A Deliverer Prepared
Moses. None compare to Moses as far as being used of God.
Infant Moses Spared (2:1-10)
1 And a man of the house of Levi went and took a daughter of Levi. v.1 It is incredible that this couple had the mind of the Lord about marrying within one’s own tribe years before the ordinance was given to the daughters of Zelophehad in Numbers 36:6. From Numbers 26:57-59 we learn that Amram was Levi’s grandson through Kokath, and Jochebed was the daughter of Levi. In 1 Cor. 7:39 we have the New Testament principle that parallels this: believers ought to marry in the Lord (see also 2 Cor. 6:14).
2 And the woman conceived, and bore a son. And she saw him that he was fair, and hid him three months.
v.2 It is interesting that in these first few verses it is Jochebed that it the active parent used to preserve Moses. Because a man of the house of Levi took to wife a daughter of Levi, he could have confidence that she shared in His desires and priorities. When she saw the baby, he was “fair” or beautiful (Stephen says, “and was exceeding fair”, Acts 7:20), they know it was God’s mind to preserve the child’s life, and “by faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment” (Heb. 11:23). The didn’t have a clear commandment from God, but they had the instincts of faith.
3 And when she could no longer hide him, she took for him an ark of reeds, and plastered it with resin and with pitch, and put the child in it, and laid it in the sedge on the bank of the river. 4 And his sister stood afar off to see what would happen to him.
vv.3-4 She did not toss him out into the fast moving water but put the ark in the cattails where the pull wasn’t too strong. Parents need to be careful about how to raise their children as in the world, but not of the world. She had to put her baby in the river for his own safety, but only near the edge. He was insulated from the water. Secondly, there was watchfulness.
5 And the daughter of Pharaoh went down to bathe in the river; and her maids went along by the river’s side. And she saw the ark in the midst of the sedge, and sent her handmaid and fetched it. 6 And she opened it, and saw the child, and behold, the boy wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews’ children.
v.6 The fact that Miriam stood afar off to see what would happen suggests that Moses’ parents were anticipating the Lord to intervene. In this story we see the providential care of God down in the very details. The timing of the events, the particular daughter who went down to bathe (there were many daughters), the place of bathing, the child’s cry, its effect on her heart, etc. Naturally you would want a baby to be quiet during these circumstances to avoid detection, but it was the baby’s cry that resulted in his salvation! Upon seeing the child that she was able to tell that it was one of the Hebrew’s children. So should the testimony of our children be a remarkable testimony to this world.
7 And his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, Shall I go and call thee a wet-nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee? 8 And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, Go. And the damsel went and called the child’s mother. 9 And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, Take this child away and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages. And the woman took the child and nursed it. vv.7-9 Again we see the providential working of God to preserve and protect Moses. At Miriam’s wise suggestion, Pharaoh’s daughter asks her to call a wet-nurse, and through this, Moses was able to be raised for some years by his own mother, and she was paid for her service! This was God’s answer to the faith of Moses’ parents. How far above all that we might ask or think does God work! “As a nurse cherishes her own children”. But those days were short, and they must have been especially precious because of the assurance that very soon Moses would be taken away.
10 And when the child was grown, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses, and said, Because I drew him out of the water.
v.10 The time came when Moses needed to be given over to Pharaoh’s daughter. This would begin his secular, Egyptian education. At the end of this time, “Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds” (Acts 7:22). Moses was adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter at this time. This would become a major test for Moses. Would he prefer his privileged life as Egyptian nobility over identification with his suffering people? With us as believers, the world offers us pleasure and possessions if we will forget our true loyalties. The name Moses means ‘extracted’ or ‘drawn out’. Moses’ life was preserved by his being drawn out of the Nile. In the same way, each of us would be lost if not for the sovereign grace of God, in drawing us out of a path leading to destruction.
