(“Questions From Israel’s Exodus” series: post #5)
In a very real sense, Moses was uniquely qualified to be the man through whom God would deliver the Israelites from their Egyptian bondage. For one thing, he was an Egyptian by upbringing but an Israelite by birth. For another, even though he knew all the worldly wisdom of the Egyptians (Acts 7:22), he also knew Israel’s God intimately enough to choose to suffer affliction with the Israelites rather than continue to enjoy a life of ease with the Egyptians (Hebrews 11:24-26). Needless to say, guys like that didn’t come a dime a dozen. Therefore, it was only logical that God would call Moses to the role of deliverer. It was a classic case of God calling the qualified.
On the other hand, little if anything in Moses’ training could have prepared him to lead over two million people on a long trek through the wilderness wasteland of the Sinai Peninsula. That would require experience with such terrain, to say nothing of experience in shepherding a flock in the midst of sparse surroundings. Moses’ Egyptian wisdom had given him a knowledge of how to harness the Nile river to provide drinking water and rich farmland for millions of Egyptians, but the Sinai Peninsula was a long way from the Nile. Therefore, it was only logical that God would qualify Moses for the role of deliverer. It was a classic case of God qualifying the called.
This qualifying wouldn’t take place during Moses’ forty years in Egypt. Instead, it would take place in the region of Midian during his forty years shepherding his father-in-law’s flock. Let’s not think that is was merely a coincidence that God appeared to Moses in a burning bush at Mount Sinai (also called Mount Horeb, Exodus 3:1) rather than along the banks of the Nile. It would be that mountain, not any mountain in Egypt, that would come to be known as “the mountain of God” (Exodus 3:1). As part of Moses’ experience at the burning bush, God told him, “When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain” (Exodus 3:12). God said that because He knew that before He would bring Moses and the Israelites to the brink of the promised land of Canaan, He would bring them to Mount Sinai. There they would remain encamped for over a year, receive His law, and build the movable Tabernacle complex called for by the law.
For forty years in Midian, God taught Moses humility. He taught him patience. He taught him the work ethic of a shepherd. He taught him how to function successfully in the desolate region surrounding Mount Sinai. He taught him how to walk in step-by-step obedience to God rather than racing ahead in his own wisdom the way he had done in killing that Egyptian taskmaster. This was Moses’ post-Egyptian training. This was his post-graduate work. This was his qualifying.
Does God call the qualified? Yes, He does. Does He qualify the called? Yes, He does. The truth is that He uses everything about a person — the person’s nationality, upbringing, scholastic education, family situation, life experiences, etc. — in His molding and shaping of that person for service.
Take Saul of Tarsus for example. He was certainly qualified to become Paul, the apostle who would preach the gospel to both Jews and Gentiles alike. Not only was he born a Jew (Philippians 3:5), he was also born an official citizen of the Gentile Roman empire (Acts 22:22-29). Not only did he receive his training in Judaism under Gamaliel, the most famous rabbi of that day (Acts 22:3), he was also a tentmaker by profession (Acts 18:1-3). All of these things, in a worldly sense, made Saul highly qualified to become an apostle of Christ. However, he didn’t even know Christ as his Savior until the resurrected, glorified Jesus encountered him on the road between Jerusalem and Damascus (Acts 9:1-19). That encounter was a case of Jesus qualifying the called.
Perhaps you are feeling called by God to perform some specific type of service for Him, but you are wondering if you are qualified for the job. My answer is this: If you aren’t qualified God will see to it that you get qualified, and if you are qualified He will see to it that you get even more qualifying to fill in the gaps of whatever you are missing. Listen, God will never ask you to do something that you can’t do. Even if you can do it, He won’t leave you to do it by yourself. He knows how to use what you’ve got, and He knows how to give you what you need so that He can use you even more. All He asks from you is simple obedience in taking each step with Him. He doesn’t need you to be another Moses or another Paul. He just needs you to be yourself. That is, after all, the role you were born to play, and it’s the role you’ve been training for your whole life.