Exodus 2.14: Then Moses was afraid and thought, “What I did must have become known.”
15 When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian, where he sat down by a well.
water and fill the troughs to water their father’s flock. 17 Some shepherds came along and drove them away, but Moses got up and came to their rescue and watered their flock.
18 When the girls returned to Reuel their father, he asked them, “Why have you returned so early today?”
19 They answered, “An Egyptian rescued us from the shepherds. He even drew water for us and watered the flock.”
20 “And where is he?” Reuel asked his daughters. “Why did you leave him? Invite him to have something to eat.”
21 Moses agreed to stay with the man, who gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses in marriage. 22 Zipporah gave birth to a son, and Moses named him Gershom,[c] saying, “I have become a foreigner in a foreign land.”
When I worked in Bristol we ran the mission shaped ministry course from Fresh Expressions with a weekend away in the middle of it, the session on Saturday evening was “overcoming hurt and disappointment” as so many people with incredible potential have been crushed by various things such as opposition, bad experiences, negative reactions and dismissive comments. Within the Christian life we all get knocked down at times -and sometimes kicked when you are down there!- but our challenge was to rise up from the floor, move in from the pain of discouragement and try again (and maybe again, and again!). My friend Jackie was leading the session (and also speaking from experience) and she prayed for us all to have the gift of courage and bravery. She then said something I will never forget. “Bravery is like a muscle, perhaps God is like a personal trainer building up muscle tone within you”.
That morning I had (in vain) tried to loose some of my flabby stomach with a few sit ups and I was in pain. Growing muscles is painful. Yet everything doesn’t change with the occasional stretch, but rather through ongoing persistent discipline.
Moses here probably doesn’t feel very brave as he’s on the run from pharaoh but it feels like he’s growing braver here when he fights if a gang of bullies stopping some young women water their animals. Clearly Moses intervenes even though the odds are against him and the thugs run away.
Later we read of Moses becoming a shepherd which is a role requiring courage taking on all sorts of dangerous wild animals in order to protect the sheep. God stretching Moses who is becoming more and more brave until he is ready (with God’s help and empowering) to face down Pharaoh -the leader of a superpower nation and possibly someone he had personal history with?
Interestingly the story starts with Moses killing an Egyptian and Pharaoh being angry and wanting to kill Moses, rather than confronting Pharaoh and saying: “let the Lords people go!” yet Moses wasn’t ready and had fled and spent a long time letting God work in him so that he could work through him?
Perhaps God had been trying to work in him but Moses blew the opportunity and God had work in Moses afresh so he had the courage to return to face Pharaoh.
What of us?
Do we need to rise up afresh and not give up on the call of God on our lives?