Discovering Moses: God’s Leadership Manual – Session 7
Last Friday, we celebrated the Biblical New Year or Rosh Chodashim in Hebrew (for more information see here):
“This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you.“ (Exodus 12:2)
The significance of this is the fact that God has only one redemptive program for humanity and it is based on His Appointed times – not on manmade changes to calendars or celebrations that were made centuries after His death and resurrection.
Yeshua fulfilled the 4 spring Festivals prescribed in Leviticus 23:
- The Feast of Unleavened Bread – fulfilled in His perfect, sinless life
- Passover – fulfilled through His death and complete atonement for all of mankind
- The Feast of Firstfruits – fulfilled through His Resurrection
- The Feast of Pentecost – fulfilled through the giving of the Holy Spirit, now placing his Law in our minds and writing them on the tablets of our hearts
All 7 of the Feasts are described as “God’s Appointed Times” and He truly desires for all humanity to annually celebrate these festivals, which in fact point our hearts and our attention to His beautiful redemptive plan for Israel and for the world. We are now in the “summer period” as we await His return and the fulfillment of the final 3 Fall Festivals of the Lord.
In less than 10 days, we will come to the arrival of the Lord’s Passover. This is the beautiful reminder of God’s faithfulness to the Jewish people, and to all people, by bringing about our deliverance and redemption thru Yeshua, the Messiah, our perfect and blameless Passover Lamb.
It is so timely for us to have begun our study on the life of Moses. Our text brings us to the following introduction of the deliverer that God raised up as promised for Israel – Moses:
“At this time Moses was born; and he was beautiful in God’s sight. And he was brought up for three months in his father’s house.” (Acts 7:20)
Moses was born into a time when all Israeli baby boys were commanded to be thrown into the Nile River per Pharaoh’s command. Could God have picked a better time for His deliverer to be brought onto the scene? He doesn’t make mistakes. In fact, it seems His great power is revealed in the gravest, the most perilous of times. He always has a greater plan for His people, and for all of humanity.
In Jewish tradition, we discover that Pharaoh’s astrologers had warned him about a deliverer to be born to the Jewish people and so we can see why he was prompted him to do something about this threat to his kingdom – the destruction of all their male children. Interestingly, we see this same motive repeating itself in the New Covenant through the story of King Herod and the birth of Yeshua. Once again, worldly powers were confronted by God’s ultimate plans. God prevailed.
As we discussed in prior lessons, Moses was a “goodly child”. The same Hebrew word was used for “good” in Genesis 1. As a matter of fact, all that God made He called “good”, but when it came to the crown of all of His creation, Adam, He called it “very good” (tov me-od).
1. Moses is saved by God thru the faithfulness of his mother
a. Creation Account Narrative
“Now a man from the house of Levi went and took as his wife a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son, and when she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him three months.” (Exodus 2:1-2)
In the verses above, we see the similarities with the Genesis 4 account where Eve produced an offspring. The marriage of Moses’ parents was simple and to the point. Their names are not mentioned in this portion because the sole focus is on Moses’ mother’s actions.
Stephen’s speech stated that Moses was goodly in God’s sight and in Exodus 2:2 we see that his mother also saw that he was “good”. Is it possible that both verses speak of the same thing? God is all about His children growing up and representing Him to each other and to the rest of humanity. We are His image- bearers. By faith in the promises of God, Moses’ mother hid him for three months, long enough to be circumcised. How do we respond to God’s promises? Do we act by faith or do we need to see proof first? As parents, do we always see the results of how we’ve raised our children. Do we treat all people as God does? After all, we are His image-bearers regardless if we are believers or not. This is why Yeshua encouraged us to love our enemies. He not only said it – He did it. He loved the people who were crucifying Him to the very end.
Yeshua said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34
Such a high standard we have to follow. Praise the Lord for His enablement for us to grow into such forgiveness and love.
b. Noah’s Account Narrative
“When she could hide him no longer, she took for him a basket made of bulrushes and daubed it with bitumen and pitch. She put the child in it and placed it among the reeds by the river bank.” (Exodus 2:3)
The word for “basket” in Hebrew is ark H8392 tebah. תּבה was 1st mentioned in Genesis 6:13. God commanded Noah to build an ark, the instrument of salvation for his family. Noah had found favor in the sight of the Lord and as a result he built the ark. People mocked him for 120 years as he built it. This is no different than what we can endure as followers of the same God. We are made fun of, ridiculed, called all sorts of names but at the end of the day what will we choose to do – give in to the pressures, lose heart, become cold in our love for God and for each other? Or, trust God, trust in His promises, and believe that which He began in us He is more than able to complete (Philippians 1:6). Moses’ mother had obeyed the command of Pharaoh. She placed her son in the river but she did it based on her faith in God. She combined both her faith and her deeds. What are our actions displaying at work, at school, in public places, but especially when nobody is looking? Faith always saves and produces actions that are contrary to the norm of society and are always in-line with God’s word.
