For the week of January 1, 2005 / 20 Tevet 5765
Torah: Shemot / Exodus 1:1 - 6:1
Haftarah: Isaiah 27:6 - 28:13; 29:22-23
Now a man of the house of Levi married a Levite woman, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. (Shemot / Exodus 2:1,2)
Everybody has a secret identity. No one enters life knowing who they are. Some of us go through our entire lives never discovering our true identities.
As we grow up it is often others who recognize our true identities before we ever do. Some people make finding their identity the whole focus of their lives. Those who do find it then discover that this is just the beginning. It can take a whole lifetime, if ever, to come to a full realization of who we really are.
According to the Book of Hebrews in the New Covenant Scriptures, Moses' parents knew that he was special:
Exactly what they knew, we don't know, but they somehow perceived he was no ordinary baby, and they did everything they could to preserve him in the midst of Pharaoh's edict to destroy the male babies.
It is interesting how it was God's special call on Moses that led to his being preserved and the unusual circumstances of being brought up in Pharaoh's household. How easy it would have been to live the rest of his life that way, enjoying the place and privilege he had, especially since it seemed to be the leading of God that brought him to that place. Even once he recognized he had a role to play with regard to his own people, some may have thought it would have been best to try to ease their oppression from his place of privilege. But that was not to be.
As Moses began to explore his God-given role among his people, the resulting circumstances were such that he was catapulted far from both them and his Egyptian environment. His mishandling of a conflict between an Egyptian and a fellow Hebrew, resulted in his being rejected by both peoples.
We don't know what he thought about himself during the next forty years as he lived in the land of Midian as a shepherd. We don't know if he had any understanding of his true identity. We do know that when the time came for him to take his place after so long, he wasn't quick to accept the call. In fact he did everything he could to avoid it. Yet God persisted. The time had come for his secret identity to be revealed. Moses was placed on this earth for a purpose, and it was necessary for him to fulfill that purpose.
I don't know if God persists this way in every case. But what I am sure of is that the lives that many of us are living are no indication of the lives we are meant to live.
For some there is a timing issue. Being sufficiently prepared before stepping into our true calling is essential. Like Moses, we may not see the connection between the preparation for the calling and its fulfillment, nor do we necessarily need to.
But for others, our not coming to grips with our secret identity could be for other reasons. Perhaps the most common reason is not accepting that we might really have one. We may think that being truly significant is something reserved only for a select few. Or we might be afraid that we might actually have a special purpose to fulfill. Many people prefer the comfort of thinking they are normal (whatever that is), to facing the challenge of being special. To accept our true identities almost always means conflict, pain, and rejection. Some of us would rather fit in, than suffer the consequences of being different.
Tragically, when we are not willing to accept our true identities, we reject ourselves, our calling and God. It is only when we come to accept who we really are, that we discover what it means to truly live.
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