Biblical Interpretation from Someone with no Training in Biblical Interpretation
You came to Christ, have been praying and reading your Bible and the Lord has put a dream in your heart; a great dream, something that you get fired up about and can’t wait to get started on. Now fast forward a few years: your situation in life hasn’t’ changed and your no closer to your God-given calling as you were when the Holy Spirit first put it in your heart. Welcome to…
Moses was a man of special birth. History reminds us,
At that time Moses was born, and he was no ordinary child. For three months he was cared for in his father’s house. When he was placed outside, Pharaoh’s daughter took him and brought him up as her own son. Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action (Acts 7:20-22).
As a baby, Moses had been adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter and had grown up as a royal. However, he was not an Egyptian by birth, but an Israelite. So we read,
By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward (Hebrews 11:24-26).
Rather than live as royalty in luxury, he chose to stay with his people –all of whom were slaves at the time. However, the Lord had put into Moses’ heart a greater calling. Through the Spirit, Moses understood that his education and upbringing were preparations from God for him to lead his people out of slavery. This was his dream and this was his calling.
Then his day came. Scripture records,
When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his fellow Israelites. He saw one of them being mistreated by an Egyptian, so he went to his defense and avenged him by killing the Egyptian. Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not (Acts 7:23-25).
…Wait, what? That didn’t go as planned at all. Moses had misjudged his opportunity and used blunt force to become a hero. But a hero he was not, he had become a murderer. We continue,
The next day Moses came upon two Israelites who were fighting. He tried to reconcile them by saying, “Men, you are brothers; why do you want to hurt each other?”
But the man who was mistreating the other pushed Moses aside and said, “Who made you ruler and judge over us? Do you want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?” When Moses heard this, he fled to Midian, where he settled as a foreigner and had two sons (Acts 7:26-29).
Instead of becoming the hero of Israel, Moses had become a pariah. And so, “By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:27). By faith, Moses entered a self-imposed exile.
Maybe he had gotten it wrong. Maybe he wasn’t called to be some great leader. Maybe he was just some self-aggrandizing nobody. Moses lived with such thoughts for decades during his exile. Between the doubt, the heat, and his much-simplified life the desert sanded down Moses’ pride and arrogance until it could be said, “Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3). Then the story finally continued,
After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai. When he saw this, he was amazed at the sight. As he went over to look more closely, he heard the Lord’s voice: “I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” Moses trembled with fear and did not dare to look (Acts 7:30-32).
Moses met God, face to bush. He heard the voice of the Lord. And what did God say? “I have indeed seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their groaning and have come down to set them free. Now come, I will send you back to Egypt” (Acts 7:34). After more than 40 years, God finally repeated Moses’ calling to him.
However, Moses was a changed man. Through time and tribulations he had been worn down to a shadow of what he once was, and he tried to argue that he wasn’t the man for the job. He actually questioned God’s judgment: “But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?’” (Exodus 3:11) He tried to make excuses; “Moses said to the Lord, ‘O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue’” (Exodus 4:10). And Moses flat out tried to refuse God: “But Moses said, ‘O Lord, please send someone else to do it’” (Exodus 4:13). Moses had spent too long being dulled, and he was too old (80) to be saving a whole nation. However, not wanting to pick a fight with God, he relented and returned to Egypt. History recalls,
This is the same Moses whom they had rejected with the words, “Who made you ruler and judge?” He was sent to be their ruler and deliverer by God himself, through the angel who appeared to him in the bush. He led them out of Egypt and did wonders and miraculous signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea and for forty years in the desert (Acts 7:35-36).
And so Moses saved his people from Pharaoh’s grip.
When he was first called as the savior of Israel, it wasn’t his time to act yet. The Holy Spirit was only giving him a whiff of the future to put a dream in his heart. Moses’ faith was still new and untested at that time. Who knows what would have happened had he led the Hebrews out into the desert 40 years earlier. God was still readying the situation so that Moses would be successful in his mission and be considered one of the greatest leaders in the Bible. When he was called, Moses’ heart wasn’t in the right place yet, and he lacked real experience that would be needed for Israel’s journey. You might not be ready yet either. It took Moses 40 years in the desert until his time came. His time did come though, even if it wasn’t in Moses’ preferred timing; God knew exactly when to act on his promise. If you are growing impatient in your God-given calling, knowing what the Holy Spirit has put into your heart but seeing no change in your situation, keep in mind what Peter wrote to the churches, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). God acts when the time is right, and he knows when that time is better than we do. However, if you persist in faith, knowing that one day you’ll achieve the dream that the Lord put into your heart, you’ll find Isaiah 64:4 coming to pass in your life:
Since ancient times no one has heard,
No ear has perceived,
No eye has seen any God besides you,
Who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.
You may be in Mosesland today, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be there forever, keep your faith alive, follow the Lord and trust all that he is working in your life (even if things seem to be going in the wrong direction). Remember, my friend,
Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
He rises to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him! (Isaiah 30:18)
Rock on God!