Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Exodus 2 - The Beginning of Moses

body of water during golden hour

It continues to be a wonderful task to exposit the Old Testament. I preached through the book of Exodus in the second half of 2018 verse by verse and paragraph by paragraph. We left no word unread and did not skip the exposition of any section. It is a wonderful exercise for myself to go back now, chapter by chapter, and review the wonderful truth of this book. I pray that it is as beneficial for you, the reader, as it has been for me. More resources can be found at

Moses towers over almost every other character in history. He was uniquely used by God in the deliverance and leadership of Israel. No other man or woman sees or heard the wonderful things that Moses does. No other man or woman was given the privileges of Moses. He was the man whom God talked with face to face (Exod 33:11; Num 12:8). Through Moses came the Law, as ordained by angels. In spite of all this, Moses was only a man. He had a beginning, being born while Israel was in captivity in Egypt. He was not instantly a leader. His leadership was rejected by the people of Israel until he returned as a prophet.

1 Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a daughter of Levi.

This was a common marriage between common people in Israel. There was nothing significant about who they were. But God used these two people to bring about a man whom He would use mightily.
2 The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was beautiful, she hid him for three months.

In a desperate ploy to control the Hebrew population, Pharaoh had ordered that all the Hebrew boys be thrown into the river as soon as they were born. This mother was very brave in disobeying Pharaoh, doing what was right in the sight of God at any risk. However, there comes a point when it becomes impossible to hide a baby.

3 But when she could hide him no longer, she got him a wicker basket and covered it over with tar and pitch. Then she put the child into it and set it among the reeds by the bank of the Nile.

Ironically, the mother obeyed the letter of Pharaoh’s law. She put the child into the water, protected by an ark (the same Hebrew word as Noah’s Ark). She further protected the child by setting the ark among the reeds by the bank where someone might walk by and notice. By setting the ark in the reeds, the mother made sure that the ark did not float dangerously down the river. As an added protection,

4 His sister stood at a distance to find out what would happen to him.

They knew that someone would come and find him. Now they wanted to know where he would end up. God had something great planned for this baby. In His providence, Pharaoh’s daughter would come along and deliver the baby from the water into her palace where he would be groomed to be the deliverer of the house of Israel.

5 The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the Nile, with her maidens walking alongside the Nile; and she saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid, and she brought it to her. 6 When she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the boy was crying. And she had pity on him and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.”

Pharaoh’s daughter must have known that the child was a Hebrew from his circumcised and his plight in the water. God made her compassionate toward the child so that she would even disobey her own father in order to rescue him.

7 Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women that she may nurse the child for you?” 8 Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go ahead.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother. 9 Then Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child away and nurse him for me and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed him.

How great is God that He would give this child back into the care of his mother for some time. In this way, the child would grow up knowing his family and his heritage. He would be taught the works and covenant promises of the LORD. His parents were provided for and protected during this time. Since God’s purpose for the child was to one day lead his people out of Egypt to the Promised Land, the child’s formative years were spent with his family.

10 The child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. And she named him Moses, and said, “Because I drew him out of the water.”

Like Moses, the children of Israel would be drawn out of the water by the LORD. They would be delivered by the hand of God, and Moses would be the prophet, leader, and deliverer who would redeem them out of Egypt. First, Moses needed to understand this.

11 Now it came about in those days, when Moses had grown up, that he went out to his brethren and looked on their hard labors; and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren. 12 So he looked this way and that, and when he saw there was no one around, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.

Moses was willing to act on behalf of his fellow Israelites. Though he had spent the bulk of his first forty years living in the palace of Egypt and being educated as a prince, He did not identify as an Egyptian, but as a Hebrew. However, he was not willing to do so publicly. Before he murdered the Egyptian, he looked around to make sure that no one would see him avenge his relative, and then he hid the body.

13 He went out the next day, and behold, two Hebrews were fighting with each other; and he said to the offender, “Why are you striking your companion?” 14 But he said, “Who made you a prince or a judge over us? Are you intending to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid and said, “Surely the matter has become known.”

The people of Israel did not accept him as their leader or deliverer. They were unwilling to follow him or protect him. So Moses feared greatly, knowing that the news of his actions was traveling.

15 When Pharaoh heard of this matter, he tried to kill Moses. But Moses fled from the presence of Pharaoh and settled in the land of Midian, and he sat down by a well.

Moses fled from the anger of Pharaoh. He traveled to the land of Midian which was northeast of Egypt. Our attention should be grabbed by the mention of a well, for many important things have happened in proximity to wells. The servant met Rebekah at a well. Jacob met Rachel at a well. Abraham dug wells, and Isaac had a great number of disputes about wells. Wells have as signs and memorials and oaths.

16 Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters; and they came to draw water and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. 17 Then the shepherds came and drove them away, but Moses stood up and helped them and watered their flock. 18 When they came to Reuel their father, he said, “Why have you come back so soon today?” 19 So they said, “An Egyptian delivered us from the hand of the shepherds, and what is more, he even drew the water for us and watered the flock.”

These women rejoiced in Moses’ deliverance of them, unlike the people of Israel. Moses was identified as an Egyptian, for he was probably dressed and shaved like an Egyptian; but the matter in Egypt had probably confused Moses greatly so that he was unsure of his identity.

20 He said to his daughters, “Where is he then? Why is it that you have left the man behind? Invite him to have something to eat.” 21 Moses was willing to dwell with the man, and he gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses. 22 Then she gave birth to a son, and he named him Gershom, for he said, “I have been a sojourner in a foreign land.”

That Moses, whom they took to be an Egyptian, should eat with shepherds must have seemed odd to Reuel and his family. It would have been unthinkable for an Egyptian to dwell with shepherds! But Moses was not an Egyptian and must have felt at home among a shepherding people like his own Israelite family. But he was never settled. He always remembered that he was only a sojourner in Midian.

23 Now it came about in the course of those many days that the king of Egypt died. And the sons of Israel sighed because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry for help because of their bondage rose up to God. 24 So God heard their groaning; and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 25 God saw the sons of Israel, and God took notice of them.

God had promised to give Abraham’s descendants the land of Canaan. They had been brought to the land of Egypt until the Amorite’s iniquity was fulfilled. Now it was time for the sons of Israel to be delivered from Egypt to become the people of God and to be given the land just as God had sworn.

There is one who came after Moses who overshadows him completely. He is the prophet that Moses foretold (Deut 18:15-22). Like Moses, He was born, but He had already existed at the beginning of time. He was born into danger just like Moses was, and was likewise protected by God in Egypt. This is Jesus, God’s Son. He is the Messiah, the Seed of the woman prophesied of in Genesis 3:15. He came to give deliverance that is far greater than the deliverance of Moses. Jesus delivers those who believe from sin, and will bring them into His Kingdom forever.

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