I love the way the second chapter of Exodus starts… “Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a Levite woman.” I sort of reminds me of how a good joke begins and as this story plays out it doesn’t really seem to lose this sense of the preposterous. If you have the time watch this little video, I have used it with the confirmation kids.
But things work out for this baby, he isn’t killed once found, he is found by Pharaoh’s daughter, and like a child finding a stray cat she wants to bring him home. To top it off they deduce properly that this must be an Hebrew child, but babies being babies, that doesn’t seem to hinder the desire to care for this adorable helpless little bundle of joy. So they go out to find someone to care for this child and who do they choose, well Moses’ own mother of course, and she gets paid to take care of her own child! Nurtured by his own mother, Moses is brought into and made a member of the Pharaoh’s household.
Improbable? Maybe, but that is our story, and thus far it all seems almost too good to be true. Soon enough, things change, unlike some of the popular versions of this tale scripture makes it clear that Moses knows he is a Hebrew and seeing one of his family members being beaten, his wrath goes wild and he kills and Egyptian. This sweet fairytale story seems to go south in a hurry.
Guilty and now found out, Moses runs for his life to the wilderness (yes, we will come back here again and again!) Here he stumbles upon a family and a wife, Zipporah, all because he once again stood up for someone being oppressed.
I find two things very interesting about this story. His compassion and sense of justice first gets him into trouble, killing the Egyptian who was beating the Hebrew. Then on the run he see’s a group of young women watering their flock being picked on by a bunch of dudes, and he comes to their defense, and he gets a wife and family out of the deal! Awesome!
My first impressions this morning are that when you see injustice done and act, it can be a tricky situation. Riding on his “high horse” Moses gets into trouble, but working out of place of humility when he was on the run, his actions become blessed. Just a thought.
Finally our reading tells us that as Moses was working out this new life, the Pharaoh dies, the people of Israel are still bound and oppressed and they cry out and God hears and remembers. God remembers his promise to “Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 25God looked upon the Israelites, and God took notice of them.”
The thing that gets me thinking is I am pretty sure, they would have been crying out for some time, slavery is no walk in the park, and it certainly doesn’t look like the blessing God promised to Abraham and his descendants. Why did it take God so long to react, so long to remember, so long to take notice?
In the midst of our trials and tribulations, our cries to God often seem to go unheard, we too can wonder why it takes so long. But this is a big story, as God’s story always is, and there is a fullness that is coming, a series of events that will change the people of Israel and the world forever. Waiting for this to unfold drives us nuts, but there is more here than meets the eye, yes? Does it ever drive you crazy that God doesn’t act faster, or more proactively for you in your life? Why do you think that is? Are there things about who we are and what we do that get in the way of God hearing our cries from our own bondage to sin that slow his redeeming and loving work from happening?
Tomorrow is Exodus 3, and Moses gets a job.