[Lesson 28: Review of the First Book of the Torah] [Table of Contents] [Lesson 30: Moses Meets God]

Lesson 29

The Prophet Moses

Exodus 1,2

Peace be with you, listening friends. We greet you in the name of God, the Lord of peace, who wants everyone to understand and submit to the way of righteousness that He has established, and have true peace with Him forever. We are happy to be able to return today to present your program The Way of Righteousness.

As you should know, there are five books in the Torah which God's prophet, Moses, wrote. In our last program we finished the book of Genesis, and crossed over into the second book which is called Exodus. Our prayer to God is that He will enlighten our minds and our hearts in all that we read in this profound book that is full of valuable instruction.

We have already seen how the second book of the Torah begins where the first book ends. Thus, we saw how the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that is, the Israelites, settled in Egypt, far from the land of Canaan that God had promised to give them.

In the first chapter of the book of Exodus we read:

(Exod. 1) 1These are the names of the sons of Israel who went to Egypt with Jacob, each with his family: 2Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah; 3Issachar, Zebulun and Benjamin; 4Dan and Naphtali; Gad and Asher. 5The descendants of Jacob numbered seventy in all; Joseph was already in Egypt. 6Now Joseph and all his brothers and all that generation died, 7but the Israelites were fruitful and multiplied greatly and became exceedingly numerous, so that the land was filled with them.

8Then a new king, who did not know about Joseph, came to power in Egypt. 9"Look," he said to his people, "the Israelites have become much too numerous for us. 10Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country." 11So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh. 12But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites 13and worked them ruthlessly. 14They made their lives bitter with hard labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their hard labor the Egyptians used them ruthlessly.

Let us pause here. More than three hundred years had passed since the death of Joseph. Another Pharaoh was reigning over Egypt, a king who had forgotten all that Joseph had done for the people of Egypt. This Pharaoh oppressed Israel terribly, making them his slaves. How hard he made them work! Perhaps the Israelites thought that God had forgotten what He had promised their ancestor Abraham about their becoming a powerful nation. However, God hadn't forgotten a thing! God was, in fact, in the process of fulfilling what He had promised so long ago.

Truly, God is faithful! He keeps His covenants! What God promises to do, He will do, even if man thinks He is slow! God was the One who conceived the plan to create a new nation from which the prophets and the Redeemer would come forth--and nothing would hinder the accomplishment of His plan!

You remember that when God first revealed His plan to create that new nation, He started with an elderly couple, Abraham and Sarah. When Abraham was one hundred years old, he begot Isaac; Isaac begot Jacob; and Jacob begot twelve sons who produced the tribes of Israel. When they moved to the land of Egypt, they numbered seventy people. But now, after some three hundred years, they had become a great multitude, more that a million people! Did God do what He had promised long ago? Did God make of Abraham a new and vast nation? Yes, He did! God is faithful, and cannot go back on His Word. He is worthy of glory forever!

In today's reading, we see how Pharaoh oppressed the tribes of Israel, making them his slaves. However, we also see that every time Pharaoh tried to dominate and diminish the tribes of Israel, God would cause them to flourish and multiply. Thus, the Scriptures record that Pharaoh became very angry and gave this command to the Israelites: "Every boy that is born you must throw into the Nile!" (Exod. 1:22) What do you think about this? Who was leading Pharaoh in this wicked plan? Satan, that's who! Why did Satan want to oppress and destroy the people of Israel? Because Satan knew that God had promised to send into the world a Redeemer who would deliver the children of Adam from the power of sin and hell. And Satan knew that this coming Redeemer would descend through the nation of Israel! That is the reason Satan incited Pharaoh to persecute the people of Israel and even attempt to wipe them out by having all their baby boys thrown in the Nile river.

But God, who is stronger than Satan, planned to use a man from within the tribes of Israel to deliver His chosen people from the hand of Pharaoh. Do you know the name of this hero? Yes, it is the renowned prophet of God, Moses {Musa in Arabic}. But Moses parents, Amram and Jochebed, were also heros because "they were not afraid of the king's edict." (Heb. 11:23; Exod. 6:20). In the second chapter of the book of Exodus, we read about the early years of Moses' life.

