V. 10, true separation.
v. 21, moses' twittering wife. Also, contentment.
v. 23, political hope
Edersheim introduces this chapter of history with: "To the attentive reader of Scripture it will not seem strange-only remarkable-that the very measure which Pharaoh had taken for the destruction of Israel eventually led to their deliverance. Had it not been for the command to cast the Hebrew children into the river, Moses would not have been rescued by Pharaoh's daughter, nor trained in all the wisdom of 'Egypt to fit him for his calling. Yet all throughout, this marvelous story pursues a natural course; that is, natural in its progress, but supernatural in its purpose and results." OT Bible History, pg. 35.
Thus, if Pharaoh had not commanded that all Hebrew babies be cast into the river, Moses would not have been here for Pharaoh's daughter to find.
As we live in an extremely evil day, a day in which evil men are seeking to overthrow God and apparently succeeding, we gain a tremendous amount of hope from these couple of chapters in Exodus. These chapters show us that even though evil men appear to be establishing the course of history, it is actually God controlling all events by His Divine Providence and according to His supernatural purpose.
Exodus 2 shows us that even out of the most hideous of evil, the killing of innocent babies, the mighty hand of God prevails. Out of this evil comes the one whom God will use to destroy the power of the world, give His law through, and lay the basic foundation for the conquering of Canaan. At the peak of the world's power, deliverance comes in the form of a baby, Moses. At the peak of the world's power, deliverance comes in the form of a baby, Christ.
Psalms 2 invites God's people to join with Him in His laughter at the futile efforts of the wicked to overthrow His law. Why does He laugh and invite us to join with Him? Ps. 76:10 Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shall thou restrain. He laughs and we can also laugh at the efforts of evil men against the Lord and His Christ, as well as their efforts against the people of God, because their evil efforts are working His divine plan.
Exodus 2 shows us that all the wisdom of the modern world, collected together and directed against the people of God, will be used against them; it will be their undoing, their destruction when His time is right.
V. 1, "Moses was a Levite, both by father and mother. Jacob left Levi under marks of disgrace (Gen. xlix. 5); and yet, soon after, Moses appears a descendant from him, that he might typify Christ, who became in the likeness of sinful flesh and was made a curse for us. M.H."
To me this is a tremendous fact. Simeon and Levi digged down the wall of Shechem in order to kill all the males and pillage the city. As a result, and many years latter, their father placed a curse upon their anger. Now in Exodus we see Israel in the Egyptian iron furnace of bondage. Who does the Lord raise up to deliver them? A son of Levi. M.H. clearly makes the connection with Christ, so we will mention some other points.
1. God's miraculous deliverance starts with a very common statement of marriage and the birth of a son. This is something that had been going on since Adam and Eve, yet we see in this very common occurrence, the seed of a earth shaking happening: the birth of a man who will be more closely identified with our God than any man before or since, Moses.
As we read Biblical history, we see the Divine Providence of God in all events. God takes normal everyday events and turns them into world changing action as He did here with the birth of a baby. Throughout the word of God, we are continually confronted with the sovereign grace of God. He uses whom He will, when He will. Furthermore, God uses the most unlikely of persons. God used a son of a man (Levi) who was captive to his sin of cruel wrath, to destroy the power of the world from over His people.
Man desires to see some great earthshaking event, such as the giving of the law at the mount, but that world-shattering event started here in v.1. Then as these two were faithful in this small area, 80 years latter the earth shook. We cannot understand God's purposes and workings because they include every atom of creation. And as Creator of all creation, all of His actions are just and righteous. This included the killing of the babies here in Egypt. (Question: Was this killing God's judgment against Israel for adopting the ways of the Egyptians?)
Here was Egypt in all of its depravity and Israel after many generations had become a part of Egypt, forgetting God and His covenant-promise. Now the Lord through the Egyptians forces the Hebrews to recognize that they are different. And finally, well after Moses' birth, the Hebrews turn to their God, call upon Him and He answers.
2. Where sin does abound, grace does much more abound. I do not know how the dispensational crowd can miss this point, but they can. They feel that the power of sin in the world is so strong that the grace of God cannot conquer it. The result is that they are firmly convinced that the Lord must come back with a sword and reign literally with that sword in order to physically force men to submit to Him. The whole theme of the word of God, from Gen 1 through Rev 22 is that the Lord can and will conquer the whole earth by His Spirit of Grace.
3. No matter where we open Holy Scripture, we are confronted with the fact that God uses the wrath of man to praise Himself, Ps. 76:10. The Lord uses a descendant of one of the two most wrathful men of the descendants of Jacob to praise Himself.
4. Another interesting point here: Levi received a curse from his dad for his anger, yet the Lord turned that curse into His glory. Moses fell to the sin of anger, ie., he struck the rock. Obviously, watch out for the weaknesses of our parents. That particular sin will be an especial battle for us; it was for Moses.
5. Finally, when we read the curse which Israel placed upon Simeon and Levi, we have not the slightest hint of one of their descendants being used to destroy the power of the known world of their day. The prophecy itself is a curse in the eyes of man, ie., scattered among Israel. This scattering would destroy the power of these two tribes. Again we are confronted with this prevalent fact from the word of God: God does not use numbers; God is not bound by numbers to do His mighty works.
As we check the prophecy, it would appear that Judah would produce the man to break the power of Egypt. Now, Judah did break the power of this world, but it was 1500 years latter. Levi produced the man who brought the wisdom of the world to naught. It was Moses, a son of Levi, who received the curse for his sin, who confronted Egypt and gave the law of victory (cf. De 28ff.).
Conclusion for us:
What a promise! The Lord is in control; the Lord uses whom He will His wonders to perform; the Lord specializes in astounding the world with His failure to use the things which the world holds important, eg., rather than using the vast numbers of Israel under the leadership of Judah to destroy Egypt, He used two sons of Levi, Moses & Aaron. The Lord, by His mercy and through the power of His grace, uses the weakness of man His wonders to perform.
Exodus 2:1, these two married, and they had two children. The oldest was a daughter, Miriam and the younger, Aaron. Miriam was grown enough to watch for her baby brother, perhaps 15 years his senior, and she felt a responsibility for him for the rest of her life. In fact, she got into big trouble for this when she expressed her displeasure over Moses' new wife. Aaron was 3 at the time of Moses' birth, so evidently the command to kill all the boys was a recent one, because Moses' parents did not have to hide Aaron.
V. 2, 3, shows us that every Hebrew parent was faced with a very difficult decision. Would they obey the state and sacrifice their sons to the state by casting them into the river, or would they attempt to save them?
Joseph Parker says here: "She [Moses' mother] could not have laid it so courageously upon the Nile,if she had not first devoutly laid it upon the care and love of God. We are often surprised at the outward calmness of men who are called upon to do unpleasant and most trying deeds; but could we have seen them in secret we should have known the moral preparation which they underwent before coming out to be seen of men. Be right in the sanctuary, if you would be right in the market-place. Be steadfast in prayer, if you would be calm in affliction. Start your race from the throne of God itself, if you would run well, and win the prize."
We also see from the command of the king to kill the baby boys that abortion was routine in antiquity; it was a common means of population control, especially when there was a threat that the increased population might be uncontrollable by the state. Killing the male babies was a requirement placed upon these Hebrew mothers; they are now faced with a decision: Would they kill their own children rather than let the Egyptians kill them? Would they surrender the child to the Egyptian infanticide, as Bob McCurry calls this? Would they take steps to hide their children at the risk of their lives? And probably many Hebrews did kill their own children or allowed them to be killed at birth.
