Moses is arguably one of the greatest heroes of faith in the Bible. Yes, he had his moments of doubt and his share of mistakes, but he was one of the strongest leaders Israel ever had. We know all about the plagues and crossing the Red Sea, but there is a part of the story we usually gloss over. We need to re-visit it with our children, as it contains an extremely important lesson.
Take a look at Acts 7:22-32. Stephen is giving a speech before his martyrdom. I have always found it interesting that Stephen chose to mention how well educated Moses was and then remind the people how Moses had spent forty years in the desert as a shepherd before leading the people out of Egypt.
Someone pointed out yesterday in our adult Bible class, that God was using all of these things to prepare Moses for what He needed him to do. Since the rest of the Israelites had been slaves, Moses may have been the only one after they left Egypt who had been well educated in medicine, science, history, military strategy and a host of other subjects. The forty years he spent shepherding was in the same area where he would later lead the Israelites for forty more years. As a shepherd, he would have become very familiar with the land – especially the location of water and grass for animals, weather patterns and other things which could help the Israelites on their journey.
Was God still involved on a day to day basis helping the Israelites? Absolutely! Did God perform miracles to help them along the way. Definitely! God also gave Moses many years of preparation (and a wise father-in-law) to equip him to be the wise, godly leader the Israelites would need to leave Egypt and prepare to enter the Promised Land.
I believe God often prepares us the same way. There have been many times in my life when I wondered why I was having to go through a particular experience or learn something out of my norm. Sometimes, years later, I would find I had a need for that specific skill set in something I was doing in service to God. Our daughter is finding the same pattern in her life, even as a teen.
Teach your children that every experience, every bit of knowledge God puts in their path, may be God’s way of preparing them for the plans He has for their future. Do they still have the free choice to reject God’s Plans? Yes. Can God accomplish His Plans without them? Absolutely. Teach them though, to understand how much richer and fuller their lives will be if they choose to follow God. Train them to thank God for the time He spends preparing them to be equipped to follow His Plans.
Read the story of Moses again with your children. Then flip to the passage in Acts and discuss the idea of God preparing us for His Plans. Then ask your children, “What if Moses had not used God’s preparation and/or followed God’s Plans? How would his life have been different?” We will never know for sure, but I imagine if Moses had refused, God would have used someone else to lead the Israelites out of Egypt.
I do believe though that had Moses not allowed God to prepare him or had refused God’s calling, his life would not have been nearly as rich, full or adventurous as it was (and quite possibly not as long!). Moses would have totally missed out on the close relationship he got to have with God on Mt. Sinai and throughout the journey. He would have probably missed seeing all the wondrous ways God worked during those years.
How do you think the lives of your children will be different if they accept God’s preparation and “mission” for their lives? How have you seen God prepare you and others for His tasks? I would love for you to share your story with others in a comment below. Then enjoy, watching as God prepares you and your children to serve Him. It’s an adventure like no other!