Moses was an amazing guy. Okay, that‘s an understatement. Moses was somebody.
Moses was born into slavery, but at a few months old saved by a princess and raised in Egyptian royalty. However, Moses was forced to run from his adopted family after murdering an Egyptian, but forty years later, through a burning bush, God called Moses back to Egypt. God sent Moses back to free His people – the Israelites. Through the miraculous Hand of God, Moses led Israel out of Egypt, across the Red Sea on dry land, and into safety from the Egyptian Pharaoh. Then, for the final 40 years of his life, Moses led the nation of Israel as they wandered the wilderness because of their sin.
Moses was taken from a nothing slave boy to the leader of a nation of over a million people. Moses was a nobody who God made into somebody.
During that last 40 years, it’s believed Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible (known as the Pentateuch). Moses wrote Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy. It charted the beginning of history to the call of Abraham to the salvation of Abraham’s grandson Jacob and family (through Joseph). Moses wrote about the slavery of the Israelites, and finally their freedom and the story of God leading them through the wilderness.
Moses, a former slave, wrote a significant portion of the most read book in the history of the world.
A Wandering Aramean
Deuteronomy, the final portion of what Moses wrote, is a series of sermons to Israel as it sat on the edge of the Promised Land. It was land promised to their forefathers – Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, generations before. Moses reminds, warns and encourages the people of all God has done and asked of them. He closes out these sermons with a call to give to God the very first of the harvests they will reap in the coming years.
As a part of this offering, Moses gives the people a sample speech/prayer to make as they give. It was a look back to all God had done and brought Israel from. It started with their ancestor Jacob, and worked it’s way into the Promised Land they were about to enter. Moses began the prayer with an interesting phrase:
“My father was a wandering Aramean…”-Deuteronomy 26:5a (NIV)
Moses is referring back to Jacob, one of the most revered figures in Jewish history. Jacob was one of three forefathers all Israelites pointed to – Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In fact, God renamed Jacob, Israel, who the nation was named after. The people of Israel linked their faith to Jacob’s faith. If you are a follower of Jesus, it is because Jacob put his trust in God thousands of yeas ago.
Jacob was a massively important person to the Jewish people then. And Jacob is a massively important person to both Jews and Christians today.
Yet, Moses seems to disparage Jacob through the description, “a wandering Aramean.” By describing him as wandering, Moses says Jacob had no roots, no home, no history. By calling Jacob an Aramean, he makes Jacob out to be an outsider.
Moses is calling Jacob a nobody…who God made into somebody.
During the lockdown in the Spring of 2020, I did a lot of walking. Everyone did a lot of walking. What else was there to do? We made Zoom calls and walked our dogs. As you probably know, when you walk everyday from the same location, to stave off boredom you find multiple routes to walk.
Less than a mile from my house, as the crow flies, is a trailer park. To walk to that trailer court, on the road, is about 2 miles. Having nothing to do but walk, one day I made my way to that trailer court via the long route. It was a gloomy, spring day just a little drizzly. It’s not an easy walk to that trailer court – up a long, winding hill, so once I was inside, I slowed down to take my time.
The court is a big loop, and I walked the entire thing. It was quiet until I reached the far end of the loop. At that end, I encountered a group of young kids playing in the road. They were running, riding big wheels and bikes. Everything was hand-me-down – clothes, shoes, bikes, big wheels.
In that moment, I had a flashback — transported back to my childhood. I grew up in government housing – a neighborhood that felt so much like this trailer court. It was hand-me-down clothes back – just like the backs of those kids. I was excited to get a new pair of off brand, non-hand-me-down shoes. I did have a new bike…which I rode from 2nd grade until I stopped riding a bike.
Nobody to somebody
As I walked through and out of that trailer park, I was full of both goosebumps and tears. That was me. I had been one of those kids, and now I was walking back toward my home where my own four children each have their own bedroom, new clothes, brand name shoes, new bikes, computers and phones.
I too was a nobody.
God has made me into somebody.
God has taken me from nothing to something.
While this is related to my financial situation, it is so much bigger than finances. My finances are a picture of my spiritual self. God has taken me from rags to riches spiritually. I was a lost teenager, who found Jesus, and I’ve learned to walk with him over the last 30 years. In fact, I’m much richer spiritually than I will ever be financially (unless Jeff Bezos is the lost uncle I never known).
I was no one, who is now known by the Creator of the universe.
I was poor in spirit, but I am now rich in God’s mercy.
I was the tail, but I am now the head.
I was hopeless, but I’m now hopeful.
I was lost, but I’m now found.
I was broken, but I’m now whole.
I was a wandering Aramean who is now grafted into a great and powerful kingdom.
I was an orphan who is now adopted by the King of kings.
I am a child of God.
I am a somebody.
You too can be a somebody
Jacob was a nothing nomad made into the nation of Israel. Moses was a nothing slave made into the leader of millions. I was a nothing kid who now is the adopted son of God. That is my story, and it can be your story too.
You are either a somebody sought by God, or you are a somebody found by God.
It doesn’t matter your background. Jacob was always rich in things but at the same time poor in spirit. His family life was a mess. Yet God took that screwed up nobody and made him into somebody.
It begins with a step. You simply must take a step toward God. Share with him your failures and ask for His help. God always responds to a humble heart. Are you ready? Take that step toward being the somebody God sees in you.