[Josephus here says that it is either kill their sons or the
parents would be killed if found out. He also adds that Pharaoh
had been warned by one of his sacred scribes that at about this
time a child would be born to the Hebrews who would bring down
Egypt and exalt Israel to a glory that would be remembered through
all ages. This was so feared by the king that he ordered all the
male children killed. This sounds just like what happened in Christ's
day. But the Sacred text says that the reason for the fear and
the king's decree was the massive growth of the nation to the
point of being strong enough to do their own thing, ie., leave
Furthermore, he identifies Amram as one of the nobler sort of the Hebrews, which would place him under closer watch by the Egyptians. Josephus' account of the birth and hiding of Moses reads like fiction and legend.]
No doubt many did try to hide their children, but we only have a record of one who did: she hid him for 3 months before he became too big to hide any longer. Evidently there were inspections by the Egyptians and she could no longer hide the child.
Hebrews 11:23 reads: 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 commandments. This verse tells us a great deal about what took place in Exodus 2:2, 3.
1. Parents, indicates that Amram did have a part in the hiding of Moses, although we are not told what part he played.
2. What his parents did was by faith. Josephus attributes the action of Moses' parents to a vision in the night which was given to Amram, as well as the ark being his idea, & c. Heb. 11:23, speaks against any kind of supernatural intervention (eg., a vision) into the lives of Moses' patents other than Divine Providence. What they did was by faith, but faith that is seen is not faith, Romans 8:24. They saw something in their baby which caused them to feel special about him, but was it anything that other parents lacked in their feelings toward their children?
The difference was that Moses' parents took action; they acted upon their faith, they did what they could and left the results in the hands of the Lord. They put feet to their hopes.
3. They were not afraid of the king's commandments. This alone would exclude a very large portion of Christianity today. Maybe because they do not know the word of God, maybe because they do not know God, whatever the reason, most Christians would knuckle under to the command, and quote: "Render unto Caesar.."
Lenny Houston called me last night, 2/18/92, and said that his girlfriend's pastor told her that he would remove her from the church if she got married without a state marriage license; they would consider her living in fornication. The pastor quoted "Render unto Caesar.." to Lenny when Lenny confronted him with what they were going to do to her. Lenny then told the pastor that his family or his children did not belong to Caesar. The pastor had no response. This shows the modern mentality of "Christianity." They are afraid of the king's commandments; they do not fear God.
Exodus 1:17, because the midwives were not afraid of the kings command, they feared God and kept the babies alive contrary to the king's command, that Moses was spared at birth. Then Moses' parents were not afraid of the kings commandments and hid Moses contrary to the king's command, Heb 11:23.
It is an interesting coincidence that Exodus 1 closes with the command for the parents to cast their new-born sons into the River Nile. According to Edersheim, the Egyptians worshipped the Nile as a god, pg. 37. Thus, the command of the king was to sacrifice the Israelite sons to the god of the Egyptians, ie., the Nile.
I have no doubt that the 'pious' crowd of our day, TV Preachers and their likes and followers, would kill their children if the state told them to. They kill them with a fate worse than death by sending them to the state schools; thus sacrificing them to the state. As a whole, people fear the king's commandments far more than they fear God.
4. (this point is out of my study in Heb, 1988. See pgs. 50ff for a further treatment of this. It is parallel to what I have here.) Moses' parent DID NOT turn him over to Egypt willingly and by faith believe that God would take care of him. They were forced to either cast him upon the mercy of God upon the river in hopes that someone in Pharaoh's house would find him or lose him to death.
His parents were between the devil and the deep blue sea. They were between casting Moses upon the river at the mercy of the world or death. In a word: We cannot cast our children to the mercy of the world and expect God to take care of them as He did Moses. His parents had no choice. We do. Only as we are faithful for God to the very best of our abilities with our children in training them for God can we expect God to work.
Because the midwives and one set of parents feared God more than they did the king, one child was permitted by God to live. No doubt this child was seen as only one, therefore, no threat to Egypt as long as he was kept under their watchful care.
V. 3, shows us that faith requires action; without action Moses would no doubt have been destroyed. How many Israelites said, "I have faith that God will protect my chile," then took no action? The result would have been death to the child. Then they would have said, "God did not honour my faith," or, "It was in the hands of God that He took my child." No! In these cases the death of the baby would have been the parents fault. Moses shows us that every step must be taken that is possible, then the results left in God's hands.
By being involved in the upcoming elections for 92, I am hostile, maybe a little sinful, toward the pastors and Christians in this area: they will not take any kind of a stand. No doubt they say, "God will take care of us, if we perish we perish." This is presumption as much as Moses' parents would have been in presumption if they had stopped their efforts to save him after the three months.
Josephus identifies this princess as THERMUTHIS, which means 'the great mother.' She held a very high and religious possession in Egypt, with her own palace and household. The Nile was worshiped as coming from Osirus, the god of Egypt and was considered 'Life giving.' The daughter of Pharaoh bathed ritually in the Nile in this area because it was free of crocodiles. This fact would have been known to all the Hebrews, including Moses' mother. Therefore, she made preparation to place the baby where she would find him, ie., in the flags by the river bank. She did not cast her son upon the river to float by (as Josephus says), but made plans to place him where she was confident Pharaoh's daughter would see him.
V. 3, bulrushes. This was a sturdy reed which was even used to make ocean going vessels.
Moses' mother placed this 3 month old baby in this small boat which she had acquired among the flags along the river so it would not float downstream. She knew the princess would come to this location in her ritual.
This word ARK is only used in two places in the OT; Noah and Moses. In both cases it is used: 1. in reference to a very dramatic step in God's plan of salvation and judgment against the world, 2. to protect God's people in the time of His judgment against sin.
V. 4, Moses' mother had faith, but she also had extremely good common sense; she left the babies sister to watch out for his safety. Again we see that this faithful woman did all she could; she did not just cast her child upon the protective hands of the Lord and say, "Whatever will be, will be."
Referring to Joseph Parker again: "Society needs watchers as well as workers." Moses' sister appeared idle, doing nothing, but she was doing everything. She stood far off, yet was close at hand. Also, there is a time to look and watch; there is a time to act and speak. May we have the grace to know the difference in our lives.
We should be extremely cautious about judging appearances. This girl's appearance was one of idleness, but she was holding the fate of a nation in her hands.
Another point Parker makes under v. 9, fits here. "Does any one really know what work he is doing in all its scope and meaning?" And the answer is, No! All we can do is our best at what we have to do.
V. 5, the babies mother has done all she could, now Divine Providence takes over. The hand of God brings the Princess, Pharaoh's daughter, to the spot where the baby lies.
V. 6, we are told that the princess recognized that this abandon baby was a Hebrew and had compassion on him. Here we see that this baby's Hebrew origin is acknowledged, but he is still made a member of Pharaoh's household with a religious name, Moses.
Interesting! Evidently Moses' mother was the first one to try this method of saving her son. The rest of the sons either had been drown in the Nile, or hidden in another manner. Jochebed had prepared her son to be discovered during a religious ritual of the Egyptians. For the Nile to yield a male child during a religious ritual would be seen as a very happy omen. The princess would be very protective of him.
Previous to our modern day of secularization of society, everything had a religious significance. The religious significance concerning Moses and the Nile was so compelling that Pharaoh permitted his orders to be violated, and a Hebrew male baby be kept alive.
The hand of God's Divine Providence is at work even in the midst of the bast laid plans of the wisdom of this world.
reviewed-added to, February 20, 1992
Vs. 7-9, Moses' mother had done all she could to preserve him, then she committed him into the hands of the Lord. Here she receives him back to herself alive which not unlike what Abraham did with his son Isaac. The requirement placed upon every parent is to all they can according to the word of God, be faithful, and commit the child to the hands of the Lord.