The Scripture says:

(Exod. 2) 1Now a man of the house of Levi (Levi was the third son of Jacob) married a Levite woman, 2and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. 3But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. 4His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.

5Then Pharaoh's daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the river bank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her slave girl to get it. 6She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. "This is one of the Hebrew babies," she said. (The Egyptians called the people of Israel Hebrews.)

7Then [Miriam, the sister of the baby, who was hiding among the reeds,] asked Pharaoh's daughter, "Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?" 8"Yes, go," she answered. And the girl went and got the baby's mother. 9Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you." So the woman took the baby and nursed him. 10When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh's daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, "I drew him out of the water."

This is the story of the birth of Moses. Think of it! While other male babies were being killed, baby Moses was being nourished by his own mother and protected by Pharaoh, the wicked king! God had His hand on all that happened in the life of Moses. God planned to use Moses to deliver the children of Israel from their slavery. How deep is the wisdom of God, far surpassing the wisdom of Satan or man. Do you know where Moses grew up after he was weaned? He grew up in the house of Pharaoh who, as you know, was oppressing the people of Israel! Yet God intended to use Moses to deliver the Israelites from the hand of Pharaoh. God, in His plan, chose to use the daughter of the cruel king to protect Moses. God knew that the king's house would be the safest and best place for Moses. God also knew that there were many things Moses needed to learn and understand so that he would be properly prepared to lead the children of Israel. Thus, the Scriptures say: "Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action." (Acts 7:22) But Moses still had much to learn.

The Scripture says:

(Exod. 2) 11One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. 12Glancing this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. 13The next day he went out and saw two Hebrews fighting. He asked the one in the wrong, "Why are you hitting your fellow Hebrew?" 14The man said, "Who made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?" Then Moses was afraid and thought, "What I did must have become known." 15When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian.

Thus, we see how, at first, Moses tried to deliver the children of Israel by his own power. However, that is not how God wanted it done. God wanted to use Moses as an instrument to liberate the children of Israel. Israel's deliverance was not to come from Moses, but from God. Moses, in himself, was only a man, and had no power to free the children of Israel from the hand of Pharaoh unless God gave it to him.

Thus, the Scriptures tell us that, for forty years, Moses lived in the desert, in land of Midian. God had many important lessons to teach Moses in that hot and dry wilderness. There is a verse in the Word of God which says: "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much." (Luke 16:10) Before God could commit to Moses the weighty task of shepherding the whole assembly of Israel, Moses first needed to show himself faithful in little tasks. Thus, the Scriptures relate to us that, there in a land far from Egypt, Moses became a shepherd, got married and had two children. For forty years, Moses was a faithful shepherd. There in the desert-while Moses was shepherding his father-in-law's flock-God was preparing Moses for the day when he would shepherd the nation of Israel. God had great plans for Moses and His people Israel!

Next, the Scriptures say:

(Exod. 2) 23During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. 24God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. 25So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.

The children of Israel remained slaves for a very long time. Oh how great was their oppression! But God had not forgotten them. God planned to deliver the people of Israel from their slavery. We might ask: Why did God plan to free the children of Israel from the hand of Pharaoh? Was it because they were better than others? No! The Israelites were sinners, like the people of Egypt, like all people. Why then did God have such special plans for the children of Israel? Simply because of His faithfulness and His mercy. Let us read again the last verse. We read: "God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob (Observe God's faithfulness!). So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them (Observe God's mercy!)." (Exod. 2:24,25)

Yes, God, in His faithfulness and mercy, remembered His covenant which He had made with Abraham when He said to him,

"I will make you into a great nation. You will be a blessing…and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." (Gen. 12:2,3) "Your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and ill-treated four hundred years. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterwards they will come out with great possessions." (Gen. 15:13,14)

In the next lesson, Lord willing, we will see how God appeared to Moses in a very unusual way and called him to go to Egypt to deliver the Israelites from their slavery, just as He had promised Abraham long beforehand.

Thank you for listening….

God bless you. We bid you farewell with this word from the Psalms:

"Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done.…He remembers his covenant forever, the word he commanded, for a thousand generations, the covenant he made with Abraham, the oath he swore to Isaac." (Psa. 105:1,8,9)