Birth of the Deliverer — Exodus Chapter 2
This blog post will cover the devotionals #8-14 for Exodus Chapter 2.
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 Exodus 2:1-3
A Levite man and woman (Amram and Jochebed) got married and had a baby boy. When she saw that he was a ‘goodly child’, she hid him for three months. Acts 7:20 says, referring to the same context, that he was ‘exceedingly fair’, and Hebrews 11:23 says, ‘a proper child’. Strong’s Concordance defines both of those phrases as ‘handsome’. It’s interesting that Joseph was also a beautiful child. Why’d they decide to hide him? Well, they believed that the time of Israel’s release was getting close, and that God was going to bring forth a deliverer for His people. Thus, they decided that their child shouldn’t be allowed to die. Hebrews 11:23 says, “When Moses was born, he was hid by faith for three months by his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment.” Their faith in God strengthened their hearts and removed fear of the death mandate. Once she saw that she could no longer hide him, she took her next step of faith. She made a basket boat out of bulrushes (a type of papyrus, an African water-dwelling grass that tends to clump, and can grow up to fifteen feet (five meters) tall). She made it water-tight by sealing it with ‘pitch and slime’ (which we learned, in Genesis devotional #71, refers to tar / asphalt / bitumen—a commonly used substance by the Egyptians, especially for mummification). After it was ready, she prayerfully laid him within the ark in the papyrus reeds at the brink of the river. It was quite brilliant that she used the papyrus to make the boat—it’d obviously handle the water, but more importantly, it’d blend right in with the rest of the papyrus reeds in the water. I also find it interesting that she chose to hide him in the same place that Pharaoh had commanded his people to throw the babies to begin with. I love the comparison because there’s a great parallel (recall from Genesis devotional #50) that the flood water that killed all those that were outside the ark was the same water that saved those that were in the ark. God’s methods are so beautifully consistent. Noah’s faith in entering the ark for salvation was later expressed by Moses’ mother in laying him in his tiny ark for salvation. Thus, just as the midwives had done, Moses’ parents acted out of faith instead of fear of the king. Interestingly enough, as we’d seen the concept of the midwives being ‘spiritual houses’, we know (from Genesis devotional #196) that the tribe of Levi eventually became the priests of the Lord—the same people that Moses and his parents came from.
 Exodus 2:4-10
To avoid risking the lives of Moses and/or his mother, his sister, Miriam, hung around—apparently indifferent to the situation. She wasn’t the only one sticking close-by though. Angels stood close to the ark as well, and directed Pharaoh’s daughter to where he was. She’d come to bathe, and when she saw the ark in the reeds, she sent her maid to retrieve it. When she opened it and saw the beautiful baby, and he cried—she understood the situation perfectly, and her softened heart was moved to compassion—the exact opposite of how her father’s heart responded to the Hebrews. She knew it was a Hebrew child—and she sympathized with the mother who loved him enough to go to such lengths to save his life. She decided he should indeed be saved, and she’d adopt him as her own son. Miriam recognized the woman’s tenderness towards him, and she felt comfortable enough to approach and offer a nurse. The princess gave her permission to send one, so she got her mother, and she was told to take the child and nurse him, and she’d be paid her wages. Moses’ mother had prayed faithfully, and God answered and rewarded her for it. She was full of gratitude as she could move forward with the task of nursing and educating her child in a way that was now safe and peaceful—and now she’d be paid to do it! Once the child was twelve years old, it was time to return him to the princess. He went from a humble cabin to a royal palace, from a slave mother to a princess one. Pharaoh’s daughter did indeed adopt him, and she’s the one that named him, Moses. She said this was “because I drew him out of the water.” According to Strong’s Concordance, ‘Moses’ means ‘drawing out of the water’—specifically, ‘rescued (from the water)’. Pharaoh intended to make his adopted grandson the next Pharaoh. Thus, he was highly educated—and trained in both civil and military areas. Acts 7:22 says that “Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.” The magnitude of his intellect sets him high above great names of all of Earth’s history. He was a historian, poet, philosopher, army general, and legislator, and none could compare to him. His abilities made him a favorite with the Egyptian armies, who considered him remarkable. All Pharaohs were required to be part of the priesthood, so Moses was set to be initiated into the mysteries of Egypt’s religion—which was the duty of their priests. Even though he was a fantastic student, he couldn’t be pressured into worshipping their gods. They threatened him with the prospect of losing the throne, being disowned by the princess, etc. if he maintained his Hebrew faith. It was to no avail—he stood firm and even reasoned with the Egyptians—including the priests—about the nonsense of superstition and worshipping inanimate objects. He couldn’t be disproved or swayed. Regardless of how this frustrated them, they tolerated it because he held a high position in both the nation and the hearts of the people and king. Even though the ‘world’ could’ve been his, he still had the moral integrity to reject the enticing possibilities of riches, honor, and fame. He’d been shown by an angel that he would indeed be the deliverer God would use for Israel, so he didn’t allow himself to get too attached to the princess or Pharaoh, in case it might hinder his openness to do God’s will. Because of the knowledge he had, especially when it came to military expertise, he believed God would use him to lead the massive nation of Israel against Egypt’s armies in order to gain their freedom. Thus, as we’ll see in devotionals #11 and #12, he began acting upon that belief—risking all.
