Peace be with you!
Your identity is your own; it is what makes you you. When you are adopted, your identity is something with which you struggle. I was adopted and while my appearance and talents are different from my parents, I act and think like my adoptive family (I have a German temper!). It took me thirty years to become comfortable answering the questions about my heritage; now I claim to be German, like my adoptive mother.
As an individual who was adopted as an infant, I understand Moses’ confusion between his Hebrew birth family and his Egyptian adoptive family. On Working Preacher, Amy Merrill Willis describes Moses as “the lost soul.” Moses is a stranger to his own people and to the people among whom he lives. Born in a time when Pharaoh was attempting genocide on all male Hebrew babies, Moses’ only hope of survival comes when his birth mother sends him floating down the Nile River and into God’s hands. The Pharaoh’s daughter finds and adopts him, allowing his birth mother to care for him until he is weaned (Exodus 2:9-10). But Moses is forced to flee Egypt when he kills an Egyptian to protect a fellow Hebrew man from being beaten (Exodus 2:12). The Hebrews reject Moses, and the Pharaoh ordered him to be killed (Exodus 2:13-15a). Now Moses resides in the land of Midian where he calls himself “an alien residing in a foreign land” (Exodus 2:22).
God finds Moses in the land of Midian, tending to his sheep by the mountain of God (Exodus 3:1). God comes to Moses in a blazing bush that is not consumed by the fire (Exodus 3:2). Moses is intrigued by the phenomenon and goes to the bush to investigate. Suddenly God calls out, “Moses, Moses!” and he answers, “Here I am” (Exodus 3:4). God says, “Do not come any closer, and take off his sandals” (Exodus 3:5). Anathea Portier-Young, Associate Professor of Old Testament at Duke Divinity School explains that this mountain is a holy place where Moses will lead his people to worship and where he will receive instructions for the tabernacle. Portier-Young explains God’s request to Moses to remove his sandals to “Draw away the covering that has protected you. Clear away the barrier between yourself and the earth so that your bare feet may touch and sink and take root in this holy ground. Let this living soil coat your skin.” The presence of God is experienced by all five senses. God wants Moses to wrap himself in his presence, because he has an important task for him as the first prophet.
God hears the cries of the Hebrews who are slaves in Egypt (Exodus 2:23) and comes to Moses with a plan to free his people (Exodus 3:9-10). However, Moses is not so sure of this plan and asks, “Who am I to do this?” (Exodus 3:11). Every prophet and called person asks this very question of God. Who am I to lead your people? Who am I to preach the good news? Who am I to tell others to repent when I am a sinner? Who am I? Prophets have a tough job description: tell God’s people he is not happy with them and lead them to repent. Who really wants to volunteer for that job? [no hands go up]
Yet God says, “Calm down, Moses. I am not sending you alone. I am going with you to bring my people out of Egypt” (Exodus 3:12). Sometimes when it is overwhelming, we forget God is with us, surrounding us with his love, peace, and grace when we are hopeless. God goes with us wherever he sends us, because he is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, the God of Moses, and the God of us. God the Father is our God who is with all with us.
Thanks be to God!
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for calling Moses to be a prophet and to lead the Hebrews out of Egypt. Lead us to show others your love, peace, and grace. Be with us as we go out into world to share your good news. Thank you for your love, peace, and grace. Amen.
Please answer the following reflective questions in the comments below. Please agree to disagree and be respectful to each other. (If you have not already done so, please also take a moment, to sign the behavior covenant by commenting on it.) You can answer as many questions as you would like.
- When and where do you feel God’s presence?
- How has God called you to be a prophet?