Mature Moses’ Escape From Egypt (2:11-25)
11 And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out to his brethren and looked on their burdens; and he saw an Egyptian smiting a Hebrew, one of his brethren. 12 And he turned this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he smote the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand. vv.11-12 When Moses saw the Egyptian smiting a Hebrew, his motive was right. He knew that the oppression of his people was wrong, and that God would use him to deliver the Hebrews from the Egyptian taskmasters (see Acts 7:24-25). But there was a lesson that he had to learn which could not be learned in Pharaoh’s court – the lesson of self-judgment. He had to spend forty years (a third of his life) on the back side of the dessert after which time he is called the meekest man that ever lived (Numbers 12:3). As young people we see the problems among us, but we don’t have the experience of a life of self-judgment needed to act in accord with the mind of God. His desire to deliver Israel was good. But the way he went about it was wrong. We cannot be used to deliver God’s people in the energy of the flesh. If he had been acting according to the mind of God, he would not have “turned this way and that way”. Murder was not justified. He thought no one saw, but he was wrong. Moses could never deliver Israel by burying the Egyptians one by one in the sand. God was going to bury them in the Red Sea! Nevertheless, Moses was taking his place with his people (Heb. 11:24-25).
13 And he went out on the second day, and behold, two Hebrew men were quarrelling; and he said to him that was in the wrong, Why art thou smiting thy neighbour? 14 And he said, Who made thee ruler and judge over us? dost thou intend to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? Then Moses feared, and said, Surely the matter is known. vv.13-14 In Acts 7 we find his brethren understood not. Not a ruler and a judge, but a ruler and a deliverer. It was the one who had done the wrong who resisted Moses. This put off the deliverance for 40 more years, but it was in Gods purpose. It wasn’t the time for their deliverance.
15 And Pharaoh heard of this matter, and sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from before Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian. And he sat by the well. v.15 Perhaps The Lord allowed him to act in a fleshly way to bring him to a reality about what this world is really like. Hebrews 11:27 tells us he forsook Egypt, not afraid of the wrath of the king… that is the second time, when he led the people out. But this is where the deliverer starts… fleeing for fear of the king. If Moses had been able to deliver Israel’s through diplomacy, it could have brought glory to Moses. But God’s way would glorify Himself, and Moses would be humbled.
16 And the priest of Midian had seven daughters; and they came and drew water, and filled the troughs, to water their father’s flock. 17 And the shepherds came and drove them away; but Moses rose and helped them, and watered their flock. vv.16-17 The heads of families would function as priests (Abraham, Job). A well: a good place to sit when we are discouraged (cp the broom tree, pomegranate tree). The word can encourage us, and then we can help others. He saw some trying to gain refreshment from a well, a picture of the Word of God, but there were those who were trying to prevent them from accessing the well. Moses’ character as a shepherd is seen in Midian was well as Egypt; he defended the oppressed and sought to care for their needs. We need both the well and the protector: the enjoyment of the Word of God and the spirit of a doorkeeper to keep the assembly preserved from evil. This event is characteristic of Moses’ time on the back side of the desert. He needed to learn the true character of a shepherd if he was going to be able to lead the flock of God.
18 And when they came to Reuel their father, he said, Why are ye come so soon to-day? 19 And they said, An Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds, and also drew water abundantly for us, and watered the flock. 20 And he said to his daughters, And where is he? why then have ye left the man behind? Call him, that he may eat bread. 21 And Moses consented to remain with the man; and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter. v.21 He was content to dwell with those who had an enjoyment of the Word of God. This is where Moses learned to be a shepherd (Ex. 3:1). Zipporah given to Moses is a type of a bride given to Christ, while He is away. Joseph is a type of the Savior of the world, but Moses a type of the deliverer of Israel.
22 And she bore a son, and he called his name Gershom; for he said, I have been a sojourner in a foreign land. v.22 A lesson that is needful: to be a stranger.
23 And it came to pass during those many days, that the king of Egypt died. And the children of Israel sighed because of the bondage, and cried; and their cry came up to God because of the bondage; 24 and God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob; 25 and God looked upon the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them. vv.23-25 Israel wasn’t crying to Jehovah; they didn’t yet know His name. But the need of man has a claim upon Divine love. God’s heart of compassion is stirred. He remembers His ancient covenant.