March 22, 2019

A Story with Multiple Dramatic Twists: Moses Should Have Been Drowned, Not Adopted

Exodus 2

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The Birth of Moses

Now a man from the house of Levi went and took as his wife a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son, and when she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him three months. When she could hide him no longer, she took for him a basket made of bulrushes1 and daubed it with bitumen and pitch. She put the child in it and placed it among the reeds by the river bank. And his sister stood at a distance to know what would be done to him. Now the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her young women walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her servant woman, and she took it. When she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby was crying. She took pity on him and said, “This is one of the Hebrews' children.” Then his sister said to Pharaoh's daughter, “Shall I go and call you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?” And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, “Go.” So the girl went and called the child's mother. And 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 When the child grew older, she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, “Because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.”2

Moses Flees to Midian

11 One day, when Moses had grown up, he went out to his people and looked on their burdens, and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his people.3 12 He looked this way and that, and seeing no one, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. 13 When he went out the next day, behold, two Hebrews were struggling together. And he said to the man in the wrong, “Why do you strike your companion?” 14 He answered, “Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid, and thought, “Surely the thing is known.” 15 When Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and stayed in the land of Midian. And he sat down by a well.

16 Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came and drew water and filled the troughs to water their father's flock. 17 The shepherds came and drove them away, but Moses stood up and saved them, and watered their flock. 18 When they came home to their father Reuel, he said, “How is it that you have come home so soon today?” 19 They said, “An Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds and even drew water for us and watered the flock.” 20 He said to his daughters, “Then where is he? Why have you left the man? Call him, that he may eat bread.” 21 And Moses was content to dwell with the man, and he gave Moses his daughter Zipporah. 22 She gave birth to a son, and he called his name Gershom, for he said, “I have been a sojourner4 in a foreign land.”

God Hears Israel's Groaning

23 During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. 24 And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 God saw the people of Israel—and God knew.

Footnotes

[1] 2:3 Hebrew papyrus reeds
[2] 2:10 Moses sounds like the Hebrew for draw out
[3] 2:11 Hebrew brothers
[4] 2:22 Gershom sounds like the Hebrew for sojourner

A Story with Multiple Dramatic Twists: Moses Should Have Been Drowned, Not Adopted



Key Verse | Exodus 2:23-25

During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel—and God knew.

Bio | Tiara Jenkins

Born and raised in a small town in Missouri, I am now serving as Adjunct Faculty in the College of Fine Arts at Dallas Baptist University. I have a deep, incurable enjoyment of art, culture, and adventure. Being in community at Watermark has been a major blessing to me as I work and grow in the Dallas area. Christa, Liz, and Auburn keep me humble and on my toes. I am richly blessed by the Lord's faithfulness.

Central Truth

Before the climactic cry of the Hebrew people rose to the Lord, He had already been preparing a way of delivery. Through this we can see that God is faithful to His promises even when their execution spans multiple generations.

Devotional | Exodus 2

Every time I read a story of how God raised up a leader for His people, I am surprised by the unexpected plot twists and overwhelmed by God's wisdom and power. The story of Moses' birth and early life...

Every time I read a story of how God raised up a leader for His people, I am surprised by the unexpected plot twists and overwhelmed by God's wisdom and power. The story of Moses' birth and early life definitely showcases the Lord's ability to protect. I want to share with you a couple areas in this story that stand out to me.

1. Moses Was Hidden

This was an act of God's protection. It is really challenging to hide a young child. I currently work at a restaurant. When a party comes in with a baby or small child, it is impossible for the presence of the child not to be noticed. Even though they are so stinking cute, they wiggle, squirm, and eventually make noises. Sometimes, really loud noises. What Moses' mother, Jochebed, did was an incredible act of faith (Hebrews 11:23). She feared the Lord over Pharaoh's command, and the Lord protected Moses' life.

2. Moses Was Adopted, Then Flees

Shortly thereafter, Moses was adopted by Pharaoh's daughter. In Pharaoh's courts Moses would have been raised in all the wisdom of Egypt, which, at that time, was one of the most advanced scientific and academic societies. It seems a natural course of action that God would bring Moses to power within Pharaoh's courts and then use his position and power to free the Hebrews. However, as we read, a radically different plan unfolds. After killing the Egyptian, Moses had to flee into Midian.

