Introduction: Any approach to the Bible must include study of the author of a particular book, in this case, Moses, who wrote Exodus – something Jesus confirmed when He quoted from the burning bush passage in Exodus 3:6, citing His source as the “book of Moses” (Mark 12:26). For Jesus, the God of the book of Exodus was the “I Am” God who never changes, and therefore, the same God who both met Moses in the bush and also inspired Him to write about the deliverance from Egypt which God worked through him. May we rejoice in this week’s notes to discover more about this man Moses and the God who used him to accomplish so much for His kingdom – even from his birth!
Monday: read Exodus 1:8-10 and 2:1-4. The Pharaoh that arose to persecute God’s people must surely have known of Joseph’s great work for and witness to the one true God. When, therefore, we read that he “did not know Joseph” in Ex. 1:8, we are to understand Pharaoh’s willful ignorance of Joseph’s faith in the Lord. Only such a hardening of Pharaoh’s heart against the one true God can explain his deliberate plan of cruel genocide against God’s people in Exodus 1:8-22. We will have more to say about Pharaoh’s plan to destroy all Hebrew males in future notes. For now, simply recognize that, at the very moment when Pharaoh was most intoxicated with what he thought to be unlimited power, reaching even to deliberate murder, God was at work to bring about the birth of one named Moses (Ex. 2:1-3 & 2:10), who would spell the end of this murderous Pharaoh’s regime! Surely God uses the weak things of this world (like the birth of a baby) to shame the “worldly-wise” and blood-thirsty, proud men like Pharaoh!
Pray: Thank God that He is always one step ahead of the wicked and their confident trust in their own mischievous stratagems. “Lord, give us the courage to stand with You when You permit the rise of great wickedness, believing all the time that ‘even the wrath of evil men’ shall in the end bring praise to You as our Sovereign God! Amen!” Meditate: Remember how Psalm 76:10 expresses it, in the New King James Version? “Surely the wrath of man shall praise You; with the remainder of wrath God shall gird Himself!” Hallelujah!
Tuesday: read Exodus 1:22-2:10. Time appeared to be running out for Moses and his parents after his birth in Ex. 2:1-3. Pharaoh relentlessly pursued his edict against all male Hebrew babies (Ex. 1:22), causing Moses’ parents to hide him as long as they could. But now they were prompted to cast him upon the waters of the dreaded Nile River! Though perhaps knowing something of Pharaoh’s daughter, and having some hope that she would respond graciously to their plight, it must, nevertheless, have caused their hearts to quake as they saw his little basket float away into unknown dangers. Yet, at the very time of their greatest fear, God was preparing the Egyptian royal household to welcome their baby Moses at the banks of the river Nile! What perfect timing for Moses and his family! Moreover, can there be anything more amazing than to see the Spirit of God move Pharaoh’s daughter to take pity on the baby Moses, taking him into her home and even arranging that his education be conducted by his actual birth mother (Ex. 2:7-9)? What perfect planning! This is too incredible, if it were not written down for us on the pages of sacred Writ!
Meditate and Pray: Thank God again for His perfect timing in all things related to our preservation in this evil world. What safety for us to know that the Divine time-table always runs on schedule for our good and God’s glory. Though baby Moses knew nothing but the terror of being separated from his mother, God heard his cries and arose to act for his adoption into the Egyptian court! Truly, God not only times His great deeds of salvation perfectly; He even attunes Himself to hear and respond to the littlest cries of His own – even the muffled whimpers of a babe hidden in a basket! Let us praise our God’s sense of timing, even down to His counting our sighs as He comes to us! How does Psalm 12:5 put it? “Because of the oppression of the weak and the groaning of the needy, I will now arise.” See Him doing just that – wading through the spiritually polluted waters of the River Nile to rescue Moses by the hand of the daughter of murderous Pharaoh! Hallelujah! Let us thank God for the truth of William Cowper’s great hymn: (# 74 in our Trinity Hymnal):
|God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines
|Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.
His purposes will ripen fast,
Wednesday: read Exodus 1:8-10; 1:22-2:10. The rescue of Moses out of the Nile River, “in the nick of time,” was in fact ominous timing for the kingdom of Egypt! Never suspecting God’s pending judgment, the wicked commit the most high-handed of sins, believing that their “shrewd plans” (Ex. 1:10) will succeed, even while destruction arises from the most unexpected of places! Could Pharaoh ever have suspected that the Nile, worshipped in Egypt as the divine source of life and chosen by him to be the place of the death of all male Hebrew new-borns (Ex. 1:22), would carry a basket containing the one who one day would become the bane of Egypt? Because of this one basket afloat on their river, and the champion it contained, the wise men of Egypt would one day beg Pharaoh in Exodus 10:7, “How long will this man (Moses) be a snare to us? Let the people go, so that they may worship the Lord their God. Do you not realize that Egypt is ruined?” Sadly, Pharaoh did not heed his wise-men’s pleas, and carried on in his hardness until God’s final judgment fell irrevocably on the land and the house of Egypt.
