In our study of Exodus chapter two, we are introduced to the two deliverers of Israel. We will look at the birth and early years of Moses and apply the lessons to our lives in Christ.
Now a man of the house of Levi married a Levite woman, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months.
We are introduced to the parents of the deliverer and see that she hid him for three months. We remember that, throughout the Bible, the number three is associated with the earthly display of God's will. In chapter one, we saw that Pharaoh had issued an order to kill all of the male Hebrew children by throwing them into the Nile River. All we are told about the child at this point is that he is a normal healthy child. We also see that the will of God is superior to the will of any man (even Pharaoh) as she was able to hide a crying baby for three months.
But 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.
After three months (God's timing) she could not hide him any longer but was led by God to put him in a basket to float above the water. This is the second time that we have seen God use an ark to save His chosen man (see Genesis 7).
His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.
Now, we see that the deliverer had a big sister and she watched from the bank as the basket (ark) carried her brother away. This may seem like a minor detail but we have to remember that the child's mom and sister did not know what would become of him. For all they knew, he would drown or starve to death.
Then the 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. She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. 'This is one of the Hebrew babies,' she said.
Now, we see that God has brought the Pharaoh's daughter to the place at the right time to find the deliverer. It is a reminder to us that it is only by the grace and power of God that any of us can doing anything of value. She had compassion on the child even though she recognized that it was one of the Hebrew children that her father ordered to be killed.
Then his sister asked Pharaoh's daughter, 'Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?' 'Yes, go,' she answered. And the girl went and got the baby's mother. Pharaoh'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.
Now, we see that God had the sister there at the right time in order to reunite the child with his mother. It is awesome to see how God works in that, not only were they reunited, but the woman was actually paid to feed her child. This is at a time when the rest of the Hebrews were slaves and so were not paid for their labor.
When 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.'
The child's mother kept him until he could eat solid food and then he was presented to Pharaoh's daughter as her son. We notice that prior to this he had not been given a name. He was given the name Moses by Pharaoh's daughter because she was the one that had the authority to give him a name. Moses means "draw out" in Hebrew and he was, in fact, born again when he was rescued from the waters and given new life by Pharaoh's daughter. This "new life" was the basis for her authority to give him a name. This was also a picture of the baptism that was to come with John the Baptist and ultimately the spiritual baptism that was to come through Jesus Christ.
One 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. Glancing this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.
There is good and bad in all people and we see this even in God's chosen deliverer. It was good that Moses had compassion for his fellow Hebrews but bad that he committed murder. Even today as Jesus is our Lord and has given us all a purpose, He knows that we, too, are not perfect. The good news is that, like Moses, God can still use us even with our flaws and one day we will be perfect.
The next day he went out and saw two Hebrews fighting. He asked the one in the wrong, 'Why are you hitting your fellow Hebrew?' The 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.' When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian, where he sat down by a well.
The next day, Moses tried to do the right thing and break up a fight between two of his fellow Hebrews. In doing so, he found out that the murder that he committed was not a secret and, in fact, Pharaoh found out and tried to kill him. This is a reminder to us that, even though we may think that our sins are hidden, they are known. It also reminds us that Moses was not chosen to deliver the people based on his own goodness as he was known to be a murderer. In the same way, we as Christians are not chosen to serve God based on our goodness but on the goodness of God.
Now a priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came to draw water and fill the troughs to water their father's flock. Some shepherds came along and drove them away, but Moses got up and came to their rescue and watered the flock.
Here, Midian refers to a place and the place is named after a son of Abraham. After the birth of Isaac and Jacob, he took another wife and had children with her; one of those boys was named Midian. Because of the fact that they were children of Abraham, these people would have known about the one true God but they also worshipped other gods. This particular priest had seven daughters and no sons. Although we may not understand it, this would have been a source of shame in not having a son to carry on the family name. His daughters tended his flock but were pushed around by the other shepherds who were probably men. Moses defended them and was able to water their flock.
When the girls returned to Reuel their father, he asked them, 'Why have you returned so early today?' They answered, 'An Egyptian rescued us from the shepherds. He even drew water for us and watered the flock.' 'And where is he?' he asked his daughters. 'Why did you leave him? Invite him to have something to eat.'
Normally, the girls would have had to wait while the male shepherds watered their flocks before they could do their job. Seeing that his daughters returned much earlier than normal, their father asked what had happened and they told him about Moses. We are also reminded of the fact that Moses had been trained as an Egyptian and was even mistaken for one by the girls. He looked, talked, and acted like an Egyptian due to his forty years of training in the royal courts.
Moses agreed to stay with the man, who gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses in marriage. Zipporah gave birth to a son, and Moses named him Gershom, saying, 'I have become an alien in a foreign land.'
Moses settled there and was given a wife. It is also here that he realized that Egypt was not his home and that is why he named his son Gershom.
During 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. God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.
The "long period" was forty years that Moses was in the land of Midian. It was during this time that God was preparing him for his mission. This was the start of a long pattern which continues even to this day. This pattern is where God takes His chosen servant to a solitary place and prepares him or her for service. During this time, Egypt got a new ruler and the oppression got so bad that the Israelites called upon God again. One of the really wonderful things about this is the fact that, even before the Israelites were crying out, God had been preparing Moses to deliver them. God is the same today and so we can take comfort in the fact that God is already got the answer for the troubles we face. Like the Israelites, He is concerned about us and, at the proper time, His answer will be sent.