Sunday, October 07, 2007

Moses Had Identity Issues

Through my adoption research, one topic that comes up repeatedly is identity. Adoptees (people who have been adopted) struggle for a large part of their lives with knowing who they are. Many adoptees seek out their birth parents at some point to find out what characteristics they got from their birth parents. Some need to find their birthparents to learn about the medical history of those in their bloodline. This is one reason families have turned to open adoption (more on that in a future post).

I have been reading through Exodus in my morning quiet time, and this week it hit me, even Moses had identity issues. Moses is the first known adoptee in the Bible. The people of Israel were slaves in Egypt when Pharaoh demanded that all male babies be put to death as a way of controlling the Israelite population. In order to save her son, Moses’ birth mom put him in a basket and watched her baby float away down the Nile. She sent his older sister to watch after him and see what came of him.

Pharaoh’s daughter who was bathing in the Nile found the baby. Eventually she adopted him as her son. But, after he grew up and saw the oppression of his birth family, Israel, he took pity on them to the point of killing an Egyptian to avenge them. When Pharaoh learned of the murder he sought to kill Moses, so Moses ran from Egypt.

Moses settled in a foreign land and married a girl who was neither Israelite nor Egyptian. He stayed there until God came to him in the burning bush and told him to return to Egypt to free the children of Israel. Moses’ reaction to God’s calling was, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11) Never mind that he is the grandson of Pharaoh born of an Israelite. But what struck me even more was Moses’ question to God in Exodus 6:12 & 30. “How then shall Pharaoh listen to me, for I am of uncircumcised lips?” Moses was insecure about his identity even after God had proven His power through him.

Moses showed signs of having identity issues in many ways: by not knowing which nation of people he should be loyal to, by leaving Egypt (where both his birth and adoptive families were) and marrying a foreigner, by expressing his concern that no one would listen to him because he didn’t belong to either nation of people. But, the beauty in the story is the redemption of Moses.

God chose to use Moses to bring affliction on the nation of Egypt to redeem his people, Israel. (Exodus 7:1) Did God need Moses to do that? No. He had already proven that in Genesis 12:10-20 when He brought affliction and plagues on Egypt (without the use of a man) after an earlier Pharaoh took Sarai as a wife. But, in his mercy and grace, He redeemed Moses and set him above both the Egyptians and the children of Israel. And, his redemption did not end with the Exodus from Egypt. Later, God allowed his commandments to come to His chosen people through Moses. God fully redeemed Moses and made him a respected and revered leader of his people, Israel.

Moses is a biblical example of God’s grace and mercy on adoptees who struggle through identity issues. God’s redemption is greater than we could hope or imagine.

No comments: