Deliverer in Training
“Japanese Marathon Runner Shizo Kanakuri competed in the domestic qualifying trials for the 1912 Stockholm Olympics. Kanakuri set a marathon world record and was selected as one of the only two athletes that Japan could afford to send to the event that year.
However, Kanakuri shockingly disappeared during the 1912 Olympic marathon race. He had had a rough 18-day-long trip to Stockholm, first by ship and then by train all through the Trans-Siberian Railway, and needed five days to recover for the race. Kanakuri, weakened by the long journey from Japan, lost consciousness midway through the race, and was cared for by a local family. Being embarrassed from his ‘failure’, he returned to Japan without notifying race officials.
Swedish authorities considered him missing for 50 years before discovering that he was living in Japan. In 1967, he was offered the opportunity to complete his run. He accepted and completed the marathon in 54 years, 8 months, 6 days, 5 hours, 32 minutes and 20.3 seconds, remarking, ‘It was a long trip. Along the way, I got married, had six children and 10 grandchildren.’”
Possible Preaching Angle:
The Bible is full of stories of people who quit, but later, with God’s help, finished the race. Moses spent forty years in the wilderness before God renewed his call. Peter denied Christ, went back to fishing, but Jesus restored him. The list continues with John Mark, Sampson, and many others who eventually finished the race.
Source: “Shizo Kanakuri,” Wikipedia (Accessed 6/19/21).
As a high school student in PA, I worked with Special Olympics one summer and really enjoyed it
When I was in college, one of the three jobs I had my senior year was working at the check-in desk in the gym
Every week, there was a group of individuals that came in the evening to use the college gym facilities
They all had down syndrome, but I really enjoyed developing relationships with them and I would protect them at all costs
God has given me a compassion and love for individuals with special needs and for those who are dealing with injustice
I can get pretty defensive and bold when faced with injustice towards those who are weak and vulnerable – I get really upset!
Is there an injustice you are especially passionate about?
Time flew for Moses from being adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter to being a 40-year-old man. In the Bible, it happened between Exodus 2:10 and 2:11. We are not told about his adolescent and young adult years. He goes from being perhaps a ten-year-old to a forty-year-old like that (snap fingers). Moses never forgot where he came from. God gave him a compassionate heart for the Hebrews, his people. His first attempts at delivering the Hebrews seemed to fail. His focus needed to be adjusted, so that eventually he would be able to deliver the Israelites from Egyptian slavery. It was going to take some time. Moses’ was well intentioned, because he wanted to combat injustice. But he needed some God training in a rural setting before he would be ready. We will learn today that . . .
BIG IDEA – God calls us to combat injustice.
GOD (Exodus 2:11-25)
Rescue (vv. 11-15)
As I mentioned just a moment ago, there was about a thirty year jump in time from Moses’ adoption to adulthood
We see it between Exodus 2:10 and 2:11
Stephen gives us Moses’ age, at this point, when he speaks before the Sanhedrin in Acts 7
“When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his fellow Israelites.” (Acts 7:23)
Moses identified with the Hebrews even though he had been raised and educated in the Egyptian king’s household
Acts 7:22, Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.
Moses had to weed through the superstitious wisdom he had been taught growing up to discern what was good and what was not
He was taught some things that would be universal in nature and would actually benefit him was he led the Israelites (law, administration, military) [Mackay, Exodus: A Mentor Commentary, 55]
I believe that his parents did an incredible job of teaching Moses about the true and living God and about his heritage
Moses and his parents were living out what Solomon would later put to words, Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it (Proverbs 22:6)
The writer of Hebrews says it this way
Hebrews 11:24-26, 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.
The fact that the writer of Exodus mentions “his own people” twice in verse 11 shows that Moses had not forgotten his upbringing and who he really was
We don’t know what motivated Moses to go out to where his own people were to watch them do their work
I believe it was the Spirit of God prompting him
How many of us have experienced the same thing?
