Moses was the son of Amram, the grandson of Kohath, the great grandson of Levi, and the great, great grandson of Jacob/Israel (Exodus 6:16-20). Moses, with the heritage of a Levitical Priest, was born a slave in Egypt.
The first chapters in Exodus tell the familiar story. “Joseph (the Prime Minister who saved Egypt during the seven-year famine) and all his brothers and all that generation eventually died. But the Israelites were fruitful, increased rapidly, multiplied, and became extremely numerous so that the land was filled with them.” As “they multiplied and spread ... the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites ... They worked the Israelites ruthlessly and made their lives bitter with difficult labor in brick and mortar and in all kinds of fieldwork”(Exodus 1:6-14, CSB).
To reduce the likelihood of a revolt, “Pharaoh then commanded ... ‘You must throw every son born to the Hebrews into the Nile’ ” (Exodus 1:22, CSB). During this season of state-sponsored infanticide, Moses was born. Miraculously, he was saved from certain death when Jochebed set him afloat on the Nile River, where Pharoah’s daughter found him and claimed him for her own. Before going to live in the palace, Moses went home with his momma until he was weaned.
Thus, Moses became kin to the king. As a future Pharaoh, Moses was educated in the most prestigious schools and mentored to become a military and national leader. He ate the best foods and grew strong and capable.
When Moses was about forty years old, “he went out to his own people and observed their forced labor. He saw an Egyptian striking a Hebrew, one of his people. Looking all around and seeing no one, he struck the Egyptian dead and hid him in the sand ... When Pharaoh heard about this, he tried to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in the land of Midian” (Exodus 2:11-15, CSB).
Moses was feared by his own people... they feared all the ruling Egyptians. And Moses was wanted for murder by his adoptive people. Moses was a man without a family, a man without a home, a man without a nation. Moses was alone in the Midianite Wilderness.
“After a long time, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned because of their difficult labor, and they cried out, and their cry for help because of the difficult labor ascended to God. God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob; and God saw the Israelites, and God knew” (Exodus 2:23–25, CSB).
He was born to be a Priest, trained to be a king, but lived in the wilderness as a poor shepherd.
Like his family in Egypt, Moses must have been crying out to God. He lived in the wilderness for forty years... forty long years. He must have wondered how and why his life and taken such a drastic turn. Year after year, he must have dreamed about what might have been. Then, God showed up with the most unique demonstration of mercy and grace. After forty years of silent wilderness wanderings, from the Burning Bush, God revealed His plan and purpose: “I am sending you to Pharaoh so that you may lead my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt” (Exodus 3:10, CSB).
Sometimes the wilderness wandering lasts longer than we think it should. Hold on. Be patient. God hasn’t forgotten. God hears our groanings too.