It probably wasn’t surprising that when I was young I wanted to become a school teacher. Both of my parents were teachers in some capacity. My mom taught music at a Community College (and now full-time at an Elementary School). My dad is a Pastor.
As I went through school, I realized that I didn’t want to be that kind of teacher, though I have great respect for those who do. I slowly lost that passion. However, that little seed still flourished, just in a different way. I led Bible Studies throughout college, taught group fitness classes, and ended up become a Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach. I had become a teacher, essentially, though I didn’t really embrace it until a couple of years ago.
I took a Spiritual Gifts test and one of my top gifts was teaching (my first one was faith). One of my lower ones was leadership, which struck me as odd. I always found myself in leadership positions. What would happen if I truly embraced my teaching gift? Where would God lead me? What is holding me back from accepting that as a gift?
As I read through the story of Moses this time around, God brought to my attention how he planted a passion in Moses long before he knew what it meant. Moses went on with his life, dismissing that calling and settling in to a comfortable and content life. But God doesn’t let it sit unused. Let’s see how this plays out and what we can learn for our lives.
S – Scripture: Exodus 4-6
- 4:1-5 – “But Moses protested again, ‘What if they won’t believe me or listen to me? What if they say, ‘The LORD never appeared to you’? Then the LORD asked him, ‘What is that in your hand?’ ‘A shepherd’s staff,’ Moses replied. ‘Throw it down on the ground,’ the LORD told him. So Moses threw down the staff, and it turned into a snake! Moses jumped back. Then the LORD told him, ‘Reach out and grab its tail.’ So Moses reached out and grabbed it, and it turned back into a shepherd’s staff in his hand. ‘Perform this sign,’ the LORD told him. ‘Then they will believe that the LORD, the God of their ancestors–the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob–really has appeared to you.'”
- 4:10-12 – “But Moses pleaded with the LORD, ‘O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.’ Then the LORD asked Moses, ‘Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the LORD Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.'”
- 4:13-14 – “But Moses again pleaded, ‘Lord, please! Send anyone else.’ Then the LORD became angry with Moses. ‘All right,’ he said. ‘What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he speaks well.'”
- 4:24-26 – “On the way to Egypt, at a place where Moses and his family had stopped for the night, the LORD confronted him and was about to kill him. But Moses’ wife, Zipporah, took a flint knife and circumcised her son. She touched his feet with the foreskin and said, ‘Now you are a bridegroom of blood to me.’ (When she said ‘a bridegroom of blood,’ she was referring to the circumcision.) After that, the LORD left him alone.”
- 5:2 – “‘Is that so?’ retorted Pharaoh. ‘And who is the LORD? Why should I listen to him and let Israel go? I don’t know the LORD, and I will not let Israel go.'”
- 5:22-23 – “Then Moses went back to the LORD and protested, ‘Why have you brought all this trouble on your own people, Lord? Why did you send me? Ever since I came to Pharaoh as your spokesman, he has been even more brutal to your people. And you have done nothing to rescue them!'”
- 6:4-9 – “‘And I reaffirmed my covenant with them. Under its terms, I promised to give them the land of Canaan, where they were living as foreigners. You can be sure that I have heard the groans of the people of Israel, who are now slaves to the Egyptians. And I am well aware of my covenant with them. Therefore, say to the people of Israel: ‘I am the LORD. I will free you from your oppression and will rescue you from your slavery in Egypt. I will redeem you with a powerful arm and great acts of judgment. I will claim you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God who has freed you from your oppression in Egypt. I will bring you into the land I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I will give it to you as your very own possession. I am the LORD!’ So Moses told the people of Israel what the LORD had said, but they refused to listen anymore. They had become too discouraged by the brutality of their slavery.'”
- 6:30 – “But Moses argued with the LORD, saying, ‘I can’t do it! I’m such a clumsy speaker! Why should Pharaoh listen to me?'”
O – Observation:
- In showing how he was going to prove himself to Pharaoh, God was also proving himself to Moses. It’s as if Moses needed it before he would be confident enough to go. Also, would God’s power be sufficient enough for him to go and do the task, or would his own weaknesses get in his way.
- The latter occurs. Moses pleads with the Lord multiple times that he is not the right man for the job and to send someone else. He gets tongue-tied and stumbles on his words.
- I love God’s response: “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the LORD Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.”
- God becomes angry when this isn’t enough for Moses and agrees to use Aaron as well.
- Circumcision was a sign that you were of God’s people. The Lord confronted Moses but was led away from killing him when Zipporah circumcised Gershom, their son. This passage confuses me a little bit. Maybe it was one more test for Moses to see if he was all in on leading his people out of Egypt. It was a symbol to deny any ties to the Egyptians and take on the life of an Israelite, God’s chosen people. The family needed to be all in too.
