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Sunday, 17 June 2012

Moses Suffers Rejection

Moses was, and still is, regarded as one of the greatest men of God ever to walk this planet. Other than Jesus Christ of course. But as we shall see, both Moses and Jesus suffered rejection, not necessarily by strangers or foreigners, but by their own people.

Moses was born a Hebrew, a descendant of Jacob (Israel) during the days when his people were enslaved to the Egyptians, under the harsh rule of their king, or Pharaoh, who had already imposed a law throughout all the land that every male Hebrew child must be killed immediately after birth. The purpose of this was for the Egyptian men to intermarry with the Hebrew girls, and eventually having the nation of Israel, after two or three generations, to fully assimilate into becoming Egyptians, and on a long term basis, to destroy any chance of the promise of the coming Messiah.


The parents of baby Moses had already known that this child was chosen by God to lead the nation out of Egypt, into the promised land God had already promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He had two older siblings, sister Miriam, who was eight years old, and a brother Aaron, who was three. Moses' father was Amram and his mother was Jochebed (Exodus 6:20.)

Jochabed, the mother of Moses, had the child placed in a waterproof vessel and floated down the river Nile to escape Pharaoh's edict to have him killed. Already knowing his destiny as a future national leader, she sent her daughter Miriam to watch over her brother, knowing that the daughter of Pharaoh bathed at a certain spot at the river every morning at a particular time. Sure enough, the young princess spotted the vessel and the crying baby inside. Seeing that he was already circumcised, she identified the child as a Hebrew, and instead of slaying him as her father would have instructed, she sent Miriam to find someone who would wean the child in preparation for her adoption of him. The result that Jochabed, the baby's own mother, was paid by the Government to raise her own son, fully under the king's approval.

The first few years of Moses' life were spent in his own home, with Mum and Dad. They were also the most crucial years of his life. Going by the testimony of other Scriptures, young Moses sat on his mother's lap to be taught of his Hebrew origin, his people the children of Israel, and his future destiny as a leader and deliverer. By the time the adoption was due, which by then Moses was about five or six years old, he knew enough of who he was, and he also knew that his own people were slaves to the Egyptians, and how his own people, including his own father Amram, suffered cruel oppression under the might of the Egyptians.

The upbringing of Moses at home could be seen today as a model for Christian parenting. By instructing young children of the Christian faith, coupled with setting an example, the child's faith will most likely grow and develop into adulthood, as was the case with Moses. As a window cleaner, I have seen some of my clientele living in well-to-do middle class estates have their young looked after by Granny or a childminder rather than staying at home to instruct the child in the ways of God during their crucial years. In these cases, it is not merely trying to make ends meet and keep the house afloat. Rather it's the case of a young mother fulfilling her purpose of holding a university degree.

Moses was then adopted by Pharaoh's daughter, and he became an Egyptian prince, with all the amenities entitled to by members of Royalty. The life of this young Hebrew was a vivid contrast to those of his own brethren who slaved under the whip. According to the testimony of Stephen, Moses grew up learning all the wisdom of the Egyptians (Acts 7:22.) We have an idea on the wisdom Moses grew up under. Dr. McMillen, in his book, None of these Diseases, mentioned the Papyrus Ebers, a medical book written in Egypt around 1,552 BC. In it, one is advised the application of asses' dung and worm's blood for embedded splinters. If bitten by a poisonous snake, water poured over an idol was drank by the patient. Drugs for other diseases included lizard's blood, swine's teeth, putrid meat, animal fat, and faeces from various animals including humans. Also ointment made from a tooth of a donkey crushed in honey should be massaged into the scalp to preserve hair growth. The Papyrus Ebers, the medical book for all university students of the day became standard for Moses' education. However, do we see any of the Papyrus Ebers appear in any of the writings of Moses? Not at all. His faith in God had superseded his high level of education to the point that in not one instance do we read of a hair preparation consisting of the heel of an Abyssinian greyhound, date blossoms and asse's hoofs boiled in oil, anywhere between Genesis and Deuteronomy.

