One of the saddest and yet most amazing stories in the Bible is found in Exodus 1. It began with Pharaoh’s all-out assault on Israel and ended with freedom for a nation.
The Israelites, then slaves of the Egyptians, were multiplying very rapidly and therefore feared by their captors. In Exodus 1:22, Pharaoh enacted a cruel form of population control by decreeing that all baby boys be thrown into the Nile River.
It was during this awful time that Moses was born. His mother hid him for three months, and when she could no longer hide him, she waterproofed a basket with tar and pitch, put her baby inside and laid it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile River. (See Exodus 2:3)
Can you imagine how agonizing this was for her? The options before her for her son’s future were slavery or death. But that was nothing new. Slavery was all her family had known for generations. It was their normal. And I’m sure death came far too early for many. What was she thinking, releasing her baby to an unknown fate?
She was very boldly attempting to defy the odds set before her by releasing him into the hands of God.
She placed him in the river that was meant to kill him.
How many times have you found yourself in a situation meant to be the death of you? Were you placed there by someone, or did you jump in yourself? Either way, the Father is tracking your every movement, keeping storms in check and predators at bay, and He is positioned to rescue. Sometimes our best chance of survival is to let go, to jump into (or out of) the scariest situations, to sink or swim, knowing that God is right there, jumping alongside us, struggling against the current or floating in the darkness. In this place, we find that what is meant to kill us may instead save us.
Moses grew up in the palace of the king who wanted him dead.
Moses was rescued from the river and adopted by the daughter of Pharaoh. I imagine he wrestled with identity issues as he grew. I’m sure there was pain, wandering, confusion. The evil-hearted king who tried to kill him was now his pseudo grandfather. I wonder how that relationship was! Eventually, events in Moses’ life led him from the palace into the desert, where God was waiting to encounter him, tell him who he was and show him that where the enemy intended bondage, God would bring freedom.
God called Moses to more than he felt he could do.
God knew what Moses’ true destiny was, and it was not to be a slave. He was to be the leader of a nation and a friend of God. It’s really a beautiful story, a story in which Moses’ full participation was required. Oh, he protested and pushed against God’s plan on more than one occasion, but in the end, he was a faithful follower of His Word. He did the hard thing. He packed up his insecurities, imperfections and fears, went back to the land of slavery and led a nation to freedom, all because he trusted this God he met in the wilderness.
Give up who you were never created to be so you can be who God intended.
We are all created with a purpose that far exceeds the bondage into which we are born. So, what will you do? Will you say that God can’t use you because of where you come from? Maybe you think your background is far too muddy to lead anyone — yourself included — into freedom of any kind. But God is a God who will not leave us where He finds us.
I myself will search and find my sheep. I will be like a shepherd looking for his scattered flock. I will find my sheep and rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on that dark and cloudy day. –Ezekiel 34:11-12 (NLT)
You are not lost. God knows exactly where you are. He sees things in you and calls out those things this world has tried to bury. His purpose and plan cannot be thwarted by the enemy. The things this world declares over you, throws you into and uses to stop you will all come to nothing.
Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. … Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! –Deuteronomy 30:19 (NKJV)
Choose life today. Choose to boldly defy the odds. Choose to participate in the beautiful story God wants to write for you. Pack up your insecurities, imperfections and fears, and go to the place He calls you. There is nothing He doesn’t know, nowhere He hasn’t been, nothing He cannot do. Trust that the architect who marked off the earth’s foundation, set the limits of the sea and drew the horizon on the ocean can release you from your chains. He can orchestrate and build your life.
I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers! –Isaiah 65:24 (NLT)
Oh, what God will do if we will focus, not on our bondage, but on the freedom He brings! Ask Him to show you your yesterday and today, not from the perspective of bondage, but of freedom. Ask Him to whisper to your heart that you are not lost, but found by Him; you are not desolate, but provided for; you are not abandoned, but deeply loved.
Go ahead, ask Him.