Day 15: A Token From God

Exodus 3:7-12

Yahweh said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey; to the place of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite. Now, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to me. Moreover I have seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. Come now therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh, that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”

Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”

He said, “Certainly I will be with you. This will be the token to you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”

I must share the problems that Moses had with faith in God. I can really relate to his questions as well as his quirky behavior. If you remember, forty years before this
meeting with God, Moses, without asking God, decided to start freeing his people from the Egyptians by himself. Now that God has come to him and asked him to do that very thing, he has lost all confidence. Did you notice that God doesn’t rebuke him for this?

This is the point at which God is actually able to start using us; the point at which we lose all confidence in ourselves. God is ready to answer Moses on this topic and explains that He will be with Moses. Not only that, God gives Moses a “token,” but this token is a very strange one to a person who wants to figure everything out in advance.

The token that God gives is a prophesy about the future. He tells Moses that you will know that it is right because you will end up right here on this mountain worshiping me with the children of Israel. Now, that isn’t a sign for those who lack faith. This was a sign that required faith. You have to believe in God and do what He says before you can see the thing come true. This is how it really is with God. God gives us promises about the future that we must believe and take action on.

These kinds of signs give us hope because they are based on a good future. God knows what we need to help us get through difficult tasks. What we really need is a bright future and enough hope to give us encouragement as we take the painful path to get there.

Day 14: Holy Ground

Exodus 3:1-6

Now Moses was keeping the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the back of the wilderness, and came to God’s mountain, to Horeb. The angel of Yahweh appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. Moses said, “I will turn aside now, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.”

When Yahweh saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the midst of the bush, and said, “Moses! Moses!”

He said, “Here I am.”

He said, “Don’t come close. Take your sandals off of your feet, for the place you are standing on is holy ground.” Moreover he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”

Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look at God.

Our world is pretty confused. Things that are popular should actually be ignored or even stopped and things that are ignored should be popular. On this particular day, Moses stumbled onto “holy ground.”

Moses seemed to think that he was in the middle of nowhere, but He was wrong. Right where he was standing, one of the most amazing things on earth was to take place. God was to give His law to mankind. Not only that, any place where God is, is a holy place because God is holy. Jesus was very approachable because He humbled Himself, but that doesn’t mean that He didn’t deserve our respect and worship. Everywhere that Jesus was, was holy just because He was there too.

God told Moses to take off his shoes. To this day, it is customary in eastern countries to take off one’s shoes as a matter of respect when visiting a house. In other cultures there are different manners, but, as we can see, manners are important because they are an outward representation of our respect.

Pay careful attention to the language here. We read that “an Angel of Yahweh appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush,” and that He said, “I am the God of your father…” It is good to know that the word “angel” here is sometimes translated “messenger.” The Bible calls this messenger “God.” I believe, along with many others that this was an appearance of Jesus before He became a man and lived with us. Jesus came to visit Moses and to give him a message.

Moses did what every man does when he realizes that he’s in the presence of God; he hid himself. This has been our reaction since the day we first started sinning against God. This is the problem that Jesus was in the processes of fixing, and Moses had a part in the next phase of His plan.

Day 13: The Keeper Of Promises And The Helper Of The Helpless

Exodus 2:23-25

It happened in the course of those many days, that the king of Egypt died, and the children of Israel sighed because of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up to God because of the bondage. God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the children of Israel, and God was concerned about them.

One thing that I can clearly see about the Hebrews in Egypt is that they had a lot of time and reason to cry out to God and ask for His salvation. The problem that I see here is that we see no indication that that is what they did. All we read here is that they cried. We are just like they are. Things can get worse and worse for us and we still won’t cry out to the only one who can save us.

Instead, what we see here, is that God was concerned and really cared about these people. Not only that, God keeps His word and He promised to take care of them. Isn’t it amazing that even though God had promised to Abraham hundreds of years earlier that this exact thing would happen, that He still did what He did because of a real love in His heart?

Notice that God loved these people when they were broken and completely helpless. They didn’t know or care to call out to Him. He loved them just because He decided to. There is reason to believe that these people were not even praying to their God. It would appear that they had been influenced by the gods of Egypt as we learn about later in Exodus, but God was still concerned for them.

