Failures and Successes

Scripture Reading — Exodus 2:16-22

They answered, “An Egyptian rescued us from the shepherds. He even drew water for us and watered the flock." — Exodus 2:19

Moses’ attempt to rescue a fellow Hebrew in Egypt had resulted in disaster for him. But his attempt to rescue the daughters of Reuel in the far-off land of Midian had a different outcome. What was the difference?

Let’s think about what God might have been teaching in each case. God had long been educating Moses for his upcoming role as Israel’s leader, and that process was ongoing.

When Moses’ attempt to rescue someone in Egypt backfired, he had to learn that any rescue of God’s covenant people, the Hebrews, was going to come in God’s perfect time rather than Moses’ time, and in God’s strength rather than Moses’ strength. And when Moses’ rescue of the daughters of Reuel in Midian succeeded, God was confirming for Moses that rescuing people was not a bad thing in itself. It simply needed to be done in line with God’s plan and in God’s strength. 

Failures are wasted if we do not learn from them. So are successes. We are called to be alert to whatever God might be saying in any case. We have much to learn from our loving, powerful, creative, wise, compassionate, and holy God.

What has God taught you lately? How are you going to use his wisdom today?

Prayer

God of wisdom, guide us to learn from failure rather than merely to resent it. Guide us to learn from success rather than merely to celebrate it. Open our eyes to the truth about ourselves, our world, and you, Lord. Amen.