Toddlers do not possess perspective. Whatever you do, do not mention a prospective activity to a toddler that you are not fully prepared to do at that exact moment. Can I get an amen? Toddlers do not understand that while you will carve pumpkins later, you do not, in fact, have a pumpkin to carve now because you have not gone to the store. A toddler cannot fathom that swimming is not an option in October when he sees you packing away swim trunks and he remembers that he loves swimming more than life— which is what he will lose if he attempts to swim on a day where the high was 55 degrees. Nope. Does. Not. Compute.
But let me be honest: sometimes I am a short-sighted, logic-refusing, tantrum-throwing spiritual toddler. I am especially infantile when in pain. Shouldn’t God fix it right now? He can. Why doesn’t he?
God views time differently than I do. I see my immediate wants and desires, much like my toddler planning his October swimming trip. God views events with the full perspective of everything that has been and everything that will be – or rather everything he has done, is doing, and will do; not only in my life but throughout humanity.
Most of us are familiar with how God used Moses to rescue the nation is Israel from slavery in Egypt, but have you ever stopped to really consider the timing? This was not a rapid progression of events.
How did the nation of Israel get here? Many years later they would be taken into captivity after wars with other nations, but that’s not the case here. The Israelites went to Egypt willingly and were welcomed. To remember how Israel left their own homeland, you have to think back to Joseph. Joseph had been sold into slavery by his brothers and taken to Egypt. It seemed terribly unjust but was God’s hand at work. Through a chain of “bad things,” God positioned Joseph to save Israel from famine. It was then that Israel (Joseph’s father) and all of his remaining sons relocated to Egypt, but God never wanted them to stay there. That was not their home.
Has God ever forced you out of somewhere you were comfortable? One moment you were happy, and the next you wondered who pulled the rug out from under you. Sometimes God has to take away the comfort to move us. I know we’d much prefer a nice invitation to something new that explained why we could not stay. But if God didn’t give that to Israel, what makes us think he will give it to us? Some ministries, jobs, or friendships are only meant to exist for a season. That season may be a very prosperous one, but it still comes to an end. That doesn’t mean you were never supposed to be there, only that you are not supposed to be there anymore.
In Need of Rescue
The Israelites prospered and came to outnumber the Egyptians (Exodus 2:9), which made the new king nervous. So the king set “taskmasters over them.” (Exodus 1: 11) Note that the situation is about to become bad, but it is a slow decline. The more Israel is afflicted, the more they prosper. The more Israel prospers, the more Egypt afflicts. This continues until the king orders the Hebrew midwives to murder all male babies at birth. (Exodus 1:15-16) Now the Hebrew midwives were not about to start killing babies. They even lie to the Pharaoh when he begins to ask questions. (Exodus 1:19)
This seems like a logical point for God to step in and say, “That’s far enough,” but he doesn’t… or at least not how we would expect. No savior comes riding in with an army to conquer the Egyptians and deliver the Israelites. No, instead, salvation will come through a baby. All males babies are ordered to be murdered, and God sends a male baby to bring the rescue. Sounds a lot like a baby that would be born generations later, fully God and fully man and here to save the world.
The juxtaposition here breathes truth into us. As Matthew Henry wrote regarding this passage in the Whole Bible Commentary, “When men are contriving the ruin of the church, God is preparing for its salvation.” Praise God!
We are familiar with these facts. Moses should have died. He should have been murder by order of the Pharoah. His mother placed him into a basket in the river. The Pharoh’s daughter found him and raised him. He went on to be called by God to demand the release of God’s people. After ten plagues, the Pharoh relented, and God’s people headed home.
So why am I blogging about something so familiar that you or I could tell the facts with no notes? On Friday night, as I read the Bible to my boys, a truth hit me that I have overlooked so, so many times. Israel needed a rescue right then, and God sent one.
BUT he had to grow up.
I’m not talking super spiritually here. I literally mean the baby had to grow up. In Acts 7:23, we learn that Moses was forty years old before he visited the Israelites and killed the Egyptian overseer before felling to Midian. Forty years. Then, Acts 7:30 tells us ANOTHER forty years passed while Moses was in Midian before the burning bush. The nation of Israel was given a deliverer, but they waited eighty years for deliverance. When I pictured Moses, I imagined the illustrations with white hair, but never considered that the Israelites needed deliverance when he was an infant, but the deliverance came many, many years later.
Can you imagine how alone and abandoned the Israelites must have felt? A treasured nation turned into slaves. Infants slaughtered. Where was God? Did he care? Did he see?
While they waited, God was working.
Friend, God always sees your pain. He always cares. He may be using that pain to move you from where you are comfortable to a place he has created just for you.
Child of God, you cost Christ too much for him to forget you.
– Charles Haddon Spurgeon
God always sees the big picture. He created the big picture. He created you and loved you so much that he crafted a rescue mission for your soul centuries ago. You were bought at the price of his only son’s life. You are precious.
Trust him in the waiting.
While you are waiting, he is working.