Meditate and Pray: How we should pray with compassion for all enemies of the Gospel (just as Moses prayed for Egypt and Pharaoh, see Ex. 10:16-18), because, in their real-life experience, nothing is well-timed in terms of the judgments of God on their lives. From the perspective of procrastinating unbelievers, God is always either inconveniently too early or tragically too late to do them any good. Did not Jesus weep over Jerusalem, saying of their terrible sense of spiritual timing: “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes” (Luke 19:42)? “Lord, help us never to take for granted your perfect timing in our lives! Amen!”
Thursday: read Exodus 2:1-10 and Hebrews 11:23. At the very height of the fury of Pharaoh against all male Hebrew babies, Moses was born, and his parents took action to save him, committing him to God’s care even while they launched his basket on the river Nile – all because they “did not fear the king of Egypt’s edict” (Heb. 11:23). Such is the courage which God gives believers even in a terrible day of wickedness. How encouraging that, when God gave Moses’ parents command to preserve the life of their son, He also gave them the ability to obey that command. In short, God would never have permitted such a threat against their son without also giving Moses’ parents the strength to defy that mighty ruler Pharaoh. How Moses’ mother and father must have agonized over what they should do, until God not only showed them how to build that basket, but also gave their hearts courage to set its sails on the Nile!
Meditate and Pray: Thank God for the constancy of His promise found in Deuteronomy 33:25: “Your strength shall be equal to your days.” For Moses’ parents and for us, God promises to give us a strength in His Grace proportionate to the duty which He lays upon us, and according to the challenges which lie before us. As hymn # 676 says so eloquently in our hymn books:
Every day, the Lord Himself is near me
With a special mercy for each hour;
All my cares He fain would bear, and cheer me,
He Whose Name is Counselor and Power;
The protection of His child and treasure
Is a charge that on Himself He laid;
“As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure,”
This the pledge to me He made.
Friday: read Hebrews 11:23 and Habakkuk 3:1-2 (NKJV). When we pray for revival, what form do we think an answer to this prayer will take? We often think of increased numbers of believers and the growth of the visible church, which is surely a great blessing for which to pray. But sometimes, we can be disappointed when the answer does not seem to bring about any measureable growth. What kind of hope, for example, do you think most of the Hebrews entertained for their deliverance when they saw generation after generation of slave-children being born into their families, with no apparent end of their trials in sight? Closer to our day, during the Second World War there were a great many in the United Kingdom who prayed that God would use the ravages of war to bring many to repentance and faith. However, the late Rev. James Philip recalled that many were disappointed by the lack of visible fruit in the Church of Scotland and Church of England following victory over Hitler.
Only decades later did it become obvious what God had done in answer to the prayers of His people. During and after the War, God blessed many Christian families in the UK with the birth of children who grew up and were called into full-time missionary and pastoral service. This explains, for example, the increase of Gospel-preaching servants who transformed the national church in Scotland, following the example of William Still, as well as James Philip and others. All the while that the war generation mourned the lack of apparent fruit, God was busy providing godly offspring who would one day carry the banner for Christ much farther than their parents had done!
Meditate and Pray: Thank the Lord for the birth of great and godly servants of God – even in the midst of ages of unbelief, where little fruit is evident to the eye of believers. Just as there was only one Moses born, and, by virtue of God’s power, only one Moses needed to bring God’s people out of Egypt, so let us pray for God to raise up in future generations the mighty men and women who will be needed to stem the tide of evil in God’s Name in this evil world. Even more, let us thank God for the One Savior whom God “called out of Egypt” (Matt. 2:15) to be our Deliverer – even though no one noticed His birth at Christmas-time!
Saturday/Sunday: Thinking further on Habakkuk 3:1-2, let us thank God that He often answers long-awaited prayers for the deliverance of the church, as Habakkuk puts it in Hab. 3:2, “in the midst of the years,” that is, in the midst of the exiled sufferings of Babylon or whatever sufferings the church has long endured. Even in those saddest of times, God was planning to revive His work for His afflicted church! So too, in the book of Exodus, as we will see further next week, there was a time set by God to deliver His people from bondage: “It came to pass, at the end of four hundred and thirty years, even the self-same day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out of Egypt” (Ex. 12:41). May God bring such timely deliverance even in our day! Amen.