Written by Sean Tong
What is the current state of the church? Across the world, Christians face persecution. This has been no less evident recently in Iraq where Islamic militants have been giving Christians there a horrific ultimatum: Convert and pay a tax or die. Not only that, they have also purportedly committed further atrocities, including beheading children. Has God abandoned His people?
We find a similar situation in Exodus chapter 2. But before that, let’s take a look at what happened earlier in Genesis. Genesis concludes with Joseph saying to his brothers, “I am about to die, but God will visit you and bring you up out of this land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob” (50:24 ESV).
However, in Exodus 1, we find out that things seem to be taking a downward spiral for God’s people. The Israelites are oppressed. Pharaoh brutally makes them work hard as his slaves. Yet, the more God’s people are oppressed, the more they multiply (Exodus 1:1-14)!
But another roadblock soon arises. Pharaoh tells the Hebrew midwives to kill all Israelite son when it is born (vv.15-16). However, the midwives fear God more than they fear Pharaoh, telling Pharaoh that Hebrew women are so vigorous that they give birth before a midwife can get to them! Pharaoh then commands that “Every son that is born to the Hebrews … shall [be] cast into the [River] Nile” (v.22).
What’s going to happen? Would this order from Pharaoh be too big for God?
In Exodus 2:1, we read of a man from the house of Levi who took a Levite woman as his wife. This is better isn’t it? We have a wedding! “The woman conceived and bore a son” (v.2)! And now they’re having children. Will he get chucked into the Nile?
His mother sees that he is a fine child. Well she would, wouldn’t she? Maybe this is just me, but if I’m being honest, newly born babies can be ugly. But have you ever noticed how the parents always see how beautiful their child is? Acts 7:20 highlights for us that there is something more than just ordinary parental wonder going on here—”At this time Moses was born; and he was beautiful in God’s sight.”
So they hide him for three months. When Moses’ mother could hide him no longer, she took a basket made of bulrushes and set it off on its way among the reeds of the river bank (v.3).
This child eventually ends up with Pharaoh’s daughter (v.5)! What’s going to happen to him? Will God be faithful to His promises?
We read that Pharaoh’s daughter takes pity on Moses and calls for a Hebrew woman to nurse the child, who happens to be Moses’ mother! God is in complete control of what is happening.
Why is this important to us?
This special birth looks forward to another special birth. The birth of Moses looks forward to the birth of Jesus. In Hebrews 3, the writer to the Hebrews says that “Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses” (v.3). Just as Moses was leading God’s people to the Promised Land, Jesus delivers us from slavery to sin and leads us into His kingdom. So despite whatever situation we’re facing currently, let’s hang on to Jesus’ promises for us!