De-Termination!

KEY SCRIPTURE

Exo. 2:15 Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian: and he sat down by a well. 16 Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters: and they came and drew water, and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. 17 And the shepherds came and drove them away: but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock.

Are you a fan of those old karate films from back in the day? Remember how their lips would move BEFORE you would hear the sound of their voice? And what about those plots? The hero had to: 

(1) avenge his teacher,

(2) gather his fellow countrymen to face invaders, or

(3) recover stolen treasure to list a few examples.

Usually the good guy would accomplish his mission with relative ease, exuding a high level of confidence. However, there were occasions where the bad guys would be so formidable that the protagonist would have to retreat. It was strange watching the hero getting “whupped”, running from an adversary who would laugh hysterically. We got this ominous feeling as it appeared that it would be impossible for the good guy to win. How would he be able to “save the day” if all he could do was put his tail between his legs and run away?

Everyone loves a winner, especially if we can identify with their particular weaknesses, or have had to endure their particular struggle. In the movie Terminator 2: Judgment Day, our favorite Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger, is programmed to be as implacable (unyielding) defending Sarah Connor’s son, John Connor (man’s last hope for survival), as this new, more deadly Terminator (Robert Patrick). However, this second Terminator is more pitiless, merciless, relentless, ruthless, cruel, hardhearted, callous, rigid, unbending, obdurate, cold-hearted in its search for John. Arnold does his very best to try to help Sarah (Linda Hamilton) and her son (Edward Furlong) escape from Robert. Eventually the two Terminators engage in battle, and it looks like Terminator 1 just might prevail. However, Robert is actually able to “kill” Arnold, which undoubtedly shocked many in the audience.

Hatefulness triumphing in any way, form, or fashion somehow disquiets us, maybe because we know that if “love don’t love nobody” (as the song says) hatred CERTAINLY doesn’t! One of the root causes of hatred stems from jealousy which is “as cruel as the grave (Sg of Sol. 8:6), keeping you out of the Kingdom.” In other words, hatred is like pulling the trigger of a loaded gun pointed at your head, while hoping that your enemy dies! It’s uncanny that some people think abusiveness, arrogance, and annoyance are a sign of confidence. They prefer this sordid, repugnant path as opposed to developing true confidence, which requires overcoming trials. So, to look good they tear everyone and everything down – even the venerable standards of excellence! They can’t envision themselves making an effort to improve, so they keep seeking loopholes! Often evil seems to “win”, “but those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength (Isa. 40:31).”

As mentioned, sometimes even heroes have to retreat in the face of adversity in order to regroup. We see in the KEY SCRIPTURE that Moses had to flee from Pharaoh because earlier he had killed an Egyptian. Though Moses was raised by Pharaoh’s daughter, this act would be perceived as treason since this Egyptian was an operative of Pharaoh. Moses certainly realizes that Pharaoh would hear about this act, quite possibly from the slaves he was trying to defend! Jealousy, spitefulness, or the hope for an extra crumb will reduce some to a crab-in-the-barrel mentality. Ironically, despite his humility, compassion, and his anointing, Moses had to endure this mentality throughout his life.

Leaders often find themselves in conflict with their own affiliates, however that can not be an impediment to their mission. To this end, leaders must not only have faith, but the Bible says to:

(1)5 add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control

perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness

love (II Pet. 1:5-7)”; also

(2)And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily (cheerfully), as to the Lord and not to men…(Col. 3:23).”

Now, Moses escaping to Midian symbolically represents a spiritually immature person who is starting to turn from his evil ways (spiritless task-orientation), aided by a fresh anointing (“he sat down by a well”). The worship of YHWH may have begun by the Midianites, some scholars speculate, although Josephus, in “Antiquities Of The Jews,” BK IV, Chapter VI, contradicts this claim. He talks about the seduction of young Israelite soldiers during the time of Moses by Midianite women, who lured them to idolatry. An Egyptian inscription refers to “Yhw in the land of the Shasu” as a tribe or people dwelling in what would later become Midianite territory (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midian).

Moses had to be prepared for his next confrontation with the ideology of task-orientation. Just like in the movies, sometimes the protagonist would have to hightail it back to his “comfort zone” to either regroup, or get additional training. By virtue of his two moms, Moses was exposed to an incredible amount of wisdom – worldly (Pharaoh’s daughter) and spiritual (birth mother). At this point he represents the spirituality of those who have yet to learn to “enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat (Mat. 7:13).”

The seven daughters symbolizes self-preservation; self-gratification; self-definition; self-acceptance; self-expression; self-reflection; and self-knowledge, and represents the fullness of God. Moses taught (watered) the hampered flock (students or teachings). Impressed, the priest took Moses as a student. This, of course, is an allegorized view of the KEY SCRIPTURE.

Many of us still spiritually play the hokey-pokey with one foot in the Word, and one in the world. Some of us truly desire to mature spiritually by overcoming (1) anger, (2) lust, (3) greed, (4) attachments, (5) ego, (6) laziness, and (7) envy. Others, however, will simply give up trying to mature, which creates a situation reminiscent of the story of The Two Mice. Trapped in a cup of milk, one mouse urged the other one to keep trying to escape. The other one asks, “what’s the use when it’s too slippery? I’m getting tired of paddling!” The first one continues his exhortation (urging) to which the second one says, “forget it man, why are you trying? Just let me die!” So he stops paddling and starts to drown, prompting the first mouse to yell his name “Jerry!” The surviving mouse mourns for a minute – then he stepped on Jerry’s head and got out of the cup!

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