Whether Baby Boomers or Generation X, milliennials or Generation Z, at any given time, there is always something about the youngest generation to complain about. They are lazy or they are spoiled or they have terrible taste in music. On top of their flaws, the newest generation often has a pile of new problems threatening them, whether it’s post-war America, the age of Technology, or a failing economy. Young people have it hard.
The country of Egypt in Moses’s day was no different. Imagine growing up then. Moses’s generation was already partially destroyed because of Pharaoh’s baby-killing policy. Moses only barely escaped with his life when his mother placed him in a waterproof basket and floated him down the river. Miraculously, Moses’s watery home was intercepted by the daughter of Pharaoh. Apparently she did not agree with her father’s cruel law, because she spared the child’s life by adopting him as her own.
Moses was an outlier among his generation, not only for escaping death, but for escaping slavery too. The luxurious life he led as Pharaoh’s daughter’s son was made possible by the labor of his people. The unfairness was not lost on Moses. It must have filled him with guilt and anger. We know this because Moses took his emotions out on an Egyptian he saw abusing a Hebrew slave. Moses had it good, but apparently not good enough to avoid manslaughter charges, fleeing upon realizing his crime had been observed. He ran all the way to Midian, and for helping some girls water their sheep was rewarded with food and shelter and eventually a wife and a child. Meanwhile, his brothers and sisters suffered in Egypt. Moses got lucky. He was privileged. Or was he? God was about to be the judge of that.
The Treasures Within:
Moses, although Hebrew through and through, lived a different life from the rest of the Hebrews in Egypt, including his own family. He was no slave. He probably had everything he could ask for: amazing food, expensive entertainment, a rich education, and more. Moses could have lived a comfortable life for a long time. But there was something else about Moses: he could not turn a blind eye to injustice. When Moses killed that Egyptian for beating a Hebrew, he was probably thinking about all the Hebrews who had been murdered by Egyptians. He wanted the oppressor to pay for his crimes. Even when Moses shooed away the shepherds terrorizing the daughters of the Midianite priest (verses 16-17), he was protecting the weak from the strong. He hated to see power abused.
Moses’s heart seems to have been in the right place, but at least in the case of the violent Egyptian, he chose the wrong outlet. Moses was guilty of first-degree murder – his act was premeditated (verse 12) and filled with anger and malice. Pharaoh had every right to seek to bring Moses into custody (verse 15). And lest anyone think Moses’s crime had at least made a point, it didn’t. The Egyptian he killed certainly learned nothing. Pharaoh didn’t seem to rethink his methods. Neither, apparently, were the Hebrews much affected by Moses’s deed. Instead of seeing them turn their wrath on the Egyptians or at least banding together to shake off the chains of oppression, Moses found two Hebrews, one of whom had witnessed his act of protest, brutally fighting each other. Moses may have been woke, but try as he might, he was not making a difference.
A Heavenly Investment
“Hurting the cause.” “Part of the problem.” “Providing ammunition for the other side.” All of these things could have been said about Moses. Maybe they were said. But there was one Person who had not given up on Moses and his heart for his people.
The funny thing about God is that if there was anyone who would be justified in giving up on people, it would be Him. God knew Moses inside and out. He saw the anger and violence deep within his heart. He saw the cowardice that led him to protest with his fists rather than with his position. Moses may have cared for others, but the good in him was tainted by sin. How could he successfully effect any change with a character so flawed? This question is moot, because God’s love is stronger than man’s nature. Despite knowing the kind of person Moses was, God provided for him when he was a baby in a basket, protected him when he was a felon on the run, and planned for him when he was a misguided scoundrel lost in the desert. God determined to save Moses. He determined to use Moses. And you know what they say – a heavenly investment never goes wrong.
God’s Message To Us:
“Let’s do this My way.” Young people today are passionate. We are informed. We are woke. And although a number of us have a considerable amount of privilege, we are fully aware of the suffering of our brothers and sisters. Some of us have a mind to do something about it. We post, protest, and picket, hoping to effect change rather than just pick fights. Others of us look on in helpless horror. Our thoughts and prayers, calls for peace, and entreaties to get along are lovingly offered, not lazily cast. Whatever the issue, whatever the flaw or threat one of our generation takes on, we just might find ourselves going about this the wrong way. Our moral compasses are a bit off-kilter. Our priorities are mixed up. Our good intentions are tainted with sin. But all hope is not lost. God can use you. He can use all of us. Indeed, it is His express will and plan to use us. We have to put away our egos, tuck away our pride, and surrender to doing things His way. He wants to make a difference through us. Let’s let Him.
What do you think? Do you have imperfect goals and aspirations to give to God? What did God want you to know as you read this chapter of the Bible?
There Are Always Questions:
- I’m not sure where I got this notion, but for a while I assumed that Moses left his mother’s home when he was about twelve. The Bible doesn’t seem to be saying that here, though. Admittedly, verse 10 only vaguely says that Moses was taken back to Pharaoh when he was “older”, but if his mother was only employed as a wet nurse (verses 7-9), why would she keep him past the time he was weaned? And if he was given back that early, how did he know who his real mother was? Was (and here’s my real question) The Prince of Egypt right to portray Moses as shocked to learn of his heritage?