Summary: When God calls Moses to go to Pharaoh for the deliverance of the children of Israel, Moses responds with a plethora of excuses...
At the beginning of the Old Testament book of Exodus, the children of Israel have survived the drought caused famine. They’ve been in Egypt for over 400 years. Joseph has died and all his generation; the children of Israel were fruitful and have experienced tremendous population growth so much so that the new Egyptian king, who didn’t know or respect the legacy of Joseph was concerned.
Rather than take the risk that the children of Israel would join with Egypt’s enemies and fight against them, they put the Israelites to work and treated them as slaves to build cities for Pharaoh. But the more they afflicted the children of Israel, the more they multiplied.
The king of Egypt then came up with a plan to deal with this population explosion. He commanded the Hebrew midwives…the obstetricians of that day, to do “birth control”. When they were delivering a baby, if it was a boy they were to kill it; if it was a girl, they were to let it live. But the midwives feared God and told Pharaoh that “These Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women; they give birth fast…the baby pops out before we even get a chance to deliver it.”
So God blesses the midwives so that they are even getting pregnant and the children of Israel continue to increase in size and strength.
At the end of chapter one, we find the king of Egypt issuing a command to his people to “Take every newborn Hebrew boy and throw him into the Nile, but let all the girls live.”
Chapter two begins with a man and his wife from the tribe of Levi having a son during the time of Pharaoh’s edict. They defied the king’s command and the mother hid her son for three months until she could hide him no longer. At this time she took a basket made of reeds and covered it with tar to make it watertight; she placed her son in the basket and placed the basket in the river. She had her daughter watch from a distance to see what would happen to the baby.
The king’s daughter came down to the river to bathe and noticed the basket in the tall grass and opened it to find the baby boy and a Hebrew at that. She felt sorry for the baby and then the baby’s sister asked the princess “Shall I go and call a Hebrew woman to nurse the baby for you.” To make a long story short, the princess paid the baby’s mother to take care of him until he was weaned and then adopted the baby as her own son, calling him Moses, because she “pulled him out of the water.”
Moses was raised as an Egyptian prince and when he became a grown man he noticed how his people were being forced to do hard labor. One day he saw an Egypt kill a Hebrew, one of his own people and when no one was looking he killed the Egyptian and hid his body in the sand.
But someone saw the murder and when the king heard about it he tried to have Moses killed but Moses fled to live in the land of Midian. Forty years later Moses was married and had children of his own and he was keeping the flock of his father in law, Jethro, the priest of Midian.
The king of Egypt had died by this time but the children of Israel were still groaning under their slavery and crying out to God for help. At the end of chapter two we learn that God heard their cry and remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
In chapter three Moses is in the desert, keeping the flock of his father in law and he arrives at what the people called “the mountain of God.”
The Bible says, “The angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.”
God introduces Himself to Moses and assures him that He has seen the affliction of the children of Israel in Egypt and heard their cry because of the taskmasters. God tells Moses that He has come down to deliver them from the hand of the Egyptians and bring them up to a land, a good land and a large land flowing with milk and honey.