2. Moses is saved by God thru the faithfulness of His sister and Pharaoh’s daughter
“And when he was exposed, Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him and brought him up as her own son.” (Acts 7:21)
a. What Pharaoh meant for evil, God turned into good!
“Now the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her young women walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her servant woman, and she took it. When she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby was crying. She took pity on him and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.” Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and call you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?” And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother. And 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.” (Exodus 2:5-9)
Moses’ sister refused to abandon her little baby brother and stayed behind, which God used to accomplish His purposes. She had the kind of courage and faith to see through what could potentially be a horrific situation had God not intervened.
How ironic that the very family of Egypt that had issued the edict to destroy the Jewish boys is the same family that God used to rescue Moses from his destruction. God accomplishes His plans by making the wisdom of this world become as foolishness. Pharaoh’s daughter directly disobeyed the King of Egypt’s command and rather drew a Hebrew baby out of the river. She had had pity on him. The verse above uses the English word “pity” but the original Hebrew word is to have compassion H2550 חמל châmal. God touched her heart so that she could see the preciousness of the life set before her. His sister proposed a plan which Pharaohs’ daughter agreed upon. So now, not only was Moses’ life spared but his own birth mother was able to continue to nurture him, pouring into the life of her son while receiving payment at the same time. This kind out extraordinary turn of events only happens with our God!
Her love for her son went beyond his physical needs. She raised him in the knowledge of the God of Israel and in the promises that He gave to His people. This explains his knowledge about his brethren forty years later.
Throughout the text, we encounter the word “Hebrew”. What does it mean? Why do we call the descendants of Abraham synonymous names like the people of Israel, the Hebrews, the Israelites and the Jews?
- “The people of Israel” refers to the nation that was formed from Jacob’s 12 sons.
- The word “Hebrew” means – H5680 עִבְרִי ibree’ – “one from beyond”.
- The origin of the word “Jew” is as follows: Judah in Hebrew is Yehudah or from the Tribe of Judah à Aramaic – Yehudi à Greek – Ioudaios à French – Juiu via Latin à English – Jew
b. Moses is named by Pharaoh’s daughter
When the child grew older, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, “Because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.” (Exodus 2:10)
Names carry a specific meaning. “Moses” or “Moshe” in Hebrew was named by his adopted mother. He was “drawn out from the river” and God would “draw him out” to be the deliverer of His people. It was a prophetic name.
3. Learning to be a leader according to the world
And Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was mighty in his words and deeds. (Acts 7:22)
As we will see later, all of this learning would not be enough to fulfill Moses’ calling on his life. This is true in our lives, as well. Our college educations, our titles, how high we climb our corporate ladders, the size of our bank accounts will never be enough for us to know God and to be known by Him. He has given us the guide book that we call the Bible and the wisdom found in it is not in compliance with the wisdom found in this world. We are commanded to know the Word for ourselves.
For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours. (1 Corinthians 3:19-21)
What do boast we in? Do we boast in our Lord? The very best gift God gave His children was Yeshua! As parents and as believers, this is the greatest gift we can give to our children and to all people, as well!
The timing of Moses’ birth seemed to be an unlikely time for the birth of Israel’s deliverer and yet it was the absolute perfect timing for God. God is never late! He is always on His game! We are usually overwhelmed and concerned, much of the time, with that which is right in front of us and therefore we can perceive any seemingly delay on God’s part as a lack of concern for us. Our concerns are limited by our understanding and by the pressure points we might be experiencing in any given time. But, God’s plan is far reaching and accomplishes that which it was set out to accomplish since the foundation of the world. Let us not lose courage, as men, in doing good and daily trusting Him with our lives. We have a calling that can only be accomplished in Godly wisdom and in His strength – never apart from Him or His word. Our courage comes from knowing His word and applying it in our lives daily. What a joy it is to be a part of a group of men that desires to know God more! Be blessed in Him!