Monday, May 22, 2017

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When God uses the Lowly for Mighty Acts

Over the course of Biblical history, the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob has used a rather strange cast of characters to accomplish His plan to redeem and renew His creation. A brief sample of people G-d has used tells you Go-d hasn’t consulted with “self help” books about leadership when He made His choices: an unschooled fishermen, a reviled tax collector, a long-haired muscle man, illegal immigrants, and to top it all off, a donkey. Not exactly the governing board of Microsoft.

But one of my favorite examples of how G-d uses anyone He chooses –often the lowly in our eyes - is the time God used a foster kid. Foster kids often face unique challenges that other children do not. Foster children struggle with their identity and value – “why did my parents not want me,” and “what is wrong with me” are common questions. In today’s society, where kids and adults struggle with self-esteem and significance issues, the problems experienced by kids in foster care only make these issues tougher to overcome.

Perhaps this is why G-d chose a foster kid to facilitate one of the most important events in the history of the Jewish people?

Although I’m being somewhat achronistic, Moses was a foster kid for all intensive purposes. His genetic origin was Hebrew (i.e., Jewish) because he was born a son of Levi (Exodus 2:1). But his parents could not take care of him – not because of their own parental struggles and problems– but due to injustice and oppression forced upon them by Pharaoh (Exodus 1:15-16). Most children enter foster care in America due to parental neglect, but also due other abuses (e.g., physical, sexual). This was not the case for Moses’s parents. Rather, Moses’ parents acted in a way to best preserve the life of the family as well as their baby son – they gave him up as it were, for adoption.

Moses was nursed by his biological mother (a gift from the L-rd to her), and when Moses was weaned he went to be raised by Pharaoh (Exodus 2:8-10). We don’t know how old Moses was at the time, but he was likely a bit older than the age where today kids are weaned off their mother’s milk (N.B. The World Health Organization recommends 2 years of breastfeeding). How painful must it have been for Moses to be “given away” to another family, having nursed at the breast of his loving mother? Enough, I’m sure, to cause Moses a lot of pain. How hard was it for Jochebed, Moses’s mother (Exodus 6:20), to give him up?

As a foster parent, I cannot help but see how this pain may have helped guide Moses into the presence of God. Moses likely had some issues “fitting in” with the other Egyptians – kids can be quite cruel and may have made fun of his humble origins (i.e., being born a slave). But in G-d’s wisdom, this was all part of His plan to show Moses “a more excellent way” and drive him to the burning bush and into the arms of the Almighty (Exodus 3:4).

How wonderful do you think it must have been for Moses to know his humble origin, yet be chosen by G-d? What comfort Moses must have had to know that his significance and value was rooted in the fact he was a blessed and good creation of the Almighty (Genesis 1:27). I find it rather interesting that of all the people G-d had write down this truth in Scripture – it was a foster kid who penned it. Even though Moses was “robbed” of his family, he was not robbed of his significance in the eyes of G-d. And despite the pain Moses undoubtedly experienced, Moses in the hands of a mighty and loving G-d was able to facilitate redemption for Israel.

Not bad for a foster kid. Not bad at all.

Blessed and good creations of G-d, keep these thoughts in mind when you struggle. I see many brothers and sisters in Messiah Yeshua suffer because they feel inferior or they are upset they are not “mighty preachers” or they question why they were born Jewish or … fill in the blank. Your significance and identity rests in the L-rd.

Paul, thousands of years after Moses, put it this way:

Brothers, consider your calling: not many are wise from a human perspective, not many powerful, not many of noble birth. Instead, G-d has chosen the world’s foolish things to shame the wise, and G-d has chosen the world’s weak things to shame the strong. G-d has chosen the world’s insignificant and despised things—the things viewed as nothing—so He might bring to nothing the things that are viewed as something, so that no one can boast in His presence. 1 Corinthians 1:26–29 (HCSB)

You don’t have to do “great things for G-d” to be important. You don’t have to be of noble birth, great wealth, or superior intellect to be significant in the eyes of G-d. You don’t have to be Jewish (or try to make yourself Jewish) to be significant either. You don’t even have to be a physicist to be significant – hard to imagine. I know.

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