A longer post.
In continuing with the idea that God often calls his children and people to go to extreme places in order to reveal himself, I want to look at the beginning of the life of Moses.
Moses was born into God’s chosen people who were enslaved by the Egyptians. Not only were they enslaved, they were terribly oppressed. Hard labor was forced upon them by harsh taskmasters. The ruling pharaoh had succumbed to fear of the multitude of the Israelites living in his land. Fearing that they might join forces with enemies of Egypt, he was determined to demoralize them with grueling work. However, Exodus 1 tells us that the more he afflicted them, the more they multiplied and prospered. Pharaoh’s strategy then took a cruel turn. He would go to the source of Hebrew increase; he would eradicate the male population. He first enlisted midwives to kill all the boy babies that they helped to birth. Fearing God more than Pharaoh, they would not carry out his heinous instructions. He then called upon the Egyptian general population to cast any male child of the Hebrews into the Nile. It was during this reign of terror that Moses was born. He was born under a death sentence.
His mother, like countless others, tried to hide him in her home. When she could no longer muffle his cries or keep him sufficiently hidden, she resorted to a desperate plan. She covered a basket with tar and placed her tiny infant afloat among the reeds of the Nile. This is my first point. It was necessary for Moses to be placed all the way outside of the security of his home. God is bigger than the safety of our homes. Even if our children are taken away, given up, or leave on their accord, God is bigger than our homes! God is bigger than the security we think we can provide. What courage it took for his mother to place him there. What courage it took to ask her daughter, Miriam, Moses’ older sister, to stand watch at the river’s edge. Crocodiles lurk there also and can potentially move faster than a girl who was still a child herself. His mother’s courage and resourcefulness would bear much fruit in this story as we will see.
My second thought is that Moses was hidden in the very place that he should have been cast into! The appointed place of execution had become his refuge. More than refuge, the Nile became his place of rescue.
This brings me to my third point. God can and does use anything and anyone to accomplish his purposes! For the princess, the daughter of the very Pharaoh who issued the death decree, to discover Moses is not coincidence! Oh I love how God writes surprising characters into his stories! God put pity into her heart. She recognized the baby as a Hebrew and pitied him. She had him “drawn out” of the water and brought to her. Some scholars have speculated that she was actually down at the river performing a fertility ritual and that Moses was seen as the fulfillment to her desire to have a child. Fawning over the baby and declaring that she will take him as her own was overheard by Miriam. As this scene unfolded before her Miriam, using the same resourcefulness and courage as her mother, and quickly approached the princess and arranges for a wet-nurse. Who should it be but Moses’ own mother. But that’s not all! Not only did the princess consent for Moses to be taken back home and nursed by his own mother, she was going to PAY her to do it! Only God can take our deepest point of fear, turn it around and make it a place of blessing! To be paid to nurse your own son? Only God does things like this.
God has taken Moses and his entire family to the brink and saved him in a miraculous way. No one in Moses’ family could imagine the grander story that God was weaving or where this would end. Each day with their son became precious and a time of preparation for his life in the palace. We have the benefit of Scripture and know the entire story. However, his family was walking by faith with great uncertainty. Each day brought them closer to saying goodbye to him again, but at least he was alive. Each day provided another opportunity to tell him of his true lineage and heritage. He was of God’s chosen people.
Rest assured, even when we cannot see, God is weaving a greater story. Our darkest places of fear and doubt will become the place where God does mighty things!
Philippians 4:5-7 (NASB)
The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
I recently had the honor of speaking at a conference in St. Louis. The attendees received a nice book bag as part of their registration and utilized them as they toured the vendor shopping hall. The bags were just the right size for books and flyers and had shoulder straps to make carrying easier.
As a bag-aholic, I admired these bags from the vendor booth that I was manning. I struck up conversation with a visitor to my booth, who of course had a bag, and we laughed at the fact that as much as I loved bags, she actually hated them! We were both astonished by the opposing passions we had regarding bags.
She asked me, with incredulity, what I used miscellaneous bags for. I shared with her that I keep a few in my car to use at grocery stores that don’t provide bags. I always have a bag on hand to fill with paper, pens, and coloring books for mini road trips with my daughter. There is always a bag ready with a beach towel for when we go swimming or on a spontaneous picnic. We parted ways with her chuckling at the “bag lady” she had just met!
Two days later, at this conference, I was to give the first of my speaking sessions. I always experience the normal jitters, but that morning, I was overcome with dread, sadness, and fear due to a circumstance that had nothing to do with the conference. I poured my heart out to God. I agreed with him that I knew He had put me on this path, but that I felt like I wouldn’t be able to walk in that day. I was completely broken before him. God truly ministered to me during my quiet time. He quieted my spirit, He lifted my downcast heart and gave me the courage to fulfill my calling.
I had to man the vendor booth before my first session and was very surprised to see the lady that I had conversed with about the bags approaching me. Her arms were full and there was a huge smile on her face. She said, “I am so glad you are here. I brought you these!” Spilling from her arms were bags! Bags of all shapes, sizes, fabrics, and colors fell at my feet. There were totes, backpacks, book bags and more! Tears started flowing and I was so overcome that I could not even speak for several moments.
There was no way to communicate to her where my heart had been hours earlier. There was no way to communicate to her how broken and downcast I had been upon waking. There was no way to communicate to her how God had just given to me the biggest kiss ever! I tried to regain composure and thanked her the best I could. God didn’t have to give me anything tangible, but in his kind regard of my state, He did. Only God would know how much bags would thrill my heart.
Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.