We just know we are supposed to do a certain thing or contact a certain person
There is an awareness, an urgency to be obedient to what the Holy Spirit is asking us to do
We may not always obey the prompting even though we should
It is always a blessing to see how God uses those promptings for His glory and our encouragement
As he watched his people labor under the difficult working environment he noticed something that stirred him up
Attempts at rescue
Egyptian vs. Hebrew
Moses witnessed an Egyptian beating a Hebrew
It is very likely that the Egyptian was one of the slave masters
Moses recognized the injustice that was taking place, and took measures into his own hands
Notice that Moses did not look up for God’s help and guidance, but rather he looked this way and that
“Moses made a mistake that I often make. That is, he ministered according to need rather than according to obedience. What’s the Lord telling you to do? It’s not a matter of looking this way and that way. It’s a matter of looking up. On any given day, in any given situation, it’s a matter of saying, ‘Lord what would You have me do?’” [Courson, Jon Courson’s Application Commentary, Old Testament, Volume 1: Genesis-Job, 231]
Moses killed the Egyptian slave master and hid his body in the sand
The same Hebrew word is used for both “beating” (what the Egyptian was doing to the Hebrew) and “killed/struck down” (what Moses did to the Egyptian)
“In one sense Moses mirrors what the Egyptian was doing to the Hebrew: he strikes. Yet the outcome of Moses’ action is different, for v. 11 does not indicate that the Egyptian struck dead the Hebrew slave. Moses, however, kills.” [Alexander, Apollos Old Testament Commentary, 2, Exodus, 67]
Moses knew what he was about to do was wrong, which is why he looked around to make sure no one was watching and then hid the body after the fact
Scripture does not record Moses’ actions as a model for us to follow when we see injustice – murder is wrong (including premeditated murder)
PRINCIPLE #1 – God can redeem and use us despite our failures.
The failure of Moses did not disqualify him from being used by God to accomplish His plan and purpose
It can be assumed that Moses repented of his sins of murder, anger, and hatred, because God still called him to deliver His people while he was in the desert through the burning bush
God transformed Moses during the 40 years he was in the desert of Midian watching sheep
God can redeem and use you despite your failures
I think it’s safe to say that none of us has committed murder
But, I would guess that everyone of us has dealt with anger and hatred
We each have weaknesses that Satan exploits
1 John 4:4, You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10, But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
When we confess our sins, Jesus is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9)
We are never too far gone or have done too many bad things that God will not forgive us when we repent and turn to Him
When we do that, He will redeem us and use us for His glory
#1 – My Next Step Today Is To: Repent of my sins, so God can use me for His glory!
PRINCIPLE #2 – God is pleased when we help those who are being oppressed and mistreated.
Moses saw what was happening to a fellow Hebrew and he knew it was wrong
He didn’t sit on the sidelines and wait for someone else to step up
He was moved by compassion and love for the one who was being mistreated
He recognized oppression and injustice and got involved
As followers of Jesus Christ, we need to recognize when something is wrong and get involved
When we see someone at school being singled out and ridiculed we need to go get an adult
When we see a fellow employee being mistreated by another employee we need to step up and address the issue
When we see injustice and oppression in our community we need to get involved with ways to address and end the injustice and oppression
God’s Word is clear throughout the Old and New Testaments that we are to take care of the poor, the widow, and the orphan
God may be calling some of us to volunteer for organizations that address abortion, child trafficking, sex trafficking, orphans, poor, widows, abuse of Constitutional rights and religious freedoms
God may be calling some of us to start organizations that address injustice
All of us need to look up for God’s guidance and wisdom to know what He is calling us to do
“John Mark Hicks's son Joshua was born with Sanfilippo Syndrome A, a genetic disorder that causes slow mental and physical degeneration. In his book, Yet Will I Trust Him, Hicks tells the following story about his son's experience on a school bus:
From the first day Joshua saw a school bus, he wanted to ride one. He wanted to be like his older sister. She rode the bus, and so would he! Whenever a bus came into view, he would shout, ‘I wanna ride!’ Finally, his day came. Every morning I would take him out to wait for the bus at a place near my office. When he saw it coming, he would jump and scream for joy ….
But one day, for some reason, he did not want to get on. I took him by the hand and gently led him up the steps of the bus, and he got on. But he was whining, hesitant, and reluctant. I thought perhaps he was just having a bad day, but as the bus drove away I learned why he was hesitant, and I heard words that tore my heart. It was as if a knife had been stuck into my gut and twisted.
His schoolmates were ridiculing him. The older children were calling him names. They ridiculed his need for diapers and mocked his use of them the previous day. As the bus drove off, I could hear the mockery, and I could see my son stumble down the aisle as he looked for a seat.
Anger grew inside me. All morning I wanted to take some of those older kids aside and heap some abuse of my own on them. Let them see how it feels! Let them know what it's like to be hurt, ridiculed, and mocked. Maybe I should talk to the bus driver, or to the school principal, to the teachers, or to the parents! My helplessness increased my frustration.
Finally, I took my anger and hurt to God. I went to my office and poured my heart before him. I held nothing back. I complained bitterly, and then I complained some more. … Why was my son born with this condition? Why are others permitted to inflict pain upon the innocent? Why hadn't God answered our prayers for a healthy son? Why couldn't Joshua ever fulfill the dreams we had for him and honor the name which we gave him as a leader among God's people? Why hadn't the sovereign God of the universe blessed him with health?
