We follow Moses as he steps into manhood. He has received the best Egypt has to offer but his heart still holds fast to his people. That attitude gets him into trouble and that trouble drives him away from both peoples.
Moses grew up in the palace of Egypt but he didn’t consider himself an Egyptian. He dressed the part but his heart still belonged with his fellow Hebrews. When Moses set out that day he was looking for trouble. We ALL know that the Egyptians were oppressing the Hebrews his entire life. Why else would he have needed hiding in the basket? I’m almost certain that he had seen their treatment in action before. But this day he was ready to do something about it.
I’m curious what changed between that day and so many others. There is no way he was ignorant of the facts regarding his people’s treatment. Did something happen the previous day to spur him into action? Was this God stirring his heart?
Moses lived in luxury. I would hazard a guess that his Egyptian mother tried to distance him from his heritage, just as Pharaoh had done with Joseph. They dressed him like an Egyptian. They taught him as an Egyptian. They even treated him as an Egyptian, almost. Joseph suffered some separation on a daily basis as he was not REALLY an Egyptian. He couldn’t even eat with an Egyptian. Moses certainly experienced some separation too. After all, he was a Hebrew baby adopted into an Egyptian household. Not even Pharaoh’s daughter could change his DNA.
But he didn’t associate with his people on a daily basis. I doubt there was any stone building activities outside his window. He had to go to where the work was being done. He purposed in his heart to “take a look” and see for himself what was going on with his kinsmen that day. I’m sure he knew all along, now he just wanted to take a firsthand look at it all.
When Moses saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew he was livid but he wasn’t stupid. BEFORE he did anything he looked around to see if anyone was watching. He didn’t see any other Egyptians looking on or lurking around. In fact, he didn’t see anyone watching. He forgot one important direction to look; above. God is always watching.
Yes, God may have stirred his heart to look in on his brothers but He NEVER told him to commit murder. Moses took this task on all alone and unsanctioned. Moses wasn’t satisfied with just stopping the beating the Hebrew was receiving. He wanted to make sure this single Egyptian would never beat another Hebrew again. He took the ultimate revenge on the Egyptian. He took his life.
AFTER Moses was done he realized there could be serious consequences for his actions so he tried to cover it up. He hid the man he had killed in the sand. He buried him. Out of sight out of mind mentality. He went back home as though nothing had happened.
The next day Moses was embolden with his “success in rescuing the poor Hebrew” from the day before. He went back to the pits again to see if anything had changed. This time he saw two of his own people embattled against one another. He was able to identify the aggressor in the situation without difficulty but he couldn’t understand why they would fight with each other. They are supposed to be brothers and look out for one another. (I guess he never heard of sibling rivalry.) He determines that he is the one who needs to put a stop to this.
I’m not sure if he was acting as an Egyptian or a Hebrew in this task. The Hebrews saw him as neither. “You have no power over us you pretender. Mind you own business. Besides, what are you going to do? Kill us like you did the Egyptian yesterday?”
I can see the blood draining from Moses’ face. “How do they know about yesterday? Who are they going to tell? Does Pharaoh know?” Thoughts of possible consequences for yesterday’s actions crowd his mind. He has to act fast. All pride over his previous actions is gone. Now he sees it as a noose around his neck, waiting to be pulled taught.
I’m going to throw something in here that Moses should have thought about. There may not have been anyone else looking on when he murdered the Egyptian, besides God, but there was another person present at this event. That would be the man he saved from the beating. I have NO DOUBT that he shared the story with his fellow Hebrews. And they shared with their friends. In no time at all Moses’ deeds were well known. I imagine Moses was well known on his own and the hearers of the story had no trouble identifying toe “rescuing” individual. I wonder if he started “interfering” on a smaller basis before that fateful day.
When Moses realized that his crime wasn’t “buried” any longer, he knew he had to escape. I don’t know if he even went back home to collect some of his belongings or headed straight out of Egypt from where he was. He had to make tracks FAST before Pharaoh called for his head. And his destination had to be beyond Pharaoh’s reach,
Moses went to Midian. I was wondering if Midian was closer to where God ultimately wanted his people to me. The answer to that is a BIG FAT NO. Moses had to take a southern direction to reach Midian while Canaan is north easterly. The children of Israel would encounter the people of Midian later on as enemies but for now, that is where Moses sought sanctuary. It was a LONG way away from Pharaoh and that is exactly where Moses wanted to be. I’m sure if Pharaoh really wanted to he could have sent his army after Moses but that was too much trouble. One dead Egyptian slave master hardly warranted an all-out manhunt. With Moses gone, the act wouldn’t be repeated so Pharaoh let it go, so long as Moses STAYED gone.
When we move with Moses to Midian we see him “taking up for the underdog” again. First it was for a Hebrew slave, now it is for a group of women shepherds. Moses single handedly ran off the other shepherds who routinely tormented these women. I don’t know if his dress had any bearing on their retreat or not. He appeared to be Egyptian according to the women and probably also to the other shepherds. Did they fear the Egyptians? Did they think that maybe he wasn’t alone? Whatever reason, they beat feet in a hasty retreat, leaving the women to easily do what normally took hours.
This group of women were sisters. They were the daughters of the priest of the area. I don’t know if they weren’t allowed to stand up against the shepherds because of their father’s position or because they were women. But they had taken this abuse for a LONG time. So long that when they came home that day their father was shocked at the time. Their task usually took much longer.
That task was the simple watering of the sheep. Because of the other shepherds though, that task was no so simple. They were run away from the troughs. Were they repeatedly run off or were they just put at the end of the line for water? They apparently weren’t the last to arrive at the watering hole. But the water they drew didn’t go for their animals. I wonder if they were made to draw water for the rest of the shepherds. I call FOUL on the male shepherds. And apparently so did Moses.
When the sisters got home they told their father all about their encounter with the Egyptian. The Egyptian even finished watering their sheep for them after he drove off the other shepherds. Their father had one big question for them; “Why didn’t you invite him home with you?” This unknown Egyptian had helped them tremendously, yet they left him at the watering hole. Where were their manners!
This lapse in manners was quickly remedied and the “Egyptian” turned out to not be Egyptian after all. Moses came to live with this family and married one of the sisters, Zipporah. We learn of their first son together while Moses lives in the “foreign land.”
Funny thing is that Moses lived in a “foreign land” his whole life. Neither Egypt nor Midian was his country. He was a “sojourner” in both. He wouldn’t see his “homeland” his entire earthly existence. He would get close but never really set foot in it.
We are “sojourners” too. This world isn’t our “homeland.” Heaven is. We have a better Promised Land than the children of Israel ever did. But while we are here we are to occupy this land and care for it as if it were our home. We are to care for our brothers and sisters and look out for the underdog too. Murder is not on the agenda though. Vengeance is left for God to dish out, not us.
Thank You Father for putting people in my life that take up for me. I’ve never found myself in the position of the Hebrews but have been oppressed by others at times. Satan is my biggest oppressor. Jesus stomped him in the ground for me. I just need to receive that freedom more often.
Help me see the underdog more often and stand strong for them. I don’t want to be the judge, jury and executioner against their oppressor but I do want to stand against injustice. Actually I believe standing for both of them with love is what You call me to do. Don’t let the oppression continue but love the person nonetheless. Hopefully that love will show them a better way out.