Living a life of Sacrifice -- lenten devotional day 5

Exo 2:15-25  When Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and stayed in the land of Midian. And he sat down by a well.  (16)  Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came and drew water and filled the troughs to water their father's flock.  (17)  The shepherds came and drove them away, but Moses stood up and saved them, and watered their flock.  (18)  When they came home to their father Reuel, he said, "How is it that you have come home so soon today?"  (19)  They said, "An Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds and even drew water for us and watered the flock."  (20)  He said to his daughters, "Then where is he? Why have you left the man? Call him, that he may eat bread."  (21)  And Moses was content to dwell with the man, and he gave Moses his daughter Zipporah.  (22)  She gave birth to a son, and he called his name Gershom, for he said, "I have been a sojourner in a foreign land." 

We left off yesterday with Moses having fled Pharoah, but now living in Exile in Midian.  Moses, the adopted son of Pharoah, the future emancipator of God’s people, is also murderer and stranger in a foreign land.  What is he going to do and who is he going to be?

The next scene opens Moses by a well; enter seven women who gather water in troughs to water their flocks.  This is not an unimportant event in a desert land of Arabia, north of the Red Sea.  I lived in Israel for a year; one of my friends at age 25 died in the middle east from dehydration.  Water is a serious thing for people and animals.  The text says that some shepherds drive the women away, so this may indicate that the women are actually in a bad way because not only the women but the animals (a key source of income) require water to live.  This is the opposite of hospitality, it is victimization for the women and their animals and someone is needed to actually rescue these women from the ungodly deeds of the roughians.  A reminder also that shepherds were one of the lowest classes of the middle East, noteworthy because they were one of the groups God showed His glory to in the birth of His Son, and also one of the groups that Jesus aligns with in His humility as the Great Shepherd.

Continuing with the story, Moses risks his own welfare for these women, and their animals, who are unknown to him.  Interestingly enough, he is described by the women as an Egyptian (!) – he probably looked and talked like one.  Moses’ first act is to risk his life for these women!  If the shepherds are heartless enough to turn away animals and even possibly humans from much-needed water, certainly killing some random Egyptian isn’t out of the question.  Yet Moses begins his time in the wilderness by acting as a mediator, a type of Christ, for these helpless ladies.

The act is clearly so important culturally, and spiritually, because the sister’ father is appalled (and even possibly angry) that the daughters did not invite the savior to the house; they bordered ingratitude and offense for not doing so for the selfless Egyptian traveller.  So thankful is the father for the act, and impressed by the humility of Moses, is that the father gives a daughter in marriage to the stranger and Moses’ future is changed in the act.  The scene now changes from Moses the homeless wanderer who sits by a well after running as a convict, to Moses the savior and beneficiary of God’s blessing.

Application:  

There are so many applications, my mind is racing!  Perhaps your mind is landing on several.  The one that cries out to me this morning is how God blesses our hearts to sacrifice ourselves for others, just like He blessed Moses’ heart of sacrifice for people he didn’t know.  In this way, Moses WAS and we can BE like Jesus of whom it is said:

1Jn 3:16  This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

Joh 15:13  Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

Php 2:4-8  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.  (5)  Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:  (6)  Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,  (7)  but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  (8)  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!

We know the result of God’s blessing on Moses’ life.  He went from wanderer and alien to having a wife and a home.  No small thing when you think your life is essentially OVER like I’m sure Moses did.  So powerful was this blessing after the wilderness for Moses that he named his first child after the experience! 

The rest of the story for Jesus is:

Php 2:9  Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,

Php 2:10  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

Php 2:11  and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.   

So here’s the punch:  The next time God opens up a door for you to be the seed that falls to the ground and dies … die.  Sacrifice your own interests, your own welfare for the sake of others – even someone you do not know.  The promise from Scripture is that if that’s where God IS, and we keep in step with the Spirit, He will bless it for the Kingdom and bless you for it.

Prayer:

Adoration:  Jesus the Lamb of God who sacrificed Himself – and continues to live a life of sacrifice in His people through the Holy Spirit.

Confession:  For how difficult it is for me, for us, to do this.  For our selfish ambition and conceit (Phillipians 2:3).  Lord forgive us for being so self-preserving …

Thanksgiving:  For others who have blazed the path of self-sacrifice before us.  First, Jesus, but also for many others who have shown us this better way and STILL even today martyr themselves both figuratively and literally for the love of God, His Kingdom and others even unbeknownst to them.

Supplication:  That God would help me, us, our church and His Church throughout the world to live like this … the iconic Church; a far cry from the idollic church that in contrast would seek to build and grow like a religious WalMart.  Pray that God would help us to lay down our lives for the world and not seek to build ourselves off of it.

Joh 12:24  I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.

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I’ve included a cool testimony from Ross and Jen Wilsie about the power of prayer AND the power of when we seek God through prayer and worship.

Jennifer and I just wanted to take a sec to say THANK YOU to all of you who have supported us and prayed for us thus far in our pregnancy, especially recently concerning our baby's position.  Some of you have heard the good news, but for those who haven't, our baby is head down and rarin' to go!  (Well, rarin' may be a bad word choice... we'd have a whole other set of problems if it was actually rarin').  But anyway, we attribute it solely to God's merciful hand through your (and our) prayers!  Jonathan and Robin, thank you for taking the time to pray over Jennifer after the service yesterday... it was a special time that gave us peace.

Also, Jennifer spent about an hour listening to worship music and praying last night, and she specifically asked God to move the baby by 11:15 this morning (when we had an appointment with a doctor who was going to perform a procedure to manually turn the baby).  So we headed into the ultrasound room with the doctor, clueless and laughing at him when he said, "Let's hope I find the head where it's supposed to be and you can be on your merry way!"  About 5 seconds into the ultrasound, he said, "Yep, there it is.  You're all done."  We were speechless.  Anyway, I'll stop going on and on, but so many things have fallen into place and so many people have gone WAY out of their way to help us... God has been good, and we can breath a sigh of relief…

One very cool thing about it is that Jennifer went upstairs last night intending to do one of her Hypnobabies CDs (the one that's supposed to help a baby turn), but she sensed that she should spend that time in prayer and worship instead.  Go God, and go Jennifer for being obedient to Him!