Good morning!

Greetings in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.


Praying for you, your family, your community, and the rest of the world. Right now, the whole world is suffering because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Let’s pray together to God, Our Ever-Loving Father, His mercy and protection on all, and God’s healing on those who are infected by the COVID-19. We all believe God’s grace and love rest on all who look upon Him every moment with faith in Him.


But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. (Isaiah 43:1)


When Moses was born, Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, was hostile to all Israelite male babies. The Egyptians became fearful of the Israelites because their population was rapidly increasing. They forgot what Joseph did – saving the entire nation from the seven-year famine, which would be so severe that even the memory of the good years would be erased, and would destroy the land. 


Pharaoh ordered midwives to kill all male Israelite babies while only having female babies saved. But the midwives feared God, and they refused to obey the king’s orders. They allowed the male babies to live, too. Then Pharaoh ordered his soldiers to kill every newborn male baby of the Israelites while letting the female babies live. 


During this treacherous time, a man and woman from the tribe of Levi got married. The woman became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She saw that he was a special baby and kept him hidden for three months. But she could no longer hide him. She got a basket made of papyrus reeds and waterproofed it with tar and pitch. She put the baby in the basket and laid it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile River. 


Pharaoh’s daughter came down to bathe in the river, and her attendants walked along the riverbank. When the princess saw the basket among the reeds, she sent her maid to get it for her. When the princess opened it, she saw the baby. The little boy was crying, and she felt sorry for him. “This must be one of the Israelite children,” she said. Then she kept the baby against the order of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt.


Then Pharaoh’s daughter gave back the baby to the baby’s birth mother to nurse the baby. She thought she had just hired an Israelite woman to nurse the baby. She even paid all expenses to nurse the baby. It happened under the very nose of Pharaoh. Still, Pharaoh did not know. It was God’s divine appointment from which nobody could deviate, even Pharaoh, the king of the most powerful kingdom at that time. 


Later, when the boy was older, his birth mother brought him back to Pharaoh’s daughter, who adopted him as her own son. The princess named him Moses, for she explained, “I lifted him out of the water.” Then she gave her best care to Moses.


Pharaoh did not have the foggiest idea about what was happening in the palace among his own royal family members. God made Pharaoh get blind. Indeed, Pharaoh opened his eyes, but he could not see this reality.  From Pharaoh’s point of view, all Israelites’ male babies were dead as his soldiers ruthlessly executed the male babies per his cruel order, which he hastily made out of his sheer fear of the Israelites. Pharaoh enslaved the Israelites and forced them to do hard labor in harsh environments, but their population was rapidly growing.


For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say, “He traps the wise in the snare of their own cleverness.” (1 Corinthians 3:19)


Moses continued growing up in the palace as if he were one of the royal princes in the palace. He got the best education, and he was trained to be a part of the group of princes who would inherit the kingship when the time came. Moses then excelled over all other princes, becoming visible to Pharaoh. Even Pharaoh loved Moses more than any other princes. However, Moses had no single drop of the blood of Pharaoh’s family. He was the son of the slave Israelites. 


However, Moses had never forgotten his origin. He knew his fellow Israelites lived in misery. Egyptians harshly treated them as their slaves. He repeatedly saw that Egyptian slave-masters ruthlessly beat his fellow Israelites, in a few cases, beaten to death. Every instance deeply touched his heart. He always wanted to help Israelites, but that was about it. As he got older, he started to think about liberating his fellow Israelites from slavery. And Moses gave deep thought to why he alone lived in the palace among the many fellow Israelites and received the best education and training, and why he enjoyed all privileges only reserved for the royal princes of Pharaoh. Then he realized that it was God’s supernatural appointment because God had a special plan for Moses – to liberate his fellow slave Israelites. As time went by, he was more and more convinced his mission was to liberate his fellow Israelites, which was God’s plan, and he was the one chosen by God.


So Moses looked at his own hand and made out a strong fist. Moses could see someone strong enough to liberate his fellow Israelites. Indeed, Moses was the strongest, fastest, and smartest among the princes in the palace. He had never lost any competition against all other princes in the palace. All made him even more convinced that he was the chosen one by God. He was convinced that his life in the palace was the period God used to equip him to fulfill God’s liberating plan. As getting to this conclusion, Moses worked harder than ever. He diligently prepared for his grandiose liberation mission and searched for an opportunity.


One day, he went out from the palace to visit his own people, the Israelites, and he saw his fellow Israelites performing harsh labor as enslaved people. It made him feel sorry for his fellow Israelites. Then he spotted an Egyptian beating one of his fellow Israelites. His heart was breaking, and his adrenaline was pumping. His heart was beating faster and faster. He could ignore and pass on the beating. His mission to liberate his fellow Israelites completely consumed Moses, and his heart was telling, “Yes, it is the time to do what you have been preparing for a long time. You have to initiate your mission now, which will ignite the fuse with a flame to trigger the explosive uprise of liberating voice from all his fellow Israelites. He believed that all his fellow Israelites would act together and recognize him as their savior who would lead the liberation from their slavery.”