It’s easy for us to think the wrong way about God. It isn’t based on how good we are, it is based on who He is and how much He cares. That’s why we can even come to Him. He has drawn us to Himself and caused us to come to Him because we were helpless and He was concerned about us.

Day 12: A Deliverer

Exodus 2:15-22

Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and lived in the land of idian, and he sat down by a well.

Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters. They came and drew water, and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. The shepherds came and drove them away; but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock. When they came to Reuel, their father, he said, “How is it that you have returned so early today?”

They said, “An Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds, and moreover he drew water for us, and watered the flock.”

He said to his daughters, “Where is he? Why is it that you have left the man? Call him, that he may eat bread.”

Moses was content to dwell with the man. He gave Moses Zipporah, his daughter. She bore a son, and he named him Gershom,† for he said, “I have lived as a foreigner in a foreign land.”

God loves each one of us and He has made us all for a purpose. It is possible to be showing signs of what that purpose is without even knowing it. We see this here with Moses. I believe that Moses was pretty depressed about things. We know from the name of his firstborn that he felt that he didn’t belong where he was.

Although it was true that Moses didn’t live in the land promised to Israel, he was actually in the place where God wanted him to be.

Moses really was made to be a deliverer. We see here that, even as he sat by a well, he couldn’t help but chase off the pesky shepherds for the girls who were trying to water their flocks and ended up helping them. Why didn’t Moses just keep to himself and not bother? God had placed a sincere desire to promote what is right and to deliver those who were being abused. That’s why he killed the Egyptian. It was a good thing for Moses to have the desire for justice and to deliver people, and God really rewarded it this time by giving Moses a wife and a son.

The land of Midian is still a pretty empty place today. I am told that, it would be pretty easy to get lost. By living as a shepherd in Midian, he gained some practical knowledge about how to get around in that area. He also learned how to be patient and take care of animals. We will see as we study the Bible that this is a common way for God to train His leaders. It is evident that God had His deliverer in the place that He wanted him to be, for now.

Day 11: Frustrated

Exodus 2:11-14

It happened in those days, when Moses had grown up, that he went out to his brothers, and looked at their burdens. He saw an Egyptian striking a Hebrew, one of his brothers. He looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no one, he killed the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand.

He went out the second day, and behold, two men of the Hebrews were fighting with each other. He said to him who did the wrong, “Why do you strike your fellow?”

He said, “Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you plan to kill me, as you killed the Egyptian?”

Moses was afraid, and said, “Surely this thing is known.”

This passage is an especially sensitive one for me. Sometimes, God’s calling and His power don’t come at the same time. Sometimes, God calls us to wait… for a long time.

Moses knew that God wanted to use him to deliver his people. He had grown up in
Pharaoh’s household and was well educated in everything that they knew. He was an excellent speaker and was a very capable man. Yet, He specifically chose to not be an Egyptian with great wealth and distinction but to identify himself with his own people who were living as slaves. The reason I can speak so dogmatically about this is because this is what I read about Moses in the Bible. Here’s what Stephen said about Moses in Acts:

Acts 7:22 :

Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians. He was mighty in his words and works.

In Hebrews it says:

Hebrews 11:24-25 :

By faith, Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to share ill treatment with God’s people, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a time;

And again in Acts it says:

Acts 11:25 :

He supposed that his brothers understood that God, by his hand, was giving them deliverance; but they didn’t understand.

Did you know that when Moses killed that Egyptian, he didn’t run out of the fear of the
Pharaoh? It appears that Moses was frustrated with the fact that his own people didn’t recognize who He was. He was probably also afraid of the fact that he had disobeyed God and killed a man. He knew that it was not his place to kill the Egyptian. How do I know that He wasn’t running from Pharaoh? The Bible tells us in Hebrews:

Hebrews 11:27 :

By faith, he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.

It was God’s will for Moses to lead his people, but it was clearly not God’s timing. This is such a common story among those who have been called by God to do something. It may be very confusing to us when God promises that we are to do something and then nothing happens for years.

