What a coincidence!
“Years passed, and the king of Egypt died. But the Israelites still groaned beneath their burden of slavery. They cried out for help, and their pleas for deliverance rose up to God. God heard their cries and remembered his covenant promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.“ – Exodus 2:23-24 NLT
Chapters two and three are examples of Scripture passages we can read and blow right through them, missing out on all the incredible details of God’s sovereignty and power. We read them as stories and marvel at some of the “coincidences” that take place. But we run the risk of missing the picture they present of God’s underlying plan of redemption for His people. Nothing is a coincidence. Nothing just happens. It is all part of God’s grand plan. If you read verses 23 and 24 of chapter two, you could easily draw the conclusion that God was unaware of their need until they cried out to Him. But if you read between the lines, you see that God was already well aware of what was going on and had already begun putting into place the necessary ingredients for His plan to begin.
An obscure Jewish woman named Jochebed, who happened to be married to a descendant of Levi, has a son. Nothing too spectacular there. It happened all the time in Jewish households. Except for the fact that the Pharaoh had just ordered that every male child born to the Hebrews was to be killed. So Jochebed, a Godly woman, hides her son in a basket lined with pitch and sets him afloat on the river. Interestingly enough, the Hebrew word for “basket” is the same word used when referring to the ark that God used to save the family of Noah (Genesis 6). This defenseless baby, floating alone on the river just happens to wind up right at the foot of the Pharaoh’s palace, where the great Egyptian leader’s daughter is bathing. She discovers the basket and the child within, immediately recognizes that he is a Hebrew baby, then makes a surprising decision. Rather than turn him over to the authorities for immediate execution, she turns him over to a young Hebrew girl who just happened to be passing by. Miriam takes the baby and gives him back to his mother Jochebed to raise – on the payroll of Pharaoh himself.
Eventually Moses is returned to the Pharaoh’s palace and is raised as an Egyptian. In that environment, he receives a great education, military training, and develops leadership skills that will serve him well in the future. Yet his life as an Egyptian ends when he accidently kills another Egyptian while trying to defend one of the Hebrews. News of this crime results in Moses having to run for his life. He goes from prince to murderer to fugitive in a very short period of time. But in his running he ends up in the land of Midian where he meets Jethro, a worshiper of Yahweh. Moses marries one of Jethro’s daughters and settles down taking on the life of a shepherd.
It was here that Moses received his call from God. Everything that had happened up until this point had been preparation for this moment. We are told that God heard their cries and remembered His covenant promise. This was not new news to God. He was well aware of their situation and had a plan in place to deal with it. Jochebed was part of that plan. Miriam was part of that plan. Pharaoh’s daughter was part of that plan. Pharaoh himself was part of that plan. Jethro was part of that plan. Zipporah was part of that plan. And Moses was part of that plan. God called Moses. He shared His plan with Moses. He revealed Himself to Moses. And He made a promise to Moses that He would use Moses to deliver the People of Israel from captivity and provide for them a land of their own – “a land flowing with milk and honey.” A land of abundance and prosperity.
This is not the story of Moses. It is not the story of the people of Israel. It is the story of God. The whole Bible is the story of God. He is the star. The plot revolves around Him. Everyone else is a bit player. Including Pharoah, Jochebed, Amram, Miriam, Pharaoh’s daughter, Jethro, Zipporah, and Moses himself. God reveals Himself to Moses as the great I AM. He is essentially telling Moses “I am the One who is.” “I am self-existent, not created.” “I am not bound by time.” “I am present right now and into the future.” You can see the reality of this all throughout this story. God has been there all along, working behind the scenes. God is not just the God of the future, He is the God of the present and the past. He is timeless. He knew the situation the Hebrews were in long before they cried out. He knew what they would need long before He stepped in to deliver it. He had already begun putting the pieces in place, as far back as Joseph’s arrival in Egypt after having been sold into slavery by his own brothers.
So what’s the point? This story is about God. Look for him. See what it reveals about Him. Instead of concentrating on the characters in the story, dwell on the character of God.
Father, You are the great I AM. You are, have been , and always will be. You are not limited by time and space. You are timeless, limitless, and your power should leave us speechless. Help me to see You in the story of Exodus. Give me a glimpse of You. May I see the reality of Your redemptive story for mankind in the story of the redemption of Israel. Amen.
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men