy ground. God gave Moses a commission to return to Egypt. He was to be the instrument God used to deliver His people.
Now, we all know that Moses came up with a whole of reasons why he couldn’t do what God said (isn’t that just like us?). But eventually, he decides to return to Egypt. What you may not have realized is that not once in the conversation did he say he was afraid to return to Egypt because Pharaoh wanted to kill him. He had no way of knowing what changes had happened in Egypt since he had left 40 years before.
Stay with me for a second: Moses was willing to face the king of Egypt believing Pharaoh wanted him dead. He doesn’t get the assurance that he was safe until after he had already started his journey (Exodus 4:19). Didn’t that take faith?
Moses became a pivotal member in Israel’s history. And it all started with a few steps in the direction of Egypt.
It always amuses me that the same Moses who was afraid to speak to Pharaoh, became this man who had so many things to say. After the first few appearances before Pharaoh, it was Moses who took the lead.
And have you ever read any of his speeches in Deuteronomy? They are pages long. I don’t know, but I think it takes as much courage to stand before an assembly of three million people as it does to stand before a king.
Like Moses, we have to learn to
face our fears. Those first moments will be scary but it’s those scary moments
that build our faith. If we never step out and do the things which frighten us,
we won’t grow. We won’t become that bold, faithful person who God created us
Challenge: What one fear can you boldly face today?