Hebrews 11:25 also tells us that Moses, while as a prince, did not partake in the fleeting pleasures of sin, but yearned for the welfare of his own people, and identified himself with them. The "fleeting pleasures of sin" does not mean a family day trip to Disneyland! Rather, the entertainments put on for Royalty including a harem of young beautiful women who danced erotically to inflame the sexual desire. The prince then had the right to escort the girl of his choice to his bedroom. Moses, instead preferred to be out and about to check on the welfare of his own people and help them as much as he could. Here we can see the instruction received as a young child from his mother bearing fruit. He saw himself as a Hebrew, not an Egyptian prince. He also knew of his destiny - that as a leader and deliverer of his people from slavery in Egypt.

Moses began to apply the promise of his destiny while he was forty years old. One day, he saw one of his brethren being beaten by an Egyptian guard. After looking around to see whether there were any other Egyptian about, and finding himself alone from the view of anyone, he killed the guard and buried him in the sand. The victim should have been highly thankful. Instead he began to gossip, probably with the intention to exalt Moses as a hero.

News began to spread, and by the next day the news of the murder spreading across the land was already a high possibility. Obviously, by the time Moses had set off on his rounds, the news had not yet arrived at the palace. But some time later, he came across two Hebrews fighting, and he tried to intervene. The one who was in the wrong turned round to Moses and cried out,
"Who made you ruler and judge over us? Have you come to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?" (Exodus 2:14). So famous were these words, that Stephen repeated them in his discourse to the Jewish leaders (Acts 7:27.)

At this, Moses fled the country. It was easy to assume that the wrath of the king would give him cause for his flight. But in Hebrews 11:27 it says that by faith Moses left Egypt, not fearing the king's anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. Not fearing the king's anger. So what was it that caused this prince to flee from Egypt? His resentment for the wicked betrayal against him made by his own brethren. Instead of rallying to him for leadership, as he was brought up to believe, he was turned in by his own people to be executed by Pharaoh for murdering the Egyptian guard. In short, Moses was rejected by those he loved and cared for. And like Jesus Christ himself, "his own received him not."

Moses' resentment over his rejection burned in his heart for the next forty years. During that time he mingled with the Midianites, and married a wife from them, whose name was Zipporah. The rejection had transformed him from a mighty Egyptian prince to a shepherd of sheep out in the desert. The same happened with Jesus Christ. When he was rejected by his own people, the Jews, who crucified him, after his resurrection he began to assemble a people for himself, mainly Gentiles, to be his bride. Just as Moses later returned to Egypt to deliver his own people from slavery, so likewise, Jesus Christ will one day return to rule over Israel on the throne of his father David.


So deep was his resentment, that at the right time God had to appear to him in a vision of a burning bush. This burning bush vision was no accident or coincidence. The bush was a thorn bush, one that would burn quite easily. Instead, the flames roared but the bush itself was never consumed. The bush was a symbol of the nation of Israel throughout its whole history - burning, burning, burning but never consumed. After thousands of years of cruel persecution, including the Holocaust, the Jews are still with us to this day. They will never go out of existence. And there are many unfulfilled prophesies about the future state of the Jews. As the bush was burning, but never consumed, so the Jews will continue to suffer, even today under the oppression of neighbouring Arab nations, yet their existence will be preserved. God never goes back on his promises.

Moses' reluctance to return to Egypt to stand in front of Pharaoh was not because he was afraid for his life. The previous king involved had long died and the murder most likely forgotten. Moses' refusal to return was borne out of resentment his rejection by his own people had brought about. Even with his older brother Aaron to act as his own spokesman, Moses' bitterness festered. And this can be proved by an almost intrusive passage of Scripture found in Exodus 4:24-26. Intrusive, because it was an interruption of the normal progress of events during his journey back to Egypt. Here, while Moses and his family were spending the night at an inn, God met Moses with the intention to kill him. Here we see God's patience with Moses just about exhausted, and he was about to be slain, so he would go to Paradise in waiting for his eternal redemption, which would take place at the Crucifixion.

The cause of this interruption of events was Moses' refusal to circumcise his son Gershom. This was not because he had forgotten or overlooked the Hebrew custom. It was a show of defiance, a refusal to identify himself or his son as a Hebrew. Despite his audience with the Almighty himself in a burning bush, his heart was still consumed by bitterness. Had not been for the quick action by his wife Zipporah, Moses would have been slain by God so that his soul would be redeemed.

I am aware that there are some preachers and church leaders who believe that salvation can be lost if one does not hold faithful to the end, or commits a grievous sin. One particular American church leader and author in Washington D.C. believes that King Solomon is in Hell for falling away from true worship of God and began turning to idols in his old age, without counting the faith Solomon had which resulted in the building of the Temple. Also according to this leader, even King David had a brush with eternal Hell when he committed adultery with Uriah's wife Bathsheba. And no doubt this same leader would have placed Moses in Hell had he been slain by God in the inn for not circumcising Gershom. I am sad by the spouting of such nonsense by recognised and well educated church leaders, authors and preachers! If such teaching was true, very few, if any would have made it to Heaven. And the few who did would have something to boast about, but not before God.

In this world our lives are not perfect, and we are still prone to sin, thus the necessity for God to save us and to keep us saved throughout our lives. This is known as Eternal Security of the Believer, and it is God's doing, not ours. When a person truly believes, he is eternally saved, even if there is an apparent cooling of his faith afterwards. And I have seen myself that those whose faith had cooled does not generally fall back into deliberate wickedness or take pleasure in pursuing sin. It was by faith that Moses as a prince looked out for the welfare of his people instead of seeking the treasures of Egypt or partaking in a fleeting pleasure of sin. It was by faith that David slew Goliath. And it was by faith that King Solomon took charge with the building of the Temple. And it is through faith that the righteousness of God is imputed on the believer. This had always been true throughout the Old Testament as well as the New.

Do you feel not that welcome by brethren in your church? Do you feel as if you were spat upon by members of your church after years of sacrificial service? Is that the thanks or appreciation you get after so much effort put in for their benefit? Perhaps you too have walked out of the church and are now living in a desert. You too may fester bitterness in your heart after what they have done to you.

I have been through all this. I know how it feels to be rejected by those who are your spiritual family. But the best course of action is to carry on loving and accepting them as they are. Impossible? With man that is impossible, but with God all things are possible.

Moses eventually led the fledgling nation of Israel out of Egypt, and his name is written in the Hall of Fame as a man of faith. He eventually allowed the Holy Spirit to lead, and we ought to do the same.

It is the only way to overcome the bitter resentfulness that often comes with being rejected - especially from those we love the most.

5 comments:

  1. Excellent post, Frank, reminding us that as Christians we can expect persecution and rejection not just from the unsaved, but from our brethren. Praise God that He will never leave us nor forsake us.
    God bless,
    Laurie

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  2. Hi Frank,
    that's true. I have been rejected by many people inside the church for not agreeing with everything they have said or sharing what I might have seen in the scriptures. Sometimes the Lord has said 'shake the dust of your feet', and moved me on. Sometimes the Lord has said 'If they did it to me, they will do it to your', but always the Lord has reminded me to 'love' in the way that 1 corinthians ch.13 tells me to, without keeping a record of wrongs. It is also true, as you imply, that if a child is trained in the way it should go it will remember it when it is older.
    God bless
    Brenda

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  3. Great post, Frank.

    Many of the Jews in both Moses' and Jesus' day did not believe in God, though they were part of the chosen people. They were the ones who rejected them. Some of them later believed in both cases. Unfortunately, there are many in the modern church who don't believe either, but a few will come to believe. Because we assume they believe, their rejection is more painful than that of outsiders.

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  4. Very profound post Frank. I hadn't really given so much thought to Moses but his sojourn in life was real AND symbolic at the same time. How many of us fester in deserts of one kind or another, sometimes because of something we do ourselves and sometimes because we get persecuted or bullied by someone? I have had so much stuff in my life like this, but you know what, God can overcome it all; He never lets us down.

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  5. As I am quiet new in Jewish, looking around for some Jewish information> Got something important here. Nice to get it.
    Have you seen this video http://goo.gl/Fvyjz ? It helped me get over my internal anger.

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