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There went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi. And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him for three months ( Exodus 2:1-2 ).
The word "goodly" is "beautiful", so this woman had a beautiful little boy, and she just couldn't bring herself to throwing him in the river. Now that was the order of the Pharaoh. But he was such a beautiful little boy, and of course what mother could really just throw her son into the river? So she hid him for three months.
And when she could no longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, [with tar] and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river's bank ( Exodus 2:3 ).
So in other words, she was fulfilling, cast the child in the river. But she just fixed a little basket, and waterproofed it so that she put him in the river, but in the basket.
And his sister stood afar off, to find out what would be done to him. And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river's side; and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it. And when she opened it, and saw the child: and, behold, the baby cried. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews' children ( Exodus 2:4-6 ).
So we see the beautiful story of God's preservation. The child was placed in this little waterproof basket there in the river. The sister stayed back in sort of the bushes, to watch the basket to see what happens. Here the daughter's Pharaoh came down to take her bath, and they saw the basket and she sent one of her maidens out to get the thing and find out, you know, curiosity. She opened it up and just at that time, little Moses started crying, and her heart was touched. "Ah, it's one of the Hebrew's children."
So Moses' sister came up, [Miriam who we will learn more about later.] and she said to Pharaoh's daughter, Do you want me to get a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for you ( Exodus 2:7 )?
Now that was a very common thing in those days. Wet nursing. So you get a woman to just wet nurse your child for you. So that's what Miriam is offering to do, get a woman to nurse the child.
And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, Go. And so the maid went and called the child's mother. [Moses' mother.] And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give you wages. And so the woman took the child and nursed it. And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: [Which means, "to be taken out of the water".] because I drew him out of the water ( Exodus 2:8-10 ).
So interesting way that God has of working, Moses was able to grow up at home during the early years where he received the strong inculcating of the Hebrew traditions, endued with a sense of a nation of destiny. Certainly, it's a tremendous example of what the proverb declares, "If you train up a child in the way he should go, when he is old he will not depart from it." Because in those early formation years, Moses had received such a strong foundation that it was strong enough that he was able to withstand all of the pressures of the many years of the education within the Egyptian schools. Don't underestimate the value of those early years. It is said that the Jewish mothers from the time the baby was first cradled in their arms, would begin to whisper in their ears, "Jehovah is God". I think for some of you mothers, one of the greatest things you can do is just whisper in your children's ears, "Jesus loves you". Paul wrote to Timothy, and spoke of how at youth he was taught in the scriptures by his godly mother and grandmother. What a heritage.
I thank God that I had a similar kind of a heritage. From my youth, taught in the scriptures by my mother. I didn't have the normal, "Goldilocks and the three Pigs", bedtime stories. I wasn't frightened by those horror tales. Imagine the wolf eating up your grandmother, you know. The woodsman coming and chopping the wolf. "So go to sleep now, honey." I can't quite understand our mentality in some of the stories that we call bedtime stories. Even the, "Rock-a-bye baby on the treetop, when the wind blows the cradle will rock, and when the bough breaks, the cradle will fall", poor child. How are we marking our children? My parents were wiser than to fill me with that garbage.
So I grew up knowing how God would always take care of His children. How God delivered the giant into the hands of David. I knew all about Moses and the bulrushes, and God's delivering power. I knew about God's deliverance from the lion's den. I knew that no matter what would happen, God would be with me, and protect me, and shelter me. My mother used to follow me around the yard when I was playing ball, or swinging, or whatever, just giving me scriptures, making me repeat them, helping me to memorize them, filling me with the knowledge of the Word of God. Those early years are important years.
Even before you think your child can understand, begin his education and training. In the very first few months, it is so important that their brain be stimulated because all of those little neuron connections are being made back there. They're being made according to the stimulus that the child receives. So that's why they say have mobiles in the crib, and colors that will move and all kinds of action to stimulate the development of the connections there during that crucial time. Because their future mental capacities will be directly proportionate to the number of connections that are made in those early months.
So Moses' mother did an excellent job. God even saw she got paid for it. I like the way the Lord operates. So rather than losing a son she gained a son, and also had wages as she nursed him. Then she brought him into the Pharaoh's court and presented him, and then he was schooled in Egypt.
