Read Exodus 2:21-3:10
21 Moses agreed to stay with the man, who gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses in marriage. 22 Zipporah gave birth to a son, and Moses named him Gershom,[a] saying, “I have become a foreigner in a foreign land.”
23 During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. 24 God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. 25 So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.
3 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. 2 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. 3 So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”
4 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.”
5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” 6 Then he said, “I am the God of your father,[b] 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.
7 The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 9 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”
Gershon means foreigner.
Foreigner. Who names their baby that?
Moses does, and he says “I have become a foreigner in a foreign land.”
He’s feeling lost.
I suspect he’s also feeling like a failure.
He grew up in the luxury of Egyptian royalty, all while knowing that the slaves who attended him were actually his people – where he belonged. Such conflict. If it were me, I’d feel uncomfortable and guilty.
And displaced. Really, he’s been a foreigner all his life. A Hebrew among the Egyptians, but an Egyptian to the Hebrews.
Then, his bid for heroism failed miserably. Pharaoh hates him and his life is forfeit if he ever goes back there, so here he is tending flocks in Midian.
Hardly the life he imagined.
And where is God? I keep asking that, as we move through the Story. I keep thinking they must wonder. It must be hard to believe all those tired, worn out promises about making Israel into a great nation.
Ha. Beaten down slaves.
And then one day, in the middle of nowhere, God comes.
How completely astounding!
Can’t you just see Moses scrambling to get his shoes off, while trying to keep his eyes covered? A bush that burns without burning up is nothing – nothing – compared to the fact that this God is here and is talking to him.
And what does God say? “I have seen … and I have heard … Yes, I am aware.”
Banish any thought that I am absent or indifferent. I’ve only been waiting. Now I’m done waiting. It’s time.
Moses, go to Pharaoh and rescue my people. Bring them to Canaan.
God has seen and heard and is ready to act. We may never know why He chose to wait so long, but it certainly is a habit of His: Sarah’s pregnancy, Joseph’s freedom. It’s hard on us when God waits, but we need to remember His other habit.
After waiting, He likes to do miracles.