EXODUS 1:1 – 3:22 and MATTHEW 13:24–58
The first three chapters of Exodus are loaded with events. It begins by making mention of the 70 that came forth of the loins of Jacob to sojourn in Egypt as referenced in Gen 46:27. Joseph and his generation died, yet they continued to multiply and be fruitful. As time went by there was a new king who came to reign that was not favourably disposed towards the children of Israel. Solomon reminds us that there are times and seasons and clearly a new season regarding Israel was at hand (Eccl 3:1-8).The key, especially for our day, is to understand the times and seasons, like the sons of Issachar (1 Chr 12:32). There is a period of several hundred years that have gone by between Genesis and Exodus.
The new king recognized their growing influence and moved to stifle their growth and influence. In looking at this Pharaoh we are looking at the heart and devices of Satan. His plan is to enact a mass genocide against the male children of the Hebrew wives. In so doing their influence and future ability to multiply would be halted. Further still, we must understand that the enemy has insights into the plan of God. Remember, he is wiser than Daniel and not to be trifled with.
Eze 28:3 Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee:
This is a foundational lesson in spiritual warfare. Satan is always seeking to thwart the establishment of God’s plan and kingdom upon earth. You see this in the Lord’s Prayer (Math 6:10). You will also see this in future genocides.
2Ki 11:1 “And when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal.”
You see it at the time of the birth of the Lord as well as in the last days. This also helps us to understand how diabolical and sinister the abortion industry is today. Nothing has changed through the years other than the sophistication of technology which allows for these heinous crimes to be drawn out for longer periods of time. The author of today’s genocide is no different than the one who put a similar method into Pharaoh’s heart.
In verse 12 we find that the more they were persecuted the more they (Israel) grew which only became more grievous to the Egyptians. In verses 13-14 their workload intensifies and their bondage becomes even bitterer. There are lessons to take note of for our day. As we draw closer to the end we will find the 2 groups becoming distinct one from another. In other words there will be no middle ground. We will have to choose sides.
This could have well been the case in Exodus chapter 1. In Isa 60:1-2 we see great glory and great darkness existing simultaneously. There is the trend today in seeking to have it both ways whereby we can live for God and the world at the same time. Though this is not God’s heart there has been that tendency due to the interconnectivity of God’s kingdom with the world. The Bible does not give much insight as to how the people of Israel co-mingled with Egypt. It is clear that Israel was gaining in influence. Egypt felt threatened resulting in this murderous ploy to be enacted.
Exo 1:16 And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live.
Try and imagine what it must have been like to be a mid-wife and to be given such a charge. The pressure they experienced will be similar to the pressures that will be seen in the last days. These mid-wives should be lauded for their ability to stand strong. They were women who feared God (vs 17) and even though they were challenged by Pharaoh they were able to answer wisely before him (vs 18-19). As a result, God preserved them and allowed Israel to continue to multiply. The fury of Pharaoh is now seen in the last two verses where he gives the decree to have every son cast into the river (vs 22). Let’s compare this account to a scene in Revelation.
Rev 12:2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.
Rev 12:3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.
Rev 12:4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
What is seen in this account in Exodus is a picture of an even greater battle that will play out in these last days. Satan, knowing that his time is short seeks to destroy the man-child which speaks of an exclusive group of overcomers, who will displace Satan’s throne in the heavenlies. Who provides the greatest threat to Satan in Revelation? It is the man-child hence his (Satan’s) desire to destroy it. Who represents the greatest threat to Satan’s kingdom in the Book of Exodus? It is Moses, who is about to be born. Pharaoh of course did not know the potential of the child Moses who was about to be born but Satan clearly did. Satan was around when God spoke his covenant Word to Abraham, especially when he mentioned about 400 years in Egypt before returning to their land (Gen 15:13). Satan can count and he was aware of a potential deliverer that would rise up.
Now, how is it that Satan can work through a person like Pharaoh? It is due to his wickedness, his evil heart. We know that Judas was the betrayer at the time of the death of Jesus. His heart was fertile ground for Satan to operate (John 13:2). His heart was so fertile that he (Satan) was able to enter into Judas later in the chapter (John 13:27). Judas was a thief, He was exposed to light and the very best of teaching yet it did not prevent him from becoming the betrayer. Can you see some of the tactics that Satan employs? This should help us a bit in our understanding of spiritual warfare. Satan is strong when he is hidden. Once the enemy is flushed out it makes him more vulnerable. Lord, make us as wise as doves and harmless as serpents (Math 10:16).
This chapter spans a period of about 80 years in the life of Moses. It can be divided into 40 years in Egypt and 40 years in the land of Midian. We will discover that Moses lived to the age of 120 so the last 40 years of his life was during his role as the leader of the children of Israel. As a quick aside the Bible makes reference to those who are CALLED, CHOSEN and FAITHFUL (Rev 17:14). These three divisions are beautifully seen in the life of Moses. While in Egypt he becomes acquainted with his CALLING (Heb 11:25-26). He then was CHOSEN while dwelling in obscurity in Midian between the age of 40-80. The Bible states that we are CHOSEN in the furnace of affliction (Isa 48:10). It is then in this position of being both CALLED and CHOSEN that Moses was FAITHFUL in his task as a leader as seen between the age of 80-120. This portion of Moses life is picked up from Exo 3 onwards. I guess we are getting ahead of ourselves.
We clearly see that Moses was born out of the tribe of Levi (vs 1). