And he said, Who made you a ruler and a judge over us? Are you going to put me to death as you did the Egyptian? And Moses was in fear, and said, It is clear that the thing has come to light. Ex 2:14
There are three questions you have to be sure about the answers before you can stand in situations like the one Moses was in. And let’s be clear: he didn’t. Because he didn’t know the answers.
Let’s recapitulate. Moses had realized that he was an Israelite. He has known all his life, because I am sure that his mother taught him when he was little and she nursed him. In those times, nursing went on for up to five years. So he remembered. But it was not his identity. He was brought up in the Egyptian palace, and only saw what was happening to his people through the lenses of his education. We need workers. We need to keep them low, because otherwise they will overthrow us. The gods made the Egyptians rulers of the earth. Those were the sentences he heard and for a long time even believed.
But then he saw an Egyptian kill an Israelite. We don’t know what had been going on within him before that day, but that was the proverbial drop that made the jar flow over. It broke out of him. He suddenly knew who he was. An Israelite.
Moses had just found the beginning of the answer to one of the three most important and daring questions everybody has to answer:
- Whose am I?
- Who am I?
- To whom am I joined?
Obviously, it wasn’t but the beginning. Because in the above verse we find him afraid because of his insecurity of who he was. And because he had not found the other two answers.
Who am I?
The most foundational question of the three, and usually the starting point. “Who am I” is implanted into our being as a quest, with the follow up questions of “why am I here” and “what am I doing”. Our search for identity.
Today, we answer this question by what we are doing. I am a programmer. I am a writer. I am a teacher. I am a drug addict. I am a victim. Even such things as “I am a sinner saved by grace”.
The last answer at least has a touch of the environment the question has to be embedded in. Because our three questions build an inseparable complex of questions that only bring peace when asked – together.
Ask one of the questions alone, and you will be led astray.
I just told you that asking the question of who I am without the others, I will end up defining myself by what I do. Or what has been done to me.
Asking the question of whose I am will lead me into slavery, if I do not know at the same time who I am.
Asking the question of to whom I am joined without having identity and knowing whose I am will lead me to join people only because they give me a chance to belong. Gangs, bad marriages, abusive relationships, dependencies.
Later in his life, Moses is questioned over and over again. When he comes back to Egypt to free his people. When they get stuck between the Egyptian army and the red sea. Or just about anytime the Israelites had maneuvered themselves into a bad situation. Remember the rod of Aaron? The people questioned the legitimacy of leadership.
What was different?
Moses knew who he was to an extend that people started to believe him. He knew he was a son of God, sent to deliver the son of God, his firstborn, Israel.
To find out his true identity, namely that he was a son of God, he had to know whose he was. God’s. He did not belong to the pharaoh, nor was he his own.
And he knew, who he was joined to. He was joined to Aaron and Mirjam, Joshua, Caleb, the elders, his father-in-law Jethro. This group gave him strength, boldness, support, and correction. They carried the vision for the people of Israel together with him, more and more. Moses needed to know that he was joined to them especially in times when they questioned him. When Aaron and Mirjam questioned his leadership – remember, he was their little brother – he had to know. First whose he was. then who he was, and certainly that he had been joined with them.
And he for sure had to know that he had been joined to the people of Israel. Otherwise, could he have stepped in on their behalf and hindered god from killing them all because they had rebelled against himself? Or would he have stepped in?
It boils down to this:
Be it old or new covenant, before, during, or after the law, it does not matter. These three questions are humane, universal, and cannot be avoided:
- Whose am I?
- Who am I
- To whom am I joined?
It’s the questions we have to face and answer. It’s the answers we will grow into over a lifetime. It’s the facts we will learn to have more and more revelation about on the way. It’s the truths we have to believe. Even though it is easy to know the answer, it is hard to believe them. Because they are grand, earth changing, and delivering all at once.
Obviously, I can give you the answers. They are plainly written in God’s word. but to apply them to your life, you have to experience them yourself. You have to see the answers.
And here they are:
You are God’s. For the earth and everything in it belongs to the Lord. And now we have the right to be called God’s children.
You are a son of God. This is my son in whom I am well pleased. And because you are sons, God has sent out the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, saying Abba, Father. And Jesus is the everlasting father. And the whole creation yearns for the sons of God to come forth.
You are joined to a group of people within the church. You have your place, just as Peter and John came back to their company after being let go by the Sanhedrin. You are joined to a spiritual father and a team of the fivefold ministry just as Moses had Aaron and Mirjam and Jethro. You are joined to spiritual sons just as Moses had Joshua.
Does this help you? Depending on where you stand at the moment, it gives you a hint in the right direction, resonates within you as the Spirit gives testimony, or just confirms you in the faith and strength you found in this.
Again, these three questions have to be posed and answered by you yourself. These three answers have to be found and experienced by you yourself. These truths have to be settle with you yourself.
I gave you a kick in the right direction. Will you go for a hunt?
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