An ancient, yet modern story

The day started much like any other day. I had no wealth of my own, in fact the rather scraggy looking sheep I was looking after belonged to my wife’s father. There was very little grass to be found in the semi-dessert that I had made my home, so each day I had to take the sheep further and further across the arid landscape. I came to a mountain which was reputed to be a special place of the God my real mother had told me about so many years ago. Thinking about my real mother put me in a reflective mood.

When I was born, babies like me were in danger of being “ethnically cleansed” by the government.  My mother put me in a basket and hid me by the river-bank to keep me safe from the oppressors of my tribe. I was discovered by none other than the king’s daughter, who adopted me. I lived a very privileged life in the palace but cared for by my mother who was employed as a nurse-maid.


It was my mother who told me about the “One true God” who our ancestors worshipped. But when I looked around I discovered that my ethnic tribe were nothing but slaves. I was enraged by the injustices that I saw every day. How could the God of my ancestors allow such misery and oppression?

One day I took matters into my own hands when I saw a slave-master mistreating one of my tribal brothers. The pent-up anger inside overcame me. If God wasn’t going to intervene then I jolly well would. Thinking I was fighting for justice, I killed the slave-master. I thought at first, I had got away with it but it soon became clear that my deed was known and I had to leave the country in a hurry fearing for my life.

I found sanctuary in a seemingly God-forsaken, desolate region far from civilisation. But I met a beautiful girl, married her and raised a family.

Does God really care?

I tried to forget the injustice I had seen and presumed that either God did not care or that he was unable to help.

As I wandered aimlessly around keeping an eye open on the sheep, I saw a bush that had combusted in the intense heat of the desert. Nothing strange there I thought – but wait – something was very odd, the flames were still leaping up but the bush remained intact.

I wasn’t expecting to meet with God or anything so imagine my surprise when I heard a voice saying:

“I am the God of your ancestors, and I have seen the misery of the slaves. I have heard them crying out because of their slave-drivers, and I am I moved by their suffering.”

Shaken to the core

I broke down in tears. I had wondered if I was the only one to be concerned about the injustices I had seen. But I suddenly became aware that God cares after all! He made it clear that he hears the cries of the exploited. He sees the misery of the oppressed and he cares deeply for those who suffer.

Now, I thought to myself, “God is God”. “He could just slay anyone who got in his way and free the slaves.” But I learned a lesson that day. God doesn’t work like that. He uses people and he was expecting me to march into the ruler’s palace and demand justice for the slaves!

God wanted to use me!

God wanted to use me! When I was young I was idealistic and full of myself. But life has taken its knocks and my self-confidence has been shaken.  I tried to reason with God, but for every obstacle I raised, he had an answer.:

  • “Who am I?”
  • “What if they don’t believe me?”
  • “Will the slaves accept me as their leader?”

God was patient and answered every question I put forward. Now, I used be eloquent and I love debating but these days I stumble over my words. When I finally complained that I had problems expressing myself in words he appeared to be angry but said he would send my brother with me to speak on my behalf.

What could I do? I felt passionate about the injustices heaped on my tribe but felt inadequate for the task ahead. But God promised to be with me and prepare the way for success. Unbeknown to me, God had been preparing me. The passion for justice had been burning within me for years. I just needed to know that my God felt the same way as I did! That is the reason I wept when I heard him say that he had seen the misery and the oppression. The time was now ripe for action.

A team

I was a bit puzzled. Why didn’t God just use my brother as he was the eloquent one? But I knew that I had the compassion needed and the desire for justice built within me. We were to be a team! God’s power, my brother’s eloquence, and my passion for justice. Together we were going to see those slaves set free!

Of course, this story is about Moses and the call of God to free the Israelite slaves from Egypt. But the world is still full of injustices. People are suffering from poverty, disease, exploitation and modern slavery. I have identified myself with Moses and written it from my point of view. This is partly my story too, so I have written it with some sense of vulnerability.

Author: George Dowdell

I was the founder of Karuna Action (formerly Kingscare) and was the director for 24 years. I have now handed control over to younger people but continue as an advisor and trustee. My passion is to see extreme poverty eliminated and to see justice for the powerless.

One thought on “An ancient, yet modern story”

  1. So true that injustice is in everywhere. Lots of corruption has going on and even revealed of Mongolian government officials and and parliament members. It is really discouraging that the government is taking advantage while an small NGO is trying all its’ best to help poor. But it is encouraging to remember that God cares. Thanks for your sharing.


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