After Moses looked in all directions to ensure no one was watching, Moses killed the Egyptian and hid the body in the sand.


The next day, when Moses went out to visit his people again, he saw two Israelite men fighting. “Why are you beating up your friend?” Moses said to the one who had started the fight. Moses felt that they would listen to him while feeling shame about their foolish act of fighting. Moses was truly confident of the outcome. He, first, believed he was the one chosen by God. If not, how could he be the top prince in Egypt although he was a slave son? Second, he firmly believed he had ignited the fuse with his flaming and heroic action the previous day by killing the Egyptian harshly beating one of his fellow Israelites. He thought that his fellow Israelites would listen to him and apologize to each other because they would recognize him as the leader. 


However, the man, his fellow Israelite in fighting, replied, “Who appointed you to be our prince and judge? Are you going to kill me as you killed that Egyptian yesterday?” The answer was shocking to Moses because he had never expected such a response. It was completely opposite from his planned outcome that he prepared so long.


Then Moses suddenly became afraid, thinking, “They don’t treat me as the chosen one who would lead them out of their slavery. Then who am I now? I just become a murderer, even to my own people. Additionally, now everyone knows what I did, including Egyptians” Moses immediately felt that all strength in his body and mind was drained out. He could barely stand with his feet. He did not know what to do next.  For the first time in his life, fear fell on him, which took out all his heroic courage. Then he ran. He had to hide from the Egyptians because Egyptians would kill him.


And sure enough, soon Pharaoh heard what had happened, and he ordered to arrest Moses. However, Pharaoh could not believe what he heard about Moses because he trusted Moses so much. He truly loved Moses more than any other princes. But all in the palace told to Pharaoh Moses was the one to be put to death. Pharaoh quickly launched his own investigation. It did not take long before uncovering the fact. Moses was not born out of his royal bloodline but a son of the Israelite slaves. Pharaoh, then, started connecting dots. His cruel order to kill all Israelite male babies backfired, and one of the Israelite babies became his prince through his daughter. This incredible event had happened because of him. He could understand why Moses behaved erratically. Pharaoh could not believe all these unthinkable events, and he felt insignificant. 


Initially, Moses attempted to hide among his people, but nobody accepted him. It was truly heartbreaking. He gave everything to his people, but nobody appreciated what he had done. Of course, none of the royal princes growing up together welcomed him. All were against him. The Egyptian soldiers were actively searching for Moses. He realized that he could no longer stay in Egypt. Moses fled to the land of Midian, far from Egypt.


One day Moses was the rising star among the princes in the palace, but the next day he became a fugitive searching for a hiding place to save his life. All that he had – prestige, earthly comforts, power, and powerful friends were suddenly gone. Moses could not believe what was happening, although he faithfully followed God’s given mission.


Moses prepared for God’s given mission years. As he saw the perfect opportunity, he executed his plan. But the result was far from what he expected. He believed his fellow Israelites would welcome him as their leader, and they followed him to get out of their slavery. The reality unfolded completely opposite. It was a truly devastating blow to Moses. It undermined all that he believed and destroyed Moses. His lifetime effort for his fellow Israelites for God went down the drain. It was the end of his dream, courage, hope, belief, and mission that he firmly believed in God.


Moses journeyed deep into the territory of Median, fleeing from the Egyptian soldiers. Moses found nobody chased him. Then he walked aimlessly. Moses lived a laser-focused life to liberate his fellow Israelites from slavery, but his people did not agree with his mission. They even did not protect him from the Egyptians when he asked for help to hide. He risked all he had, but none of his people did reciprocate. They even did not care about Moses and what Moses did for them. They seemed accepting slavery as their fate, and they were cruising through the slave life although they could have chosen a completely different path — living as free people, not slaves to the Egyptians. 


Moses kept thinking about what went wrong and why while walking aimlessly in the Midian wilderness alone. Moses even gave a thought about killing himself. Moses gave all, but his people rejected. Moses’ meaning of life so far was nothing but liberating his people. Since he got this mission from God, he only lived for this purpose. He had never wasted his life for his own pleasure. He lived to prepare to be the person to liberate his people, not for his own glory. He often saw all the other princes in the palace lived for their own pleasure and earthly power and prestige, but he had never given himself to the earthly temptation by chasing such things. 


As a result, Moses always came out the top because of his purpose-driven lifestyle. His zeal for his life goal was stronger than the earthly desire to have more pleasures, power, and prestige as the other princes pursued. Moses pushed him more and more to be the person capable of fulfilling God’s given mission. It is why Moses vigorously competed against the other princes to be the top and equip himself to be the one who could do the monumental task of liberating the entire Israelites from slavery.


However, the failure took away Moses’ lifelong mission that God gave him. Instead, he was now a fugitive wandering the Median wilderness far from Egypt. How miserable Moses was!  He barely made every step. In him, there was no goal, aim, hope, but deep doubt, questioning about his existence and reason to breathe.


Trust in the LORD with all your heart;

       do not depend on your own understanding.

