October 25, 2015 | by: Renette de Beer | 0 comments
Community CRC - L.A.F.F. - 2015 -2016 - study guide #1
Moses: God's Appointed Servant Leader
(Please read Exodus 1:1-2:10)
"For such a time as this" was the phrase Mordecai uttered to Esther to encourage her to save her people
from Haman's murderous intent on killing all the Jews in King Xerxes. The phrase could also be said of Moses who was God's appointed servant leader to save His people from bondage under Pharoah, King of Egypt. Both Esther and Moses were instrumental in helping God's people in wonderful miraculous ways.
It's important to understand the context and history of how God's people got into the predicament of being Pharaoh's slaves in Egypt. So, we have to travel back 400 years, approximately, from Moses' lifetime to the time of Jacob and his 12 sons in Canaan.
1. arrival in Egypt. Jacob had 12 sons, one of whom was Joseph, nicknamed "the dreamer", who was his father's favourite son, and despised for it by his 11 brothers. Through intrigue and deceit, he was sold to slave traders who took Joseph to Egypt and sold him to "Potiphar, Pharaoh's officer, captain of the bodyguard" (Genesis 37:18-36). To make a long story short, Joseph went through difficulties, imprisonment, but, because of his gift of interpreting dreams, was elevated to a place of high honour next to Pharaoh - Prime Minister of Egypt.
The dreams of Pharaoh revealed that Egypt would have 7 years of outstanding prosperity, followed by 7 years of severe drought (Genesis 41:17-40). As Prime Minister, Joseph arranged for food storage and preservation during the prosperous years, to tide Egypt over during the 7 drought years. The drought and famine was widespread and people from other lands came to Egypt to buy food - even so, Jacob and his sons came, with their families and flocks and herd. Pharaoh gave them permission to settle in Goshen, a fine 'province' in Egypt (Genesis 47:5-6).
2. prosperity in Egypt. Jacob's family prospered in Egypt. They settled in and became a large number of people - a small nation within the nation of Egypt. For about 350 years or more the Israelites, as they were known, prospered unhindered. By the time of Moses' birth, the Israelites were greater in number and in economic clout than the Egyptians living around them (Exodus 1:7,9).
3. the brutality of Egypt. So, about 350 years after Joseph's death and his memory forgotten, Egypt's new Pharaoh became quite uneasy, fearful, of the loyalty of the Israelites...seeing that there were so many of them and in the event of an invasion by a foreign army, these powerful Israelites would turn against Egypt.
As a consequence of Pharaoh's anxiety, the Israelites were put under slave masters and put into forced labour. Exodus 1:11-14 describes it well: "so (the Egyptians) put slavemasters over (the Israelites) to oppress them
with forced labour. And they built Pithom and Rameses as storage cities for Pharaoh. But the
more they were oppressed, the more (the Hebrews)multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians
came to dread the Israelites and worked them ruthlessly. They made their lives bitter with hard
labour in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their hard labour the
Egyptians used them ruthlessly."
As if this was not enough, the leading midwives of the Israelites, were instructed to murder all male newborns as they emerged from the womb, letting female newborns live. But the midwives refused to follow Pharoah's orders because of their greater "fear"(reverence) for God. The newborn boys survived....and when challenged about this, the midwives replied....with a lie.... "Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive." God, in His mercy, blessed the midwives....the Israelites became more numerous, the midwives, because of their reverence for God, themselves received families of their own. So Pharaoh turned to his own executioners ordering any and all Egyptians to throw newborn Hebrew boys into the Nile river....likely as fodder for crocodiles.
4. God's promise to His people. From prosperity to brutality, the Israelites clung to a promise made by God to their forefather Abraham: "Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country that is not their own and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves and afterward they will come out with great possessions"
There will come an Exodus and a leader: Moses........God's man for such a time as this.
Moses: God's Chosen Redeemer for His people.
