Sometimes it seems like God lets go of me and I simply wander around. Whether I wander off, or if God lets me explore the wilderness on my own, I have figured one thing out: I need this time to grow. Sometimes I learn the same lesson that I should have already committed to memory, but needed a refresher… other times I may pick up on something totally different, and new.
The story of the ancient Israelites is one worth sharing here. A timeless example and testimony that parallels many of our trials and temptations, really the very people of our world today. One that might make us wonder: is history actually repeating itself, or could this have been a premonition for us to take heed, a premonition of our time…
The people of Israel had become separated from God. Sent to Egypt and captivity under deteriorating conditions, the patriarchal descendants of Abraham had become separated from God, ignoring Him. The Israelites asked God repeatedly, day after day, year after year, to deliver them from the Pharaoh ruler of Egypt and to the promised land of milk and honey.
God responded, but not as they expected. He sent a man named Moses.
Moses was a man who knew growing better by wandering around.
He was an Israelite who had been raised as an Egyptian, a man with a past that God used in a mighty way. You see, Moses’ story starts with a humble beginning. Floated on a raft down the Nile by his mom, who feared for his life under persecution as the Pharaoh ordered every male Hebrew child cast into the river. Ironically, the Pharaoh’s daughter found and raised him. Moses grew to be a powerful man; he fled to the wilderness after killing an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew. And after 40 years in exile, Moses had changed… older, wiser and humbled in spirit, he worked as the shepherd of his father-in-law’s flock.
Then the day came when Moses met the Lord, who came to him in the burning bush, and in the Lord’s presence Moses became afraid. God gave Moses a mission, also known as the Commission… his life was changed forever! “Come now therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh, that you may bring forth my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.” Exodus 3:10. Big assignment!! Huge opportunity of a lifetime… and Moses’ response: Who ME? Surely You must be mistaken! I am not eloquent or a man of words. Moses pleaded with God to send someone else. But the Lord persisted, coaching Moses along the way.
Moses went on to lead the people out of Egypt, parting the Red Sea and leading the Israelites to safety. And Moses’ relationship with God came to a crescendo, in Exodus 33:13, as Moses says “Now therefore, I pray you, if I have found favor in your sight, show me now your way, that I may know you, and that I may find favor in your sight.”
Moses indeed grew better; he came to know God intimately.
Moses’ growth, like mine, was a slow process. He enjoyed a special closeness with God that is open to each of us, if we only open the door and step through in faith.
The call from God to Moses and the Israelites on the mountain of Sinai let them through the “crossing of the Red Sea,” their symbolic “baptism in Christ,” freed from the power of sin when they crossed the sea and accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior.
And from there… growing better… and on into the Promised Land, the land of milk and honey and eternal life!
How do you feel when God seems to disappear and leave you wandering around?
Can you remember an experience that may have left you in the end feeling that you “grew better?”