[In the midst of my complaint], it was as if God had said to me, ‘I understand—they treated my Son that way, too.’ In that moment God provided a comfort that I cannot yet explain but one that I still experience in my heart.
Now, only now, do I have some sense of the pain that a father has when his son is ridiculed. Only now can I begin to appreciate the pain of my heavenly Father as he watched his Son be ridiculed.”
Source: John Mark Hicks, Yet Will I Trust Him (College Press Publishing Company, 1999), pp. 183-184.
Notice what this father did, he went to the Lord in prayer, but that wasn’t his first desire
His first desire was to heap some abuse on the older kids
Dealing with oppression and injustice takes discernment that can only come from the Lord
#2 – My Next Step Today Is To: Ask the Lord how He wants me to help those who are being oppressed and mistreated.
Moses witnessed another act of injustice the next day
How would he handle it this time?
Hebrew vs. Hebrew
The injustice he witnessed the next day was between two Hebrew men
They were fighting about something
It was a physical altercation, not just with words
Moses stepped in, determined who was at fault and then asked him why he was hitting his fellow Hebrew
The Hebrew word for “hitting” is the same word used in verse 11 for “beating” and in verse 12 for “killed”
Moses was concerned about justice
God calls us to combat injustice.
PRINCIPLE #2 – God is pleased when we help those who are being oppressed and mistreated.
The guilty man’s response is significant
First, he questioned Moses authority
The man wanted to know who made Moses ruler and judge over them
Moses desire was to help his own people, but they did not see it that way
Acts 7:25-27, Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not. 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?’
Moses’ leadership was already in jeopardy, seemingly before it ever started
Second, he confronted Moses about his method of dealing with injustice
The man wanted to know if Moses was going to deal with him in the same way he had dealt with the Egyptian slave master – kill him!
“From Moses’ point of view, he had tried to act in secret to help one of his people, and he thought he had succeeded. Now that in the process of his further intervention to try to help another of his people he had learned that his deed of the day before was known, the whole course he had set himself on was suddenly leading in the wrong direction.” [Stuart, The New American Commentary, Volume 2, Exodus, 97]
What Moses thought he had done in secret was not a secret anymore
Potentially the only person who knew that he had killed the Egyptian was the Hebrew slave that was being beaten
He must had shared what happened with those who had seen him being beaten
“His [Moses] initial attempts at being a deliverer, worked out in his own strength and by his own wisdom, had failed.” [Mackay, 59]
Consequences of his failure
When Pharaoh heard what he had done, he tried to kill Moses
Moses left Egypt and fled to Midian [show map]
Hebrews 11:27a, By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger.
In Midian, he sat down by a well
The Midianites were descended from Abraham through his wife Keturah (Gen. 25:2, 4)
They lived in the central and northern parts of the Sinai Peninsula, but also on the eastern side of the Elanitic Gulf (Rea Sea) [Stuart, 98; Keil & Delitzsch, 280]
God needed Moses to get out of Egypt before He used him to get Israel out of Egypt [Merida, Christ-Centered Exposition; Exalting Jesus in Exodus, 15]
Moses was going to find refuge in Midian
Refuge (vv. 16-22)
Confronting injustice again
While Moses was sitting by the well he watched seven women (all daughters of a Midianite priest) come, draw water, and fill the troughs to water their flock
There were some other shepherds (presumably men) who came and drove the seven women and their flock away
Moses could not sit idly by and watch even strangers be mistreated and abused, so he got up, confronted the other shepherds, probably chased them away or told them to wait their turn, and then watered the women’s flock for them
God calls us to combat injustice.
PRINCIPLE #2 – God is pleased when we help those who are being oppressed and mistreated.
Notice what is missing when Moses came to the women’s rescue
There is nothing recorded about any beating, hitting, or killing of those who were mistreating the women
Perhaps Moses had learned his lesson in Egypt about how to correctly handle confronting injustice
PRINCIPLE #3 – God uses our past experiences to prepare us for His future purposes.
How many of us can look back over our lives and see growth in how we deal with certain situations?