As we look at Scriptures, we see a consistent principle of letting go of the child and casting him upon the Providence of a Merciful God: Samuel, Isaac, &c. This principle not only applies to our most prized possession, but it applies to every possession.
I know parents who refused to die to their child; they refused to take the best path for their children because they did not want to be separated from them. Now they are separated from that child permanent as the child serves the world, flesh, and the devil. I advised them to turn lose of their child, but they refused. Now they have had to turn lose, and the child is not worth a flip.
On the other hand, we turned lose of Jessica in 90 when we encouraged her to go to Mack Ford's for the summer. The Lord gave her back to us alive and well, and she has only improved as time goes along. The separation was a "near death experience," but the life which came out of it is well worth any separation.
I would think that it would have been obvious to the princess what was going on when Merium appeared; she knew who the woman was who was fetched to care for Moses, but her superstition overruled her good sense. "After all, did not my god, the river Nile, give me this child? What do we have to fear from the Hebrews?"
Exodus 2:10, we see that Moses' name was given to him by Pharaoh's daughter. The Egyptian name for water as Mo. Those who were saved out of it were called Uses. These two names are combined into Moses - saved out of water. Moses' name is a clear statement by the princess that her god, the Nile River, provided her with a son. Pharaoh's acceptance of Moses, a Hebrew baby, would also say that he too believed that the Nile god had provided a son for his daughter.
This gives us another interesting point: The state's superstitious religion required that all male children be sacrificed to itself, yet God turns that very superstition against the state to its own destruction. We are seeing this take place today as the state demands all children be sacrificed to its god of humanism, the state schools. Their demand is leading to the destruction of the state which is making the demand; they can not educate the children based upon humanism.
He. 11:24-26. Josephus points out that Moses was groomed to be the heir to the throne. The princess was the only child of the king of Egypt, and for whatever reason, she had no children. The adoption of Moses made him the next heir to the throne. This is what Paul hints at in He. 11:24-26. He says that Moses had his hands on all the treasures of Egypt, yet he turned his back upon them for the cause of Christ and the future reward in Him.
The age of weaning a child was commonly about three, and this was probably the case here. We would suppose that the princess kept contact with Moses' mother for this period of time, then the child became her son.
Her son would be educated in everything pertaining to Egypt, because he was the future king of Egypt. His training would include everything that was known in the civilized world of his day, astrology, mathematics, language, pagan theology which reflected their belief that the king was a living god.
Egypt was not some backward civilization at this time. They built the pyramids which modern man still cannot duplicate. The laws of math, science, geology, astronomy and physics that went into their construction was lost and has yet to be rediscovered. Even yet today, everything discovered about the Great Pyramid is totally astounding.
Moses was born to his people in a time of deadly persecution. In his rearing he was a prince of Egypt with everything his heart could desire. The Lord had a purpose in raising up and training Moses in this manner, or He would not have developed Moses like this. The adoption of Moses by the princess of Egypt would have separated Moses from both Israel and Egypt; he was neither. Although a Hebrew by birth, he was an Egyptian by his 40 year training. Although an Egyptian by training, he was a Hebrew by birth.
I would say that there were several reasons for the Divine Providence of God separating Moses from both Israel and Egypt.
1. Moses could depend on neither for support; therefore, he had to depend upon the Lord.
2. Moses' allegiance would be to neither; his allegiance would have to be to the Lord.
3. The fact that he was neither Hebrew or Egyptian was used against him by both nations, ie., at times both were against him. Moses was made painfully aware of this fact; therefore, after fleeing for his life from Egypt, he did not go back on his own. The Lord had to force him to go back to Egypt. Moses had to see God's command to return in writing; he saw it is the fire.
4. He knew the ways of Egypt; Pharaoh would not pull any fast ones when confronted by Moses. The power breaking plagues which the Lord was going to perform against Egypt were not helter-skelter; each and every one would have a tremendous religious significance to it, understood by Moses.
The Lord systematically destroyed the most prosperous and mighty nation of antiquity with someone trained up in all its ways.
5. The more Moses submitted to and followed the Lord, the more enemies he made in both Egypt and Israel.
As an added comment we might say, "Woe to those who are accepted by and are at peace with both sides; the world and the church."
As we look at the above list, it is obvious why the Lord separated Moses as He did, making him neither Egyptian nor Hebrew. The application for His servants today is equally obvious. Moses' separation from both of his peoples was, no doubt, painful. When the providence of the Lord separates His servants today from their people it is equally painful. But the separation is needed if the man, woman, or young person is going to be an effective servant of God. The painful separation is needed to make the individual dependant upon the Lord; the more complete that separation, the closer the servant must draw to the Lord. God made Moses' separation complete so he had to depend completely upon the Lord. As we follow through, the Lord did bring men into Moses' life who could and did instruct him (eg., his father-in-law), but, on a whole, his only encouragement and instruction was from the Lord.
I would also say that Joshua was an encouragement to him. Out of the millions of people, it is sad that only one person was raised up faithful to the Lord and to God's man, Moses.
As His servants go through life today, the Lord must periodically remind them that they are separate. This reminder is, at times, painful, but it is needed to keep them dependant upon the Lord.
An extremely important point here is that separation is a positive, not a negative; separation is to the Lord not from something or someone. And the more that we are separated to the Lord (called Sanctification), the more we will be separated from people; the more they will see us as not being part of them. We cannot have both unity with people and unity with the Lord.
I am reminded of a pyramid type of a triangle. The Lord is at the apex and we are scattered all around the bottom. If we try to unite closely together around the base of the pyramid, we are not separated unto the Lord. As we separate to God we move up toward the apex. As we move up we are drawn closer to others who are moving up toward the Lord at the apex. In this illustration our goal must not be to separate from the people and things scattered around the base of the pyramid, but our goal must be to separate toward the Lord at the top. As we do this kind of separation, our tie is strengthened to the Lord, our tie to man will weakened, but our tie to others who have the same goals and motives will be strengthened. Loyalty to Him is the priority, but there may be others with the same loyalty which the Lord will bring into our path.
I believe that because separation is preached as separation from the people and things scattered around the base of the pyramid rather than to the Lord at the top, most people fall away when the preaching is not present. If the motive and message of our preaching is to separate people to the Lord, then the Spirit of God can and will do the separation of the individual.
This is what happened with Moses. And the greater the work, the greater is this separation. At times this separation may be painful, but the results are glorious.
One last point. It was the providence of God that brought about this painful separation from the two people, Hebrews and Egyptians, which he loved. This separation was out of Moses' control. He did not chose to be separated at his birth, nor did he actually chose separation when he had to flee.
February 21, 1992
V. 11, continuing on in the vein of separation. This verse tells us several things:
1. He saw their burdens. How often do we look at those around us and never see their burdens.
2. Unto his brethren.. Moses was well aware that he was not a natural born Egyptian.
3. He loved his natural people, the Hebrews. He burned with indignation when he saw their oppression. Do we when we see or hear of the oppression of our brethren?
The indication here is that he did not think twice about what to do, although he did look around to see if any Egyptian was watching.
There is an interesting thought here. Moses was trained up in Pharaoh's house in all the best that Egypt had. He may have thought that this would exalt him in the eyes of the Hebrews, and if he would side with the Hebrews they would accept him as their leader.
The one verse in the OT which tells us what Moses did is very much to the point. We find far more about him, his motives, his parents and their motives in the NT. Therefore, we must trace these references to learn what the Lord has for us.
reviewed and added to, February 22, 1992
Hebrews 11:24-27 & Acts 7:25, gives us the information which we need. (The following is out of my study in Heb from 1988. I have extensively edited and added to it.)
