Updated: Feb 18, 2019
Rejection hurts! We’ve all learned that the hard way. There is not a person alive who has not experienced some form of rejection and many times rejection leaves scars...big scars. One experience of rejection can change the course of a person’s life. Some have chosen to never pursue intimate relationships for fear of rejection. Many will never earn potential income because they fear rejection. Successful people learn to overcome rejection and grow stronger.
Now, I am certainly no singer. As a matter of fact, when singing next to my children in church, they often say to me, “Dad, lip synch, please.” When I was in the fourth grade my entire class was chosen to sing in our elementary school Christmas program. Everyone but me! Talk about rejection. Wow, that hurt, and I still remember the entire scene in my head today. It scarred me for life. I am the most insecure “singer” to this day.
How does rejection impact you? Does it cause you to just give up and quit? Harrison Ford, known for many great action movies, was told early in his career to give up acting. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, was rejected multiple times as he tried raise money to start his small internet company in 1990’s. Abraham Lincoln lost many elections before winning the presidency in 1860. Rejection is no stranger to anyone.
In Exodus chapter 2, Moses’ life is spared in a miraculous way. Pharaoh, in his fear of Israel’s growing population in Egypt, commanded the murder of all male Hebrew babies at birth. However, Moses’ mother hid her baby son. After she could no longer hide him, she placed him in a basket and floated him in the river. Baby Moses was discovered by Pharaoh’s daughter and she took Moses to raise as her own (and unknowingly used Moses’ mother as her nursemaid). God used this terrible situation to save the life of Moses and prepare him for the future mission of leading Israel out of bondage.
Moses grew up in the palace of Pharaoh with great privilege, power, and position. Moses was being groomed to take over the nation. His entire life was set before him. However, in Exodus 2:11-12 we see the true heart of Moses for the people of Israel.
“And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren. And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand.”
Moses had great sympathy for his people. The abuse of the Hebrews by the Egyptians burned in his heart and it caused him to make a decision that would change his life forever; he murdered an Egyptian.
Moses truly believed that his people would rally behind him and understand and trust him. Acts 7:23-25 helps us realize Moses’ thought process.
“And when he [Moses] was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel. And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian: For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not.”
Moses soon discovered that his people would not understand nor support him. In Exodus 2:13-15 he is rejected by his own people, the very people he wants to save. Eventually, he is rejected by Pharaoh and his family.
“And when he went out the second day, behold, two men of the Hebrews strove together: and he said to him that did the wrong, Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow? And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? Intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, “Surely this thing is known.” Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian: and he sat down by a well.”
Moses’ entire world, his plans, his position, and his power, came crashing down. Rejection sent him to the backside of the desert for forty long years. Now God could work. Perhaps Moses did not see it that way as he fled from Egypt to Midian in what appeared to be defeat. He is accepted by the Priest of Midian (most likely a worshipper of the God of the Bible since the name Midian is a descendent of Abraham), and married his daughter Zipporah.
Moses and Zipporah have a son named Gershom, which translates to “stranger.” It is obvious that Moses still feels alone and rejected. But God was working. God works in our rejection, even when things seem quiet and God seems distance.
Moses’ plan to lead his people out of captivity appeared to be over. His position and influence were left in Egypt. Moses wanted to do God’s work in his wisdom and power. God would have none of that. Forty years of preparation in the palace were done, but it would not end the way that Moses dreamed. God had another 40 years of preparation for him. Moses thought he was ready when he lived in the palace, but God knew differently. Rejection was just what Moses needed. Rejection hurts bad, but when we allow rejection to be used by God, it can be one of the greatest tools to prepare us for greater things.
In Moses’ case God used rejection to remove Pharaoh and bring about the right time for Israel’s exodus from Egypt. It took this additional 40 years to bring about new leadership in Egypt, but it also took another 40 years to prepare Israel for freedom. In verses 23-25 we learn that Israel is crying out for relief from their enslavement. They are in pain. They are groaning. Israel has become desperate for freedom.
Up to this point we have read of the burdens of Israel, due to their enslavement to the Egyptians, but never a burning and desperate desire for freedom. However, verse 23 shows us a desperation that had not been evident before, “...the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage.” Many times, in our own lives we are enslaved to something, perhaps an addiction, bad relationship, bitterness and unforgiveness, or some other bondage, that we want out of our lives, but we are not desperate enough yet to get help. God will use rejection and delay to drive us to desperation in order to prepare us for what really needs to happen. That’s what God was doing with Israel and Moses. It has been said that God used rejection in order to give Israel’s misery a voice.
What voice is God trying to give you in your rejection? Are you trusting God to work His plans and prepare you for something greater? Will you allow rejection to grow you and move forward or will you quit?
Remember, rejection does not stop success, it is part of the process for success!