22 Moses was educated in the best schools in Egypt. He was equally impressive as a thinker and an athlete. 23 "When he was forty years old, he wondered how everything was going with his Hebrew kin and went out to look things over. 24 He saw an Egyptian abusing one of them and stepped in, avenging his underdog brother by knocking the Egyptian flat. 25 He thought his brothers would be glad that he was on their side, and even see him as an instrument of God to deliver them. But they didn't see it that way. 26 The next day two of them were fighting and he tried to break it up, told them to shake hands and get along with each other: 'Friends, you are brothers, why are you beating up on each other?' 27 "The one who had started the fight said, 'Who put you in charge of us? 28 Are you going to kill me like you killed that Egyptian yesterday?' 29 When Moses heard that, realizing that the word was out, he ran for his life and lived in exile over in Midian. During the years of exile, two sons were born to him.
30 "Forty years later, in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, an angel appeared to him in the guise of flames of a burning bush. 31 Moses, not believing his eyes, went up to take a closer look. He heard God's voice: 32 'I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.' Frightened nearly out of his skin, Moses shut his eyes and turned away. 33 "God said, 'Kneel and pray. You are in a holy place, on holy ground. 34 I've seen the agony of my people in Egypt. I've heard their groans. I've come to help them. So get yourself ready; I'm sending you back to Egypt.' 35 "This is the same Moses whom they earlier rejected, saying, 'Who put you in charge of us?' This is the Moses that God, using the angel flaming in the burning bush, sent back as ruler and redeemer. 36 He led them out of their slavery. He did wonderful things, setting up God-signs all through Egypt, down at the Red Sea, and out in the wilderness for forty years. 37 This is the Moses who said to his congregation, 'God will raise up a prophet just like me from your descendants.' 38 This is the Moses who stood between the angel speaking at Sinai and your fathers assembled in the wilderness and took the life-giving words given to him and handed them over to us, 39 words our fathers would have nothing to do with. 40 whining to Aaron, 'Make us gods we can see and follow. This Moses who got us out here miles from nowhere - who knows what's happened to him!' 41 That was the time when they made a calf-idol, brought sacrifices to it, and congratulated each other on the wonderful religious program they had put together.
42 "God wasn't at all pleased; but he let them do it their way, worship every new god that came down the pike - and live with the consequences, consequences described by the prophet Amos: Did you bring me offerings of animals and grains those forty wilderness years, O Israel? 43 Hardly. You were too busy building shrines to war gods, to sex goddesses, Worshiping them with all your might. That's why I put you in exile in Babylon.