In Acts 7 we have Stephen's defence before the high priest before he is stoned. Stephen traces Hebrew history from Abraham through Solomon. Why did Stephen thus restrict his time frame? I would suppose that his restriction is based upon the thoughts of his antagonists. They looked to Abraham as their father, thus their guarantee of Paradise. They looked to Solomon as the height of Israelite glory and power, so Stephen restricts his time frame to these Saints of their history.
Stephen, in Acts 6:9-15, was accused of speaking against the holy place (the temple), and against the law. V. 14 identifies his words against the temple as saying that the buildings will be destroyed by Jesus (70 AD). Furthermore, we see in this verse that they were defending the customs which they had developed out of the law of Moses, not the ten commandments themselves.
Stephen's message was identical to Christ's. In Matthew 23 & 24, He said that He would destroy the temple. In Matthew 15:1-14, He accused these evil men of replacing the law with custom. Christ told the scribes and Pharisees that they were hypocrites; they professed their love for the Lord with their mouth, yet they replaced the law of the Lord as given through Moses with their traditions. In v. 10, He called the multitude together and, in front of both the multitude and the religious leaders, He made a point of telling every one just exactly what they did. This really stirred the pot; he offended them, v. 12. Paul also spoke harshly against substituting tradition for the law, Col 2:8 & Gal 1:14
The accusers against Stephen prided themselves in their lineage to Abraham; they traced their law to Moses, and their temple to Solomon. Therefore, Stephen covers the time frame which was the pride of the Hebrews. Stephen attack all three of their false hopes in these areas. He used Jesus of Nazareth to destroy all their false faith.
Let's look at the Lord's record of Moses. In Acts 7:25, we see that Moses felt or knew that God was going to use him in a very special way. Where does he get this idea? Did God reveal this to him in a vision?
Without underestimating the Spirit of God and His Divine Providence which keeps hope alive in hopeless situations, I personally think this was passed down to him by his parents. They were so confident that God would use their children in a special way (Moses, Aaron, their sister Miriam), that they took their chances with the wrath of the king to hide Moses. Evidently this confidence was passed down to Moses. I would also suppose that Moses, after being adopted by Pharaoh's house, was not totally cut off from his parents. Furthermore, it is obvious that Pharaoh nor his daughter felt any threat from Moses or his Hebrew family.
Moses was confident that God was going to use him, yet he got in a hurry, Acts 7:19-30. How much like us. We feel like or are confident that God is going to use us and we go ahead. Moses had a lot of schooling to go through before God could use him. Joseph did the same.
I find it quite interesting. God was going to use him. As long as Moses was confident in this God could not. It took forty years for him to lose this self-confidence and self-esteem. When God did call him, the excuses which Moses used are quite interesting. Furthermore, Joseph was not used until he gave up all hope in God using him. Then God worked.
We see from Acts 7:21, 22, that he was adopted by Pharaoh's daughter and brought up in her house. He had all of the best training which the world of his day had to offer. He had all of the glories and pleasures which the world had to offer at his disposal.
Acts 7:23, gives several points worth pursuing.
1. It is significant that both Acts 7:23 and Heb. 11:24 emphasize how old Moses was when he made this choice. This was no emotional choice of a teenager. This was a choice of a mature man who knew exactly what he was doing. Let us mention, no doubt the age of accountability is much older than what we would think. I know of some upper teens who are incapable of making sound decisions apart from their emotions. Of course, they are still responsible.
2. It came into his heart.. Undoubtedly the Lord placed this in his heart. He had a desire to visit his people.
3. He knew that he was a Hebrew, and even though he had not mingled among them, he loved them.
4. Evidently he had not visited them before now. He had been sheltered from the harsh realities of what was going on with the Hebrews. Maybe Pharaoh's daughter had told him about what was taking place, and he had wished to see for himself, but his going had been restrained.
review and added to, February 25, 1992
V. 24, 25.
Moses had thought on this decision for some time. Maybe he had even dreamed of what he would do when he had the chance. This decision which Moses makes by faith was probably one of the greatest decisions ever in terms of the contrast.
Hebrews 11:25, Egypt offered all of the glories and pleasures of the then most powerful nation on earth. Pleasures of sin.. not necessarily involved in actual immorality and debauchery, although sinful things do have pleasure. Keep in mind the divination of sin: anything that is not done by faith, for the glory of God, Rom. 14:23.
On the one hand we have all of the ease, power and pleasure which money could buy. On the other we have object poverty, slavery. The contrast could not be greater. The wealth and privilege of a earthly ruler contrasted with the poverty of a downtrodden slave people. On one hand there are no cares except how to spend your time and wealth; on the other, the care is how to keep from starving to death and getting enough time to eat and sleep.
Moses could have stayed where he was, used his influence and maybe even have had an affect for good, but this was not good enough for the Lord.
Again, this was not a emotional decision. He was plenty old enough to know exactly the choice. Notice his choice.
Hebrews 11:26. Esteeming the reproach of Christ.. This appears to be a misplaced statement, but is it? This says that Moses saw Christ and understood the total of the repercussions before he made his decision to unite with the Hebrews. He was presented with a choice as well as the results of that choice: he could follow the Lord Jesus Christ and suffer the afflictions and reproach which God's people were suffering, or remain in Egypt and enjoy its pleasures.
In a word, Moses had no misgivings of how the Egyptians would treat him if he "switched sides." He well understood that he would be reduced to the slave status of the Hebrews if he chose Christ. He knew of Christ, the same as Abraham knew of Christ.
Let's digress several hundred years to Abraham, who's faith caused him to see Christ, Jn 8:56. This sighting of Christ caused him to act on the promise that God would provide the Messiah (deliverer) through his seed, and to believe that God would give them the land of Canaan. Abraham's faith in that promises caused him to offer up Isaac.
By faith he passed that promise on to Isaac. Isaac passed it on to Jacob. Jacob passed it on to Joseph. Joseph was so confident that God would fulfill the promise of the Messiah and that God would give them Canaan that he gave commandment concerning his bones; when they left they would take his body with them.
Many years later we see this confidence surface again in Moses. In spite of the fact that the people who have the promise are oppressed slaves, he is confident; that God will send the Messiah through them; God will deliver them from their oppression; God will give to them the land of Canaan. He is so confident that these slave people are on the winning side that he chooses to be identified with them in their slavery and oppression.
When he reached maturity, he goes out to visit them. He saw one suffering wrong and he defended the Hebrew. He full well knew what he was doing. He knew he would now be identified with the Hebrews and incur the wrath of the king, but his faith in the promise of God was stronger than his fear of the king; therefore, he chose to be identified on the side of the oppressed people, Acts 7:23, 24a.
This choice goes completely beyond all human wisdom and understanding. On one hand he has all of the glories, riches and treasures of Egypt at his command. On the other hand is poverty with a promise of future reward. Moses chose to be identified with the people of God who were in slavery and poverty; no doubt the greatest choice in history. WHY DID HE MAKE THAT CHOICE?
He saw Christ.
By faith he trusted in the promise which the children of Abraham had.
By faith he looked ahead to the future. Let me add, this choice did not stop with Moses. The choice is still valid today. Can we make it?
On one hand we have a group of people who are despised and rejected by the world, who are oppressed at every occasion by the world, who do not have the finances of the world.
On the other hand. The world's crowd seems to have all that one could desire. Ps. 37 and 73 give an excellent contrast of the two.
What a choice. But the oppressed group of people have the promise of greater reward laid up for them, Matthew 6.
We can chose the present pleasures or the future greater reward. Divine faith is required to chose the future greater reward. Hebrews 11:26, says that Moses turned his back on the pleasures which were in his possession for the future greater reward. Moses presents a tremendous challenge for every child of God. Can we accept this challenge?
No doubt he had it all planned out. He would identify himself with the slaves, children of Israel. He believed that the Hebrews would accept him, and that God would use him to help fulfill the promised deliverance and claim the promised land, Acts 7:25.
added to, February 27, 28, 1992
In mo file, jud.
