I really wish to appreciate the Burning Bush Boy (BBB) for the last two editions of this bulletin in which he revealed my humble beginning in life and my initial futile effort at saving my people. I thank him most especially for being able to acknowledge the role my mother played in my life. Just as he rightly said, my mother was indeed a rare gem. She was a mother in a trillion.
BBB was also able to truly capture my disappointment when my brethren failed to read and understand my good intensions towards them. They turned against me and were going to hand me over to the Egyptians; a situation which made me fled Egypt. You wouldn’t expect me to respect them for this. Would you?
Let me agree that I went about it the wrong way as the Burning Bush Boy mentioned in his writing. I should not have killed the Egyptian taskmaster, (it was a mistake I later in life regretted), but after all said and done, I still think my fellow Hebrews should have at least regarded me for attempting to work out their freedom.
Anyway, maybe we should let bygone be bygone. I wouldn’t like to bring up again the issue, especially since I have been able to forgive and forget their acts. I achieved this by the grace of God. The LORD healed my burnt heart and gave me the grace to accept them back into that same heart.
Over now to what I believe your readers have been eager to know - my exile experience.
Hmm! Where do I begin? You would be right to say that I left (I actually fled) Egypt disappointed and with nothing certain about my future. I was annoyed with myself for daring to deliver a set of ungrateful slaves, thus, jeopardizing my future in the process.
I left with a heart so sure that I had done the wrong thing by sacrificing my lofty position in Pharaoh’s palace. I fled Egypt with tears on my face and with a bleeding heart. My whole world crumbled that very day. All that I thought my life was meant to achieve fizzled out like smoke within minutes.
You could never imagine how terrible it was for me to leave the land I had lived in for forty years in a hurry. I fled without any preparation. I could not pack my clothes; did not have time to withdraw money from the palace treasury and without being able to say goodbye to those who meant so much to me.
Did I know where I was going? I had no place in mind! All I knew was that I had to flee Egypt the very moment that ingrate challenged my goodwill. Even now, I still hear his voice re-echoing in my heart as he yelled at him: “Who do you think you are, telling us what to do? Are you going to kill me the way you killed that Egyptian?”(Ex. 2: 14 TM)
I still cannot say how I was able to beat the watchful eyes of the immigration guards at the border gates. Thereon, I trekked towards the direction my legs led me. That was right! My legs led the journey instead of my heart, for at that very moment, my heart was blank; completely shut down.
After walking for some days, I eventually got to a place where I saw a well of water. As I drank some water, I realised my legs were becoming shaky and my eyes becoming cloudy. It was not after I started hearing some voices that I understood that I must have collapsed for some minutes or so.
With the voices approaching my direction, I slowly opened my eyes to see that I was surrounded by flocks of cattle. I knew I was not hearing the sound of animals, so as I further turned my head, I could not but be surprised to see female shepherds standing very close to the well. I must confess that their smartness got me fully back to life.
It was amazing watching them rolling away the stone from the mouth of the well. They did everything gracefully, but surprisingly, they disregarded my presence. They were, however, going to need my help shortly.
As they got water for their flocks, another set of shepherds arrived at the same well and probably, because they were men, I did not give them a second look. Anyway, I was later forced to look their way. Thinking that every male should be a gentleman, especially when dealing with the opposite sex, I expected these male shepherds to wait their turn by allowing the women, who got to the well first, to be through. I was wrong! These were male chauvinists.
I gave them a second and a hard look when they suddenly hijacked the well, so to say, from the women. They pushed the women aside and were practically forcing their way through. Although I was very tired, I could not stand to watch this oppression go on in my presence.
Ordinarily, I should have looked the other way, for the wounds inflicted on me while trying to help my brethren were still fresh, but I think I was designed to rescue people from oppression. I did not know where the strength came from as I rose up to challenge those good-for-nothing oppressors. They raised their hands to fight back, but by the time I was through with them, they needed nobody to tell them the stuff an Egyptian prince was made of. With every sense of modesty, I was not only trained to handle diplomatic issues, but also trained as a combatant. If need be, to transform into a one man squad.
Anyway, I shouldn’t glory in that. In a nutshell, I was able to defend the female shepherds and after giving their appreciation, they went ahead with their flocks, leaving me behind. Please note that I did what I did without any intension of demanding for anything in return. Nevertheless, I would have been grateful at the offer of a meal only that I was not offered. I have always known women to be hospitable, but not these shepherds. They left me behind in the cold without offering any hand of love or fellowship.
Please, do not ask if I was disappointed. Should I be? If my own blood could turn against me after seeking to help them, should I expect anything better from foreigners? Tell me why the female shepherds should treat me better for helping them? Excuse me, but I was to them a mere wandering Egyptian.
I sat alone by the well side, not able to fashion a way forward. I did not know what else to do with my life, just as I wondered why my good intensions must always work against me. I must, however, have fallen asleep, because I did not know when she came near me. I was jolted by her touch and sincerely, it would be an understatement to say that I was shocked when I noticed she was one of the seven female shepherds that left me a while ago. It was the eldest of them.
She waited for me to compose myself before telling me why she came back. According to her, they narrated their experience at the well to their father when they got home. While their father was happy to hear the story, he was so cross with them for leaving me behind in the cold. “And where is he?” she said her father queried.
Anyway, she had come to take me home by the order of their father and this gladdened my heart. It made me to reconsider my stand - the world, after all, is not totally made up of ingrates. It took a stranger in a faraway land (Midian as I later got to know) to prove this to me.
The following transpired at the house of Jethro, the kindhearted man who sent for me and who later became my father-in-law.
“And where is he? Why is it that you have left the man? Call him that he may eat bread? Ex 2: 20.TM
(“Where is this great man you said assisted you to meet up with your daily assignment on time? Should such a man not be regarded? Why then have you left him behind in the cold? Did you not say that he was sitting down tired, but when he saw you being oppressed, he stood up and risked his life by fighting the other shepherds? You were strangers to him, yet he defended your rights. Should you forget such a man?
“Where is he? You have to go back and look for him. You should realise that you must cling to such a deliverer as God’s help”.)
Thereafter, strangers accorded me the respect my own people denied me. I was accepted in the land as the ‘son of the soil’. In fact, Jethro, who also happened to be the priest of the land, trusted me so much that he allowed me to marry his first daughter.
“And Moses wascontent to dwell with the man: and gave Moses, Zipporah his daughter”. (Exo 2:21 KJV)
From the above, you could see that I was not forced to live with Jethro. Moreover, for the love I have for my wife, I decided to tend the flocks of my father-in-law. The thought of ever becoming a channel of deliverance to my own people gradually drained off me. I was very much relaxed as I once again found love and peace in the land of Midian. You may say I was underutilized for working as a shepherd to my father-in-law, but I was satisfied and happy.
Suddenly, the unexpected happened!
(Catch up with Moses once again in the next edition.)