When we were younger, we may have been impulsive and brash in how we dealt with other drivers, fellow students, certain colleagues, neighbors, family, and friends
As we have grown and matured, we deal with those same individuals and circumstances with more grace, compassion, love, and patience
We can use our failures and successes to teach others what to do and not do in confronting injustice, oppression, and abuse
Moses handled the shepherds in a much better way than he did the Egyptian slave master and the seven women noticed
The mistreatment by the other shepherds must have been going on for some time, because the girl’s father asked why they had returned so early on that day
Another name is finally revealed in Exodus
The father’s name is Reuel (reh-oo-ale’), which means “friend of God”
He will be referred to as Jethro (yith-ro’) in Exodus 3:1, 8:12, 27, which can mean “excellence” (it may have been a title as opposed to his actual name)
They explained to their father that an Egyptian rescued them from the shepherds and then watered the flock
They did not have to wait in line like every other day
They identified Moses as an Egyptian, probably because of what he was wearing, his hairstyle, and perhaps his accent
He wanted to know where this Egyptian was and then told his daughters to go and invite him to a meal
Moses stayed with them
My guess is that Moses explained his situation to Reuel and his daughters during the meal
They offered to have him stay with them
Eventually, Reuel gave his daughter, Zipporah (tsip-po-raw’, meaning “bird”), to Moses in marriage
We are not told how much time passed between the beginning of verse 21 and the end of verse 21
We do know, from Stephen’s speech, that Moses was in Midian for 40 years
Acts 7:30, “After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai.”
Moses family began
We are not given any time stamps to help us know how long Moses and Zipporah were married before they had their son
We know that eventually they have another son, Eliezer
Moses named his son, Gershom (gay-resh-ome’/geresh-ome’), which means “foreigner”
Moses gave him this name, because he had become an alien in a foreign land
Verses 23-25 are really transition verses that prepare us for the remainder of the book
Remember (vv. 23-25)
Death of the king of Egypt
It is obviously near the end of the forty year period that Moses was in Midian that the king died
This was the same king that wanted to kill Moses for killing the Egyptian guard
Cry for help
It is not stated directly, but indirectly we know that the new king continued the oppression and slavery of the Hebrews
The Israelites groaned and cried out for help, and God heard
He remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
God remembering His covenant did not mean that He had forgotten
God is never early or late, but always right on time
The Israelites had been in captivity for 430 years
“The average Israelite likely knew at least something about the Abrahamic covenant, and it may be useful for the modern reader to realize that the term zākar (zaw-kar’/zaw-hair’), ‘remember,’ is idiomatic for covenant application rather than recollection. … In other words, to say ‘God remembered his covenant’ is to say ‘God decided to honor the terms of his covenant at this time.’” [Stuart, 103]
God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them
PRINCIPLE #4 – God hears, sees, and is concerned about His people.
Just like God heard, saw, and was concerned about the Israelites in their slavery and oppression, He hears, sees, and is concerned about you in your oppression, abuse, and mistreatment
Turn to Him today and know that at just the right time He will act to redeem and rescue you
#3 – My Next Step Today Is To: Hold on to the truth that God hears, sees, and is concerned about me and will rescue me at just the right time.
Do you need to repent of your sins, so God can use you for His glory!
Do you need to ask the Lord how He wants you to help those who are being oppressed and mistreated?
Do you need to hold on to the truth that God hears, sees, and is concerned about you and will rescue you at just the right time.
What sins do we need to repent of, so God can use us for His glory
How does God want us to help those who are being oppressed and mistreated
We need to hold on to the truth that God hears, sees, and is concerned about us and will rescue us at just the right time
“This is a story of 30-year-old friends who had a reunion and were discussing where they should go for dinner. Somebody suggested that they meet at the Glowing Embers Restaurant because the waiters and waitresses there are young and beautiful. They all agreed. Fifteen years later, at 45 years of age, they met and discussed again where they should have dinner. Somebody suggested the Glowing Embers because the food and wine selection there are very good. They all agreed. Another 15 years later at 60 years of age, they once again discussed where to meet. Somebody suggested the Glowing Embers because you can eat there in peace and quiet and the restaurant is smoke free. They all agreed.
Another fifteen years later, at the age of 75, the group discussed again where they should meet. Somebody suggested that they should meet at the Glowing Embers because the restaurant is physically accessible and they even have an elevator. They all agreed. Finally, 15 years later at the age of 90, the same group of friends discussed one more time where they should meet for dinner. Somebody suggested that they should meet at the Glowing Embers because they had never been there before. And they all agreed.
Possible Preaching Angles: (1) Old Age—Obviously in a gently humorous way this story highlights the reality of growing older. (2) Spiritual Forgetfulness or Unfaithfulness—This story also illustrates our tendency to forget the bedrock truths of our spiritual lives. (3) God's Covenant of Love for Us—The Lord does not forget us; he remembers to bless and redeem us (see Gen. 8:1).
Source: P. J. Alindogan, "Communicate and Relate," The Potter's Jar blog, (3-25-12).