Read Exodus 2
The Birth of Moses
1 Now a man of the tribe of Levi married a Levite woman, 2 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. 3 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. 4 His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.
5 Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the riverbank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her female slave to get it. 6 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.
7 Then his sister 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. So the girl went and got the baby’s mother.9 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. 10 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.”
Moses Flees to Midian
11 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. 12 Looking this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. 13 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?”
14 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.”
15 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. 16 Now a priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came to draw water and fill the troughs to water their father’s flock. 17 Some shepherds came along and drove them away, but Moses got up and came to their rescue and watered their flock.
18 When the girls returned to Reuel their father, he asked them, “Why have you returned so early today?”
19 They answered, “An Egyptian rescued us from the shepherds. He even drew water for us and watered the flock.”
20 “And where is he?” Reuel asked his daughters. “Why did you leave him? Invite him to have something to eat.”
21 Moses agreed to stay with the man, who gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses in marriage. 22 Zipporah gave birth to a son, and Moses named him Gershom, saying, “I have become a foreigner in a foreign land.”
23 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. 24 God heard their groaning and he rememberedhis covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. 25 So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.
Today’s reading introduces us to Moses, one of the main characters in the Old Testament. He was born an Israelite, but was raised an Egyptian. Moses grew up privileged in Pharaoh’s house but never forgot where he came from. We see that today, as he rushed to defend a fellow Israelite and, in the process, ended up murdering an Egyptian.
Acts 7:25 says that “Moses thought that his own people would realize God was using him to rescue them, but they did not.” He must’ve seen himself as the rightful savior of the Israelites. After all, he was an Israelite, but with the wealth, power, and resources of the Egyptians. That unique combination made him fit to be the one to rescue the Israelites from slavery, or so he thought. Once he realized the Israelites didn’t see him that way, however, he fled the country in shame.
While things looked hopeless for Moses and the Israelites, at the end of today’s chapter, we see who the true Savior for the Israelites is. “God heard their groaning and He remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.” (vv. 24-25) God will use Moses to deliver His people, but don’t overlook who the true Deliverer is–God. He uses people, but He, and He alone, is the One who rescues, delivers, and saves.
Moses tried to take matters into his own hands and ended up a murderer and a fugitive hundreds of miles away from the people he was trying to save. We end up in similar places when we try to play God. When we try to be the savior for a friend in need, or try to take on a burden not meant for us to carry alone, this leads to nothing more than burnout and more problems. We’ll see Moses learn this lesson and begin to allow God to work through him, and as a result, save an entire group of people. We need to learn that same lesson. Philippians 2:13 says, “It is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose.” Instead of acting out of our own strength, let’s humble ourselves, allow God to work through us, and be amazed at what He does.
How does Moses’ unique upbringing set the stage for what God has planned for him? How does your unique perspective set the stage for what God might want to do through you?
How have you been tempted to rely on your own strength before? How does that turn out?
Why is it so hard to trust and rely on God’s power rather than our own? Is there an area in your life that you’re relying on yourself and not God? How can you surrender that to God today?
Did You Know?
Scripture and other historical sources give us some insight into Moses’ background. In Acts 7:21-22, Stephen says that Moses was a man of power. Josephus, the ancient historian, claimed that Moses was a general in the Egyptian army that conquered the Ethiopians. While we can’t confirm that for sure, we do know that Moses was influential in Egypt but became an outsider once he arrived in Midian.