G-d makes the ordinary extraordinary
Sh’mot (Names) Exodus/Sh’mot 1:1-6:1
Today I want us to look at some interesting things about the man called Moshe. I want each of us, as we look at his life, to also use this time to contemplate my question for this week, “Who am I?” I believe we often sell ourselves short with words like, “I’m not anybody special,” or “I’m just an ordinary person.” I pray when we get to the end of this study together your picture of who you are will be changed. We will look at Moshe’s life to give us a picture of how G-d sees us.
Let’s start with how G-d worked with Moshe and how it gives us a pattern on how G-d desires to work in our lives as well. As we read through the Torah each year we encounter Moshe’s name at least 740 times. What is interesting is that his name is not even a Hebrew name. It was one given to him by the Egyptian princess who rescued him from the river when his ark was floating among the reeds.
As we begin our look at Moshe we see a man born a Jew but raised as an Egyptian, living a life of privilege. No doubt he had a bright future as a member of the royal family. However, in Exodus 2:11 we see somehow he knew who he was as a Hebrew. He saw his people being oppressed. He could have returned to his life of privilege and gone on with his life. Instead he cast his lot with the Jewish people, his people. He took action, even if possibly misguided, he did something. He did not let who he was or what he had stand in his way.
Next clue of who he was came about the next day. He saw two of his own people fighting. He tried to reason with them. They threatened to expose him for his actions they witnessed the day before. Now he was faced with a dilemma. His own people were threatening to expose him so he decided to flee to Midian in hopes of losing himself and avoiding the wrath of Pharaoh.
When he reached Midian he sat down by a well and the daughters of Jethro came to water their father’s flock. The other shepherds tried to drive them away but he, a stranger, stood up for Jethro’s daughters. After helping them he watered their sheep.
Looking at these three events what can we learn about Moshe? Moshe helped and identified with people who were being wronged or oppressed. He could not just stand by and do nothing. He never used the excuse of “well it not my problem it doesn’t affect me or not any of my business.” No, he did what he could even if it meant he might have to lose some of his own comfort or even his life.
There is one more link in the question of who am I in Exodus 3:11. In this verse we read of Moshe’s response to G-d when G-d called him to go back to Egypt to be G-d’s man of the hour to free the slaves. When Moshe’s question comes up he had some reason to be hesitant in G-d’s call on his life. Remember, he was a wanted man in Egypt. He also had a speech problem. In his mind he was hardly the man to stand before Pharaoh. G-d’s answer to Moshe was, “I will be with you.” You will succeed because I will go with you.
Later in Exodus G-d made this point again. In Exodus 4:2 G-d said to Moshe when they met on the mountain at the burning bush, “What is that in your hand?” And Moshe responded, a staff. We remember what happened next. G-d told him to throw it on the ground. Moshe did as G-d commanded and this ordinary shepherd’s staff became a snake. G-d then told Moshe to pick the serpent up by the tail and he obeyed. Here’s a thought, why didn’t G-d tell Moshe to carefully grab the snake behind the head so it wouldn’t bite him? How much more faith would it take to pick up a live, moving snake by the tail? But Moshe obeyed exactly as G-d commanded, becoming completely vulnerable to all possibilities of what that snake could do to him. He picked it up by the tail before it became a staff again. What was G-d saying and showing Moshe in this encounter? I believe G-d was telling Moshe, “I can take the ordinary and make it extraordinary.”
We see this also in the life of Yeshua when He was confronted by the Pharisees in Luke 19. The Pharisees complained to Yeshua about His disciples disturbing them with their loud singing as the Messiah entered Jerusalem. Yeshua’s answer was, “I tell you if these were silent the very stones would cry out.” Luke 19:40. These verses and others give us a picture of how G-d works through us. He uses the ordinary to do extraordinary things in life.
Other examples of this can be found in Jeremiah chapter 1 where G-d used an ordinary almond branch to make the same point. We also see it in I Kings 17 in the story of Elijah and the widow when G-d used flour and oil to again make the same point of ordinary things used in extraordinary ways.
When you consider “Who am I?” as Moshe does here in our portion, just remember we who walk with G-d are far from ordinary. In fact G-d uses our weakness sometimes to work wonders for Him. You are a child of the King. You are far from ordinary. Allow G-d to use you. He can work wonders through His people to glorify the Father. He can change the world through ordinary people like us.
Bless you all, saints of the Father.