Earmarked for Leadership

Many people do not realize that Moses’s actual, first-time encounter with God came when he was eighty years old. This first-time encounter occurred at the burning bush. Although, the Lord had undergirded his life from birth and had earmarked him to be the deliverer of His people from Egyptian bondage, yet it was still very late in his life when he actually met with the Lord. We read of this encounter in Exodus 3:1-6.

“Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So, Moses thought, I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.  When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush. Moses! Moses! And Moses said, Here I am.”

 “Do not come any closer, God said. Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. Then he said, I am the God of your father the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.”

Moses was born in Egypt. Both of his parents were from the tribe of Levi, which later was the priestly tribe. He was born at a crucial time in the history of the children of Israel. A decree was issued to kill the male child at birth, but even in this murderous venture, the Lord was fully in control. Exodus 1:20-21 states,So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous.  And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.”

Divine Providence

God is always a rewarder of them that serve Him. Providence dictates that not only must Moses not be touched, but also ironically, he must end up in the palace of the very Pharaoh who issued the edict in the first place.

Exodus 2: 5-8 explains, “Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the riverbank She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her female slave to get it. She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. “This is one of the Hebrew babies,” she said.  Then his sister asked Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?” “Yes, go,” she answered. So the girl went and got the baby’s mother.” This demonstration is a fascinating piece of the hand of God in the affairs of man.

Personal Encounter with God

The formative years of his life were spent in the home where he was born. Evidently, Moses grew up with the knowledge that he was an Israelite and one day he will rise to fulfil the purpose of God. He explained this thought to us in Exodus 2:11, “One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labour. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people.”

Dr Luke brought greater clarity in Acts 7:23, he said, “but when he was approaching the age of forty, it entered his mind to visit his brethren, the sons of Israel” Up to age forty, Moses did not know the God of Israel in a personal way. The narrative continues with Moses killing the Egyptian to help his Hebrew brother. He spent the next forty years in the Midian desert.

From various passages in the Scriptures, we can safely conclude that Moses never had an encounter with the Lord during the first eighty years of his life. In the Midian desert, it was likely that he was serving the god of Jethro, his father-in-law, who was a high priest to his god. Although, it seems that Moses had knowledge of the Lord and of his mission.

Everything changed at age eighty when for the first time he encountered God at the burning bush. Providence has a revelation even for us. As the Lord divinely manages our life, we also will encounter the time of revelation.

Image by Jörg Peter from Pixabay 

Paul Mursalin is a member of the International Board of Barnabas Aid from Guyana.