Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Life of Moses - Exodus 1 - 2:1-10

Background of Egypt

Egypt was a fertile country and has been described as "the gift of the Nile".  It was extremely prosperous, wealthy, and sophisticated.  It excelled in art and music.  It had remarkable mathematical and engineering skills.  It was a pagan land and depicted its gods as animals like bulls, cows, birds, etc. 

Exodus 1 - The Plan of Persecution

This first chapter of Exodus describes how the Israelites became slaves to Egypt.  If you remember in our Genesis study, Joseph was the great-grandson of Abraham and listened to God's voice.  Because of his wisdom and administration he was lifted to a high and honored office in Egypt.  There was a famine in all the land, but through Joseph's planning and God guidance Egypt prospered.  Joseph saved Egypt and the world.  He brought his family to Egypt where they prospered and lived peacefully as they increased in number.  God had promised Abraham that He would give them the Promised Land and that his descendants would increase and they would become a great nation.  That promise was coming true in Egypt. 

Now Joseph and all of his generation had died and the Israelites continued to be fruitful and multiply greatly.  They were now living under a new Pharaoh.  The Israelites had become so numerous that the new Pharaoh was afraid they would start to fight against him.  He did not know the history of Abraham and Joseph.  All he knew was "the Israelites have become much too numerous for us.  Come we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country." - Ex. 1:9-10.  Pharaoh feared man, not God.  He was insecure and his ego took over.

Principle: Where fear of the Lord is absent, sin spirals.

What is fear of God?  Fear is to recognize God as Creator and Father.  We are His children and have a healthy respect for Him.  If you fear God, you fear nothing else.

What do you fear?
Who do you fear?
Do you fear consequences more than truth?
Do you fear God more than the cost of serving Him?

Satan hates the Jews because God promised to send the messiah through them.  That's why he stirred up Pharaoh against the Israelites to destroy the line of Christ.  He uses our fear, too.  We need to talk to God when we are afraid.  Name your fear to God.  Nervousness is fear.  Concern is fear.  Satan wants to destroy our relationship with Christ.  He wants to weaken our confidence so we will pass it on to the next generation. 

The Pharaoh came up with a plan of slave labor to control them.  He decided to make slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor.  But still they multiplied.  The Egyptians came to dread the Israelites and worked them ruthlessly.  They made their lives bitter with hard labor, but the Israelites multiplied even more. - Ex. 1:11-14.

Since the Pharaoh's plan didn't work, he came up with a second plan.  He wanted to kill every new boy baby born to the Israelites.  He told two Hebrew midwives (Shiphrah and Puah) when they helped the women in childbirth and in their delivery, if the baby is a boy they were to kill it.  They were to let the baby girls live.  This didn't work either, because the midwives feared God and bravely obeyed God rather than Pharaoh and let the boys live. - Ex. 1:15-19.  "So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous.  And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own." - Ex. 1:20-21.  Usually midwives were chosen because they could not have children, but God blessed them with children, because of their obedience to Him.

Shiphrah and Puah means beauty and splendor.  They risked persecution and even death, but they had faith and trusted in God.  The world exalts the great and despises the lowly, but God's way is different.  It is the exalted who are brought lowly and the lowly who are exalted, if they do the right thing out of reverence for God.  These midwives take their place beside other honored Gentiles like Rahab.  It is significant that God preserved their names, but not the name of the Pharaoh.

Are you humble and willing to be among the weak and despised of this world so God can work through you?
Do you glorify God in all you do?
Pharaoh had a third plan, since the first two didn't work.  He ordered every boy that was born to be thrown into the Nile. - Ex. 1:22.  Of course that didn't work either.  God had a plan and when He has a plan no one can stop Him.

How do you respond to your suffering?
Do you trust God that everything will turn out alright?

Where fear of God is present, there is wisdom and protection.
God is sovereign and in control.
God rewards those who obey and worship Him.
Healthy fear in God is revealed by trusting God.
Where are you trying to cling to safety?  Trust His protection.  The safest thing is to be obedient to God even if you have to take risks.

God has preserved the Jews throughout history.  The Nazis killed 6 million Jews thinking they had the final solution to the Jewish problem, but today more Jews are alive than ever before.  God has continued to protect them as a nation just as He promised Abraham.

Exodus 2:1-10 - Birth of Moses

Amram and Jochabed had two children, Aaron and Miriam.  This family was a believing family.  Even their names had spiritually meaningful names.  Then they had a baby boy named Moses.  Moses was a beautiful child and perhaps his mother thought he was  special baby.  "... they saw he was no ordinary child..." - Heb. 11:23.  They wanted to protect him and as any parent would, so they did what they could.  They hid him for three months, then they devised a plan to save him from being thrown into the Nile.  They trusted God more than they feared Pharaoh.  They made a basket and placed him in it and put him afloat in the Nile among the plants where it would not float away.  The place they chose was a place where to Pharaoh's daughter might find him. 

Moses' mother waited with true faith to see how God would save Moses.  Miriam watched at a distance until the he was found.  God is a God of every circumstance.  He guided the princess to the exact spot where Moses was.  She found him and instead of throwing him into the Nile as her father had instructed, she saw him crying and felt sorry for him.  He melted her heart.  She recognized him as a Hebrew baby and wondered how she would raise him.  Miriam ask if she could get one of the Hebrew women to nurse him for her.  That seemed like a good solution so Miriam quickly returned with Moses' mother.  Jochabed received her son again and was even paid to take care of him.  She had him until he was older and could be adopted by the princess.  The princess gave him the name of Moses meaning, "I drew him out of the water".

How can you exercise faith in God?
What situation do you face which you plan to trust God for the outcome?
How has God kept you safe and provided for you?

Nowhere in this story is God's name mentioned.  Yet we know He was there.  We don't always know or understand how God works in the world, but it is obvious that God is somehow at work in this story.  I love how God orchestrated the whole thing.  He was in charge of it all and brought His plan to be.

God protects and prepares His people to accomplish His plan.
God is a God of providence.
The root for salvation is fear of the Lord.
God protected Moses and had a plan.  He has a plan for our lives as well.  Do you believe this for your life?

A baby was born to a slave couple in dangerous circumstances, but turned out to be the greatest human emancipator and lawgiver the world has ever known.  His story was the story of the founding of a nation.  Moses is a type of Christ born of poor parents in a remote area then became the world's Savior.  In both Moses and Jesus, God brings deliverance and salvation.  There will be many miracles in the life of Moses and of God working through him to deliver the people.  There are more miracles in connection with Moses than with any other Bible character, except Jesus.  God is at work in your life even if you never recognize a miracle or answer to prayers.

Will you recognize His work and thank Him?
Will you trust God in all things, good or bad?
Follow my weekly posts as we continue the study of the Life of Moses.

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