February 1 I Thursday

Exodus 27-28

Matthew 21:1-22


“[Moses] saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. Looking this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.”   

—Exodus 2:11-12


Three generations after God’s covenant with Abraham, his descendants moved to Egypt. This 70-person family quickly grew into a nation after Pharaoh permitted them to live and grow in an extremely fertile region. But when a new Pharaoh, who knew nothing about the Hebrews, came to power, he attempted to stop the rapid growth of these foreigners by enslaving them. When this did not stop them from multiplying, Pharaoh gave the order to have every Hebrew baby boy thrown into the Nile River.

This is when Moses enters the scene. He was one of those babies ordered to be killed, but because of his mother’s quick thinking and God’s protective hand, Moses was saved by Pharaoh’s own daughter. He grew up in Pharaoh’s palace, where Stephen explains in Acts 7:22, “Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.” Moses knew the plight of his people, and because of his unique circumstances as a Hebrew with influence, he probably thought himself the perfect candidate to deliver his people from slavery.

He was not entirely wrong. God would eventually call Moses to be that deliverer, but Moses’ first attempt was a complete disaster because he depended solely on his own strength, wisdom and timing. When Moses saw an Egyptian taskmaster beating a Hebrew slave, he attacked and killed the Egyptian. Moses likely hoped this would inspire his people to rebel, but the next day he learned the whole city knew of his actions and Pharaoh wanted him dead. He then fled to the Midian desert with his confidence shaken for the next 40 years. This was the humbling experience Moses needed, for when God did call him to be Israel’s deliverer, Moses now fulfilled his calling in dependence on God.

Moses had good intentions, but he was never going to free his people in his own strength. We may also have a sincere desire to provide justice for the oppressed or to bring the message of salvation to a broken world, but sincerity apart from God is not enough. Human wisdom, counselling, strength, energy and strategies may give hope for a moment, but only God can give us total freedom from our adversaries, physical and spiritual. He longs for us to join Him in His saving work, but like Moses, this will require a humbled heart. We do not pull any strings or manipulate anything, but allow God to open the doors in His timing. We can then be assured He will be our strength, wisdom and direction in whatever He calls us to do.

Prayer: Father God, You are greater than our adversaries. I ask that You use me in whatever way You see fit, so that I may be a vessel to bring Your truth and freedom into the lives of others. Thank You, God.

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