Exodus 2:11-15 – Time Out

A Time for Everything

In the course of time Moses grew up. Then he went to see his own people and watched them suffering under forced labor. He saw a Hebrew, one of his own people, being beaten by an Egyptian. He looked all around, and when he didn’t see anyone, he beat the Egyptian to death and hid the body in the sand.

When Moses went there the next day, he saw two Hebrew men fighting. He asked the one who started the fight, “Why are you beating another Hebrew?”

The man asked, “Who made you our ruler and judge? Are you going to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid and thought that everyone knew what he had done.

When Pharaoh heard what Moses had done, he tried to have him killed. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and settled in the land of Midian. (GW)

Faith is not a static phenomenon that one possesses, or not. Rather, faith is a dynamic movement which is continually either being strengthened or weakened through our life choices.  Moses needed to learn how to make healthy decisions of faith, just as much or more than the rest of us.  The fact that he was eighty years old before he became the human agent of God’s deliverance of the Israelites from the Egyptians, after a forty year stint in the backside of the desert, tells us that it took him awhile to mature.  Even though Moses may have had a sense that the Israelites needed freedom from slavery and acted on that sense by killing a ruthless Egyptian, his method and sense of timing were off.

There is a time for everything, said the writer of Ecclesiastes.  Wisdom, which is the ability to apply faith to concrete situations with appropriate forms, is often in the timing of things.  To know when to speak and when to listen, when to act and when to wait, is an important facet of faith.  The ancient Israelites were slaves in Egypt for a long time.  Moses knew they were suffering, and he acted in “good faith.” Yet, it was not yet time and it was a rash movement.  Eventually, the Jewish cry of suffering arose to God, and God heard them, remembering his covenant with them.  Why God did not act sooner, or use Moses earlier, is information that is only privy within God himself.

If we are to develop a strong and wise faith with an opportune sense of timing, we will need to rely on God.  Trusting in ourselves, our own efforts, and our own gauge of how things ought to proceed will usually not end well.  We may, like Moses, find ourselves taking a “time out” from God in obscurity until we learn to wait on him.

In the fullness of time, Paul said to the Galatians, Jesus came, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under the law (Galatians 4:4-5).  God knows what he is doing, even though it might seem like he is sometimes slow to act.  God sees.  God delivers.  And he does it in his timing – not ours.

Redeeming God, you control all things, including the clock.  Give me wisdom so that my sense of timing might reflect your will and your way, through Jesus Christ, your Son, who with you and the Holy Spirit reign supremely as one God, now and forever.  Amen.

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