See also John 8:56-59
Israel (Jacob) and his descendant grew in great numbers as the years progressed and of course, Joseph and his brothers eventually died. Time passes. “Then a new king, to whom Joseph meant nothing, came to power in Egypt” (Exodus 1:8). Now things begin to change…for the worse: “…so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites and worked them ruthlessly” (1:12). Pharaoh demands that the Hebrew midwives are to kill newborn males, but the midwives who had great respect for God (feared God more than Pharaoh) refused to obey this command and convince Pharaoh that the Hebrew women were simply “vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive” (1:19). So the male children survived, the midwives honored by God and the Israelite population continued to grow.
Pharaoh’s edict transformed into, “Every Hebrew boy that is born you must throw into the Nile” (1:22) when Moses was born. Thus the theme is set for the eventual Passover. Repeatedly we read this notion of killing infants, those who have no ability to protect themselves. Sadly, this ultimately becomes the event that will turn Pharaoh’s heart (for a moment) and lead to the release of the Israelites, but that’s getting ahead of the story at this point.
To escape this rule, Moses is placed in a basket and floated down the Nile. His basket gets caught up in some reeds and is collected by one of Pharaoh’s daughters. She is drawn to the infant, so she keeps the baby. Moses’ mother just happens to be in the area, so she is hired to nurse the baby. God’s great providence.
Moses grew up in the household of Egyptian royalty, but no doubt knew of his true heritage. When he witnessed an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, his anger flared up and Moses killed the Egyptian, hiding his body in the sand. When he discovered this was known, he escaped to Midian to hide.
In Midian, Moses sat by a well and defended some girls who had come there to collect water. It seems some shepherds were keeping them from the well…don’t know much about this, but Moses was probably a formidable man at this point and sent the shepherds running. I picture an intelligent, well dressed, strong man chasing the boys away without much of a fight. So the daughters of the Priest of Midian (Jethro, one of my favorite characters) are able to draw water and Moses finds a wife. Good deal.
Eventually, the king of Egypt dies, but the slavery continues to worsen so the people cry out to God.
God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them. Exodus 2:24-25
The stage is set for Moses to receive God’s call. His life will never be the same at this point. The stories of The Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) and Joseph and now of Moses have a common thread: each had some transgressions, but they continued to honor God in spite of their shortcomings and over a great deal of time, God transforms them into the heroes of the Bible we know. They all answered, “Yes” to the call. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob kept their businesses and families. Joseph was radically changed on many levels; Moses is about to have his own turn in the transformation machine. Yet they were all faithful to God.
Moses and the Burning Bush
And Moses said, “Here I am.”
God provided very specific instructions for Moses when he approached the burning bush: “So now, go.” Moses has been in hiding for years, enjoying his time in Midian, hanging out with Jethro, tending the flocks. “So now, go…I will be with you,” says the Lord God himself. The “I Am” has spoken.
I wonder how many times God speaks to me and I just keep walking? Not today, Lord. Help me to answer “Yes” to you and have the faith and confidence that you will do what is right in your timing.