Seek his will in all you do,

       and he will show you which path to take. (Proverb 3:5-6)


But God carefully monitored every inch of Moses’ life and his thoughts and feelings, even desire to die. Moses lost his will to live anymore, but he just aimlessly walked. Even at the very moment, God was with Moses. God was faithfully leading him through the paths of righteousness according to His infinite goodness. Moses felt his absolute looser, and nobody was around him. He was lonely being alone in the middle of the Median wilderness, but God was with him. Not just once, but multiple times, Moses tried to end his life, but God tightly held Moses’ hand. God softly whispered to his ears and his heart, “I love you, and I am with you always to the end of the world.” Of course, Moses could not hear the voice because he had no room to listen to God’s whispering voice. His heart and mind were completely occupied by his failure — what happened in Egypt. But Moses tried, but he could not kill himself. God’s almighty and loving hand tightly held Moses. God did not let Moses go. God allowed Moses to wander as much as he wanted until he was completely exhausted.


Then all tense feeling about his failure was slowly moving out of Moses. Moses was getting back to himself and ready for the next step of God’s plan, precisely speaking, not the mission Moses perceived, believed, and chased, but God’s own.


It was not easy to watch Moses wandering after a monstrous failure to God. God was truly sympathetic about Moses’ loss of his lifelong mission and even thinking of killing himself. But God endured. All that Moses experienced were absolutely needed to prepare Moses for the next stage of God’s plan.


As Moses got back to his own mind, God sent Moses to the place that God prepared. Moses found a well, and he sat down beside a well.


The priest of Midian had seven daughters who came, as usual, to draw water and fill the water troughs for their father’s flocks. But some other shepherds came and chased them away.  Although Moses failed big time in Egypt, he could ignore the injustice that he saw and do nothing. He felt strength filling up in his body and his righteous mind returning.


Moses jumped up and defended the girls by pushing away the other shepherds from the well. Moses was well-trained in all combat skills. Nobody was able to compete against him when he was in Egypt. The other shepherds were indeed no match with Moses. The other shepherds immediately fled, as Moses completely chased them out. The girls were completely impressed as Moses skillfully pushed them away from the well. Moses then came back to the girls and exhibited his Egyptian royal courtesy to the girls, who had never experienced such a polite and capable man before. Then Mores drew water for the girls’ flocks.


When the girls returned to Reuel, their father, he asked, “Why are you back so soon today?”


“An Egyptian rescued us from the shepherds,” they answered. “And then he drew water for us and watered our flocks.”


“Then where is he?” their father asked. “Why did you leave him there? Invite him to come and eat with us.”


The girls went back to the well and invited Moses to their tent. Moses was initially silent for a while. He was the top prince among all princes, and now he became a fugitive wandering in the Median wilderness. He had no place to go. He even did not know where to sleep that night. 


Moses gladly accepted their invitation. Then he met their father, and he settled there. Moses was a truly impressive fine young man. Reuel gave Moses his daughter Zipporah to be his wife. Later she gave birth to a son, and Moses named him Gershom, for he explained, “I have been a foreigner in a foreign land.”


Moses settled and started a new life in the Median foreign land, but he could never forget his fellow Israelites suffering in Egypt as slaves. Moses could not fully fit into the Midianites. He was a forever foreigner among the Midianites with whom he lived.


In the land of Midian, God was also with Moses, and without ceasing, God led Moses toward God’s mission liberating the Israelites in slavery in Egypt. Back living in Egypt, Moses clearly understood God’s plan, but he tried to fulfill with his own strength and power gained as he lived as the prince in the palace. He acted as he saw the opportunity God gave him, but it was not. Then God sent Moses to the land of Median far from Egypt. God unfolded His plan like clockwork. The time in Median was set aside for Moses to grow deeper into God, experiencing Him in his life without any hindrance from his earthly status, fame, respect, and recognition from other human beings as he used to get in Egypt. Moses’ journey for his spiritual growth in God had just begun in the land of Median. For Moses, God prepared the Midianite girls, the hostile other shepherds, and the well where Moses set. 


God is good, and He is always good. When we monstrously fail like Moses, God is with us. God allowed the failure not to penalize or abandon us, but God has specifically prepared for each of us. It is time God wants for us to feel His loving care. Rather than reviewing our failure, again and again, God wants us to listen to His loving and subtle compassionate voice, even though our monstrous failure wipes out everything about us, including our faith and trust in God. We should not forget under any circumstances that God, without exception, is whispering to our ears, “I love you! I am always with you, no matter what happens to you and your world. I am and will be your Ever-Loving Father who never forgets you under any circumstances. I am the God of Immanuel, who is always with you forever.”  Amen!


I look up to the mountains—

       does my help come from there?

My help comes from the LORD,

       who made heaven and earth!


He will not let you stumble;

       the one who watches over you will not slumber.

Indeed, he who watches over Israel

       never slumbers or sleeps.


The LORD himself watches over you!

       The LORD stands beside you as your protective shade.

The sun will not harm you by day,

       nor the moon at night.


The LORD keeps you from all harm

       and watches over your life.

The LORD keeps watch over you as you come and go,

       both now and forever. (Psalm 121:1-8)

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