Exodus: The Detour
I have been studying the story of the Israelites exodus from Egypt and their journey to the promised land for the past few months. God keeps bringing me back to this incredible story. It has action, adventure, murder, and intrigue. Sounds like a great movie, right?
This gripping story is our next scripture study. As I study God’s word, I want to share it with you and I want you to share your insights with me! Comment below or send me a message.
The Israelites Get Played (Chapter One)
I’ll start with a little background. The Israelites didn’t start in Egypt. They were brought there during the time of great drought and famine in the region. Joseph (the guy with the nice coat), was brought there because as a slave (we’ll cover this story later) and after MANY years, had worked himself up as the most powerful man in the country (next to the Pharaoh himself). He (and his people) had favor in the king’s eyes, but eventually, the Pharaoh passed and a new King took the throne.
The new king didn’t care for the Israelites and didn’t really trust them. He thought that there was too many of them and they could take over the country if he didn’t do something about it. His bright idea? Make them slaves! Yup, the once mighty people were reduced to slaves through heavy, hard work and even harder treatment.
The result of this hard work and even harder treatment? They MULTIPLIED even faster than before! Not exactly what the “smart” king was going for. So he made a new decree (on top of the slave labor), he declared that all baby boys must be killed upon their birth!
Seriously king? Do you think that’s going to work out for you?
Our God is Bigger Than Your Army
The midwives feared the Lord more that the king’s wrath and spared the children. They just told the king that the Israelite woman were so strong that they just had their kids quickly and they couldn’t get there in time.
See? I told you Kingy, how’d that work out for you?
And Then A Special Baby Boy Shows Up (Chapter Two)
One of these baby boys was very special. So special, that his parents hid him for three months. I don’t know about you, but I could have never hid either one of my boys for 3 minutes, much less 3 months! They were too loud! They still are! Anyways, back to the story.
This boys name (if you haven’t guessed) was Moses. His mom knew she couldn’t hide him forever and choose to give him up to an Egyptian woman so that he could be safe. Of course, God wouldn’t just let any Egyptian woman take him… he orchestrated that the Pharaoh’s own daughter would adopt him! And his daughter, the Princess, paid Moses’ own mom to take care of him for her! Really?!
Boom! In your face King! Okay, that wasn’t exactly nice, but you get my point.
Moses grew up with the finest things, good schooling, delicious food, fine clothing… all of the things that a boy could ask for. But he knew he wasn’t really an Egyptian. He was unhappy because he wasn’t one of the Egyptians and he wasn’t like the other Hebrews either. He felt out of place.
Moses’ Detour… Or Was It?
Moses ends up killing an Egyptian soldier who was beating a Hebrew. He flees from his home into a place called Midian. There, old Moses meets his wife and has some kids and becomes a shepherd (we’ll talk about the significance of that later) and spends 40 years there. This may seem like a detour in his journey to being the deliverer of the Israelites out of Egypt, but it’s just part of God’s plan.
The Dawn of a New Day and a Burning Bush (Chapter Three)
While he’s there the Egyptian king dies, but the Israelites are still enslaved. But God heard their cries and reached out to someone who could help… Moses. Of course, God doesn’t just send a FedEx message or Skype him. He uses flare, pazazz… and a little pyrotechnics in the form of a flaming bush.
You know, forever I thought it was actually on fire, but boy… was I wrong. Exodus 3:2-3 says, “Suddenly, the angel of the Lord appeared to him as a blazing fire IN A bush. Moses was amazed because the bush was engulfed but didn’t burn up.”
Did you catch that? The angel of the Lord appeared to him as a blazing fire IN A bush. The fire was in the bush, the bush was not itself on fire.
I love how God used this out of place thing in the normal, mundane tasks of Moses’ day. He was out caring for his flock (like always) and God showed up in a marvelous way. Very cool.
Moses Listens… Eventually (Chapter Four)
Anyway, Moses speaks with God and is convinced right away that he is the only one that can save his people…. wait… that didn’t happen.
Moses is convinced after one sign of God’s power and runs off to save the day!… Ah wait, that’s not right either.
Okay, okay. Moses took a lot of convincing, a mouthpiece named Aaron, and he still didn’t fully believe God could use little old Moses, but he eventually went anyways. One of my favorite signs that God uses to convince Moses has to do with a snake. The story is found in Exodus 4:1-5.
4 Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?”
2 Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?”
“A staff,” he replied.
3 The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.” Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it.
4 Then the Lord said to him, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.” So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand.
5 “This,” said the Lord, “is so that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has appeared to you.”Exodus 4:1-5 NIV
That’s a wrap for Exodus Part One (Chapters 1 through 4). I wanted to point out a few points I took from this story.
#1 God doesn’t allow hard stuff in our lives if he’s not going to use it. This is a hard truth to learn, but it’s a truth none the less. A lot of hard stuff was allowed to happen in the lives of the Israelites in order to put them in the position to complete their role in God’s purpose.
#2 God will take care of those who oppress you when you trust in him.
#3 What looks like a detour in your eyes, might be your training grounds instead. Moses’ 40 years in Midian may have looked like a detour, but being a shepherd, husband, and dad was something that he needed to be prepared for the calling on his life.
What is in your life right now that seems like a detour? Maybe God wants you to learn something (lesson, skill, etc) that is needed to prepare you for your part in his plan.
#4 If you really want God to move in your life, you may have to pick up a snake by its tail. Okay, not literally, but let me explain. I wanted to point out this particular sign that God gave Moses because it teaches a powerful point.
- God had Moses lay down the very thing that he thought defined him, his shepherd’s staff. I believe he did this to show Moses that he wasn’t defined by something from this world but defined by God.
- God had Moses lay down the very thing that he used for his livelihood and protection, his shepherd’s staff. I believe he did this to show Moses that he needed to trust God for those things, not his staff.
- God showed up in the mundane and Moses responded. Where is God showing up for you in the mundane? Maybe God has placed someone in your path to the grocery store or school. Watch for God’s hand in the “everyday” and respond.
- God turned the thing that he thought defined his identity, livelihood, and protection into something that terrified Moses. When we turn something over to God, sometimes he transforms it into something that we think we can’t handle and we get scared.
- God didn’t let Moses stay scared. He told Moses to pick up the snake by its tail! If you don’t know, picking up a snake by its tail is not the right way. It allows the head to whip back and bite. God will normally ask you to face your fears when he wants you to move. Growth is found in the places outside of our comfort.
- Side note* I believe that this snake was a poisonous one. It does not state this in the Bible, but Moses was a seasoned shepherd and he would have known the poisonous from the nonpoisonous. Since he was scared, it is probable that this was a poisonous snake.
This Week’s Challenge
This week’s challenge is an easy one. Simply read Exodus chapters 1 through 4 for yourself. Take notes on the parts of the story that stand out to you and let me know. Use #UnPerfectedDetour on social media and share this ministry with others. Our Goal is to reach as many kids, teens, and adults as we can and teach them how to live out God’s purpose while being un-perfected.
Remember! Be real, be you, be un-perfected.