DAY 17Welcome to Exodus!
How does God get your attention? For Moses it was in the form of a bush that was burning but not being consumed. Truthfully, that'd probably get anyone's attention. What began as a normal day in his "new" life, Moses began a journey toward redemption. It's a powerful story of God's power and mercy.
And don't think God chooses the people who think they have it all together and are ready to go. Where's the fun in that?
Here's an introduction video to the book of Exodus to make a part of your reading:
DAILY READINGSExodus 1-3 & Psalm 17
DAILY NOTESExodus 1:1-7
- Exodus begins with a clear connection to Genesis.
- Knowing that the people multiplied and grew exceedingly is an important element of promise. Even though the patriarchs have passed away, the promise of God continues with the continuation of the Hebrew people
- The new king is not connected to any old promises of the former king(s). What power and authority a Hebrew held before is now not even a memory. That helps the story's development.
- In Genesis we learned that the Egyptians did not do certain things with the Hebrews. Pharaoh addresses his people only because he is fearful of what the Hebrews might do.
- There is no indication that there the relationship between the two peoples was strained. Why would Pharaoh think the Hebrews wouldn't fight for them since they lived in the land with them? His recommendation is that they begin to treat them harshly. Does that mean they lived in peace before this?
- Historical evidence seems to suggest the Hebrews actually, at least at some point, had a good life in Egypt.
- Pharaoh fears the Hebrews will leave the land. That indicated they provided some benefit to the Egyptian people.
- Verse 12 indicates that the Egyptians "came to dread" the Israelites. Doesn't that imply they didn't dread them before?
- Pharaoh's plan includes shrewdness, oppression and ruthless imposition.
- Shiphrah and Puah are the first heroes of the Exodus. How great is it that God uses people that might otherwise get looked over to do great things for the kingdom? These women show great faith in God and bravery in the face of adversity.
- Pharaoh's command shows he is indeed fearful the Hebrew people will grow to be a military force against him.
- The midwives even suggest that the Hebrew women are more vigorous than the Egyptian women.
- Pharaoh's command intensifies as he forgoes the Hebrew midwives and gives every Egyptian authority to kill the Hebrew baby boys.
- So, again, he isn't worried about eliminating the Hebrews. He just wants to suppress their military capabilities.
- Notice that we do not know Moses' name until verse 10. Even then it is Pharaoh's daughter who gives him the name Moses.
- The Hebrew meaning of Moses is "drawn out." That makes sense considering how she found him. Does it also allude to the water experience he will have?
- An Egyptian translation of Moses might be "son of." Moses knew (according to verse 11) that he was not Egyptian. So, did Moses ever wonder who he was the son of?
- The Levite woman puts the baby, literally, into an ark.
- Did other mothers do the same thing? Had Pharaoh's daughter come across dead babies in the river before?
- The sister aligns herself as the next hero. She is quick to devise a plan once the baby is found by Pharaoh's daughter.
- Did Pharaoh's daughter disagree with her father's command? Is she also a hero of the story?
- The baby and his mother now live under the protection of Pharaoh's daughter's charge.
- Perhaps if Moses hadn't pointed out the man who was "in the wrong" he wouldn't have been outed.
- It was known what Moses did, but Pharaoh had not yet heard about it.
- In Genesis we learned that Egyptians had a disdain for shepherds. The way the daughters speak of "the shepherds" (verse 19) gives the impression they might have a bad reputation among other people, too.
- Moses defends the priest's (Jethro) daughters and, thus, earns the right to marry one of the daughters. Other people have met their wives at a well (Genesis).
- Moses was inclined to stay with the family.
- The king didn't remember Joseph. But this new king, and the people, remember that the Israelites are under their control.
- God hears, remembers and takes notice. These are not passive actions. When God hears and remembers an action follows.
- Moses is leading his flock beyond the wilderness to the mountain of God. Surely this is an allusion to what he will do with the Israelites after the Exodus.
- God gets Moses' attention. Afterwards, he addresses Moses and he responds immediately.
- Moses does not find God in a temple, but in the wilderness. Even in the wilderness, where God is is holy.
- God lets Moses know that he has seen what the Israelites have endured. Moses had seen it, too. God says he has come to deliver them. Moses tried to deliver one Israelite and had failed miserably.
- Moses never argues with what God has seen or with what God wants to do for the people. His only push back is his involvement.
- God echos the powerful sentiment we remember about Joseph: Moses will go and God will be with him.
- The sign that God was with Moses will be that they will be delivered and have the freedom to worship God.
- There is power in names. We've seen that. Still, why would the firsts question the people ask be God's name? Is it because they know the names of the Egyptian gods and thus know what they're capable of? That's probably what Moses is wondering. He was raised in Egypt's courts. He knows the name of their gods and what they are able to do.
- God' name is God's promise.
- God's charge to Moses is to 1) go. He must return to Egypt. 2) Assemble the elders of Israel. They are the ones he has to convince. 3) Say to the elders by whose authority he returns and explain God's purpose in sending him. 4) Go to the king of Egypt and ask to be freed.
- God is sure the people will listen to Moses.
- God also knows that Pharaoh will need convincing from God.
- The plan will lead to the Hebrews plundering Egypt's possessions.
- The psalmist seeks deliverance from his enemies and trusts that God will listen to his call.
OTHER OBSERVATIONSGod often gets a bad rap from us New Testament people. Words like "wrath" and "vengeful" are used to describe the "God of the Old Testament." Reading more carefully, however, shows that God is led by something more than anger or vengeance.
God calls Moses because he has heard the cry of his people. He has seen their suffering. When God hears something, God responds. When we ask, "Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer" we are just asking God to listen to us. We are asking God to do act.
The Exodus story is God's action! God is led by mercy and love for his people. Why does he choose Moses? Well, it doesn't seem to be because he was the most qualified. Jewish tradition says that Moses was the greatest prophet to live. Maybe it was because, in part, Moses had the same kind of feeling about the Israelites. He only murdered the Egyptian because of his brutality to his brethren. Let's be real. A lot more Egyptians will die before God is done acting on behalf of the Hebrew people.
Praise the Lord! We serve a God that hears us, loves us and acts on our behalf. And God has promised to always be with us--it's his name.