 Exodus 2:11,12 (Part 1)
Moses often thought about the affliction of his people, and always wanted to act on their behalf. Seeing the cruel treatment they received made him burn with vengeance. Once Moses had turned forty, he went out to his people and looked at their burdens. Acts 7:23, 24 says, “And when he reached forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his people, the children of Israel. And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended and avenged him that was oppressed, and struck the Egyptian.” Exodus 2:11, 12 says, “…he spied an Egyptian striking a Hebrew, one of his people. And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he killed the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand.” The usage of the word ‘spied’ might make you think that he was spying (perhaps searching for someone hurting his people), and then when he looked around to make sure nobody was looking—it seems to confirm that he was planning to kill the Egyptian. Even though he’d longed to avenge his people, he may not have necessarily planned to do so (or specifically on that day). There’s a good chance it was a spontaneous decision when he saw the Egyptian hitting the Hebrew. Strong’s Concordance defines ‘spied’ here as ‘saw’. Regardless of what his motive was, Moses made a decision to side with his true people—rather than his adoptive people. He then believed his actions showed his people (through the one Israelite that witnessed them) that. Just as an angel had shown him that he’d be the deliverer, Israel’s elders had been shown that their deliverance was near. He thought that, by standing up and showing his readiness to defend them, they’d stand up and take their freedom. That wasn’t the case. They weren’t mentally ready to be free, which we’ll see the symptom of in devotional #12. We’ll see, in devotional #11, why Moses decided to side with his people, even though he had everything a man could ever want at his fingertips.
 Exodus 2:11,12 (Part 2)
Moses was a prince, well-educated (as Joseph had been), and a well-trained soldier by that point, but his heart always remained with his humble people (just as Joseph’s had). No honor or riches could take the place of their God’s glory or truth. Hebrews 11:24-26 says, “When Moses had grown, he, by faith, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing instead to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; considering the disapproval towards Christ greater than the treasures in Egypt: because he focused on the return of the reward.” It says he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He never concealed the fact that he was a Hebrew. 1 Corinthians 9:24 says, “Do you not know that those which run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run thus, so you may obtain.” Philippians 3:13, 14 says, “Brothers, I do not count myself to have apprehended: but I do this one thing, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth to those things which are ahead, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” How is it that Moses reached this point? Moses’ mother didn’t waste the few precious years she had with her son to teach him about God, his high potential in God’s work, how to respect God and love truth and justice, to understand the sin of idolatry, etc. She prayed diligently that he wouldn’t be influenced away from God to corruption. Because of the circumstances he’d be placed in, she put more diligence into educating Moses than her other children. Though he was younger than Joseph and Daniel were when he was taken to the palace, by the time he reached the same age that young Jesus was when he sat with the teachers in the temple of Jerusalem, he was ready. His heart was God’s, no matter where he slept, or who he called his parent. Proverbs 22:1, 6 (see also verses 2-5) says, “A good name is better to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor is better than silver and gold. Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Even in the grandness of the palace, he didn’t lose sight of what his mother had impressed upon him. Those lessons shielded him from the common pride, unfaithfulness, and vice in that place. It can be said that, aside from Jesus’ mother, Moses’ mother is the woman through whom the greatest blessing was given to the world.
