And a man of the house of Levi went and took as wife a daughter of Levi. 2 So the woman conceived and bore a son. And when she saw that he was a beautiful child, she hid him three months. 3 But when she could no longer hide him, she took an ark of bulrushes for him, daubed it with asphalt and pitch, put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the river’s bank. 4 And his sister stood afar off, to know what would be done to him.
In this chapter, we’re going to meet Moses. It’s established, first and foremost, that Moses is of the Levitical line. The Levites were to be set apart for God’s use and Moses’ life was definitely set apart. As we study Moses’ life, remember that Moses is a type of Christ. Meaning, he was an individual whose life pointed to the Messiah or foreshadowed characteristics of the coming Messiah.
Moses was also a “pretty boy” apparently. We’re told that he was a beautiful child and therefore his parents hid him for three months. In Hebrews 11:23, Moses’ parents are noted for their faith. Despite the awful edict of the king, they chose to trust God to provide. I’m sure those three months were spent in a great deal of prayer, asking God what they should do with this child. Wisdom came through and Moses’ mother water-proofed a basket, laid him in the river bank, and told Miriam (Moses’ sister) to watch over him.
We can all take a lesson from Moses’ guardians because they saw that he was “no ordinary child” (Acts 7:20 – NIV). No matter what job title you hold in life (mama, dad, teacher, pastor, wife...) – you should believe that every child is no ordinary child. Instill this truth in them each time you spend time with a child! Even as an adult, I want people to tell me that I am unique, special, and that God has something amazingly wonderful in store for me. Don’t you? Plant that same seed in the life of a child and watch it take root and produce a wonderful harvest!
5 Then the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river. And her maidens walked along the riverside; and when she saw the ark among the reeds, she sent her maid to get it. 6 And when she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby wept. So she had compassion on him, and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.”
7 Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for you?”
8 And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go.” So the maiden went and called the child’s mother. 9 Then 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 And the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. So she called his name Moses, saying, “Because I drew him out of the water.”
This is such beautiful Providence! There is a key word here used: compassion. Compassion actually means “to suffer with.” The maid was suffering with the weeping child and through that emotion, God created an opportunity for Moses’ mother to care for her child. Can you imagine what Jochebed (Moses’ mother) felt as Miriam came running to tell her about Pharaoh’s daughter finding baby Moses?
An interesting note here – Moses received his name because he was drawn out of the water. As believers when we are baptized, we too are drawn out of the water. Baptism is a picture of us being buried with Christ and then being “drawn up” into a life of righteousness.
11 Now it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out to his brethren and looked at their burdens. And he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren. 12 So he looked this way and that way, and when he saw no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. 13 And when he went out the second day, behold, two Hebrew men were fighting, and he said to the one who did the wrong, “Why are you striking your companion?”
14 Then he said, “Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you intend to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?”
This was the turning point for Moses. Even though he was living in the posh of Pharaoh’s keeping for the last 40 years, he knew he was Hebrew. He knew he should be out there experiencing the scalding work and oppression and that is why he went to examine the burdens. Again, we see the thread of compassion running through the scripture. Moses’ heart was moved because of the burden he saw happening to his own people.
We don’t know exactly what Moses’ motive was in killing the Egyptian, but we do know that “…he looked this way and that way, and when he saw no one…” When we find ourselves looking “this way and that way” to ensure no one is checking us out, whatever we’re doing probably isn’t the best choice. If you don’t want your hidden actions Tweeted, then don’t do it!
The next day when Moses came back, he witnessed two Hebrews fighting with each and when he called them out on it, they rejected his intervention. This was a repeat issue for the Hebrew people – bickering and rejecting godly counsel.
So Moses feared and said, “Surely this thing is known!” 15 When Pharaoh heard of this matter, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh and dwelt 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 they filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. 17 Then the shepherds came and drove them away; but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock.
There’s no doubt that Moses had a servant’s heart. He went out and helped his fellow Hebrew brother previously and now you see him helping these seven daughters in their time of need. Even though he was tired, he stood up and helped. Helping others is rarely convenient. And more often than not, we are called to serve when we’re tired too. But like Moses, we must learn to stand up and help in watering God’s people.
18 When they came to Reuel their father, he said, “How is it that you have come so soon today?”
19 And they said, “An Egyptian delivered us from the hand of the shepherds, and he also drew enough water for us and watered the flock.”
20 So he said to his daughters, “And where is he? Why is it that you have left the man? Call him, that he may eat bread.”
21 Then Moses was content to live with the man, and he gave Zipporah his daughter to Moses. 22 And she bore him a son. He called his name Gershom, for he said, “I have been a stranger in a foreign land.”
Moses’ servant attitude not only won him favor with Reuel (also known as Jethro), but it also opened the door for him to marry. Some of the smallest acts can offer the greatest rewards! Matthew 5:16 encourages us to “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
23 Now it happened in the process of time that the king of Egypt died. Then the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry came up to God because of the bondage. 24 So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them.
I mentioned last week that you’ll be seeing a common conjunction in Exodus – “and.” Here is a great example of God’s character and His use of “ands”: “So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them.” I love serving a God who believes in “ands.” It shows His nature of being a continual God who remembers, watches, and acknowledges. Amen.