Session 12: Moses
There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, "I will go over and see this strange sight-why the bush does not burn up." When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, "Moses! Moses!" And Moses said, "Here I am." Exodus 3:2-4
Exodus 1-3, Key verse 3:2-4
Timeline: about 1600 BC . During the time of the early Israelites, the areas were ruled by Egypt and the Pharaohs, the great ancient cities of Pithom and Raamses are built by the Israelites, and the late Bronze Age is at its height.
Key personalities: Moses, Aaron, Pharaoh
Here is a recap of God's amazing orchestrated events of how His love and plan comes together. Adam and Eve started out in the Garden of Eden of perfection and utopia; the Garden was sinless, and then it was ruined by their sin. Now, humanity looks to a Redeemer to resurrect us out of God's wrath and our hopeless state because of sin. What we have is now have beyond measure for all those in Christ to live in and enjoy. There was a journey of over two thousand years that led up to Christ and another two thousand years to us today. This is the story of humanity's struggle for redemption and God's patience of love to provide it.
The Patriarchs, through their triumphs and failings lived a life of faith and kept the blessing of God flowing from Abraham to Joseph. There is a promise at the end of Genesis that their descendants would come back to inherit and take over the Promised Land. Each of these people demonstrated a life of faith lived out. They did not get the promise of the land in their lifetime, but they received so much more--a relationship with God and a place in eternity. Faith is beyond mere belief; faith is allowing our confidence in Him for daily living to stretch us beyond what we think we can do, and God will reward us for doing so (Hebrews 3:1-6).
Key Happenings, a Contrast between Goodness and Wickedness!
A setback occurs as the new nation, the Israelites', journey from favor to bondage and how insecurity of the Pharaoh and his irreverence seeks to destroy. After fleeing their land for a temporary home, they become captive for 400 years to Egypt while waiting for a redeemer. For the most part, they had it great--fertile land, abundant flocks, nice homes, favor from Egypt. Until the last generation when a wicked Pharaoh comes to power, and God sends them their deliverer and Law giver, Moses, who leads them to the Promised Land.
Chap. 1. The nation of Israel expands, yet is missing a key ingredient to be a nation--the land. They get into trouble by being enslaved. They participate in the construction of the great pyramids, first as partners, then as slaves.
· Midwives were trained to deliver the babies in an age before doctors and modern medicine. Usually there were fertile because of their obedience. God allows them to have children, too. As Pharaoh delivers the babies to death, God delivers His people to life.
· Pharaoh , possibly Thutmose III, 1504-1450 BC, wanting to curb the population, because he is afraid they may join Egypt's enemies and overthrow him, creates a heinous law to kill all the male babies. He then makes the Israelites work harder. They were the craftsman and architects; now, they are manual labor-the slaves. God intervenes and an unlikely scenario takes place; Pharaoh's daughter, Bityah, takes one of them as her own. This also parallels Herod seeking to kill all the young children to be rid of Jesus by the Magi's warnings (1 Chronicles 4:18; Matt. 2:16-18; Acts 7:22).
Chap. 2. Hebrews 11 calls Him no ordinary/beautiful child . Moses' parents somehow knew of God's anointing and that their son was very extraordinary beyond what would be special, and that he would have a role in God's plan of redemption. Jewish mysticism stated Moses was radiant as a child, like a Renaissance painting with a halo that illuminated the room. After he became an adult, perhaps he was a military hero of high intellect, heir to the kingdom, and competitor to the man who did become Pharaoh. This view from the "Jewish Diaspora" was very popular then; however, this is not the point of the passage, which is to show what Moses left behind to follow God (Ex. 2:2; 6:20; Num. 26:58-59; Acts 7:20; Heb. 11:17-31).
· She could not hide him. Moses' parents faced a serious dilemma with their baby son and the Pharaoh's edict to kill all of the Hebrew males at birth. It is natural for a parent to rescue his or her child, but here, this seemed to be the exception, showing a willingness to pay the cost for what is right (Ex 1:16- 22; 2:1-3).
· Basket in the Nile , Moses' parents realized their child was special, and as a result, exercised faith by hiding him and then placing him in the Nile. They were not afraid, merely prudent.
· Moses grows up in the court of Pharaoh, with all the learning's privileges, like the luxuries, priceless treasures, and status to be a head or a prince in Egypt's royal palace, and all that it comes with--learning the secrets, traditions, hieroglyphics, philosophies, even hanging with the court magicians. Not necessarily pursuing immorality, but showing what was left behind to identify with compassion and to help his people's plight.
· Two Hebrews struggling . When Moses grew up, he too exercised faith and refused to seek sin or to be the prince of Egypt. Rather, he identified with his people, shared in their oppression, and helped them to seek "our" God and His reward, pointing to the Messiah to come. He tried to rescue his people by his own might and failed at it. God had to discipline him and prepare him; perhaps for 40 years, he lived with a priest, Reuel in Midian, became what the Egyptians detest the most--a shepherd, got married, lived a good life, got old, and then God calls him to action (Heb. 11:24-25).
· Moses was afraid . Moses left his homeland and all he knew, and by faith, he kept his focus on God. Look at the type of people God uses? Privileged as Moses was? No! Rich as Moses was? No! God waited until he was humbled. He waits for repentance and our faith, trust and obedience.
Moses chose to reject his high status and to identify with his people. A powerful illustration and point to people in persecution was that they must focus on Christ. For Greek philosophers and moralists, rejecting pleasure for hardship was a sign of true piety and sincerity. But we do not reject comfort to seek God; rather, we are willing to leave what hinders us to know God more.
