Exodus 2: Identity Crisis
By the end of chapter 2, we have seen in just a handful of verses much of Moses life summarized in just a few events. We read the remarkable story of his beginnings in which he is rescued from the violent attempt to stop the Hebrews from expanding any further through a series of events that read like a novel. A mother is making a desperate attempt to save her baby’s life mixed with both fear and hope. The twisting plot in which, through some crafty scheming, she is reunited with her son to help care for him as a hidden identity and even paid to do so.
In five short words in v. 11, “After Moses had grown up” we are swiftly whisked past many years of his life. What we do know is that Moses grew up as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. His home was as an Egyptian, in all the luxuries that must have come with it. For many years, his identity must have been a struggle, as we read in the very next phrase “he went out to where his people were hard at work.” He grew up with the luxuries of the Egyptians having no part in the incredibly difficult existence of the Hebrew people but obviously with a sense that he was a Hebrew.
We then read of his misguided attempt to act in solidarity with his people, which in turn ends with a stark rejection by them wanting to have no association with Moses. At this point, the Pharaoh hears of what he has done and is after his head, and the people he wants to identify with have rejected him, and he now flees to another country. No place to call home. No people to call home. He meets a girl; they get married and have a son.
I think it speaks a lot to where Moses finds himself by how he decides to name his son. We are told that he named him Gershom because he was a foreigner, a Hebrew word that carried that meaning.
As we read of where Moses finds himself, I am struck by what must have been a struggle for him to know who he was. Even as we project forward into the following chapter, we see a further sense of this identity develop; a lack of self-confidence, a sense that he has no place in being used by God. And yet, Moses is on the doorstep of being instrumental in allowing God to bring freedom and liberation to his people.
How many of us live with a sense of struggle with our identity? Perhaps like Moses, we feel at times that we don’t know who “our people” are. We live with the guilt and fear of misguided choices and how we have messed up with those that we want to feel connected to. Perhaps we simply feel like we will never be what God is looking for, accomplishing anything, yet, as we know the story about to unfold, I am reminded that these things are not obstacles for God or his desire to use us as a part of his plans. In fact, in some ways, these are the things that God loves to use to write a different story out of.
Do you question your identity? Do you believe God can use you despite your failings?
Has there been a time in your life when you doubted God’s ability to use you, and He still did? What can this experience teach you now?