Exodus 2:12, Moses has learned all that Egypt had to offer; now he starts his schooling under the mighty hand of God.
Let's pick up a point from vs. 11-17. There are three events in the couple of days covered in this passage which reveal a great amount about this unusual man, Moses.
1. The first event is in V. 11; he saw their burdens. Moses has been hidden from our view for 40 years; now he comes upon the scene with a genuine concern for others. These next few days are going to be very eventful for Moses. His personality is to help the oppressed and downtrodden; he easily identifies with the oppressed.
First, the problem is that Moses has been raised in Egypt and he knows not how to help the poor and abused; he helps in the way he has been trained in, ie., he kills the Egyptian who is abusing the Hebrew.
The world meets violence with more violence and the one who is the most violent is proclaimed the winner. This is the response we can expect from those trained in the very best which the world has to offer. Notice Pharaoh's response, v. 15. Pharaoh is not against violence toward the oppressed slaves (God's people); rather, he is against violence against his protected servants.
An ungodly state is not concerned, and might even encourage, violence against God's people, but any resistance or action against one of its faithful servants, even though that servant may be moving violently against the oppressed, will be met with the wrath of the state. Thus, the secular state is not against violence; it is against unauthorized violence. Violence must fit into its overall plan.
Furthermore, Moses saw his chance to show the slave people that he was on their side by killing the Egyptian; he thought that he could do this in secret from Egypt, that the Hebrews would keep his secret, and that they would accept his leadership. He knew (believed) that God was going to deliver them, and, to him, now was the time.
Second, Edersheim points out here that Moses was attempting to carry out spiritual ends by carnal means when he killed the oppressor. No one saw him except the one he was defending. Moses found this attempt to do spiritual work through carnal means quick and easy, but he also found God's curse against it. Again we are reminded that this is Egypt's method; the end justifies the means of obtaining that end. But, God will not permit His work to be done this way. Men may do a great work using carnal means, but is it of God?
Third, Moses was acting on moral principle, not a principle of race or nationality.
Moses' motives were right, but his method of carrying out his motives was wrong. I'm sure that he learned that might makes right in Egypt; you can accomplish what you want if you are strong enough to enforce your will. Moses learned the hard way the fallacy of the principle: might makes right.
What will it take for modern Christianity to learn that carnal worldly means of doing God's work has God's curse against it? Motives of service to God is not enough to claim the blessings of God upon our activity.
2. We get a further insight into Moses with the second event, 2:13: he tries to intervene when two Hebrews are contending with each other. Notice that this time Moses tried to reason with the one doing the wrong as he sided with the one being wronged, vs. 12, 13.
Exodus 2:14, those to whom he spoke knew exactly what he was trying to do: judge between right and wrong. He soon found out that 1. the israelites were not interested in proper judgement anymore than was Egypt. 2. the Israelites would have nothing to do with him; Israel would not allow him to come among them. He no doubt planned to join with the people of the promise by showing them that he also opposed their oppressors, but now they turn against him.
This is not at all the way he had it planned, but the providence of God had this all worked out. God had to cut him off from Egypt as well as show him the uselessness of human power and wisdom. "Did Moses expect to lead an insurrection with the 600,000 men of Israel and come out with armed might?" "Did Pharaoh see Moses as leading such an insurrection?"
Moses' righteous judgment
Exodus 2:13, 14, presents an important point. Moses knew in his heart between right and wrong, and he tried to judge accordingly. But he had not yet the law or the authority of God upon which to base his judgment. Therefore, he judged both matters, between the Egyptian and the Hebrew, then between the two Hebrews, based upon his personal opinion, not upon the law-word of God. The result was resistance on the part of the one he was trying to judge (the one was doing the wrong said, who made the a prince and a judge over us?).
Moses judged these first two times based upon his personal opinion. Even though his opinion was correct, he was judged; he had to flee for his life. When he returns forty years latter, he comes back as the most powerful judge ever to walk among men, other than Christ, and those who did not accept his judgment were under the wrath of God.
The question is raised, "What was the difference? Why is Moses judged by those around him even though he is trying to do right as a 40 year old man, yet 40 years latter all who stand against his judgment are under the wrath of God?" The difference is that the Lord God met Moses in the wilderness and commissioned him according to God's word. Moses returns in the name of the Lord with the Lord's authority; he judges in the name of the Lord according to the word of God. Thus, when Moses returns, rather than fleeing from Pharaoh, the Lord through Moses renders godly judgment against Pharaoh.
Keeping in mind this background with Moses, let's look at the Lord's words in Matthew 7:1, judge not that ye be not judged. Judgment of any action, right or wrong, apart from its comparison to God's law of righteousness, is judgment after the manner of this world; the one judging becomes the standard. This kind of judgment is dealt with by the Lord in John 7:24; He strictly forbids any and all judgment which is separated from the law of righteousness (cf. De 4:8; Ps 119:7, 62, 106, 138, 142, 160, 164). Righteous judgment examines every action, thought, and motive in the light of the law of God; anything less is establishing man as his own god, able to determine for himself between good and evil, Hebrews 4:12.
Moses, in Exodus 2:13, 14, judged properly (he said to him that did the wrong), but in that judgment Moses established himself and his Egyptian training as the standard; his judgment was not according to God's law because he did not know the law yet.
Furthermore, Moses thought he was doing right, and according to human reasoning and Egyptian education, he probably was; he was defending the oppressed with the human wisdom and understanding in which he had been well trained, Exodus 2:12-14. The point here is that no matter how good ones motives might be, the motive and action must be judged according to the law of God or we will be judged by God and man, Matthew 7:2 (cf. Mk 4:24; Lk 6:38). Clearly, Moses ignored the law of God, not knowing it; therefore, the Hebrews ignored the law in their conflict one with the other, and Moses was judged by them. We are commanded to judge righteous judgment according to the law of God, but we can only do so if we are living righteously, Matthew 7:3. If we are living righteously, then any judgement that might come back upon us must also be righteous judgment. Moses came back at the command of God, doing the will of God; therefore, he returned as a righteous man. Consequently, any who tried to judge him were judged by God. But this did not place Moses above judgment. God judged his disobedient servant when He prevented him from going into Canaan.
It is interesting that at this point the people were not crying out to God for deliverance or they would have accepted Moses' offer of help. Evidently, the bondage was bad but not yet bad enough for them to sincerely cry out to God for deliverance. (See further on this, Political Hope, v. 23.)
Moses flees, v. 15. He didn't fear the wrath of the king in his decision, but after the decision and action were made, the king found out where Moses' heart really was. Moses had to flee for his life. Sought to slay him... indicates that Moses was in a place of authority and the king feared that Moses could lead an insurrection, so the king made subtle plans to do away with Moses.
Let us mention that, although God was not in Moses' murder of the Egyptian, God used it for His glory. Moses was full of self-confidence and the Lord had to break that self-confidence. [Note that our society both the "Christians" and the pagans are working extremely hard at building self-confidence in the population. What will the Lord have to do to break the self-confidence which they are working so hard to build?] If Moses had been patient, God would have used other means to train and prepare him to do this mighty work. My, how we need God's grace to tell the difference between self-confidence & God-confidence.
