Saturday, April 27, 2013

Exodus Chapter 2 ~ Introducing Moses/God Hears, Remembers, Sees, & Knows

Exodus Chapter 2

A Levite Baby
A man from the house of Levi took a Levite wife. She conceived and bore a son and hid him for 3 months. She could hide him no longer, so she made a basket of bulrushes (papyrus reeds) and daubed it with bitumen and pitch. She put the child in it and placed it among the reeds by the river bank (v. 3). His sister stood at a distance to see what would be done with him (v. 4).

Discovered by Pharaoh's Daughter
Pharaoh's daughter saw the basket among the reeds when she came to bathe in the river. She sent her servant woman and she took it (v. 5). She opened it and saw the child crying. She took pity on him and said, "This is one of the Hebrews' children." (v. 6)

Raised by His Own Mother
The baby's sister said, "Shall I go and call you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?" (v. 7) Pharaoh's daughter said, "Go." The baby's sister called the child's mother, and Pharaoh's daughter said, "Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages." So the baby's mother took the child and nursed him (v. 8-9).

Adopted by Pharaoh's Daughter
When the child grew older his mother brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, "Because...I drew him out of the water." (v. 10)

Moses, All Grown Up - Murderer
When Moses was grown, he went out to his people and looked on their burdens, and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people (brothers) (v. 11). He looked around and didn't see anyone, so he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand (v. 12). The next day 2 Hebrews were struggling. Moses said to the man in the wrong, "Why do you strike your companion?" (v. 13) He answered, "Who mad 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." (v. 14) 

Moses, All Grown Up - Fugitive
When Pharaoh heard he sought to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and stayed in the land of Midian. 

Moses, All Grown Up - 'Sitting by a Well'
Moses sat down by a well (v. 15). The priest of Midian had 7 daughters, and they came to draw water to fill the troughs for his flock. The shepherds came and drove them away, but Moses stood up and saved them, and watered their flock (v. 17). When they came home to their father Reuel. He asked how they were able to come home so soon and they said, "An Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds and even drew water for us and watered the flock." (v. 18-19) Reuel said, "Then where is he? Why have you left the man? Call him, that he may eat bread." (v. 20)

Moses was content to dwell with the man, and Reuel gave Moses his daughter Zipporah (v. 21). She gave birth to a son and he called him Gershom, "I have been a sojourner in a foreign land." (v. 22) [Gershom sounds like Hebrew for "sojourner"]

The Continuation of the Sufferings of Israel
During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God (v. 23). 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 (v. 24-25).

Reflections on Exodus 2
The glance of chapter 2 turns to focus on one life within Israel - Moses.

Moses Is Dependent
From the characterization of Charlton Heston in 'The Ten Commandments' to Dreamworks' 'Prince of Egypt' we see a completely different depiction of Moses in Exodus. The salvation of God's people from Egypt would first be brought about through God's providence in the lives of a number of women. From Shiphrah and Puah in chapter one, to Moses' mother, his sister, Pharaoh's daughter and her servant. God is working to deliver his people through the courage, mercy, and provision of women. This is a beautiful picture of how the Lord works mightily through the lives of women. Courageously sacrificing one's life for the sake of another, a weak little child, is a glorious ministry in the sight of God. Here, in the book of Exodus, we see that this is what God uses to bless all the peoples of the earth by further fulfilling His covenant to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Moses Is a Fearful Sinner
Notice that Moses is a murderer. In the act of seeking to save a Hebrew from an Egyptian he becomes a murderer, and the next day, a Hebrew only mocks Moses. The text doesn't tell us how this Hebrew knew, the man he tried to save obviously is spreading the word. Overnight Moses goes from being royalty in the land of Egypt to being a fugitive on the run with a warrant out for his death. Here again we see the theme of fear. Moses was afraid when he realized his murder of the Egyptian had been found out (v. 14). What does he do? The common cultural depiction of Moses would probably have him stay like some kind of off the grid secret agent. No, Moses flees into the wilderness in fear.

A Well
Moses' life carries on in the wilderness. When we see him at the well our 'biblical theology' antennas should be going off. In the history of Israel, wells have become almost synonymous with marriage (Isaac & Rebekah in Genesis 24:10-67; Jacob & Rachel/Leah in 29:10-12), and sure enough this is what this stop leads to. God provides for Moses through his "saving" of the women from the shepherds (the only saving Moses has been able to do so far), meeting Reuel, and marrying Zipporah. By God's kind providence Moses' life seems to be vectoring in a slightly different direction. Again, while Moses' kindness results in "saving" Reuel's daughters, Reuel becomes God's instrument of saving Moses in the midst of his sojourning. Again, we see that Moses is hardly the stuff of what our culture would depict as a hero. He's constantly in need of being saved by others. God is using this to shape him as a meek man. Moses' trials are not arbitrary. His trials are preparing him for something. The name of his first son is a good description of the humility Moses is learning: Gershom or "sojourner." He is a stranger in this world, utterly dependent upon God and God's work through others.

God Hears, Remembers, Sees, & Knows
I love verses 23-25. I don't love the suffering of Israel, but I love the attributes of God that Israel's suffering highlights. He is omni-hearing, omni-knowing (omniscient), omni-seeing, and all of these omni's point to his omnibenevolence and love for His people. He has not forgotten. The fear of the Lord exhibited in Puah and Shiphrah in chapter 1 is proving to be trustworthy. God knows the trials of His people. He knows what they face. 

This is a good reminder to me. When I despair because of the difficulties I see in this broken world it is comforting to know that God hears, remembers, sees, and knows. I know with even more certainty that this is true because of Jesus Christ. Hebrews 4:14-16 says, "Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." 

In Christ God knows my trial in an even more intimate way than I do. Most of all, He knows our trials not only of socio-political oppression, but our trial of sin. He who knew no sin, became sin so that we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21). Praise God, that He hears, remembers, sees, and knows the trials of His people. We can trust with confidence that in Christ He has satisfied His wrath for our greatest trial, our rebellion and sin against him. Praise God, that He hears, remembers, sees, and knows our trial of seeking to persevere in a world that often is buffeted by the waves of evil and depravity. He is trustworthy to save.

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