Feeling the Weight
Exodus 6:7 & 9
“I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.” … Moses spoke thus to the people of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses, because of their broken spirit and harsh slavery.
I’m amazed that Moses doesn’t condemn his people here for their calloused hearts. He doesn’t add at the end of verse nine the addendum that these Hebrews didn’t listen to him because they never really trusted God in the first place. Instead, I feel his sympathy bleeding through the page as he recalls their weathered, worn-down faces, as if the recollection still stings him. And I completely overlooked this nuance back in my initial character sketch of Moses, by the way. When I brought to light unique qualities that made him a stand-out candidate for leadership, I didn’t see till now that Moses lacked the one quality he needed most. More than a charismatic personality and a special skillset and an unbreakable will, a shepherd needs empathy. Because sermons don’t preach like scars do.
Maybe that’s why Moses asked God to choose someone else from the start. Perhaps he saw it all along, growing up as a prince, looking out from the comforts of the palace to the horrors of the slums. But if he didn’t then, he does now. Their faces are weathered from slave labor; his isn’t. They’re backs have scars from cruel beatings; his doesn’t. Their hands and feet are arthritic from 12-hour work days; his aren’t. So when they mock him as a pampered palace boy, when they tell him he doesn’t belong there, what can he really say to win them over? For him to be a successful leader of such broken-down, weathered souls, he’ll need to share their sufferings, and join them at their level from here on out, and walk with them step for step from Egypt all the way to the Promised Land.
Are you hearing the gospel in all this, friend?