Saturday, July 21, 2012

Moses is Gripped With Fear and Flees After Pharaoh Tried to Kill Him -- Exodus 2:14b-15


Then Moses was afraid, and said, “Surely the matter has become known.”  When Pharaoh heard of this matter, he tried to kill Moses.  But Moses fled from the presence of Pharaoh and settled in the land of Midian; and he sat down by a well.

After essentially being told to mind his own business when he attempted to break up a fight between two of his fellow Hebrews, the nickel dropped and Moses realized that what he thought he had done in secret, was indeed known.  The earlier killing of an Egyptian in the course of defending a Hebrew being beaten by him was no longer private. Knowing how knowledge of this sort spreads, fear started to set in for Moses.  As expected, the news got right up to Pharaoh and we are told the Egyptian ruler tried to kill him.

To avoid his own death, Moses flees to the land of Midian, stopping to rest only once he got there.  Midian, was an Arabian territory, belonging to the tribe that descended from Midian, the son of Abraham by Keturah, Abraham’s wife after Sarah’s death (Genesis 25:1).  It is located for the most part in the desert north of the Arabian Peninsula.  The word itself implies or means ‘strife’ and it is here that Moses fled to.

As we study these verses, I often ponder on what might have been going on ‘behind the scenes’ at the time of the events covered in the passage.  For example, when we realize that Moses had been adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter, we can’t help but wonder a) whether the Pharaoh knew that, b) whether this was still the same Pharaoh or whether he had died and a new one took his place, and c) just what words, if any, were exchanged between father and daughter regarding this.  At the same time, while Moses was being raised among the royal Egyptians, he still must have been allowed to keep in touch with own natural family.  You will remember they had been allowed to raise him for several years after the Pharaoh’s daughter found him in a basket floating among the reeds on the Nile River.  The concerns of his Hebrew parents and siblings with respect to his circumstances must have brought them great angst.  Many Hebrews, upon hearing what happened, were also likely impacted greatly.

The passage ends with Moses sitting down by a well in Midian to rest.  It is there that God continues His dealings with him, bringing even more people and circumstances into his life that will eventually prepare him for the role he is to play in God’s plan for His people.  While Midian means ‘strife’ – going there does not need to symbolize a strife with God that may be expected here, and if it is, it is of our own doing as we reject His will for our lives.  Instead, the ‘strife’ may have more to do with our own will and battling that as we listen to God.  It is ‘strife’ in our human nature, causing us to do things our way rather than God’s.

Sometimes we too have to ‘flee’ a situation – not necessarily because our life is in danger, but rather because it would be prudent for us to do.  It would be better for our families, or for others, and more importantly, for the Body of Christ and the Kingdom of God.  Knowing when and how to do this is something that requires much prayer and earnest seeking of God’s will and direction.  It often means, as it must have meant for Moses, that we give in to our own preferences, our reliance on our strength.  This is not a time for thinking that says “we don’t need to flee or withdraw; we can handle this”.  There comes a time when we do need to abandon our plans, flee, and then stop to rest.

From there, we need to be ready to allow God to speak to us through His word, His bringing about various people and circumstances in our lives, and through our growing desire to rely on Him.  I pray we each will know when it is time for us to ‘retreat’ and allow God to take us to the dessert for further training.

[Are you looking for a speaker at your church, your club, school, or organization? Ken is available to preach, teach, challenge, and/or motivate. Please contact us.]

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2 comments:

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