An eighty-year-old man, a bunch of slaves and a burning bush hardly seem the ingredients for one of the Lord’s most amazing deliverances. It had been a long, painful experience for the Israelites. Joseph was long forgotten. Generations under bondage had come and gone. Had the years stolen their hope? These scarcely appeared to be chosen people for a special purpose. Salvation coming from slaves? Not likely.
Moses is an equally improbable man to lead such an exodus. He had tried to step up at age forty and failed. He figured his Israelite brothers would understand his good intentions. They didn’t, word spread, and he fled (Acts 7:23-29). We may want a leader in the prime of life, but God’s ways are not ours. We expect a spotless record not a homicidal history. He spent the next four decades as an alien tending flocks. The Lord’s classroom is a different kind of education for a unique assignment.
Moses was eighty when the Lord caught his attention. The first half of his life had been spent in royalty; the second half in obscurity. Then came that bush. An aging man with a sketchy history stood trembling before a curiously burning shrub. He was God’s choice to lead his people out of slavery. He unsuccessfully objected. He was the man. It was his assignment. No side-stepping allowed.
It may seem an odd selection to us. His credentials were virtually nonexistent. His resume was mostly blank. Yet, he was the answer to their prayers. God is neither blind, deaf, nor unaware. He saw them, heard them and knew the details of their situation. It was time for Him to step in, and His specially chosen vessel to direct the mission was this guy (Exodus 3:7-8)? Deliverance comes in the Lord’s way, not ours. It is by His hand that freedom comes.
If we wrote the script, it would be totally different. After debating with God about his task, he went as directed and life got even harder for the slaves. The work load was increased (Exodus 5:6-9), and Moses caught the blame (Ex. 5:21). That isn’t exactly the way we think it ought to go when we immerse ourselves in the Lord’s work. Discouragement deafened their ears to the message of hope, and it spread all the way to the top (Ex. 6:9-12).
There is nothing in this remarkable event that would go according to human plans. An eighty-year-old, hundreds of thousands of slaves and a bush on fire do not offer much promise until we remember the one unseen actor in the scene: God. He is intimately acquainted with everything about us. He knows what enslaves us, and He alone can free us. Deliverance might come through unlikely sources, but He is forever a liberating Lord.