Let My People Go...
Chapter 4…Yo Mamma!
Growing up in the city can be quite educational—there are just certain things that you learn that can’t quite be taught anywhere else—not in the home, the school, and, yes, the church; such as survival skills and street smarts. One of the things I learned very quickly was that you dare not walk away from a potentially dangerous situation when someone brought your mother’s reputation into the dispute. I can still recall several such instances where I found myself in situations. There I would stand opposite of my opponent arguing over major world issues, such as the types of shoes being worn, the style of hair on your head, the type of music you listened too, or your favorite football team. What most people do not realize is that there was much at stake in solving such matters.
For the most part though these small confrontations, yet vital to the nation’s security, were easily settled with just a few choice words. However, hostilities reached a pivot point when your adversary brought your mother and her integrity into the play. Those were fighting words. In such instances, you had two choices. You either saved face by standing your ground or you sacrifice your mother’s good name by fleeing. More often than not, I opted for door number one. However, I must admit, I would have been better off if I opened door number two. Though I stood my ground to protect my mother’s good name, I often found myself on the short end of the stick. That is, I staggered home having had the snot beaten out of me.
This where we last found Moses. God summoned him to return to Egypt and demand of and from Pharaoh that God’s children be set free to worship Him. What was Pharaoh’s response? Well, he threw insults at Moses all the while attacking the integrity of the One who sent Moses in the first place. To add injury to insult, he increased Israel’s work load by not providing them with the essential ingredient to make brick—straw. Well, that was not the way it was suppose to work. Pharaoh was to abide by Moses’ announcement. He was to let God’s children go and Moses was to be congratulated for his courage (I am sure I can venture to say that not many people stood toe to toe with Pharaoh). Wrong! Moses left Pharaoh’s palace displaced, discouraged, and defeated. This was not the way it was suppose to go.
And, oh, let’s not forget about the children of Israel’s reaction for Moses’ efforts. Did they stand up and applaud him for at least making an attempt to ease them from their agony? Nope! Did they encourage him by saying that his day will come? Nope! Did they sing songs of praise knowing that God was working behind the scenes? Not a chance! They opted to do none of these things. Instead, they grumbled, they griped, and they said good ridden to Moses and his sidekick Aaron. They were better off without them.
Moses was stymied and shocked. He must have found himself standing and staring into the fog. He was dazed by the right hook that came from no where—he was knocked down but not quite knocked out. The referee put him in the corner for a standing eight count. The fight was not over, but Moses questioned God for putting him into this ring. He asks: God what have the children of Israel done to deserve this? What was the purpose of me spending forty years in the desert preparing for such an occasion—only to be tossed and thrown to the ground in the first round?
I love God’s response. If we I were to put it into today’s language and lingo, it would go something like this: You ain’t seen nothing yet…ba ba ba baby, you ain’t seen nothing yet (yes, these are lyrics to a song). God’s reaction to what had just transpired reminds me of Rocky V where Rocky gets pummeled by his protégé. There he lies in the street while his life flashes before his eyes. His long lost trainer Mickey stands on Rocky’s shoulder shouting that the fight is not over: he did not hear the bell yet. Out of no where, Rocky rises from ruin, looks at his foe and says something to this effect: I ain’t heard no bell—One more! One more round!
That’s where we find Moses. Laying on the ground with God standing on his shoulder stating that no bell was rung—therefore he is get back up on his feet and finish what was started. Pharaoh had displayed his power by picking on God’s people; know it is God’s turn to throw a few jabs all the while setting Pharaoh up for an upper cut that is designed and destined to put Pharaoh down to the ground.
Isn’t that something? God could have easily told Moses: You know Moses, you are right! There is no way that Pharaoh can be beat. Get up and go home and pretend as if nothing ever happened. But He doesn’t. He reminds Moses of some simple truths that we should all remember.
The first truth is that the same God that created Moses is also the same God that created Pharaoh. As such, God is in control. Sure Pharaoh was a powerful man—but God is even more powerful. Sometimes I think we forget about the God to whom we serve. We fail to recall that He is Sovereign over all things and that without His guidance, then yes, we will fall.
Furthermore, God reminds Moses’ that He has heard the cries of His people and has seen their affliction—He has sent Moses to rescue His people from Pharaoh’s rule. Notice that God sent Moses’ as a messenger to rescue. I wonder how many people today are in need of rescuing and we have not the foggiest idea that they are in bondage. Sure they may seem as if they have everything; everything but peace, joy, and contentment. They have bought into this belief that the more a person owns the happier he or she will be. Subsequently they become slaves to their own satisfaction.
Remember, the captivity of God’s children started when they became complacent with their surroundings. Just as God sent Moses to rescue them from slavery, so too has He sent His Son to rescue us.
Not only did God send Moses to rescue the children of Israel, if you would read the passages, you would be quick to find that He came to redeem them as well. That is, He sent Moses to restore Israel’s relationship with God and God’s reputation with the world to see. God permitted Pharaoh to throw the first punch, and what a punch he threw. Was it a knock out punch? Absolutely not! It was painful, sure, but it was not, by any stretch of the imagination, permanent. Now it is God’s time to show Pharaoh what He’s made of. Remember, it is God’s reputation that has come into question. Pharaoh just threw the yo mamma card out, now it God’s turn to defend His integrity.