Series on Exodus, I Calling of God's People,A The Circumstances of Moses Text 1:1-2:10,Title: A Remarkable Deliverance.


Throughout the book of Genesis the emphasis has been on God's family, and literally his people were a family. The book of Exodus is the story of the forming of that family into a covenant nation, a nation ruled by God which we call a theocracy. The formation of a people required a deliverer, and that deliverer was Moses. For the Jewish people there was none greater, and indeed for those who have never accepted the Messiah, God's new deliverer, Moses is still the greatest. For this reason Hebrews, a letter to Jewish Christians, in chap. 3, compares Jesus with Moses for faithfulness. There are many similarities not the least of which are the peculiar circumstances of their birth. Both were born in a time when the rulers of this age decreed the death of all male infants in order to destroy their rivals. and so it is written of Jesus, “Out of Egypt have i called my son.” And so we look briefly at the lessons taught by the historical context of Moses. The Hebrew people in Egypt since Jacob's time are increasing greatly in numbers in fulfillment of God's promise to Abraham. For a while they are happy in their circumstances, but as often happens in life a happy situation turns to one of affliction, showing that there is no real comfort this side of heaven. Pharoah, jealous of the Hebrew prosperity is enraged, and at the point when his rage is greatest the deliverer is born. Men may propose but God disposes. The situation is never so dark that God cannot work good for his people. Let us look now at Moses. We see the rule of faith, the reward of faith, the result of faith.

I The Rule of Faith

Moses’ parents although from the violent and cursed line of Levi are godly people. They are later identified as Amram and Jochabed. Their three children are Aaron, Moses, and Miriam. The best commentary we have on Moses’ infancy outside of Exodus is found in Hebrews 11:23. Most of us know the story of Moses being hidden for three months, and then being placed in an ark of bulrushes and being found by Pharoah's daughter. But Hebrews 11:23 places the emphasis on the faith of Moses’ parents, By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. This was not simply an act of parental love. Hebrews tells us that Amram and Jochabed saw he was no ordinary child. Though the Greek word means beautiful or well formed, the context here makes it very clear that they saw more than a beautiful baby; they saw something special and that something was that he was remarkable, and they connected this to God's promise. You see in Hebrews 11 all the acts of faith are described in verse 39 and 40 as resting in God’s promise, These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. What we see here then, is not simply parental affection, but a sense of destiny because of God's promises. Perhaps this is even connected to the Messianic hope which was nurtured in Jewish parents hearts. The important thing is they acted in faith and did not fear Pharoah because they feared God more. Sometimes there are hard things we need to do in life with respect to our children, but God urges us to act in faith in his Word and promises, and not to follow the world. Many years ago a small Jewish boy asked his father, "Why must we surrender our Jewish faith and start to attend Lutheran services here in Germany?” The father replied, "Son, we must abandon our faith so that people will accept us and support our business adventures!" The young lad never got over his disappointment and bitterness. He went to England to study at the British museum where he formed his philosophies for life. He wrote a book that changed the world called, "The Communist Manifesto.” The name of that little boy was Karl Marx. He influenced billions into a stream that for 70 years ruined, imprisoned and confused many lives. Without godly faith, all of us are subject to distortions in our perspectives. Martin Luther reminds us, “God our father has made all things depend on faith so that whoever has faith will have everything, and whoever does not have faith will have nothing.” Suppose Amram and Jochabed had stood at the edge of the river and said we can’t do this. We don’t know the outcome. Either believe God up to the hilt, or else do not believe at all. Believe this book of God, every letter of it, or else reject it. There is no logical standing place between the two. Be satisfied with nothing less than a faith that swims in the deeps of divine revelation; a faith that paddles about the edge of the water is poor faith at best. it is little better than a dry-land faith, and is not good for much. I cannot, but God can; “Oh, balm for all my care! the burden that I drop his hand will lift and bear.”

