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Moses The Deliverer

"And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river's side; and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it." (Exodus 2:5)

Exodus chapter 2 records the events surrounding Moses’ birth and early life as written by the pen of Moses himself. The details omitted and the lack of embellishment show us a great deal of Moses’ humility. “He was a goodly child” is about all that he writes that might even be remotely construed as any sort of admission of his own exceptionalism; but this, it would seem, has more to do with explanation of why his parents would risk their own lives to preserve his. This is perhaps his own way of disclosing how it was that, out of the multitude of Israel, his own parents were extraordinary in this act of saving their child.

That God was involved in this process from beginning to end we cannot doubt. The writer to the Hebrews tells us that Amram and Jochebed (as the parents will be identified in Exodus 6:20) were moved by faith to hide the child, not fearing Pharaoh’s edict (Heb. 11:23). It would seem to fit that placing Moses in the basket and then placing it in the Nile River was a Divinely inspired action, as well, rather than something born of their own ingenuity. The imagery here of one being saved from death in an “ark” while others around him were drowned to death in that same river (Ex. 1:22) is a reminder of another delivered by God from death through similar means (Gen. 7:1). The fact that Jochebed sends her daughter, Miriam, to see what becomes of the child (Ex. 2:4) would lead us to believe that she were following the directions of Another rather than blindly casting her beloved son’s fate to the mercies of a crocodile infested waterway. The Lord has shown us to do this, dear Miriam, but go and see what will become of your brother

In a series of events that cannot be explained by any other means than God’s Providence, Moses is rescued by none other than Pharaoh’s daughter and sent back to his own mother to be nursed. Jochebed is even paid for the services of nursing her own child (v. 9). We do not know how long Moses lived with his own parents before being returned to the daughter of Pharaoh, but it must have been long enough for him to learn of his own heritage and the events surrounding his birth. It was on his own mother’s lap that he learned of the God of Israel and God’s purpose for his own life. He was to grow up to be the deliverer of God’s people from the bondage of the Egyptians.

For most of the first forty years of Moses’ life, he lived in the household of Pharaoh and was educated in all the knowledge and wisdom of Egypt (Acts 7:22). But he never forgot what his own mother had told him. He was called to be the deliverer of his people. The time came when he went down to visit the Hebrews, and when he did, he witnessed first-hand the terrible and violent oppression of their Egyptian taskmasters. He saw one of these taskmasters beating a Hebrew slave. Moses killed the taskmaster. I do not know if Moses’ plan was to single-handedly, covertly assassinate all of the taskmasters in Egypt, but it seems that Moses felt that the deed he committed was the method whereby he would deliver his people (Acts 7:25). This was how he interpreted that “by his hand” the people would be delivered. He believed that his Hebrew brothers would be grateful for his act of killing one of their oppressors, but they were not. Instead, they turned against him (Ex. 2:14)!

Moses was “mighty in words and deeds” (Acts 7:22), and apparently strong and powerful. He was educated in the most sophisticated wisdom of the world. He was in the prime of his life and was the adopted grandson of the King of Egypt. What more could be expected of the “deliverer of the nation of Israel”? The only problem is that God used none of these things. Moses was ready at this time to do what he felt needed to be done to free his people, but God was not. Another forty years would transpire before God’s perfect timing would come to fruition. By the time Moses encountered God at the Burning Bush, he was an eighty year old sheep herder living in the land of Midian. But this was the man who God wanted to use.  Not the Prince of Egypt, mighty in words and deeds; but the son-in-law of a desert-dwelling, Midianite priest who was “slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.” This was a man who God could use.

So often we feel that it is our own strengths and abilities that are most useful to God, but those things usually just get in the way. God is still using people in such a way that they have no choice but to trust in Him. And that is exactly the people who He wants.

“…Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Zech. 4:6)

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9 responses

  1. Oh my goodness. This really speaks to me and I bet to so many others. That Moses thought that he was going to save the people earlier, well there are many things that I thought were going to happen years ago, that just haven’t yet. It’s very humbling and has certainly slowed my speech and my propensity to judge anyone else and their situation. ! Good things, huh? Thank you Loren. These are priceless.

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  2. Oh, the things that I was gonna do when I was younger!! Those poor non-believers who had yet to come to Christ just needed to hear me share the Gospel with them, then they would be saved!! And pity on all of those skeptics who argued against the existence of God, Truth of Scripture, etc. Boy, I was ready to argue all of them into a corner with my “stellar skills of logic” to where they would have no choice but to admit they were wrong and become believers.

