The second chapter of Exodus opens with the birth of Moses and his adoption by Pharaoh’s daughter. He is raised in the royal house as an Egyptian in spite of his obvious Hebrew heritage and the Pharaoh’s attempts to take his life among the lives of the Hebrew baby boys. We see that Moses also knows of his heritage when he encounters an Egyptian beating another Hebrew man, “one of his people” {Exodus 2:11 ESV}. In a moment of anger, and with no apparent witnesses around, Moses takes justice into his own hands, murders the Egyptian, and hides him away. This “rescue” of a fellow Hebrew does not go over well with the nation of Israel nor with Pharaoh himself, as Moses is discovered and must flee for his life.

Moses finds himself at the well in Midian, where he comes to the aid of a group of shepherdesses in distress. We see him be quick to aid and serve them, which clearly impresses the women and their father Reuel (at times referred to as Jethro), the priest of Midian. Reuel invites Moses to dwell in Midian and gives his daughter Zipporah to Moses as a wife; think of this as an ancient “thank you” gift. All is well in Moses’ world as he welcomes two sons with his new wife and starts his career as a shepherd. However, we find life for Israel still oppressive and desperate back in Egypt.

During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel – and God knew. {Exodus 2:23-25 ESV}

Biblical commentaries dive deeper into the term “knew” used within this passage. It goes beyond the ability to acknowledge or be aware of an issue, much like you can “know of” something or someone. It is a deeply intimate picture of God loving, approving, and taking ownership of Israel as His people. He not only recognizes but identifies with their unjust suffering and oppressive slavery.   Wherever you are today, know that God hears you, remembers you, and knows. Just as God goes beyond simply acknowledging Israel’s plight and is moved to act on their behalf, to bring them into a place of freedom, He will do for us. We need only to call on Him and cry for help. Sometimes that is the biggest kicker for me; humbling myself enough to ask for help. Yet look at how quickly God takes ownership of Israel and moves to implement His plan for their deliverance by calling Moses.

I love that God is a God who meets us where we are, as we are, and lovingly calls us up into the plans He has for us. I love that we see this clearly in His calling of Moses. While Moses is shepherding his father in laws’ flocks, God plants a burning bush near Horeb, “the mountain of God.” Moses takes note of this odd sight and goes to check it out:

When the LORD saw that he [Moses] turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” {Exodus 3:4 ESV}

Here is where God begins to blow my mind. Moses was near “the mountain of God” but he was not actually experiencing the presence of God. It was not until Moses noticed the burning bush and turned to inquire that God spoke to him. You can be near God and not experience God; not because He is not available, but because we do not engage with Him in burning bush moments. Not only does God meet Moses where he is, as he is, but God calls him to deliver Israel. For every excuse Moses extends to God, and they are numerous, God answers with His provision and with His presence. God clearly explains to Moses that though this task of delivering Israel from Egypt and leading them to the Promised Land would be far from easy, He would be with Moses, equipping him for every step of the way.

When God calls us, His presence goes with us. He is the I AM for every one of our “I am nots.” It does not matter who we are or are not because He is. God does not promise easy, but He does promise provision and favor. And to be clear, provision and favor do not always equal prosperity and ease. God does not bless us because He owes us; obedience in itself is a blessing. His provision and favor is then a guarantee that God sees us and cares for all of our needs because of His sufficient grace towards us. He never fails to be faithful to His covenant with us in Christ.

Father, thank You for being the all-sufficient I AM in every circumstance and situation. Thank You for meeting us where we are, as we are, and lovingly, persistently, and patiently calling us up into the plans You have for us. Thank You for Your faithful presence that goes with us, equipping us to do all that You have called us to complete. Help us to be attentive to the burning bush moments in our lives.

-a

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