II The Reward of Faith

The reward is that we are not alone. When we act on God's promises he is pleased to providentially order events in such a way that it not only accomplishes His purposes but it blesses us. Who would have predicted that Pharoah's daughter would discover the baby floating in the Nile, or that she would be moved with compassion, or that Moses sister who was standing there to see what would happen would be asked to find a nurse and of course she would go and get her mother so that Moses’ mother would continue to care for him? But we read in 2:2-8, When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him. Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the river bank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her slave girl to get it. She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. “This is one of the Hebrew babies,” she said. Then his sister asked Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?” “Yes, go,” she answered. And the girl went and got the baby’s mother. So at a time when the child is most exposed to danger God is caring for him in a completely remarkable way. Oftentimes our failure to do the right thing is caused by our view of the results. Moses’ parents could have contemplated all sorts of bad scenarios resulting from their actions but they believed and trusted God and left the results to him which was rewarded by God's providential provision. Let us look a moment longer at this act of faith. First of all we are not told Pharoah's name or his daughter's name and historians speculate. By contrast God identifies the Hebrew midwives who protected their people in 1:15-17, The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, “When you help the Hebrew women in childbirth and observe them on the delivery stool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.” The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live. This gives us a sense of God's valuation. things that little people do can become big in God's work. Moses’ parents reckoned completely on God in opposing the edict of the great king of Egypt. Only God could take care of the baby. During his years as premier of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev denounced the policies and atrocities of Joseph Stalin. Once, he censured Stalin in a public meeting, and was interrupted by a shout from a heckler. “You were one of Stalin’s colleagues. Why didn’t you stop him?” “Who said that?” roared Khrushchev. An agonizing silence followed as nobody in the room dared move a muscle. Then Khrushchev replied quietly, “Now you know why.” Eddie Rickenbacher was a pilot in the First World War. He nearly died many times. After the war he was involved in auto racing in indianapolis. In 1941 he almost died in a commercial airplane accident. He was trapped for hours. He went on many missions in World War II, and on a mission for General McArthur his plane had to ditch in the Pacific in a Japanese controlled area and they were adrift for 24 days without supplies. He said, “Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do. there can be no courage unless you’re scared.” Moses’ parents waited for God to work. after they had done everything they could they trusted their precious package to God. When we have done our best in every task, in any situation, in any circumstance we can wait and see that God is in control. God's will is going to be accomplished eventually. Here a thousand details could be constructed to explain how all the circumstances contrived together to bring Moses to the safety of Pharoah's house.

III The Result of Faith

The result of faith was the production of a unique leader for God's people. In the safety of Pharoah's palace Moses was instructed in all the learning of Egypt. This is stated by the first Christian martyr Stephen in his defense before the Sanhedrin in Acts 7:22, and he adds that Moses was powerful in speech and in action. We shall return to that text later because of the question it raises about Moses hesitation to speak for the Lord, but there is no question that as his life unfolded he was mighty in speech and action because, in part, he had been well prepared through God's providence. We are also told in Hebrews 11 that when he was come to years Moses refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter and chose rather to suffer affliction with his own people. Faith chooses. As Amram and Jochabed chose to save their child, now Moses chose the hard way. This is faith. C. S. Lewis writes, “When the author walks onto the stage, the play is over. God is going to invade, all right; but what is the good of saying you are on his side then, when you see the whole natural universe melting away like a dream and something else comes crashing in? This time it will be God without disguise; something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love or irresistible horror into every creature. It will be too late then to choose your side. That will not be the time for choosing; it will be the time when we discover which side we really have chosen, whether we realized it before or not. Now, today, this moment, is our chance to choose the right side.” As the next episode in Moses life indicates, he knew of his origins. We are told he went out where his own people were in Exodus 2:11 and 12, One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. Glancing this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. Clearly his being raised as a prince in Pharoah's house did not make him forget his own people. Thus while he acquired much that was good from his sojourn in the palace, he did not fall prey to the bad things. God kept him. The result of Moses’ parents faith was Moses’ faith. Under similar circumstances many of us would have said all is lost. If his parents are not there with him then how could he possibly turn out all right. Now i am not suggesting that we shouldn't take every opportunity to train our children in the way of the Lord. The Bible is clear on that in Deuteronomy 6:6 and 7, These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. However, if we can't be there for children or if we fail our children, all is not lost. Our God is a sovereign God and this is the most basic truth of our existence. We must decide and trust as Moses’ parents did and as he did. The godly choice will always bring blessing in the end. As John Oxenham wrote “To every man there openeth a way, and ways, and a way. and some men climb the high way, and some men grope below, and in between on the misty flats the rest drift to and fro. And to every man there openeth a high way and a low; and every man decideth which way his soul shall go.” God honors the faith that trusts Him. He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think if only we do not leave him out of the picture.