@robertkwendt || lead pastor
I can't remember what caused it. In fact, I don't even remember when it began. However, I know that from the time I was a little boy, I'd always run from my consequences. I remember being small (not sure of the exact age) and running from the impending punishment that my parents were giving me—literally. I ran and hid behind the garbage cans on the side of the house one day. I ran and hid behind the big pine trees in the back another. I ran 5 houses down and hid behind the bushes on a day I was feeling really bold.
When we're faced with the realities of our own mistakes and the consequences assoiciated with them, we can react in different ways. Often, we run away and hide.
Moses, one of the most prominent people in the Bible, did just that when he had to face the consequences of his actions. Here are some things we can learn from Moses' journey as they apply to our lives today.
1. no one is too great for consequences.
From the time Moses was born, he was shown favor. When other Israelite babies were being killed, he was rescued. He was raised in Pharaoh's house, yet nursed by his own mother. He was even given the best of the best when it came to development and education. Acts 7:20-22 says, "At this time, Moses was born; and he was beautiful in God's sight. He was brought up for three months in his father's house; and when he was exposed, Pharaoh's daughter adopted him and brought him up as her own son. Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was mighty in his words and deeds."
While he had everything available to him through his Egyptian upbringing, Moses had a deep heart and conviction for the Israelites. After all, he was one of them, even if they didn't know it.
One day, Moses was faced with a situation. He saw an Egyptian oppressing one of the Israelites—he reacted. Thinking no one was around to see, he struck down the Egyptian and killed him (see Acts 7:23-24).
In that moment, Moses became a murderer. The man who had been shown favor just killed a man. He didn't seem to think there would be any consequence at first. After all, maybe the Israelite people would finally see that he was for them and wanted to rescue them.
As life often seems to go, when left to our own ways, things don't go as planned. Acts 7:26-29 says,
"And on the following day, [Moses] appeared to them as they were quarreling and tried to reconcile them, saying, ‘Men, you are brothers. Why do you wrong each other?’ But the man who was wronging his neighbor thrust him aside, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge over us? Do you want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’ At this retort, Moses fled and became an exile in the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons."
In the book of Exodus, we see that Pharoah sought to kill Moses, so he fled (see Exodus 2:11-15). He had to face some consequences for his actions. He went from a man of favor to a shepherd in the desert near Midian.
2. actions have consequences.
Despite Moses' status, he had to face the consequences of his actions. The Israelites didn't trust him. The leader of the Egyptians wanted to kill him. So he ran. He ran straight into the desert.
It's one thing to be in the desert for a short period of time, but Moses was out there shepherding sheep for 40 years! Along the journey, God blessed him with a wife and kids, but he still hadn't been able to go back to his people. How could he ever step foot in Egypt again? How could he ever help free the Israelite people that he so desperately wanted to see come out of captivity? How could God use him, a murderer?
The thing about God is that He uses people in their weaknesses. It was in his status and ability that Moses thought he could free the Israelite people on his own. It was in his meekness and humility that God gave him strength and ability to free them through His spiritual power.
3. god uses our consequences to prepare us for future endeavors.
The consequence of killing the Egyptian led Moses to Midian. It was while shepherding sheep in the desert by Mount Sinai that God spoke to him through a burning bush (see Exodus 3:1-21).
In the desert, Moses learned how to lead sheep. He grasped how to help them navigate the tough terrain. He experienced what it would take to journey for 40 years in the wilderness. He was able to reflect and prepare for how he would handling the complaining, nagging, and challenges along the way. He would discover how to seek after God, hear His voice, and then act on what God was calling him to do.
The 40 years in Midian prepared Moses. The key was for him to not wallow in his consequence, but to embrace its reality and grow through it.
4. don't let your consequences go to waste.
Consequences give us the ability to learn. When we do the hard task of reflecting on what got us to a certain point, then we are truly able to humble ourselves before God. When Moses acted out of his own ability and strength, he was despised. The very people he was trying to save even rejected him.
However, when he determined to return to Egypt submitted to God's plan, he would experience great success. Moses would go on to lead the people of Israel out of slavery in Egypt. God worked through him to split the Red Sea. God even gave him the Ten Commandments that we talk about, live by, and place on buildings to this day.
We're all going to face consequences in life. Some will be rather big—Moses had 40 years in Midian. Some may be smaller—like a timeout for a kid. However, no matter the breadth of the consequence, God desires to use it to teach you something. He wants you to fall humbled at His feet. He wants you to listen for His voice. He wants to use you to do some incredible things!