We needed help! We’d arrived at the hospital by ambulance in the middle of the night, but finally around 9am, the A&E doctor decided my husband didn’t need admission, and wanted us out of the place as soon as possible. We had no way of getting home, especially in night wear! We phoned local friends, the pastor, a church leader…but no-one was home! I had our neighbour’s number, and rather embarrassedly asked if they could not only give us a ride home from the hospital, but also lend us a dressing gown! Of course they were only too pleased to be asked, and neighbourliness has developed into friendship since.
When the Hebrew women were told they had to go and ask their neighbours for a favour (Exodus 3:21-22) I bet they were really embarrassed by the prospect. Going begging does not come easily to most of us. After all, it might be a nuisance to have to help someone who asks you for a favour, but it puts you in the driver seat, more in control; having to scrounge favours makes you feel small; it is humbling. Did God just want to humiliate them some more? I think God wanted the women to know that they had security in him. He could provide for them from the most unlikely sources – and enough for their children too. And also, he wanted them to stop feeling like slaves. They were going to wear good clothes, and jewellery, and begin to feel good about themselves. And they were going to be successful in plundering the Egyptians – conquerors, not captives; legally requisitioning the wealth of the nation. They had many battles ahead, and this first battle was to turn their own slave mentality into warrior attitude.
God sent Jesus into the world, not to turn us into humble church mice, but to become victorious children of the Living God! Yet we can be so reticent about our faith, hesitant to speak out in case we offend, shy to ask for opportunities. We need to learn to be bold, to adopt an attitude that expects to be heard, to make reasonable requests and anticipate success. We need to remember that we are “more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37)because of what Jesus has done for us. The biggest battle is in our own heads: when we stop being slaves to embarrassment, we’ll see more victories for God’s Kingdom.