3. The Lord Achieves Success

Reading about Moses' sojourn in the land of Midian radically shakes my normal expectations of how a person might achieve success. Moses was stripped of all the cultural markers that would have made him appear powerful: familial association with Pharaoh's house, possessions of an Egyptian leader, inside acceptance, and knowledge. In this place of dramatic cultural change, I believe the Lord was pursuing Moses' heart. I believe the Lord allowed Moses to be stripped of the Egyptian cultural accolades so that He could demonstrate His power to raise up a deliverer for the Hebrew people.

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Discussion Questions

1. What do you value in life? If you watch a person, you can tell what they value through their actions. They move toward objects, events, and people they perceive as valuable. Moses' mother valued his life and protected him. If you were to ask the people closest to you, what would they say you value?

2. Moses experienced a dramatic cultural shift when he was forced to flee from Egypt to Midian. Have you, or someone close to you, experienced a sudden change in life circumstances that pulled you away from the physical things you once trusted and drew you into a deeper relationship with Christ?

3. What are you doing with the burden of sin? "[T]he people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. . . . And God heard their groaning . . . ." (Exodus 2:23b-24a) This verse encourages my heart so much. I have tried to deal with sin issues on my own. But I couldn't break free. It is only through Jesus' precious blood that I have experienced true freedom. I want to invite you to cry out to God for help. He will respond to your cry.

7 Comments available

Sue Bohlin about 3 hours ago

Thanks, Tiara. Your choice of Key Verse reminds me of how important it is to note what Scripture means with certain words, despite what we think. God “remembering” His people in misery doesn’t mean, “Oh yeah! I suddenly remembered them,” it means “mindful of.” Just as He remembered Noah and his family and all the animals on the ark. He never forgot any of them!

I was struck by the interesting flipped parallel between Joseph starting out as a scruffy-looking Hebrew shepherd who eventually looked, acted, and spoke like an Egyptian prince, and Moses who grew up looking, acting and speaking like an Egyptian prince and ended up a scruffy shepherd. First of animals and then of Yahweh’s people.

Hope Harris about 3 hours ago

In response to question 2: 10 years ago God has uprooted me twice since surrendering my heart to Jesus. The first time was a radical amputation from LGBT community in Seattle to East Texas. (Not in my life plan)

Six years ago God moved me from East Texas to Dallas. None of this was even on my radar. If you had told me 12 years ago that I would be living where I do now and living the life I have now I would have told you were crazy.

I am thankful God’s plans are better than mine

Blake Holmes about 4 hours ago

Tiara - Thank you for your encouraging insights into today’s passage!

I completely agree with your comment:“It seems a natural course of action that God would bring Moses to power within Pharaoh’s courts and then use his position and power to free the Hebrews. However, as we read, a radically different plan unfolds.”

The Lord certainly works in mysterious ways, but just like He did in Moses’ life, I’ve seen His providential hand work for His glory and my good time and again.

Lindsey Driscoll about 4 hours ago

The end of this passage we see that God heard, remembered, looked, and was concerned for his people. Yet all the while he was preparing Moses. Yet, all the while he was preparing a rescuer for Israel. Yet, all the while he was preparing the rescue for all mankind. God still hears, remembers, looks on us, and is concerned for all his creation.

Hugh Stephenson about 5 hours ago

In reflection, I have seen God’s hand in my life in uncountable blessings. He promises me that He will never leave me. Many times, I felt like He had - but it’s easy for me look back and see He walked with me like He did with Jacob - even when Jacob wasn’t walking with Him. Only God could have that much patience.

My impatience and anger led me into every sin imaginable, yet, He continued to protect me. Only God could preserve my hope over so many lost decades.

In the final leg of the marathon he has shown me His purposes for me and unleashed my passion to know Him.

Uncountable blessings.

Hugh Stephenson about 5 hours ago

In this passage I see the sequence of promises, patience, protection, preservation, purpose and passion.

It’s easy for me to look back and see how God’s promises are being fulfilled in history. He is in the very details of Moses’s birth. Levi’s sins at Shechem causes his demotion but from his line comes Moses the law giver; even in a circuitous sequence of events of his birth. His mother was patient and trusted God even though she had no idea how Moses would be preserved and protected. How amazed must she have been when her daughter brought Moses back for her to nurse! Later his passion controls him as he kills the Egyptian and any purpose for him seems lost, (for now).

Michael Scaman 1 day ago

Pharaoh shows unrelenting harshness to the Jews and just at the right time God opens Pharaoh’s daughters heart toward the baby Moses.

And in a stunning turn of events big sis makes a gutsy child care proposal to the daughter of Pharaoh who pays her mother to care for her own baby.

Ex 2:10 She named him Moses, “Because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.” Ps 18:16 He drew me out of many waters

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