(Hebrews 11:27, contains an interesting statement: By faith he forsook Egypt.. The margin of my Bible gives Ex 10:29 & 12:37, for Heb 11:27, meaning that the verse in Hebrews refers to the second time Moses left Egypt. The authors I checked with identify the statement in Heb 11:27, with Moses' first fleeing from Egypt. The context of v. 27, falls before v. 28, and the passover which released the children of Israel from Egypt. I am more inclined to agree with the marginal reference which says that this statement refers to the second time Moses left Egypt. We are expressly told that the first time he left Egypt he feared for his life, Ex 2:14, 15. The second time Moses left Egypt he did so with a high hand; he went out with no fear of Pharaoh nor dread of what the king might do to him, even though the king was pursuing them, Ex. 14:8. The marginal reference to Exodus 2:14, is Hebrews 11:27; I wish the editors would make up their mind. Therefore, regardless of what I think, we must say that Heb 11:27, refers to the first time he fled Egypt.)
Moses had no doubt that God had called him and would preform a great deliverance for the Hebrews, as well as supply their every need. His confidence in the promised deliverance and provision of God caused him to endure all of the hardships which came with that deliverance.
Exodus 2:15, 16, Moses flees and we next see him stopped to rest at a well. The location is interesting. Abraham's servant found Isaac a wife at a well; when Jacob deceived his father and fled from the wrath of his brother, he stopped at a well where he met Racheal; Jacob had conflicts with the inhabitants of the land where he was living over wells, and he knew he had peace when he could dig wells with no conflict; Joseph was put in a dry well by his brothers before they sold him into slavery into Egypt; when David's spies fled from Absolom who had usurped the throne in Jerusalem, they were hidden in a well; and, of course, Christ preached one of His most powerful messages sitting on the side of a well, John 4.
We now come to the third event in Moses' life which gives us an insight into his personality, Exodus 2:17. For the third time within a short period of time, Moses again intervenes on the side of the ones being wronged; he stood for righteousness. Clearly, his personality is caring for the downtrodden and oppressed; judging between right and wrong, then doing something about it. He has not a mousy faith; he stands up for righteousness in the face of all odds and oppression; but, he is also judged for not bringing his personality under control.
Three times we are shown Moses' character; therefore, we can draw this conclusion. God uses people within their personality; but their personality must be sanctified. Moses was extremely tender toward the weak and oppressed, but his effort to help them had to be submitted to the Lord.
February 29, 1992
V. 15, Moses flees to Midian. Midian was a son of Abraham and Keturah, Gen 25.
V. 16, the priest of Midian's name was Reuel, the "friend of God." Latter, he is identified as Jethro, "excellency." Evidently he was the chief and priest of his clan of Midianites, and he worshiped the true God of Abraham.
V. 17, like Jacob of old, Moses found some women in distress at the well, and he helped them.
V. 18, the daughters returned home earlier that day than usual.
V. 19, their father asked them why, and they explained the situation to him. To all who saw his outward appearance, Moses was an Egyptian. God has a plan for Moses' life, but it will take 40 years to separate Moses from Egypt.
Observe: There are several interesting parallels between Moses' departure and Israel's forty years latter: in both cases it took the death of an Egyptian to get them to separate, Moses killed an Egyptian - God killed the Egyptian's firstborn; both Moses and Israel fled quickly after the Egyptian's death; it took 40 years to separate both Moses and the generation which came out of Egypt under Moses' leadership from Egypt; the forty years was spent aimlessly in the same wilderness of Sinai; both Moses and Israel had to be separated from their dependance upon Egypt; upon Moses' separation he took a bride - upon Israel's separation, God took Israel for His bride.
The hold of Egypt upon the individual is unbelievably strong requiring supernatural intervention by God to break. Notice though that the vast majority of God's people never made the break; rather they die in the wilderness. Only a small minority which came out of Egypt were able to enter into Canaan. Obviously, not all who died in the wilderness died because of the sin of unbelief because many were older when they left Egypt, therefore, could not outlive the 40 years in the wilderness.
As we observe Christianity around us today, we must come to the obvious conclusion that the vast majority never make the break from Egypt. Of all the lay people I know today, I would suppose that I only know one who is fully committed to following the Lord. I would think that we expect far too much from people too soon, or do we? The Lord expected Israel to separate from Egypt unto Himself, and He let them die because they would not make the separation.
V. 20, Reuel, the girls father, told his daughters to go get the man.
Observe: Good is rewarded with good. For the first time Moses' efforts at helping others is rewarded.
V. 21, good for good (v. 20) would be questionable with this verse; Moses was given Zipporah as his wife. Her name, Zipporah (fem of Zippor, bird, Num 22:2 - Zippor, Balak the son of Zippor..), gives us a sad insight into Moses' life in Midian. Bird's twitter and twitter; Moses' wife was a twittering nag. Evidently, she saw a nice handsome Egyptian at the well, strong and committed to right, so she set out to get him. She was on her good behavior until they were married, then it became evident that she was faithless. She got her husband, then the twittering truth came out. She became a menacing grief to Moses, so treacherous, in fact, that her unbelief almost cost him his life, Exodus 4:25. Furthermore, she had withstood his work for God so strongly that he had had to send her away. Only after the deliverance from Egypt when Jethro came to see the great things the Lord had done for them, was she permitted to return to her husband, Exodus 18:2, 3. But even then we hear nothing about her or the boys. Moses remarries. It looks like the Lord provided a good woman in his second wife for his faithful servant.
I am inclined to think that a reason for Moses not wanting to return to Egypt was because of the fight he knew he would have on his hands with his wife. Moses only stood up to his wife, obeyed the Lord, and went back to Egypt, after he wore out every excuse he could find before the Lord at the burning bush. This may well have been the first time that he had stood up to her. [Moses probably found it easier to stand against his wife than against the Lord. His desire not to confront his wife was overcome only after the Lord's anger was kindled against him, Ex. 4:14. He became more fearful of the Lord's anger than of his wife's.]
V. 21, Moses was content.. It does not say he was happy, only content. Let's study Scripture closely and not read more into this than what it says. In addition, it appears that he was with Reuel for some time before the marriage.
CONTENT: God's word emphatically teaches that only when we become content with where the providence of god has us can He begin to use us. Moses was content in a strange land separated from his people, with a twittering wife who did not have his faith, and a small inheritance. I am sure her unbelief did not surface until after they were married.
Furthermore, there is no record of Moses' looking back on all the great wealth and ease which he chose to depart from for the Lord. I'm afraid that, in Moses' place, each one of us would have looked back with longing to the tremendous (in the world's eyes) life-style we had turned our back on. We read of no such foolishness on Moses' part. In fact, when the Lord tried to send him back, he did not want to go. This is one reason that the Lord sent him back, i.e., he had turned his back and his heart from the pleasures of Egypt. Those pleasures held no more attraction upon him; his longing was for his people.
Moses was content... (2974): shew willingness, be pleased, determine, undertake to do anything (and do it), is take refuge with, escape, hasten to a place... Thus, Moses showed a willingness; Moses was determined to remain in this place even though he would have rather been with his people.
Content: Phil 4:11 (842): contented with one's lot, with one's means, though the slenderest. Content (714): to be possessed of unfailing strength; to be strong, to suffice, to be enough (as against any danger; hence to defend, ward of... grace is sufficient for thee, sc. to enable thee to bear the evil manfully; there is, therefore, no reason why thou shouldst ask for its removal, 2 Co 12:9.. Impersonally, 'tis enough for us, we are content, Jn. 14:8.. To be satisfied, contented: Lk 3:14; He 13:5; 1 Ti 6:8.
I have found in my own life that only as I am content with where the Lord has me can He do anything through me.
V. 22, the name of his first son would show that Moses was not happy; Gershom, A stranger here, but he circumcised this son showing his hope of returning to Egypt to deliver the people. Moses longing heart was still with Israel in Egypt, but he was content where he was even with the bird to whom he was married.
