Then the Lord told him, “I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt into their own fertile and spacious land. It is a land flowing with milk and honey… You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.” 11 But Moses protested to God, “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?” God answered, “I will be with you.”—Exodus 3:7-12, NLT
Not all immigrants are refugees from the kind of oppression, anguish, and suffering the Hebrews experienced in Egypt. Many motivations for migration drive people, some moving for conquest, diplomacy, commerce or employment, pilgrimage, religious calling, crime, romantic love, family reunification, and even curiosity. But those who have suffered oppression throughout history have often identified with the Israelite slaves of Egypt.
One of the things that keeps a place for immigrants in God’s heart is God’s compassion for those who suffer mistreatment. This passage summarizes that compassion in the verbs: have seen, have heard, am aware, and have come down to lead out. Just as the Lord saw and heard the anguished cries of the Hebrew people in Egypt, God perceives your situation and, in God’s own time, will come down to help you and pull you out. When God went down to help the Israelites, God sent Moses. God always uses people to accomplish divine rescue.
As God announced to Moses (the one “drawn out” of the Nile River) that he would lead the people out of the slough of their despair, Moses asked the same question twice: “Who am I?” Moses did not see himself as the ideal person to rescue his people. His first attempts to do so had ended in disaster. Apparently, Moses had abandoned his illusions of rescuing his people and understood neither his own destiny nor the Lord’s nature.
The Lord’s answer put everything in perspective: “I am!” Moses had not understood that our success in fulfilling the role God has for us does not depend on our identity and power, but rather, on God’s.
You may be the person God will use to rescue your family and others from oppression and lead them out. It doesn’t matter if you do not see yourself as the ideal person for such heroism, because your success does not depend on who you are. It depends on who God is. God has all the power, all the influence, everything you can possibly need. God is—and God will be with you.
Dr. Joseph Castleberry is President of Northwest University in Kirkland Washington. He is the author of Your Deepest Dream: Discovering God’s Vision for Your Life and The Kingdom Net: Learning to Network Like Jesus. Follow him on Twitter at @DrCastleberry and at http://www.facebook.com/Joseph.Castleberry.