Before Honor, Humility

By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.  (Hebrews 11:27)

Moses departed Egypt twice, once in fear and then later in faith.  His failure in fear came as a result of his pride. His triumph in faith came as a result of his humility. Between those two events in Moses’ life came forty years in the desert.

In his first departure, Moses was fleeing in fear for his life after trying to do in pride what he believed God wanted him to do. Our pride is funny like that. We can be moving in a godly direction, but because we are doing it in our own strength and in our own way, it always leads to disastrous results. A lot of activism happens in this way where people, passionate about a cause, will take well-intentioned action but go about it in a prideful, self-righteous way that ultimately causes more harm than good:

Exodus 2:11-12
(11)  And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren.
(12)  And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand.

Later, Moses went out and saw “two men of the Hebrews” striving together (Exodus 2:13) and when he tried to police that situation, one of the two Hebrews called Moses out:

And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known.  (Exodus 2:14)

Realizing that his actions had become common knowledge and knowing the consequences of those actions, Moses fled into the desert where he would spend the next forty years of his life. In the providence of God, he met the family of a man of faith and God used that relationship and that time in the desert to grow Moses’ faith.

I can only imagine what was going through Moses’ mind during this time. He was a graduate of the “University of Egypt” where he’d received degrees in engineering, science and military strategy. Now, he was tending sheep in a desert. He thought he’d been called of God to do something greater for his people. Perhaps there were times where he figured he had failed in his calling completely and that tending sheep the rest of his life was his “new normal.”

Sometimes God wants us to come to that point in our lives where we think we have failed utterly. Why? Because He needs us to see that without Him, we can do nothing. (See John 15:5). Moses had to see how completely powerless he was to change anything before God could use him to change everything.

Scripture tells us in a few verses the changes that came into Moses’ life, but it was forty years before Moses saw the burning bush and received God’s official calling on his life (Exodus 3). By the time God was done with Moses, the hero of Israel had gone from being a frightened young man fleeing for his life to a man of God who fearlessly went toe-to-toe with Pharaoh and won the day. The key difference between the old Moses and the new one was that the old Moses tried standing on his own two feet. The new Moses always went to his knees before God.

Maybe you’re finding yourself on the backside of the desert in your life where it all seems hopeless – even pointless. If you’re seeking God, remember that like Moses, God has you in that desert to prepare you for greater things and, like Moses, God is teaching you humility before bringing you to honor.

On a Personal Note:

Please remember my wife’s ankle surgery. If you can help, please donate.


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