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Shemot/Exodus 2:11 And it was, in those days, that Moshe grew up
Rashi asks, "Has the Torah not already written 'The boy grew up'?" Indeed, at the start of the previous verse it says , "and the boy grew up". Rashi answers his own question by quoting Rabbi Yehuda the son of Rabbi Ila'i who said that, "the first is in terms of stature and the second is in terms of attainment of rank". In other words, there is growing up and then there is growing up - physical growth in size, stature and strength; and growing into maturity if wisdom, judgement, authority and personality. Jewish tradition has it that Pharaoh appointed Moshe to significant authority and position over his household (Tanchuma Yashan, Va'eira 17) and this idea is significant because it fits the pattern that we often see repeated in the Scriptures that G-d calls people out of something that they are already doing in order to serve Him.
For example, we read, "The words of Amos, a sheep-breeder from Tekoa, who prophesied concerning Israel ... I am not a prophet, and I am not a prophet's disciple. I am a cattle breeder and a tender of sycamore figs, but the L-rd took me away from following the flock, and the L-rd said to me, 'Go, prophesy to Israel'" (Amos 1:1, 7:14-15, JPS). When challenged by the religious authorities in Israel, Amos freely confessed that he had been doing something else, he was something else untilHaShem told him to be a prophet to the house of Israel; he already had an established trade, position, livelihood, from which the L-rd called him and sent him to be a prophet.
Rav Sha'ul was a tent-maker by profession (Acts 18:3) and a zealous Pharisee with years of rabbinic training (Acts 22:3, Galatians 1:14) actually engaged in persecuting the followers of Yeshua when the L-rd met with him on the road to Damascus. Yeshua Himself earned a living and supported his family for possibly 10-15 years as a builder/carpenter in the Nazeret area of the Galil before He started His years of ministry at around the age of 30. Elisha was ploughing when Elijah threw his cloak over him and called him to be his disciple and successor (1 Kings 19:19). All very ordinary, routine ways of growing up, learning to make a living, being under authority, taking on responsibility and being faithful; yet G-d wants more for us and from us and He calls us on into more of His service when He knows that we are ready and have served our first apprenticeship.
The man who had been blind from birth but was given his sight by Yeshua could only say: "Once I was blind, but now I see" (John 9:25). He did not know how the change had come about, but he was certain that it had and described the contrast of before and after. Writing to the believers in the Diaspora, Kefa said that we were called "in order for you to declare the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light" (1 Peter 2:9, CJB). Little wonder, then, that "in those days Moshe grew up" as he realised who he was, which people he belonged to and felt G-d's call on his life.
Further Study: Philippians 3:4-9; Jeremiah 1:4-10
Application: Have we grown up to hear and feel the call of G-d on our lives? Not always dramatic, not always a complete change, but often change within the same framework; G-d calls each and every one of us to grow up, know who we are and whom we are to serve.
© Jonathan Allen, 2006
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