It won’t be long now—at least to the eyes of the reader. It won’t be long until God makes his call to Moses; until God reveals the plan and sets Moses on his way to rescue the people. It won’t be long until Moses denies he is able; not long until he questions who he is to go and speak for God. We’re in chapter 2 and this happens in chapter 3. Not long—for those who read.
For Moses it’s forty years away. Forty years in exile. Forty years in hiding. Forty years is the price for acting in secret and hiding his sin…but I’m getting ahead of myself. Before we reflect on the forty years and the questioning of why God would call him we should see how his forty years of fleeing begins.
It begins the way it will end. It begins with a rescue.
Now a priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came to draw water and fill the troughs to water their father’s flock. Some shepherds came along and drove them away, but Moses got up and came to their rescue and watered their flock. Exodus 2:16-17
Moses flees to Midian and there comes upon seven daughters trying to care for their father’s flock. They are being mistreated and Moses comes to their rescue.
Did you get that? Do you see what’s happening here? Moses comes to their rescue. Moses, who will lead God’s people out of slavery—the one who will rescue them—is already rescuing. This is who he is. This is what he does. When the time comes for God to call Moses to lead out the Israelites he will doubt and question and beg for God to find another way, but God knows the one he calls. God knows that Moses is at heart a rescuer. For all his poor choices and his short fuse (this will get him into trouble later as well) Moses comes to the rescue of those in need. It’s just who he is.
In fact, isn’t this why Moses got here in the first place? Isn’t this why he fled into the desert? He killed an Egyptian who was beating an Israelite. He came to the rescue of the Israelite. Awkwardly, yes. With too much violence and not enough thinking, for sure. But still he was coming to rescue the oppressed. This is who Moses is.
It’s true that when God calls us to do things he often calls us to a place of stretching beyond our own abilities. It’s true that he often calls us to things we clearly cannot accomplish on our own. He knows from the beginning we will need to rely on him for it all the way through. That’s part of the design. That’s intentional.
But God also doesn’t call us randomly or haphazardly. It’s not an “anyone will do” mentality. He calls us to what we already are. He calls us so we’ll know; so we’ll see. He calls us so we will become what we are. God calls Moses to come to the rescue of his people because this is who Moses is. This is what Moses does. But Moses, for all his regrets and poor choices; for all his disconnectedness and fear can’t see it. He will when God calls him, but he never would without that chance, without that push from God.
God will probably not call you or me to rescue an entire nation of people. It’s probably not going to be something on that grand of a scale. But he will call us. He will push us into areas and events, into opportunities and problems that we don’t feel well equipped for. But God knows what he is doing. Part of the call is for those it will benefit and part of it is for us. So we will see what he sees. So we will see us for who we are.
When God and Moses finally talk God will be calling Moses to lead out his people; to come their rescue. What Moses doesn’t know is that this is what he’s been doing all his life already. He just didn’t have God guiding him. He just didn’t have the how to’s and the understanding for how to express it. He just didn’t yet have the presence of God to bring it to life. And so God calls him, not to something new, but to a better, more whole Moses than Moses could be on his own.
You are who you are—God made you that way. And only God can draw out of you the best you that’s there.