At this time, Moses was 40 years old. God was not to start his leadership ministry for another 40 years! Ministry for Moses was to start at 80! When we fail to wait on God, our lives can be frustrating and wasteful and even lead to horrible things like murder, as was the case with Moses. It is not only important for us to know the will of God for our lives, but we must also wait for God’s timing and power or else we will end up extremely frustrated.

Day 10: Raising God’s Messenger

Exodus 2:10

The child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, and said, “Because I drew him out of the water.”

I realized when I was studying Exodus how true it is that Moses had become an excellent communicator. Remember that Moses wrote the text that we are now studying. This means that he was now writing about himself. His talent for writing shines here because he doesn’t fall into the error of bragging or over emphasizing his own family or situation. In fact, Moses didn’t even name this mysterious baby, his parents or his sister until now. He connected his family with Levi, but remember, Levi had helped to kill off all of the people in a town out of revenge. Moses didn’t hide the bad or the good, but used a disciplined historical narrative format, even when talking about himself.

Moses grew as a child of Pharaoh. We have no idea how great the education was in Egypt but we do know that we still haven’t figured out some of the things they knew how to do. We also know that they were very wealthy and were able to highly purify gold and preserve the dead. Obviously, they had some science and technology.

We have other sources that tell us about this daughter of Pharaoh. In fact, this is one of the areas that produces a difficulty for those who wish to force a later date for these events on the Bible. There was a daughter of a Pharaoh that did have this kind of power with her dad and she actually is believed to have become Queen. Her name was Pharaoh Hatshepsut. She was one of the only female rulers of Egypt.

It is interesting to note that Hatshepsut’s father was named “Thutmose” or “Thutmosis.” We might say “Thut-moses.” Moses just means: “taken out of.” For instance, I am told by some historians that “Thutmosis” means “Thoth is born.” It sounds like it was a popular name and idea for leaders to be called something like this. You won’t find this information plainly stated in the world. Most people in our culture appear to have taken the Egyptian records and the guesses of scientists over the records in the Bible so it is difficult to find the fact out of all of the fiction.

To make matters more difficult, it appears that during Moses’ time in Egypt, it was common to not name your enemies by name in recorded history. So, Moses didn’t name the Pharaoh. We know that the Bible is correct, therefore, we should be studying history based on what the Bible says, not the other way around. Perhaps, if people return to using the Bible as a basis for thinking, they will be able to come to the knowledge of the truth of these parts of history.

So, we can see that God used Pharaoh’s daughter to preserve Israel and he trained Moses to communicate, and as a result, we have the first five books of the Bible.

Day 9: Faith Over Fear

Exodus 2:5-9

Pharaoh’s daughter came down to bathe at the river. Her maidens walked along by the riverside. She saw the basket among the reeds, and sent her handmaid to get it. She opened it, and saw the child, and behold, the baby cried. She had compassion on him, and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.”

Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Should I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for you?”

Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go.”

The maiden went and called the child’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child away, and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.”

The woman took the child, and nursed it.

When we consider the future, we usually don’t consider the miracles that God will do. The fact is that God really does do miraculous things to help those who have faith in Him. That’s what happened here. The reason we know that faith was involved is because the Bible has commentary on this event in the New Testament. It tells us why this couple did what they did.

Hebrews 11:23 :

By faith, Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that he was a beautiful child, and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment.

Notice that because they had faith, they were not afraid of the king of Egypt. It is interesting to note that from this faithful household would not only come the one who would lead the people out of Egypt to the promised land, but also Israel’s first priest. How could a person predict that? Faith is like a very small seed that when it is planted grows into something much larger and more beautiful.

Notice that God used what was natural once again. He used the crying of a baby and the natural affection of Pharaoh’s daughter. He also used the watchful eye of an older sister. What wasn’t natural here is that God arranged it so that a forbidden baby would not only be required to be kept alive, but that his mother would be paid to nurse him! That’s the kind of thing God does when people believe in what He says and who He is. I am sure that these godly parents still had to work hard in an abusive situation, but God was helping them through it, even protecting their children for a very important future that would end in the release of all of the Hebrews.