Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.
The Pharaoh ruling 400 years after the Pharaoh of Joseph’s time did not remember that Joseph had saved Egypt from a famine. He did not remember that Joseph had risen in the ranks to rule as Pharaoh’s second in command. He did not know that the Israelites were God’s chosen people. He did not know that his reign over God’s people would soon come to an end.
The Egyptians had slowly and methodically enslaved the Israelites over a period of 400 years. The Israelites did not know that God had heard their cries. They had no idea their lives were about to change forever. They did not remember the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, or bring to mind what their God was about to accomplish.
Moses had been born an Israelite and raised in the palaces of Pharaoh. Who better to become a champion for the people than one who shared blood with the oppressed, and the lifestyle (education, language, access) of the oppressors? Moses was perfectly positioned to lead the Israelites out of Egypt toward the land promised by God centuries before. He did not remember that God had made such a promise.
But God remembered. Only God could have orchestrated such a convergence of events and people. The Exodus event was the first time God claimed an entire nation as God’s own. Until now, God had claimed individuals and families, but never an entire nation.
How would God reintroduce God’s self to a broken and distrustful people? First, by showing them that God exists. This is not only a God of doing, but also a God of being. “I Am.” God exists, and that is a great start.
Next, God reminded them of God’s promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This is not only a God of being, but also a God of doing. God is about to do a miraculous thing – free an entire nation of slaves and deliver on a promise over 400 years old. It’s a good thing God has a long memory.
Narrative Lectionary Text: Exodus 2:23-25; 3:10-15; 4:10-17
After a long time the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned under their slavery, and cried out. Out of the slavery their cry for help rose up to God. God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God looked upon the Israelites, and God took notice of them. So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.”
But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” He said, “I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.” But Moses said to God, “If I come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” He said further, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’“God also said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you’: This is my name forever, and this my title for all generations.
But Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor even now that you have spoken to your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” Then the Lord said to him, “Who gives speech to mortals? Who makes them mute or deaf, seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you are to speak.” But he said, “O my Lord, please send someone else.” Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses and he said, “What of your brother Aaron, the Levite? I know that he can speak fluently; even now he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you his heart will be glad. You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth; and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth, and will teach you what you shall do. He indeed shall speak for you to the people; he shall serve as a mouth for you, and you shall serve as God for him. Take in your hand this staff, with which you shall perform the signs.”