- The Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so he refused to let the people go and instead, increased their labor and abuse. He took away the straw to make the bricks, but demanded that the same quota was reached.
- The Israelites blamed Moses (and God) for this, and therefore wouldn’t listen to anything he said. God speaks through Moses, saying that he will rescue them and renew the covenant that he made with Abraham and passed down to Isaac and Jacob. He would bring them to the land of their ancestors. But they wouldn’t listen. They were so bogged down by their slavery and became hopeless to the possibility of being free.
A – Application:
1.) God establishes who he is and the power he has to do what he wants to do:
We see this previously with the burning bush that isn’t being destroyed and now with the signs that Moses is going to perform to Pharaoh. God brings the dead to life with the staff turning into a snake. He proves his control over health to disease in having Moses’ hand turn leprous and back again. Finally, how something life-giving, like the great Nile River, can become undone by his hand and turned to blood. He has ultimate power over all of creation.
When Moses gives the excuse of being slow in speech and tongue-tied, God acknowledges it by stating how he created the mouth, vocal chords, tongue, and anything else needed for proper speech. He has the power to control what people say, hear, and see. Can the Creator of all things also command all things? Whatever our weakness or fear is, God has the power to work through it.
Later, we witness God’s power to control men’s hearts. It says that he hardens Pharaoh’s which makes him refuse to let the Israelites go. Egypt is a mighty country and the world knows it. The Israelites are obviously the weaker and enslaved. I don’t think this is just a story of a quick rescue for the sake of just the Israelites, but to establish over all of the world that the Lord can bring the mighty low and raise the weak. And it is only by his power that this can be achieved. It is a story that we can look at today and understand how God can use anyone and anything to bring about great change.
2.) He understands our weaknesses and uses us anyway:
In this passage, we see that God is starting to raise up a leader for his people. He knew the journey that was to come, and perseverance and patience it would take. Moses is living a secluded and quiet life among his family and sheep. He seems quite content as far as we know. He had left behind his former life.
However, if we look back, we see a passion in him that he had put to rest. While in Egypt, when he went out among the Israelites and saw their oppression, he killed a guard that was beating a slave. He was so overcome by the cruel treatment of his people that he took someone’s life and then fled to resist persecution for his actions.
God remembered that passion in young Moses and now was the time to use it.
Why do we allow ourselves to forget those passions and dreams of our younger selves? We “grow-up” and the world tells us that we need to bear a certain status and acheive a certain amount of wealth and so we become realistic, practical, and status quo. Sometimes, we may feel like we are just surviving and dreams have no place in our lives. Dreams are for children and crazy people. Other times our aspirations become buried because we believe the assumed expectations or, because of fear.
Fear that we won’t have enough, make enough, and be enough. It’s better to be safe and comfortable and acheive just enough to make ourselves look good on the outside. But God says otherwise! Those passions and dreams he instilled in you as a child have a purpose and he intends to use them. It may look differently than we had originally dreamed, but when we allow God to break in to those and use them, he can do great things.
It’s exciting because it is when who and how we were created meets up with God’s greater plan!
Moses had a passion to help his people but put it to rest when he fled to Midian. He grew up, started a family, led a nice and quiet life. His main company were sheep, so he probably didn’t have to speak much. This job covered his weaknesses and used his strengths. But he was meant for so much more. That early passion was to become his purpose.
God chose him inspite of his weakness. God used him even with all of his fears. And God strengthened him with every sign and miracle he was asked to perform. Moses would grow in courage and boldness so that when God called him to do greater things, he would be able to.
I don’t know if I’m using my younger self’s passion to it’s full capacity just yet. This blog, I feel, is a stepping stone. It became available to me when I started to embrace my passion for teaching. It was a big step in my faith, but also a bold step of obedience for. Once I felt confident about my gift in teaching, I had to use it! I had to allow God to break down all of the fears that came with starting a blog and unveiling my findings with the world. That was a process and didn’t happen overnight. But now, I can see this as a step into some greater form of teaching later on. The things I am learning through this are preparing me for the next level. It all started with a little bit of faith and obedience to a passion that God had instilled in me when I was young.
What did you want to be when you were little? Why did you change (if you changed)? What fears or weaknesses are holding you back? It may not necessarily be a career, but a hobby or service opportunity.
When we identify who and how God made us, he tends be faithful in helping our dreams and passions come to fruition. This is because he LOVES how he made you!
This is such an important truth!
P – Prayer:
God, thank you for taking me back to my childhood passions and dreaming again. Those weren’t just silly aspirations of a little girl, but instilled in me for a purpose to work, serve, or enjoy you. Help me to breakdown those fears brought on by “growing up” and start living the passions that you gave me. I am confident that when I let go of my fears you will show me opportunities to use my gifts confidently and purposefully. You are so good, and you do great and mighty things. Amen.