And when he went out the second day, behold, two Hebrew men were fighting, and he said to the one who did the wrong, “Why are you striking your companion?” Then he said, “Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you intend to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” (Exodus 2:13-14)
Previously, Moses had sought to intercede for someone who was being wronged and matters got out of hand. Intervening when someone is being wronged was something Moses did on more than one occasion. Later he interceded on behalf of Jethro’s daughters at the well (Exodus 2:17). To be willing to stand up for those who are weak is an important quality for Israel’s shepherd; later he had to intercede on behalf of the entire nation.
In this case, was simply trying to break up a quarrel between two brethren only to have the wrongdoer turn on him. “Who made you ruler and judge?” He asked. The answer is, “God did” although it was not obvious at this point. Nevertheless, note the attitude of this Hebrew; he quarrels with his brother and speaks contemptuously to someone who was concerned for Israel. In rabbinical commentary, this attitude is likened to the Reubenites, Dathan and Abiram, who joined with Korah in the revolt against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness (Numbers 16:1). The point of the connection is to argue that, at this point, Israel was not ready to be redeemed; they were too busy warring with each other. Where division, strife and envy among brethren is concerned, Paul said:
“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, as unto babes in Messiah. I fed you with milk, not with meat; for you were not yet able to bear it: no, not even now are you able; for you are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you jealousy and strife, are you not carnal, and do you not walk after the manner of men?” (1 Corinthians 3:1-3)
Put simply, where there is strive, division and jealousy, there is carnality. Where there is carnality, there is enmity against God’s law and purpose (Romans 8:7). When there is carnality among brethren, the meat is withheld because the people are not ready for what is next. The carnality Moses witnessed demonstrated that Israel wasn’t ready for what God was about to do. They had to endure many more years of bondage to prompt them to cry out to God.
It is very important that we learn to recognize and heed the Shepherd’s voice. Furthermore, we must recognize those He places in authority to lead as well as acknowledging the need to treat His other sheep with kindness and consideration. As He builds His house in this earth, it should not be the sound of strife and war that He hears, but the praises of His people as they come together in solidarity to worship Him. Let’s make sure to do our part and stamp out any strife that might try to rear its ugly head.
Blessings and Shalom,