Did he just quietly go about his business of tending the sheep while his wife kept at him? I can just hear her now: "All you care about are those people back in Egypt. They are only slaves, and besides, what concern is it of yours now? Who do you think you are? I know you; you aren't worth anything. You serve a bloody God. There are better ways to make a living, and you have no business here. Your God won't help you when the times are rough. What makes you think you can stand against Pharaoh? Don't you care about me and the children?" Her twitter could go on and on, and probably did.
"[T]he second [son] he called Eliezer, "my God is help" (xviii. 4). Banished to a strange land, far from his brethren and the land of promise, Moses longs for his real home. Yet this feeling issues not in despondency, far less in disbelief or distrust. On the contrary, "the peaceable fruits of righteousness," springing from the "chastening" of God of my fathers," said he, "is mine help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh." The self-confidence and carnal zeal manifest in his early attempt to deliver his brethren in Egypt have been quenched in the land of his banishment, and in the school of sorrow. And the result of all he has suffered and learned has been absolute trustfulness in the God of his fathers, and the God of the promise, Who would surely fulfil His word. Edersheim, pg. 44."
The account of the circumcision of Moses' son in Ex 4:25, raises a difficult question: which son was this, Eliezer or Gershom? The only author which I found which dealt with this at all was Edersheim who identifies this son as Gershom, "of course."
But I suppose that my opinion is as good as any in this matter;
therefore, for several reasons, I am inclined to believe that
it was the second son which he failed to circumcise: 1) Would
Moses circumcise the second son and not the first if his hope
in the Lord, reflected in the name Eliezer [my God is help], had
been renewed? Would he not go back and circumcise the first in
obedience to God? 2) The reason Moses named the second son Eliezer
gives us a clue: for the God of my father was mine help, and delivered
me from the sword of Pharaoh. In other words, the reason Moses
named this second son "My God is an help" was because
he realized that God was the one who delivered him from the sword
of Pharaoh, and not because he had a strong confidence in the
covenant-promise of God. 3) Moses' reluctance at the bush shows
us that he had no hope. Whenever God's people laid aside their
faith in the covenant, they also laid aside the rite of circumcision.
3) Finally, observe the problem with the fallen nature. Confidence
starts off great, then it dwindles without intervention by the
Spirit of God. This intervention did not take place in Moses until
the bush. (See my notes in chapter 4. Also, I placed this argument
in the MO and in ch 4)
Observe three things about Moses which are being dealt with by Divine Providence in Midian. 1. Moses' character and personality was "soft"; that is to say, he was one that could easily identify with others. 2. He was rash, and easily swayed to a cause, especially the cause of the oppressed. 3. Moses had had tremendous self-confidence when he killed the Egyptian and stood for the oppressed Israelite the next day.
Zipporah was the kind of woman Moses needed to force him to deal with his areas of weakness or the Lord would not have permitted the marriage: 1. Moses learned that his first responsibility was to the Lord (almost at the expense of his life at the inn). 2. Her constant twitter would have made him firmer in his concerns for Israel as she kept it continually before him. 3. Zipporah's continual barrage against Moses would have stripped away all self-confidence. He met the Lord at the bush with no self-confidence.
Through these long years, Moses' character was brought under control by the Lord, ie., Moses had to stand against his wife in order to obey the Lord.
Observe: The seemingly terrible, disquieting, difficult, lonely and beyond all control events which come into our lives are for a purpose. Moses did not find out the purpose of his having to flee from his people and the promise which they had, his marriage to a nagging wife, and his separation from all people in the wilderness, for 40 years. Moses' reaction at the bush shows that he had lost all hope, even though he was still longing to be with Israel.
Secondly: the hopeless situation in which we find ourselves by the Providence of God may not have an answer for a great many years, if at all.
Lastly: how many men have been prevented from doing the Lord's will because they could not tolerate the continual nagging of their wives against the Lord's will for them? I am certain that we have lost some families because the husbands were not willing to put up with the twitter of their wives. Any place the word of God is proclaimed, the Spirit of God will deal with the wife (and husband) to take her proper place in her family and in society under God, which many women cannot tolerate.
March 3, (&13, 14) 1992
Exodus 2:23 ff, gives two immutable laws of God which the fallen nature resists with all its might: the false political hope of Israel in Egypt and faithless prayer. First, let us look at the false political hope of Israel.
In v. 23, the king that sought Moses' life dies, and, strangely enough, we now have the first record in the Book of Exodus of the people of God crying out to their God. Up to this point we have the record of the extremely bitter bondage (1:14; 2:11) in Egypt, including the command to kill all of the Hebrew's male babies from which Moses was spared by Divine Providence. The minium amount of time between the command to kill the babies and Moses' efforts to free Israel (2:11) is 40 years. The striking point which we want to look at is that Israel did not cry out to God during this 40 year period. We would think that, at the least, the murder of their babies by Egypt would cause them to groan and cry out to God, but it did not.
We find a clue as to the reason why Israel refused to turn to God earlier than they did in Keil's observation about the events in 2:23. He says: "This allusion to the complaints of the Israelites, in connection with the notice of the king's death, seems to imply that they hoped from some amelioration of their lot from the change of government; and that when they were disappointed, and groaned the more bitterly in consequence, they cried to God for help and deliverance. This is evident from the remark, "Their cry came up unto God," and is stated distinctly in Deut. xxvi. 7."
Thus, according to Keil, the oppressed people had hoped that a change of government would ease their lot. When their political hope did not materialize, they turned to the Lord and God was reminded of His covenant with their fathers.
1.) Although we see a dim spark of the true faith in the Sovereign God of the covenant in the midwives and in Moses' parents, as a whole, Israel had lost his faith and absorbed Egypt's (e.g., the willingness to build the golden calf under Aaron. place in EN Remember, Aaron had been in Egypt for the 40 years which Moses had been in the wilderness. Therefore, Moses had a 40 year head start on his older brother of having the gods of Egypt seperated from him.tohere). Israel's faith was pagainzed; his faith was in political change, ie., the state.
Faithlessness says, "If we can only get the state to return to godly principles [the Constitution!], we will be saved." The pagans spell relief, P-O-L-I-T-I-C-A-L. Fallen man will grasp at any hope for a workable social structure apart from a total commitment to the law-word of God; he desires to be responsible to any authority except God's, especially his own. Therefore, God's faithless people in Egypt tolerate a great deal of oppression because of their false faith in the state.
2.) The faithless people, Israel, foolishly looked to the state for relief from their oppression; they expected impossible reform from the top down.
Biblical faith demands that reform must be theological (ie., from the inside out, not political or social, from the outside in). Any child of God looking for relief from oppression through any means other than a theological shift in the people will be sadly disappointed, 2 Chronicles 7:14. In other words, godly civil government, no matter what form it takes (constitutional republic, democracy, theocracy, monarchy, oligarchy, &c.), requires Biblical faith in the subject people. Without this Biblical faith, every form of civil government, even a constitutional republic, will skimpily be another means of oppression (the Constitution will be no more than a document of oppression).
Observe that the antiabortion movement, as a whole, is not crying out for a theological shift in the people; rather, it is crying out for a political shift. Was it a political hope in God's people that prevented them from crying out to God when Egypt started killing the Hebrew babies?
Thus, it is readily apparent that any kind of political hope which replaces a theological hope is service to the fase gods of Egypt. It denies God.
3.) Only when Israel realized that their hope in a change of circumstances to ease their burdens was groundless did they cry out to their Lord. When their faith in the pagan gods of Egypt failed, then their faith in the God of the covenant was renewed; they cried out to the living God to deliver them. Notice 2:25; it was after they lost their faith in the pagan gods of Egypt and cried out to the God of the covenant that He knew them (marg.).
Now, let us look a little at faithless prayer.
