Moses was born into a legacy of slavery and oppression. In fact, he was born under the shadow of a death decree pronounced against Hebrew babies simply because they were Hebrew and male.
But Moses was also born into a family entrenched in deep faith. His mother, Jochebed was a woman whose courage and determination led her to exercise an undaunted faith in God. She did not resign herself to the inevitable reality of her circumstances but instead chose to look beyond the menace that threatened her son to grasp the possibilities that could be found in placing her entire faith and hope in God.
Jochebed’s faith drove her to make a waterproof basket and hide her newborn son in the reeds of one of the most powerful rivers on the face of the planet. The Nile was the focal point of Egyptian civilization but it was also infested with crocodiles and fraught with untold danger.
God rewarded the faith and faithfulness of Jochebed. She was only a woman and a slave, locked in a society that was hostile to both. The baby was found by the King’s daughter, Princess Hatshepsut who named him Moses. sMosemeaning to draw out of the water.
But that wasn’t the end of the miracle. The child’s life had been preserved when so many other boys like him had been butchered and flung into the murky water of the Nile. The river that had been an instrument of destruction had been used by God as an instrument of preservation.
It’s a pertinent lesson. Sometimes the very things that are intended by Satan to harm us are used by God to bless us and preserve us.
Jochebed had left her eldest child, Miriam to watch over her baby brother as he lay nestled in the reeds by the river. Miriam approached Princess Hatshepsut and offered her the services of a wet nurse for the child. Hatshepsut would have, without a doubt, understood the circumstances surrounding the water baby she had just discovered, and her heart was touched. She decided to adopt him and she gave him back to his mother (whether or not she knew that Jochebed was his mother is unknown) to care for him.
Moses was raised in his own home surrounded by his biological family until he was twelve years old. Jochebed took the opportunity that she had been given to raise her son with a clear understanding of who God was and what He planned to do for His people.
In fact, Jochebed’s education of her son was so thorough that Moses’ loyalties lay first and foremost with God and his people. So much so that he chose to suffer affliction with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.
That was a hard choice. Egypt was resplendent. The very apex of greatness. As the adopted son of Hatshepsut, Moses was in line to the throne of the Pharaohs. What Egypt offered him was nothing to sneeze at and yet, he chose to throw in his lot with a bunch of slaves.
Because clearly what God offered a bunch of slaves was far more resplendent than the throne of Egypt. Moses recognized that and embraced it. That choice set the course of his entire life. Shaped him into a man that the throne of Egypt could never have produced.
Egypt couldn’t give him eternity but God could and Moses recognized the offer of a better country and grabbed hold of it with both hands.
But Moses’ journey to being the man of faith that God wanted him to be was not a cakewalk. It was laced with bad choices and recrimination and a long stint in the wilderness learning to be patient and take care of sheep. But God was able to take Moses’ bad choices and turn them into something good.
Moses had to learn a lesson that each of his forefathers, from Abraham to Jacob had to learn; to wait on God to execute His plans in His time and in His way without intervention or assistance. Moses had to learn to trust God and wait on God
When Moses returned to Egypt 40 years after he fled into the wilderness as a fugitive he was a changed man. The young Moses who had murdered an Egyptian to save a Hebrew in the hopes of raising an armed insurrection against the very throne that he was set to inherit could no longer be seen in the face of the older, wiser version.
Moses had learned patience and humility and faith in the wilderness. He had learned to trust God. It was these attributes that prepared him to face Pharaoh and go head to head with him in one of the most dramatic showdowns in history.
Moses came to Pharaoh to request the release of the Hebrew nation. Pharaoh said no, repeatedly. Moses came to Pharaoh in the name and authority of God. Pharaoh refused to acknowledge God’s authority.
Eventually, God rained down plagues on Egypt to convince Pharaoh and his people that they were not fighting against flesh and blood but indeed against the very hand that had formed them. The plagues of Egypt were costly. They ravaged the country in blood, pestilence, and disaster and finally stole the very breath from the lungs of the firstborn in every Egyptian household.
And yet Pharaoh refused to yield to God. Pharaoh is a poster boy for the stubborn and irrational resistance that humanity mounts against God, and of the horrific consequences of our foolishness.
In the language of the famous memes of our age; this is Pharaoh, he chose to rebel against God and called down a series of ravaging plagues on the heads of an entire nation. Don’t be like Pharaoh.