Chap. 3. Moses had the excuses why he could not; then, he then stepped up to leadership, challenging Pharaoh to liberate the people of God. He commanded his people to keep the Passover that spared them from the ravages of God's wrath on Egypt. Then, he led the people from captivity into the Promised Land through the Red Sea. The people of the following generation came along in faith by marching around Jericho until its walls came down. Hebrews 11:17-31
· Left Egypt . Moses persevered and demonstrated unshakable faith and confidence, even though he feared what Pharaoh might do to him after he killed an Egyptian. Yet, he trusted in God and made plans for his provision. It took great faith to leave behind everything to go to Midian--his family, riches, and fame--to go to a new land, and again, it took great faith to come back and be a part of God's redemptive plan for the Israelites. Thus Moses started small in faith, the micro for his own provision and macro to the nation's provision in the Exodus (Ex. 2:11-15; Acts 7:23-30; Heb. 11:17-31).
· Keeping flock . God hears Israel's groaning. God redeems the people from their harsh captivity and through Moses gives them the Law. Meanwhile Moses spent 40 years as a shepherd in a foreign land. Meanwhile God kept His flock.
· The Burning Bush . Here is the iconic image of God who condescends to speak to His children, and reveals Himself as God Almighty, as the Great I AM. Now, Moses is a broken down 80-year old and his ministry begins. His training is over.
· Who am I? It is interesting that Moses resists God's call, and God gets angry at him. He tries to convince God he is not the guy, unqualified, to old, can't speak well, yet the call is still there and it is received and embarked upon. God calls us to be faithful regardless of the call or circumstances. Do not underestimate God. We are to trust and obey and leave the consequences and results to Him as LORD (Judges 6:15).
· Fire has been a symbol of God presence. A bush reveals God's control over nature and the elements of substance and life. Holy means God and all that is attached to Him is sacred and we must honor with our utmost reverence. The sign was God's way of confirming His work in the future.
· I AM means LORD, refers to, "to be." It has been the main name of God in the mindsets of the Jews and then the Christians for the past four millenniums. The "Self-Existent One," "I AM WHO I AM" or 'I WILL BE WHO I WILL BE" as revealed in Exodus 3. The name of God, too scared to be uttered (Ex. 33:12; Jer. 1:6; 1 Sam. 25:25).
· Lord our God . God and God alone has the power to Be in and of Himself. This means God is Omni-Existent; He always has existed and always will 'Be'. Nobody made God; He is eternal. We were brought into existence by God. God has "being" in and of Himself, nothing else has that type of Being, not the universe, not us. Thus, there is one God and you are not it! So with that, how will you lead your life?
Moses was the supreme of all prophets; Jesus Christ is Lord over all. Moses led the house of Israel; Christ built it. Jesus is no mere message; He is the Message. He is no priest; He is The High Priest. He walked this earth to show us who He is and what we can be in Him. He showed us faithfulness; we can show Him our faith, too. Likewise, Moses, who walked in faith and trusted in God, modeled a Way for the Jews and all peoples of earth. He was entrusted to lead the House of Israel and so he did by conviction and action. He was the giver of God's law and precepts and deserves our reverence and respect. Christ is greater than all, including Moses for God created Moses and all that there is. Moses is the house and Christ is the builder of that house. Moses was a servant of God whereas Christ is God. Moses was a walking, living illustration of how God works and that He requires from us faith and obedience. Thus, as Moses did and as Christ demonstrated, we too are to remain faithful and true in God, through Christ, by the Way of the Spirit. Seek His truth, consider His precepts, and walk in His ways by trust. Be filled with courage and confidence because of who you are in Him (Heb. 3:1-6).
The foreshadow of Jesus Christ? Moses was an example of deliverance, of what a Messiah is to be by physically releasing God's people from bondage. Christ is the Messiah by releasing us from the bondage of sin. Moses was also an example of hope. This was to encourage people to think about what glorifies Christ, not just what suits their own pleasure.
Key Takeaway: Faith that is manifested personally can show up in history and be an influence to others for all time. When we fear God, as in have reverence for Him, we have no need to fear our fellow man or our circumstances; we too can grow a great faith.
Questions to Ponder
1. Have you ever felt God speaking to you? Perhaps not through a burning bush, but what about a lead from the Holy Spirit?
2. How would you responded to such a dramatic call and you do not have the qualifications to meet it?
3. How have you seen insecurity and irreverence destroy ones faith, home or church?
4. What do you think God was doing in and through the Israelites for those 400 years?
5. Have you given God excuses for your lack of obedience? Have you ever tried to barter or even debate with God? How and why?
6. How do the people respond to Moses at first? Why? How does Moses respond to Who God is?
7. What do you do when you are feeling overwhelmed with the Christian life? Such as ministry responsibility, leadership in the church?
8. How would you rate your reverence level? What do you need to do to help grow closer in your respect for His Holiness?
9. Do you know what God has called you to and having trouble responding?
10. What does it take for you to respond with trust and obedience? Remember God does not call where He does not provide and enable you to do.
11. What do you need to do to have more confidence in Christ as Lord to carry out what He has for you? What is in the way? What do you need to do?
12. Can you think of a situation that God can use you more in now? What would God's response be to you? What step of faith and preparedness do you need to do? When will you do it?
© 2013 R. J. Krejcir, Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org