    Fortunately, the Lord pulled the reins in on me before I embarrassed myself too badly :) I found out that God didn’t need a man who thought that he was smart enough to serve Him, He is only interested in those who are surrendered enough to serve Him. I wanted to serve the Lord, but I wanted to do it on my own terms. I wasn’t interested so much in waiting on God’s timing, I wanted to go out and “break up fights”, right wrongs, and “smite a few taskmasters” like Moses did at this point of his life. I wanted to change the world, but God is more interested in calling out a people to Himself, not change the world.

    Writing this post spoke to me quite a bit, as well, because it reminded me that we only become useful to God when we are willing to serve Him His way, not ours. This is definitely priceless and something I truly wish I had learned years earlier! It is very humbling, yet reassuring at the same time because we know that, though we are slow of speech, He will be with our mouths and teach us what to say (Ex. 4:12, Luke 21:15). How awesome is that?!!?

    God bless you, Deb, thank you so much as always for your insightful thoughts on this, what a blessing they are to me!

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  3. Loren,

    Thank you for this post and your comment….. Our human nature just has a way of wanting to take hold of the reins and race forward our way….. Our Lord is so patient and compassionate as He molds us over the years and gives us insights into His ways….. It all reminds me of a post I wrote years ago that is in the side column of my site….. It is called something like “Danny, my very most favorite”.

    To this day Danny still is my very most favorite because he was not out to win the world by his might….. He just could not help but share the love of God with his whole being…. To know the love and power of God the way Danny did in all his simplicity caused him to witness better than he ever realized….. What great use God made of Danny’s witness!… That was awesome and humbling.

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  4. Hi Margaret!

    I read “Danny, my very most favorite” way back when I first “met” you. I LOVED that post, what an inspiration! It is amazing the way that God uses us and we don’t even know it :)

    Thanks, Margaret, for sharing that story and thanks for reminding me of it. I hope it’s OK, I’m including a link to it (Click Here)

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  5. Loren, I think I’m still trying to serve God on my own terms much of the time, but He’s working on me, causing me to wait for His timing. Like you once were, I find myself eager to go out and right the wrongs, to teach the truth through logic and reasoning. If my argument is good enough, then surely the unbelievers will have to believe. Perhaps that is the lawyerly training! :0 I’m starting to learn, really learn in my heart, that only God can cause them to believe.

    One part of your post struck me for a completely different reason. “For most of the first forty years of Moses’ life, he lived in the household of Pharaoh and was educated in all the knowledge and wisdom of Egypt (Acts 7:22). But he never forgot what his own mother had told him.” This was very encouraging to me. It reminded me that no matter what the world teaches my son as he grows, through high school classes and when he goes on to college, he will never forget the faith I taugh him. Peace and Merry Christmas, Linda

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  6. “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Prov. 22:6)

    How many sons have found their own faith strengthened as they have grown by the firm foundation laid down and persistent prayers offered up by a godly mother! Thank you so much, Linda, for sharing your wonderful comments on this, God bless you :)

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  7. Okay, Loren.

    Perfect strike :-)

    I read through the post and was fine until I read the last paragraph… “So often we feel that it is our own strengths and abilities that are most useful to God, but those things usually just get in the way. God is still using people in such a way that they have no choice but to trust in Him. And that is exactly the people who He wants.”

    I read about Gideon today and how God used him to choose an army (by a water tactic nonetheless), and I felt humbled. I read your post and I felt this was confirmation … It’s not about what we have but what He wants from us.

    It’s not the way we wield a sword or the way we scatter enemies. It’s all about how willing we are to trust Him even when it does not (seem to) make sense. If we have strength and skills and are not willing to use them for His glory, what’s the point of it all?

    Thanks for the heads-up. Between you and Linda, I’m being reminded of how much needs to be done.

    Blessings,
    ann

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  8. “And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me.” (Judges 7:2)

    “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Cor. 12:9)

    As long as we are in the mindset that we are to come to God just for a little “help”; that we can do 90% of it, we just need a little boost here and there, are we really trusting Him? Our pride and confidence in our own abilities can lead us to believe that we can more or less handle things on our own (but asking for God’s help makes things flow a little smoother). What utter nonsense! Until we reach the point where we can honestly say to the Lord, “Unless You do it, it will not be done” we will never see the things that God wants to do in our lives and through our service to Him. His most awesome works come when there is left no doubt that it is His Spirit alone that is accomplishing them. May the Lord use our strength and skills for His glory, but may He keep us ever mindful that what is done is done by His Spirit.

    Thanks for the great comments, Ann, I love reading your insightful perspective on these passages :)

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