Day 15   Exodus 3 ... Time for Action

The Bible dispenses with almost four hundred years of Israelite history in just two verses (Exodus 1:6-7).  These report that Jacob’s family, still small enough by the end of genesis for the Bible to name all its sons, has now grown into a great, swarming tribe, God’s plan was slowly progressing, but with one major hitch: The Egyptian empire had turned against the Israelites.

The Hebrews now toiled as slaves under a hostile pharaoh.  They were unified, yes, but in the same way oppressed people anywhere are unified-in their misery.  God’s promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had been passed down to each new generation, but who believed in the covenant anymore?  Were they an independent nation?  Daily, they felt the whips of Egyptian taskmasters.  As for the vaunted Promised Land, it lay to the east somewhere, carved up under the dominion of a dozen different kings.

At last God had had enough, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt,” he said.  “Now you will see what I will do.”  The chapters that follow records the most impressive display of God’s power unleashed on earth since creation.

First God needed a leader, and for that job he selected Moses, a choice rich with irony.  As a child, the Jewish national hero-a George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln rolled up into one-had floated in the cattails of the Nile, a hairbreadth from certain death.  God had next arranged for Moses to receive the best classical education available, in the pharaoh’s palace, while being nurtured-for pay!-by his own Israelite mother.

It took forty years in Egypt and forty years in the desert to prepare Moses for the leadership role.  God’s announcement, or “call”, was an encounter Moses would never forget: a fiery bush, a voice from nowhere, God introducing himself by name.  “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,” he said, drawing a connection to all the promises that had gone before.  And now the time for action had arrived.  Moses was his handpicked choice to lead the mob from slavery in Egypt to freedom in the Promised Land.

As this chapter shows, Moses was far from an eager recruit.  But his own resistance to God’s plan was minor compared to that put up by the Israelites . . . and the Egyptians.

Point to Ponder: Why was Moses so reluctant to lead?  Do you ever wonder if certain shortcomings you perceive about yourself disqualify you for God's service?