1. The people prayed in Exodus 2:23 & 3:7-9. Apparently Israel's request centered around their suffering and desire to be released from that suffering, not necessarily from Egypt itself. We say this because of the way the people acted toward both God and Moses after they were delivered. When they get into the wilderness, it is apparent that their desire was to be released from suffering, trials, and difficulties in general. They expected a supernatural God to supply all their needs apart from self-discipline, obedience to the law of God, and hard work. It took a new generation to actually desire true freedom under God and to have the courage and ability to claim that freedom.
Thus, we can safely conclude that Israel in Egypt only wanted relief from their burdens. It was the terror of the taskmasters, not the desire to separate from Egypt (and sad to say, not particularly the killing of their babies), that caused Israel to cry out to God. In response to their cry, the Lord sent Moses to deliver them.
Observe: Prayer that seeks to influence God to our way of thinking or to do what we desire Him to do, is presumption to say the least. There are more than a few Scriptures which would seem to indicate that man can have great influence over God through prayer, but such thinking is little more than witchcraft.
2. Most assuredly, proper prayer reminds God of His promises, but it must also include the request for His Spirit to enable one to meet His conditions. In the case with Israel in Egypt, prayer moved God to fulfill His promises to their father, but Israel was still corrupted in their theology and the older generation had to die.
3. Proper prayer emphases God's will being done around, in, and through us. If God moves in response to prayer, prayer must be in response to God.
Evidently up until this time Israel was content in Egypt, but God's training of the nation and of Moses is complete, the wickedness of the Canaanites is full, and now it is time for them to go. What method does God use to get things moving? Prayer! In other words, the people in Egypt prayed because of the harsh treatment of the taskmasters. God moved in response to their prayer; therefore, God is the One Who raised up the harsh taskmasters causing Israel to pray. Prayer is not to change the plan, purpose, and/or will of God. Prayer must be for God to fulfill His plan and empower man to fulfill the purpose of God.
Let's not underestimate the fact that Israel had been in Egypt for several hundreds of years. They were close to being Egyptian in every way except by birth. The harshness of the taskmasters which caused the sorrows required to separate Egypt from Israel and Israel from Egypt would have been beyond our comprehension.
We did a mailing some time ago (Needed, Bitter Bondage) in which we presented the basic thought that God's people need bitter bondage and hard taskmasters to separate them from Egypt; the more Egyptianized they are, the more harsh treatment is needed. The glorious thing with Israel is that the sorrows which they had to endure for a season finally forced them to cry out to their God for deliverance. The result of their cry was the destruction of the world power (Egypt), their release from and spoiling of Egypt, and their inheritance of the promised land.
Personal observation: In the November '91's mailing we included a teaching on Coverture Marriage vs. Covenant and/or State lisenced marriage. The Indians Law Encyclopedia defines Marriage as a civil contract under the authority of the state: "The purpose of the statutory characterization of marriage as a civil contract is to place the subject of marriage under the control of the civil authorities to the exclusion of the ecclesiastical. Under this statute marriage is a status founded on contract and is an institution regulated and controlled by law [com, not God's] upon principles of public policy. Marriage has been further described as a contract in which the public is interested, and to which the State is a party. (pg. 328)" In other words, a state licensed marriage is actually a three party contract (the state, the bride, and the groom), which, by their own definition, specifically excludes God and His law; the terms of this contract are determined by public policy. Conversely, Coverture Marriage specifically makes God and His law the standard and the Third Party of the marriage at the exclusion of the state.
The reason we mention the position of the state on marriage is this: Within the last two months we have had three couples contact us to preform a non-state licensed marriage for them (one couple was over 150 miles away). All three couples attended professed Bible believing churches (one independent Baptist, two Reformed Presbyterian). When these couples went to their respective pastors to ask him to marry them without a state licence, the pastors refused. Not only did the pastors refuse to preform a non-state licensed marriage, but they refused to let the couples use their church buildings. Furthermore, two of the pastors (one Baptist, one Presbyterian) said they would excommunicate the couples if they married without the state's approval (state licence) because the couples would be living in fornication. When those involved met with their respective pastors to explain their Scriptural reasons for marrying without a state licence (the Baptist included the church board), all three pastors gave the same message either openly or covertly: they feared greatly of offending the state; they were not going to do anything which might disturb the king of Egypt.
What is our point? I am not condemning pastors who desires to represent the state in the marriage ceremony, nor am I condemning pastors who do not feel they should do a ceremony which excludes the state, nor am I condemning couples who desire that the state be the third party of their marriage. The point which has struck my heart like an arrow is the total terror of the state by so called "Bible Believing" churches and pastors. It is obvious to even a casual observer that the terror of the god of these churches and pastors is the king of Egypt regardless of what they say with their mouth (Mt 12:33).
The attachment to the king of Egypt assures of bitter bondage, affliction, oppression, persecution, and sorrow ahead for God's people. God will permit no other gods before Him, especially in His churches who are committed to serving the king of Egypt. God's judgment against Egypt's false gods must begin in the house of the Lord, so God's people had better flee from the wrath to come, 1 Peter 4:17; Matthew 3:7.
But the result of the bitter bondage and of the resulting prayer will be the fulfilling of the Lord's promise: And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do [this], saith the LORD of hosts (Mal 4:3), & Blessed [are] the meek: for they shall inherit the earth (Mat 5:5). The separation of Israel from Egypt and their claiming of Canaan outlines for all generations to follow how the inheritance spoken of by the Lord will be accomplished.
I feel sorry for the professed Christians who have not this hope in the God of the covenant. They serve a god who is unable to overcome the gods and powers of this world; gods which can only leave them in bitter bondage and sorrows. But, the bondage, taskmasters, and sorrows will force them to cry out to the Lord Who will move to fulfill His promises made to the saints of old in Malachi and in Matthew.
Exodus 3:10. The Lord heard the cry of His people; He remembers His covenant to their father and now He speaks to Moses. Note, I will send thee back..., the Lord is not asking Moses to go back on his own. The Lord also sends Moses to do a job, ie., bring forth my people. Furthermore, they were God's people, not Moses'. The Lord did not speak to send Moses back untill God was ready to deliver them and they were striped of all hope outside of the faith of Abraham.
In conclusion: I am fearful that a great many professed Christians are seeking relief in our time from the top down. "If only we can get the civil government to change, all will be OK." The situation with the Children of Israel in Egypt shows us that this is an impossible dream. Even more sever, it is worshiping the false gods of the Egyptian's which begs for God's judgment on both God's faithless people and on the Egyptians.
Any change other than a theological change in the people will only make matters worse, because the cry must be to the Lord, Deuteronomy 24:15; James 5:4. Any attempted change in any area other than a genuine theological change in the hearts of the people, will only bring more oppression; the godly purpose of oppression is to bring about theological change in the people. Furthermore, though we must work for a change in every area, our primary effort must be for the theological change in the covenant people. Release from bondage came when the covenant people cried out to the Lord, not when the king of Egypt got right with God.
Who do we look to for release from bondage and oppression? The kings and rulers of this world, or to the Lord of the saboth (James 4)? Do we see our hope in the king getting right with God or with His people getting right with God? Which option is according to the Word of God?
Ex 2:23, the people only cried unto the Lord when all else failed. What will have to fail today before the people will turn from the king of Egypt and genuinely cry out unto the Lord?
Looming over us daily is the prospect of a total collapse of the false gods of Egypt which are all around us. Sadly, only then will God's people turn to their God.
MO to here
Ex 2:24, takes place while Moses is in the desert. Their oppression causes them to cry out to the Lord and remind Him of His covenant promise. The Lord hears their cry and remembers what He had promised many years previously.
V. 25, He heard their cry; He remembered them. According to the reading of this verse, He did not hear nor remember them until they cried out to Him by reason of the bondage.
See MO from 88, Bitter Bondage. It is in BK 1 file.