 Exodus 2:13-15
Moses went out the day after his ‘secret deed’ and saw two Hebrews fighting each other. Seeking to reconcile them, he asked, “Why did you strike your fellow?” Acts 7:26 says he said, “Sirs, you are brothers, why do you do wrong to each other?” The man surprised him with his response: “Who made you a prince (ruler) and judge over us? Do you intend to kill me like you killed the Egyptian?” I find it interesting that he asked, “Who made you a prince/ruler and judge over us?”, for two reasons. First, they’d been shown that Moses was the one who’d be their deliverer. Second, they likely felt the way that Joseph’s brothers felt—about him being chosen over them to be in such a position. Acts 7:25 tells us, “He supposed his people would have understood how God would deliver them by his hand: but they did not understand.” Did Moses intend to go out each day and continue killing the Egyptians one by one—in hopes of delivering his people that way? Moses had done what so many of his ancestors had done—he took matters into his own hands, when God had only intended to work through him with His own, righteous methods. God never intended to use war or violence to deliver His people. Yet, God still worked with Moses’ rash actions to accomplish His purpose. He couldn’t just leave the courts to learn the lessons God needed to teach him, but now Moses was scared because he thought his secret was unknown until that point. Sure enough, word got around to Pharaoh, after it was made known to the Egyptians by the very same Hebrew that Moses had corrected. He did this out of jealousy. By the time it reached Pharaoh’s ears, it’d been exaggerated in such a way to show that it was symbolic of what Moses intended to do against Egypt. He’d supposedly lead the Hebrews against Egypt, overthrow their government, and crown himself in Pharaoh’s place. Thus, Egypt wouldn’t be safe unless Moses was gone. I can just imagine how disappointed the Pharaoh was—as he’d intended to make Moses the next Pharaoh. He immediately decided he must kill Moses. However, Moses ran away from Egypt to the land of Midian as soon as he learned of the danger. Because he completely believed that he’d deliver Israel by force, he chose to act on that. He soon recognized, however, that he’d misunderstood God’s intentions for him. He’d thought he must use force, but he was never directed nor inspired by God to do so. As a result, he was forced to become a lonely fugitive, exiled in a strange land—where he had to reflect upon his failure and disappointment. He’d no longer work towards delivering Egypt, but he didn’t know that God wasn’t finished with him there yet. He was exactly where he needed to be, which is why God overruled his act for good. He went from a prestigious ‘school’ in Egypt, to a private homeschool in the fields and mountains of Midian.
 Exodus 2:15-22
When Moses was in Midian, he sat down by a well. Reuel (or Jethro) was the priest of Midian, and a fellow worshipper of God. He had seven daughters. They came to the well to water his flocks. However, some shepherds showed up and tried to drive them away, but Moses stood up for them. When the girls got home early, Reuel was surprised. They explained how an Egyptian helped them with the shepherds, got them enough water out of the well, and watered their flocks. He immediately asked where the man was and why they’d left him. He told them to go get him and invite him to eat. This sounds oddly familiar to what happened with Jacob when he met Rachel. Thus, you can probably guess what ended up happening with Moses. He stayed with the man and became the shepherd of his flocks. After some time had gone by, he married Reuel's daughter, Zipporah. Though she wasn’t an Israelite, she was a true worshipper of Moses’ God. They had a son named Gershom. He said it was because “I have been a stranger in a strange land.” Strong’s Concordance defines ‘Gershom’ as ‘refugee’ and ‘cast out’ or ‘divorce’. As we’ve seen with many of our Bible characters from Genesis, people often named their children based on the situations that they themselves were going through. Now, it’s interesting because Acts 7:29 tells us that he fathered two sons in Midian, and Exodus 3:20 says, “Moses took his wife and his sons…and returned to the land of Egypt.” However, there’s no mention of the name of the second son in these chapters. If you skip ahead to Exodus 18:4, you’ll see that a name was indeed mentioned for the younger. “The name of the other was Eliezer; ‘because the God of my father’, he said, ‘was my help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh.’” ‘Eliezer’ is defined by Strong’s Concordance as ‘God of help.’ Moses recognized that he made himself a fugitive, but that God still protected him. It was no accident that Moses ended up with Jethro. God chose that man to demonstrate Heaven’s principles to Moses. Strong’s Concordance defines ‘Jethro’ and ‘Reuel’ as ‘his excellence’ and ‘friend of God’.
 Exodus 2:23-25
After forty years had passed during Moses’ time in Midian, the Pharaoh died, and another took his place who was even worse than him. The people (who’d, for at least eighty years, thought that their deliverance was going to be soon) were weary of their bondage. They’d been in slavery for years and had been treated as if the Egyptians had the right to control every aspect of their being. They finally cried out to God, and He ‘remembered’ His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—and looked upon Israel and ‘had respect to them’. God never forgot His promise or His people. He never delayed, nor was He ever late. He wasn’t indifferent to their state. As we saw in devotional #5, God was waiting for His people to seek Him with sincere hearts for salvation, and they finally did that. However, the timing was also based on another factor—Moses. His heart was sincere when he tried to deliver the beaten Hebrew from his tormentor. However, his method for deliverance wasn’t in line with the methods of God. We’ll see how God’s wrath (which we learned a lot about throughout our devotionals, such as Genesis devotional #45, etc.) would function in this case, starting in Exodus 5. The point here is that God had some work to do in the heart of the man He would use to deliver His people. He had to fit up Moses’ character in preparation for leading and dealing with over a million people. Israel’s time of deliverance had indeed come. However, God was going to accomplish His plans in such a way that’d show the worthlessness of the pride of man. Israel’s deliverer wasn’t going forward as a great military leader with weapons of war in his hand, but rather, as a humble shepherd, with a mere rod in his hand. Yet, that rod would be made the symbol of God’s power.