Summary: Moses, Pt. 2 of 15
WHAT’S THE RUSH? (EX 2:11-25)
People value quickness, service, and convenience, and smart businesses know how to capitalize on and profit from that need.
Customers can get their photographs done in an hour, shoppers can use the express lane for 10 items or less, and subscribers can receive up-to-the-minute stock quotes, sports score, and breaking news with new technology. Some enterprising eateries or restaurants even guarantee their customers a free lunch if they do not get their order by a specific time. For example, Black Angus had offered free lunch to those who were not served in 10 minutes, and Domino’s Pizza had dangled free food for pizza delivered past 30 minutes.
Waiting is the pits for me. For me, most games - NBA, NCAA or NFL – can be reduced to the last two minutes. Meeting at a bookstore is preferable, so that I could read or browse around if my friends are late.
Moses grew to be a promising prince, but he was not yet ready to command a following - Egyptians, Jews, or both. He was prejudiced, impulsive and violent. He made a mistake in his early life and paid dearly for it the next 40 years of his life in exile, leaving his people, the Egyptian palace, and a promising future. However, the long wait was anything but a big waste. Moses learned to live life outside his comfort zone, to relate to others, and to respond to God’s orders.
It’s been said that we do not always get what we want when we pray. God answers us in three ways - yes, no, and wait. Why wait? What are its reasons, benefits, and rewards?
APPROVE THE NECESSARY EXAMPLE
11 One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. 12 Glancing this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. 13 The next day he went out and saw two Hebrews fighting. He asked the one in the wrong, "Why are you hitting your fellow Hebrew?" 14 The man said, "Who made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?" Then Moses was afraid and thought, "What I did must have become known." (Ex 2:11-14)
During the Los Angeles riots, an NBC radio reporter (Steve Futterman) who was covering the Los Angeles riot asked looters emerging from a store what goods they were taking from stores. He asked a looter, "What did you take?" The man, caught like a deer in headlights in his futile attempt to dodge the reporter, the question, and the camera, replied, "Nothing!"
The same question to a second man resulted in angry cussing. Not giving up, the reporter pursued a third man. "What did you take?" he asked the third man." The looter replied, “I got some gospel music. I love Jesus.” (Los Angeles Times, 10/4/92)
Moses the Hebrew learned that negative aspiration, ambition and aggression were unacceptable - murder was not an option. Moses’ behavior was exposed, denounced, and penalized.
There is no wrong way to do the right thing, the end does not justify the means, and quick fixes are no long-term solutions. Ironically, Moses thought that the way to alleviate the Israelites’ burdens (Ex 2:11) was by force. His attempt to return blow for blow blew up in his face. The word for “beating” that a Egyptian gave to a Hebrew (Ex 2:11) was the same word for what Moses meted out to another Egyptian that killed the Egyptian (Ex 2:12).
When Moses next met two Hebrew men who were in an intense struggle, the one in the wrong (v 13) had the audacity to question and challenging Moses’ authority! The power of Moses the prince over others was toothless. His question was answered with two questions: "Who made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?" (Ex 2:14)!
Leading by power is unacceptable, leading by persuasion is commendable, but leading by permission is superior. The Hebrew slave gave Moses an earful on the freedom of slaves. Slave-owners could rebuke, arrest, and even kill their slaves, but they could never tell their slaves how to think, what to believe, and what is right. Slave-owners could only control their slaves’ body, but not their mind. They could determine slaves’ freedom, but not their freedom to think. Power makes people obey, listen or fear you, but persuasion changes the way people think, feel, or say, and only with permission can the final changes be applied.
Moses was used to doing things without permission. He killed the Egyptian because he thought he could as an Egyptian prince or because he thought he should as a loyal Hebrew, but as a fellow Hebrew, an equal, he fell short because he did not seek another’s permission. A slave must endure things done to him, but a free man can only tolerate things done with him or by him. Moses’ effort to arbitrate, control, and right the situation would be praiseworthy if he had others’ permission.