The Tension between Ambition and Humility-Moses

The Bible exhorts us to be humble before God. In fact, God told Israel in Jeremiah, if my people would humble themselves, and call upon my name, I will show them great and mighty things. It is interesting to see the great and mighty things comes after two conditions: 1) they will humble themselves, 2) they will call upon God. You know there’s a correlation between humility and calling upon God. In fact, most people and Christians, if not humble, would not even call upon God. Therefore, it is the humble, the meek, the needy, cry out to God. Very often calling upon God comes in the form of crying to God. This basic human psychology when we are lost, when we are despondent, we cry out to our savior. To many people in the world, they will cry out to a lot of other helps whatever they can find, especially in this world of brokenness and depravity. What’s worse is people who are in dire need do not realize that they are actually in great need of help. So that two things to block people from coming to call upon God, the self-sufficiency is number one deterrent for people to come to God. That’s why humility is a beautiful character before God.

If you look at the life of Moses, when he was in the probably 20s, as a prince of Egypt, he seemed to have a special call from God even at a young age without God, speaking directly to him. He had a special burden to set his own people, Israel, free from the bondage of Egypt while he himself was a prince of Egypt. What we call as dual nationality. He had the Egyptian persona or position or upbringing, but he also has the ethnically, biologically Jewish ethnicity though he was never brought up in a Jewish family. Although when he was a baby, he was actually brought up by his mom in a very providential way of God when Moses was found in the basket floating in Nile river by The princess of Egypt. She became his adopted and real mom. And just at that point the princess upon hearing a baby crying in a basket while she was bathing in Nile with her maiden servants, asked if they could get a Jewish mom to raise this baby for her.  Moses’ sister heard that and she ran to call upon their mom to come and raise her baby Moses. She must be overwhelmed with joy and thankful for how God intervened and saved her baby and even gave her a chance to race her own baby for at least a period of time. So it is that incredulous providential story testimony of the divine plan of God being worked out right in the Nile river before the very princess of Egypt daughter of pharaoh himself. Folks never underestimate God’s plan; He can even work out to get the enemy’s power to fulfill His plan. He’s plan cannot be stopped by anybody.

The plan of God continues to operate in the very palace of Pharaoh of all places, while the people of Israel continued to suffer under the tyrant hands of Pharaoh, who made them to be slaves to build the pyramid. One fine day when Moses was walking around, and he saw an Egyptian slave master flogging his fellow Jewish man, who was laboring away to collect to get to make bricks, etc., and in such an urge of wanting to save his fellow man, Moses killed that Egyptian. And then a few days later, while walking around the field again and he saw some Jewish men quarreling with one another. Moses went out to them and said “Hey guys, don’t fight one another, you are brothers.”  Those guys turn around and asked him “Who made you to be our leader, do you want to kill us as you did to the Egyptian?” Hearing that, Moses knew the news of him killing that Egyptian Must have leaked out. It is unusual Pharoah to go after him. In any case I guess Moses is really Jewish ethnic adopted child of his daughter. So Moses started to flee while Pharaoh was raging and had his army to kill Moses.

But Moses escaped and he landed at the wilderness at the far away land from Egypt, he landed at Jethro‘s Vineyard, who turned out to be his future father-in-law. Can you believe the providential hands of God? How beautifully God set up for him to be in Egypt, for him to be persecuted, and for him to flee, and for him to flee to the exact spot in the universe, called Jethro‘s vineyard. While he was there, he saw Jethro‘s daughters came out to draw water for the camels and the straws and some shepherd boys came and hustled them. Moses saw that, he came forward and defended Jethro‘s daughters, and he drove them away.

