- Consider all the ways God protected baby Moses.
- Trust that God cares for us in scary situations.
- Pray for those who need God's protection.
A long time has now passed since the sad story of Jacob and Esau. The story of God's salvation has entered a new stage: the Jews are no longer the tribe of wanderers in Canaan: through the exploits of Jacob's son, Joseph, they have now settled in Egypt. A new king has come to power and has enslaved them. This story depicts God's people under the control of the Egyptian Empire.
I strongly suggest that you read this story from the beginning of chapter 1. Pharaoh found himself with a burgeoning population of non-Egyptians settled on his borders. It's not difficult to understand his concern. Like any tyrant, his response was to oppress and master the population through enslavement and downright genocide.
The names Shiphrah and Puah should live on in our biblical memory. Ordered by Pharaoh to kill the Hebrew babies, they not only defied him but cunningly got away with it. Don't you love that line, "They are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive." But it wasn't just cunning, it was the obedience of the midwives, who, Scripture says, fear God.
Now Pharaoh threatens every Hebrew boy. The focus narrows down to one family that gives birth to a fine boy. After hiding him for three months, his mother becomes desperate. She tries something utterly daring. She puts the child in a basket coated with pitch and sets it in the water along the banks of the river, ordering the baby's older sister to watch from a distance.
Along comes one of Pharaoh's daughters, of all people, who takes pity on the crying baby even though he's a Hebrew and subject to death. The baby's sister, apparently without any direction from her mother, suggests that she find a Hebrew wet-nurse for the child. After the child is weaned, Pharaoh's daughter adopts him as her own son. Only then do we hear his name, a name that will echo throughout history: Moses.
One of the striking features of the story is that God is almost hidden. We hear that the Hebrew midwives feared God and that he rewards them, but the whole drama of Moses in the basket is presented in purely human terms. A desperate family takes desperate action. Through it all, they sense the guiding hand of God, which becomes clearer as the story continues.
Though our circumstances may not be as desperate, we find the same thing happening in our lives. We struggle along, trying to solve our problems and often making mistakes. Only later does it become evident that God has been guiding and directing our path.
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