Moses: Out of the obscurity of the Midian wilderness

INTRODUCTION. A post about the Lord’s ability to snatch those who have made more than one too many mistakes and nevertheless to rescue them and use them for His glory.

Moses had ruined his life. It’s that simple.

By God’s providence, even though he was a Hebrew, he had grown up in Pharaoh’s household and had all the advantages that a man could have. Then, Moses made a foolish decision; he killed an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew and, as a consequence, his life of privilege vanished like smoke. As a fugitive, he ran into the safety of obscurity, and in a few days, he had fallen from Pharaoh’s palace into the wilderness of Midian. There, for forty years he pastured his father-in-law’s flock and lived the mundane life of a Midianite shepherd.

There in Midian, Moses was decades beyond simply being a has-been. He was separated from his relatives, separated from his people, hiding from his past with no future and a dreary present. It seemed that the best Moses could hope for was to quietly live out his days in obscurity along with the other Midianite shepherds as he regretted the loss of all that he had squandered. He had no hope of a great name. No hope of a great work. No hope of a legacy. Now all hope was long gone. Or was it?

No, all hope was not gone because the LORD had plans for Moses. For after forty years of obscurity and regret because of his own sinful choices, Moses encountered the LORD in the burning bush (Exodus 3). The LORD then called him into His service and Moses was catapulted from the dusty desert into the presence of Pharaoh, the most powerful ruler on earth (Exodus 5), to be the instrument the LORD would use to give His Law to the world and to lead a million Hebrews out of slavery in Egypt toward the Promised Land. It’s an amazing story.

But Moses’ story is not unique. Actually, variations of Moses’ story occur over and over again in the Bible when the Lord chooses to call a no one out of nowhere and then takes them in His hand as an instrument for His use. The Lord is always the decisive factor. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). The Lord is the one who determines the outcome of every situation. What the Lord has planned must certainly come to pass. And so, in the Bible, no episode is ever hopeless or complete until the Lord has finished His activity and given His verdict.

Even more remarkable is that this is not just something that the Lord did with people who lived thousands of years ago in the Middle East. The Lord does this same kind of thing thousands of times every single day, calling those who are dwelling in obscurity and desperation and inviting them into a grand adventure with the King of kings. In my own life, I can well recall being in my own “wilderness of Midian.” As Paul Simon says, “I had squandered my existence for a pocketful of mumbles” (“The Boxer”). It seemed that the best I could hope for was to live out my days regretting the opportunities I had missed.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ” (Eph. 2:4). God had plans for this has-been, to use me for His kingdom and to allow me the privilege of being one of the disciples of Jesus Christ “to proclaim the excellencies of Him who called me out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). The Lord received this prodigal into His family and instead of punishment gave me a robe and a ring (Luke 15:22-24). He wrapped me with a robe of righteousness (Isaiah 61:10) and has allowed me to sit at His table as one of His sons (2 Samuel 9:11, 13).

The point is this: The Lord is the one who determines the outcome of anyone’s life. As the Lord called Moses from nameless obscurity to be the leader of the entire nation of Israel, and as the Lord called Paul to be His chosen instrument to take the gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 9:15-16), so He calls all His elect from whatever forgotten corner of the globe they may inhabit into His service for His glory. The Lord is the one who does these things.

SDG                 rmb                 8/15/2022                   #557

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