Jethro’s daughters went back , and their father heard of this of this Jewish man who saved his daughters. Jethro said to his daughter “how one on earth did you not invite him back? I want to thank him for that.” So they invited Moses back to the house, and Jethro hosted a big feast for him, looked up to him and finally they discovered that he’s a great material to be his son-in-law. I wonder is that not such a possibility? Well, most of such a charming prince of Egypt, and the called one of the Almighty God Yahweh, is there any doubt he’s the man? To cover story short, Moses married Jethro’s daughter and lived among them. And you know what? He lived in Jethro’s wilderness area far away from Egypt for 40 years. For 40 long years Moses lived in obscurity from the ivy league, tower of pharaoh’s palace to the shepherd boy status of the wild, and not for four days ,not for four years, but 40 long years. Those 40 long years were in complete silence, as per the divine sovereignty of God there’s no record of what the heck went through his mind, how exactly he was transformed. But suffice to say, it took 40 years for God to completely humble Moses with the self ego, self-confidence, to a totally transformed, fine man of God, with humility, and a heart full of gold for God as you can see later. Seriously, there’s hardly a man, with such piety as Moses in the Old Testament, I would argue. He didn’t squander the massive wealth that he got them for he didn’t get any massive. Unlike David and Solomon, accrued, massive wealth, massive number of wives and prostitutes, only to the downfall of Solomon complete destruction, but a part to partial downfall of David but thanks be to God with God’s grace, David’s immaculate heart of passion and love for God, David survived and lived a legacy that is pretty much unmatchable in the old testament, nevertheless.

So what we see here is a man of top caliber for God when he was called by God in the burning bush experience, he said he couldn’t even speak properly, he could not speak eloquently, and he had no courage to face Pharaoh when God called him. God was even frustrated with him so He appointed Moses brother Aaron to be his spokesman to help him to do the task and made made Moses to be like God to Aaron.

The rest of the story is Moses exploded into international limelight, he dethroned Pharaoh from being a humble shepherd boy in the wilderness, something that is unheard of, and God indeed displayed his utmost mighty powers that is unprecedented to the level of seven plagues that destroyed Egypt from the harvest, to blood on the Nile river, locust, eating up all the food harvest, and eventual the killing of all the firstborns of Egypt, including pharaoh’s. That demonstration of God’s power was ruthless, vicious, and mighty indeed. God’s power was ready to dethrone the idols of Egypt whom Egypt claimed to be gods. God delivered Israel, but also send a message to Egyptian how Yahweh is the true God, and opened up the door for them to put the faith in Yahweh.

So Moses became famous, and finally got into the calling (he originally wanted to do that when in his 20s in Egypt as the Prince of Egypt). Now he’s got it. But he’s a totally changed man. He faced enormous trials and challenges and difficulties from the people of Israel climaxed into the highest pinnacle of the golden calf story, and also rebels, led by some factions in Israel challenging Moses authority. God defended Moses mightily and zealously. In fact, those rebels did not get killed in the normal way, but as Moses proclaimed, “if this people do not die in an unnatural way, God has not called me”. With that the earth opened up and swallowed up all those rebels into earth alive with their families, the children and the wives, the whole lot. It is so incredibly shocking and sorrowful and grieving story, but God put an end to those rebels.

You see the tension between humility and ambition? It was resolved when God showed up in a burning bush. I believe the resolution of the tension of humility and big ambitions will be resolved in our burning bush with God, i.e. an encounter with God, showing us the way to go and what to do. The call must be and has to be from God himself. And he’s faithful and he loves his people. He loves the people he calls into ministry.

Paul say that we should know our calling and remain humble. We should be like David poured out his heart to God during his time of difficulties and hardship. For anyone going through a time of being humbled, you will need a time of patience and waiting upon the Lord. Someone said for I will wait upon the Lord. Paul says those who wait upon the Lord shall soar like an eagle.

Isaiah 40:30–31 (ESV)

30    Even youths shall faint and be weary,and young men shall fall exhausted;31    but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Our strength will be renewed as we wait upon the Lord. There’s something about recharging of inner energy and inner self as we spend time in the presence of God waiting for God and hearing from God. Very often this would take the form of just prayer, meditation of the scriptures and lead a contemplative life. A lot of times we can’t wait upon the Lord because we can’t trust him. That’s a deeper group problem if we manifest impatience with God which I must admit very often I face that. It is good to wait upon the Lord, so that we shall renew our strength, so that we shall mount up like eagles and shall run and not be weary, Hallelujah! How many of you know that running a race in the Lord it’s not exactly an easy task? We need to really know him and wait in his presence.

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