Now Hebrews tells us it was by faith that she put that little ark in the river. By faith she refused to obey the Pharaoh's order, but built a little ark and placed the child in it. By faith Moses when he came to age, refused to be called the son of the Pharaoh's daughter, or to identify himself with the Egyptians, but he identified himself with the people of God. He refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, in order that he might enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, for he esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt. That shows you that there was such a strong background in Moses.
Now not only a strong background, but a sense of destiny and God's purpose for these people was instilled into Moses. So that Moses when he went out in the field, which we'll be studying in just a moment, and found an Egyptian mistreating an Israelite, killed the Egyptian. The next day when he saw two Israelites striving together and he went to break them up, when they said, "Who made you a judge over us? Are you going to kill us like you did that Egyptian yesterday?" We are told in Stephen's oration in the Acts of the Apostles, that Moses thought that they understood that God had destined him to be the leader to lead them out of their bondage. Moses thought they'd understand that. He had such a sense of destiny in those early years.
Let's move on.
And it came to pass [Verse eleven, chapter two] in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brothers, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting a Hebrew, one of his brothers ( Exodus 2:11 ).
So he had this identity with the Hebrew people rather than with the Egyptians, and it had to come in those early years.
And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand ( Exodus 2:12 ).
Now some say the mistake was "he looked this way and that way", but he didn't look up. We make that mistake so often. We look this way and that way, and then we act, not realizing that God sees us. He tried to hide his deed by burying the Egyptian in the sand.
Now as I said, Moses had a sense of destiny. Somehow he felt, and perhaps because of the position, somehow he felt that he was destined to lead these people out of their bondage. He seemed to have this awareness and consciousness. He was surprised that they didn't recognize it. The problem with Moses was that he just got ahead of God. He tried to do what God wanted done in the ability and in the power of his own flesh. Knowing what God wanted, aware of the purposes of God, his big mistake was getting ahead of God.
Now this is a mistake that we often make. We know what God wants to do, we don't wait for God or His empowering to do it, we get out and we try to do in the energy of our own flesh, what we realize God desires to be done. But I want you to notice how unsuccessful he was in trying in the ability of his own flesh to do what God wanted done. He was not even successful in burying one Egyptian. Now when God was gonna do it, He wanted to bury the whole army, which He did later in the Red Sea.
We must be careful about this zeal that we oftentimes feel for the work of God, where we start off without the anointing and the direction of the Holy Spirit. In the ability and the energies of our flesh accomplish the purposes and the work and the purposes of God, we, like Moses will end up in failure. The work of the Spirit can never be accomplished in the ability of our flesh. To do the work of the Spirit, I must be anointed, empowered, and directed by the Spirit of God. So many of my problems have arisen from this same mistake that Moses made. Having a consciousness of what God wants to do, having an awareness of the purposes of God, I try to fulfill the purposes of God without the leading and the direction, and the help of the Holy Spirit. I get ahead of God and every time I do, I botch things up just as Moses did. "He tried to hide the Egyptian."
Now when he went out the next day, two men who were Hebrews were fighting together: and he said to them that did the wrong, Why did you smite this fellow? And he said, Who made you a prince and a judge over us? you intend to kill me, like you killed the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known. Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from the face of the Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian: and he sat down by a well ( Exodus 2:13-15 ).
So when the Pharaoh discovered that Moses had taken the side of a Hebrew over an Egyptian, he had determined to kill Moses. But Moses fled and went out to the area of Sinai, the Sinai Peninsula.
Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters: and they came to draw water, and they filled the troughs to water their father's flocks. And the mean shepherds came and drove them away ( Exodus 2:16-17 ):
They'd stand back and watch the girls draw all the water out, and then they'd come and chase the girls off and water their own flocks. Moses saw what was going on.
so Moses stood up and he helped them, and he watered their flock. And when they came to Reuel their father, he said, How come you're home so early? And they said, An Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of their shepherds, and he also drew water for us, and he watered the flocks. And he said to his daughters, Where is he? why did you leave the man? call him, that he may eat bread. [Typical kind of Bedouin-kind of hospitality.] And Moses was content to dwell with the man: and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter. And she bare him a son, and called his name Gershom: [Which means "stranger".] for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land. And it came to pass in the process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of their bondage, and they cried, and their cry came unto God by reason of the bondage. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, and with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them ( Exodus 2:16-25 ).
Now between verses twenty-two and twenty-three, a period of about forty years. So it doesn't really show it in the text, but it is there. "
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Exodus 2". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent