Sunday November 12th
Here’s a note that a little boy wrote to his mother:
Dear Mom, Sometimes you get mad at me for not acting my age, and then you start crying because I'm “growing up too fast.” Please pick one or the other. You’re confusing me!
Speaking of growing up too fast, did you ever know someone who went from being a baby to a full grown man within eleven verses? Well, that’s what Moses did in Exodus chapter 2!
Let’s read about baby Moses first:
Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a daughter of Levi. 2 The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was beautiful, she hid him for three months. 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. 4 His sister stood at a distance to find out what would happen to him.
So we know a little bit about the baby Moses’ family:
Moses had an older sister (Miriam) and a brother (Aaron). What you may not have known is that his parents, Amram and Jochebed, were actually nephew and aunt.
We see this in Exodus 6:20
“Amram married his father’s sister Jochebed, and she bore him Aaron and Moses.”
What made Moses’ birth different from his brother and sister was that he was born at the exact time when the Egyptians were trying to kill all of the male Hebrew babies.
So to keep him from being discovered and killed, his mother placed him in a wicker basket made of bulrushes, which was then covered with tar to make it watertight.
And after they set the basket afloat in the water, Miriam walked along the bank to keep an eye on her baby brother.
And this is what she saw:
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.” 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. 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.”
This particular daughter of the Pharaoh was supposedly Princess Hatshepsut, who later became the queen of Pharaoh Thutmose II.
Even though she knew that Moses was a Hebrew child, she decided to let him live and so Moses was educated as an Egyptian nobleman.
Acts 7:22 says:
“Moses was educated in all the learning of the Egyptians, and he was a man of power in words and deeds.”
But of course Miriam was no dummy either. She arranged for her own mother to get paid by Pharaoh’s daughter to nurse her own baby. A pretty sweet deal, don’t you think?
Now get ready, because we are about to hit the fast forward button!
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. 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.”
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.
Surprise! All of the sudden baby Moses is forty years old!
Acts 7:23 says:
“But when he was approaching the age of forty, it entered his mind to visit his brethren, the sons of Israel.”
So possibly Moses was having a mid-life crisis, because he suddenly decided that he didn’t feel like an Egyptian anymore and he now identified himself with God’s people, the Hebrews.
And in the book of Hebrews 11:24-25 we see that:
“By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin.”
That last phrase is important to remember. Sin can actually bring pleasure, but it always passes away. And the passing pleasure of sin is replaced by the pain of sin.
Unfortunately for Moses, his first effort to deliver the Israelites from Egyptian oppression proved to be a mistake because he ended up killing a man and then realized there were a couple of witnesses.
Not only that, but word of the murder had gotten back to Pharaoh, and Moses realized that it was time to get out of town, so he headed east towards a place called Midian in the Arabian Desert. And when you’re in the desert you are constantly looking for water. So Moses finds a well. But there are others already there when he arrives:
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.” 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.”
What a heroic guy! Moses chases away the shepherds who are harassing the daughters of Jethro, and then helps them water their sheep.
Moses’ father-in-law was actually known by two names: Reuel and Jethro. The name Reuel means “Friend of God.” And he not only becomes Moses’ friend, he becomes part of his family.
I think it’s significant that Moses named his firstborn son Gershom, which meant, “sojourner in a foreign land.”
This would seem to indicate that Moses know that he was not intended to stay in Midian. And he was quite correct.
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.
Israel’s cry for help goes up to God and God’s response is reflected in these four verbs: God “heard . . . remembered . . . saw . . . and took notice
And God is going to follow up with several more verbs involving Moses. He is going to call him, send him, and use him to set his people free!
Keep in mind that when it says that “God remembered His covenant” with the nation of Israel, it doesn’t mean that he had actually forgotten about them. In this context, the word remembered simply indicates that God now recognized that it was time to put a plan in motion that He had already started working on long before they ever cried out to Him.
When slavery and oppression began to happen to the Israelites, God already had a plan in His mind. God was preparing a man called Moses to bring about the deliverance of His people. Consider the fact that Moses wasn’t born after the Israelites cried to God, he was born forty years before that. And Moses was born at a time when Hebrew baby boys were not allowed to live. But, because God had a plan for His people, He protected and prepared Moses for the freeing of His people from slavery. Even when Moses was walking among the people, seeing their suffering and bungling his first attempt at protecting them, they never knew that he was the man God was preparing to bring the deliverance they were crying out for.
So, what does this have to do with us?
Well, according to the New Testament, you and I are now God’s chosen people. The Apostle Peter calls us a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's very own people called for a purpose. (1 Peter 2:9).
We are the people of God and God is our father. And we have a Father who does not wait for our problems to overtake us. Before things ever start going wrong in our lives, our loving heavenly Father already has a plan in place to get us out of our mess and ensure a good future for us!
God has said in his word, “For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).
God is working in ways that we cannot always see. But the work He is doing is always moving His people towards His goals that He has ordained for them before the foundation of the world.
Think about how Moses was being prepared for the work that God had in store for him. Pharaoh’s daughter actually looked after and took care of Moses without ever knowing that Moses will lead God’s people out of Egypt.
In other words Moses, who was the answer to Israel’s cry for help, was actually raised up and trained by the enemies and slave-masters of the Hebrew people!
This shows us just how much God is really in control of our lives. Even when we are under stress or in pain, disappointed by things that aren’t going our way, we should always remember that God is able to make all things work together for the good of those who love Him. (Romans 8:28). So, we don’t need to worry, God is already working on it.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:25-34,
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Let me emphasize this for you today - The answers to our prayers are found in the very nature and character of God. They are not dependent upon us doing all the right things so that we can earn God’s favor and convince Him to give us what we need!
He already WANTS to meet your needs!
That’s why sometimes God just blesses us and does wonderful things for us when we haven’t even prayed about them - because He wants to be true to his character, true to His nature, true to who He is.
God did not deliver the Israelites from slavery because they were such good people or because they had earned their freedom! They were just like all of us. They all had their own issues and problems that they were struggling with.
When God delivers us from our difficulties we should always remember that it had nothing to do with how good we were or how much we deserved it, or even how great we prayed. God does things for us, not because of who we are, but because of who He is.
God reminded the Israelites of this when He said in Deuteronomy 9:5,
“It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going in to take possession of their land; but on account of the wickedness of these nations, the LORD your God will drive them out before you, to accomplish what He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”
God had made a promise and He intended to keep it, regardless of what the Israelites did or didn’t do.
And it’s the same way in our lives.
You have a heavenly Father who is indescribably caring and loving and fully able to meet your needs. As the Apostle Paul assured us in Philippians 4:19
And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.