Scripture: He answered, “Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid, and thought, “Surely the thing is known.” Exodus 2:14 ESV
Observation: As the narrative continues from his birth and upbringing in the royal palace, the author tells us that Moses is now grown up. (Indeed, he was forty, see Acts 7:23.) Having wandered upon an Egyptian abusing his Hebrew kin, Moses surveys his surroundings to ensure no witnesses and murders the Egyptian (2:11-12). While we cannot draw certain conclusions about his emotional state or motivation, Moses’ actions demonstrate an unbridled temper. And as the tension heightens, this victimized Hebrew slave apparently spreads the word so that when Moses tries to break up a quarrel between two other Israelites the very next day, the one in the wrong calls out Moses for his hypocrisy in attempting to mete justice (above verse).
Takeaway: As followers of Christ, we too should be concerned about oppression and seek justice as our Father commands (see Micah 6:8), but the end does not justify the means. There is a spreading movement within the Christian church known as Liberation Theology. Its primary tenant of the liberation of oppressed people has led to an extremist approach that condones violence: using force to meet force. And those who champion physical retaliation often exhibit an arrogant demeanor, as did Moses. They presume that they know best how to mete justice and demonstrate a lack of humility and self-control.
Fortunately for Moses, Yahweh would humble his heart over the next eighty years and teach him to listen, wait, and then take action according to his Lord’s will. For vengeance is the Lord’s, as Moses would later tell God’s people before entering the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 32:35). And when we humbly submit to God’s ways in seeking justice, we can be confident of the best possible outcome.
Prayer: Father God, we thank you for demonstrating patience in seeking justice against sin by sending your Son at the right moment in history to defeat the Enemy and pay the price for our freedom. Would you please help us follow Christ’s lead when you bring injustices to our attention that we might humbly listen, wait, and then take action according to your will? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling