Monday, August 11, 2008

Exodus 2 - Small Rescue

The story of David and Goliath is often used to show how God prepares us for big challenges. In the story, it’s noted that David fought bears and lions before he faced Goliath. He won small battles before he faced the big ones. He was tested and tried long before he picked up the stone that would kill his tallest giant.

In Exodus chapter 2 we find a new example of this idea, one that I have always missed. (I feel like I should change the title of this site to “things I have missed” because that is inevitably what I end up writing about.)

In this chapter we get the origin of Moses, one of the most important people in Biblical history. We learn about how he escaped death as a baby by hiding in a basket that floated down the Nile. We hear about his amazing acceptance into the house of Pharaoh. We also see him make a critical mistake as he kills an Egyptian during a confrontation between an Israelite and an Egyptian. But every time I read this chapter I always skipped right over the verses that come after he’s been accused of murder. Here are verses 15-17:

When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian, where he sat down by a well. Now a priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came to draw water and fill the troughs to water their father's flock. Some shepherds came along and drove them away, but Moses got up and came to their rescue and watered their flock.

Here’s Moses, a member of Pharaoh’s house, now on the run. He’s a murderer. Pharaoh wants to kill him. He is tired and afraid, resting himself by a well in Midian, his entire life in shambles. He sees a group of shepherds come along and drive the daughters of a priest away from the well.

I’d like to think I would have stepped in. That I would have jumped to my feet and fought off the shepherds, defending the honor of the daughters, but I’m not sure that’s true. I probably would have thought, “the last time I stepped into someone else’s problem, I ended up murdering them and becoming an outlaw. I’m staying out of this.” Not Moses, I love that the verse says, “but Moses got up and came to their rescue and watered their flock.”

He got up off the ground. He picked himself up and came to their rescue. Not only did he chase the shepherds away, but he proceeded to water the daughters’ flock.

It seems like a small thing compared to the amazing things Moses will one day accomplish with God. But maybe it’s not. Maybe that small thing was preparation for the big thing. Maybe that tiny rescue was just a prelude to the massive rescue God was going to pull off using Moses.

Ultimately it serves as a really beautiful reminder of the need to do the small before the big. It’s especially interesting since the chapter ends with God hearing the groans of the enslaved Israelites. God doesn’t speak in this chapter, but if He did, you get the sense that He would say, “I hear you my dear Israelites. I hear your every groan. There is a storm coming. I will sweep you up and rescue you. You don’t know it yet, but even now I am watching the small rescues of my servant Moses. Soon. Soon.”

7 comments:

eastern ky pastor said...

Glad the wedding went well. And very glad to have you back here too. Thanks for the beautiful reminder!

Dog snob said...

I never noticed that either.

Andy Wood said...

This is a great reminder that even when we're at our worst - defeated, confused, life in a shambles - our gifts and calling tend to shine through when they're needed the most. Leaders don't stop influencing, teachers and prophets don't stop communicating, etc. when thrown for a loss.

Donna said...

"do the small before the big..."

sigh.......good reminder...

jenn3 said...

Great post. I like thinking that the small things might be preparation for bigger things.

Andrew in Delaware said...

I thought about what I would do in Moses' situation. I probably would have given up on my "calling" to be a rescuer of people. But it's good for a couple of million people that he didn't give up. I wonder how many hurting, enslaved and abandoned people need me not to give up on rescuing?

Good stuff man

Rachelle said...

God doesn’t speak in this chapter, but if He did, you get the sense that He would say, “I hear you my dear Israelites. I hear your every groan. There is a storm coming. I will sweep you up and rescue you. You don’t know it yet, but even now I am watching the small rescues of my servant Moses. Soon. Soon.”

What a beautiful truth: God is waiting to move, always standing ready, but working through us, teaching us that we would first learn how to be faithful in small things, so that we don't give up. Then He can use us to rescue those in captivity when the time comes.

Thanks for the reminder today.