In Acts 7 we read how Moses' life can be divided into 3 forty year segments. The first 40 were spent in Egypt, during the time of the Israelites' darkest days. In these first 40, Moses was raised by his mother, educated by Egyptian teachers (Acts 7:20-28). The second forty year segment Moses spent in the desert, as a shepherd in a foreign land, where he married and had two sons (Acts 7:29-30a). In the final third 40 year segment Moses was used of God to lead His people out of Egypt, through the desert, to the borders of the Promised Land (Acts 7:30b-44).
1. Moses' First Years The Pharaoh of Egypt was either Amenhotep (1545-1526 B.C.) or Thutmose I (1526-1512 B.C.)...and he treated the Israelites brutality, not knowing Joseph and what he had done for Egypt (Exodus 1:8). Moses' father was Amram; his mother Jochebed, Amram's aunt (Exodus 6:20). Moses had one sister Miriam, probably 8-12 years older than Moses, and one brother, Aaron, 3years older than Moses. Aaron would become Moses' right-hand man in confronting Pharaoh (Exodus 6:20, 7:7). When he was born, his mother saw that he was beautiful, in the sense of well-formed - Jochebed saw something in him which she sensed was God-given. Jochebed kept him hidden for 3 months, preserving him out of reverence for God (Hebrews 11:23).
Eventually, Jochebed could hide him no longer. With a carefully designed plan, (maybe knowing the habits of Pharaoh's daughter too) she placed Moses in a watertight, reed basket and placed him the Nile where likely the water was shallow, free of crocodiles, where Pharaoh's daughter felt safe to bathe. Moses' sister, Miriam kept an eye on him (Exodus 2:4). Moses' crying alerted Pharaoh's daughter and "she felt sorry for him", despite the fact she released he was a Hebrew child, which her father, Pharaoh, wanted to be killed.
Miriam came on the scene and offered her mother as a "wet-nurse" to care for Moses. Pharaoh's daughter agreed and contracted with Jochebed, Moses' mother, to care for Moses and get paid for doing so!!
2. Moses' Childhood The story goes on the tell of Jochebed caring for Moses. Although we cannot tell for certain how long she cared for him, we can discern from verse 10 and Egyptian adoption customs, that she raised him until he was about 3-4 years old. At any rate, Jochebed had Moses under her care for the most impressionable years of his childhood. He would likely have been schooled in Hebrew traditions, practiced the faith of his parents, learned of his people's history from Father Abraham on. Hebrews 11:24-25 tells us: "By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time."
3. Moses' Adoption Eventually Jochebed had to surrender him to Pharaoh's daughter. So, Moses entered the royal household and given the name "Moses", which means "I drew him out of the water." As a member of the royal household, Moses would become familiar with Egyptian politics, traditions, etc. He was raised an Egyptian, in all likelihood receiving a good education. Acts 7:22 tells us "Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.". The irony of all this is that the adopted Hebrew child of Pharaoh's daughter became the instrument of God to bring Pharaoh and Egypt to their knees in submission.
Three Timeless Lessons
1. Hard times don't erase God's promises. If our Heavenly promises to accomplish something then He will do it, in His time, regardless how bleak the situation will be.
2. Harsh treatment doesn't escape God's notice. God knew His people were suffering (Exodus 3:7) in Egypt. He had said this would happen. Hebrews 4:13b tells us "everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we have to give account."
3. Heavy tests don't eclipse God's concern. When we endure difficult times, our obedience and reverence for God will be tested, like the midwives of Israel. Our obedience will be rewarded one day and we will have deliverance from what oppresses us.
Points to Ponder
1. Were the Israelite midwives right in telling the lie they did? If so, how so?
2. Can you see how Jochebed's plan to save Moses, worked with God's providence? What does that tell you?
3. How is Jochebed's surrender of Moses to Pharaoh's daughter like that of Hannah's surrender of Samuel
(I Samuel 1:21-28)?
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