The Pain of the Past

Scripture: Exodus 2:11–15, especially verse 15: Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh and dwelt in the land of Midian; and he sat down by a well.

Have you written your New Year’s Resolutions yet—those annual decisions to slim down, shape up, sort through, and generally get our lives back in order? There’s something about starting a new year that drives us to make resolutions. We like the idea of leaving behind an old year, with its mistakes and frustrations, and beginning afresh.

Background: In today’s passage, Moses needed a fresh start as he sat by that well in Midian. He’d been miraculously adopted into the family of Pharaoh, with access to the best schools in antiquity. He was prince of Egypt. Now at midlife, he found himself alienated by a well in Midian. Ever been by a well, wondering what went wrong?

  1. His Exile Was Caused by His Own Impetuous and Violent Reactions. Sometimes we find ourselves by those wells because of things we’ve done. Maybe we intended the best, but a combination of our actions and other circumstances caused a disastrous outcome.
  2. His Exile Was Also Caused by Others. Moses looked around to see that no one was watching before he killed the Egyptian, but the story got out. Who could have blabbed? The Hebrew worker he’d saved! The very person Moses risked himself to save had disclosed the incident. Sometimes those we’re trying to help are too busy saving their own skin to worry about ours.

Moses took up residence in the desert, married, and become a shepherd. Forty years passed, and the story resumed to reveal some vital truths that can help us as we seek to begin again.
Scripture: Exodus 3:1–4, 10

  1. Moses’ New Beginning Was Initiated by God’s Call. After four decades in the desert, Moses didn’t go looking for God; God sought out Moses. The Lord isn’t interested in our sitting by wells the rest of our life. Has tragedy disrupted your life? It’s often after those events that God uses us most.
  2. Moses’ New Beginning Was Made Possible Through His Own Response. Everything that was about to happen was dependent on Moses’ willingness to act on God’s call. At first, he resisted. Notice his excuses:
    A. I’m nobody (3:11). Have you ever felt like saying, “I won’t amount to anything”? The Lord replies: “It doesn’t matter who you are; all that matters is who I am, and I’ll be with you” (3:12).
    B. I don’t know enough (3:13). “I don’t even know Your name, God.” God’s response: “I’ll tell you what you need to know” (3:14–15). In following Christ, we don’t know everything that’s coming; faith moves on the information already given, and trusts Him to provide the knowledge we need as we need it.
    C. I’m not a good speaker (4:10). “I’m not ready for a new beginning, God; it might require something I’ve never done before.” God’s response: “I’ll help you speak, and I’ll also give you a helper to speak for you” (4:14–15). God will provide whatever we need to carry out His call.
  3. Moses’ New Beginning Faced Barriers. God gives us fresh starts. There are barriers to overcome, but they can be overcome with God’s help.
    A. Age can be overcome. Think you’re too old to change? Moses was 80 when he experienced the dream of beginning again.
    B. Uncertainty can be overcome. All his excuses reflected uncertainty about the future. In the face of uncertainty, God assures us He’ll not send us anywhere without going with us, nor call us to a challenge He doesn’t equip us to meet.
  4. Moses’ New Beginning Required Two Things. There are two requirements if we’re to truly begin again:
    A. Beginning again requires putting the past behind you. Things that bound you in the past must be released to move forward into God’s future. Have you experienced broken dreams, broken relationships, broken promises that left you by a well in Midian? Let go and move on.
    B. Beginning again requires beginning. After all is said and done, you have to act. You have to keep on swinging.

Conclusion: Only you and God know the pain of your past. But He does know, and He’ll help you to overcome any barrier that stands in the way of a new beginning. A new year is beginning, filled with amazing potential. Make it a new chapter in your life. Allow God to produce a new beginning through the power of His love and grace.

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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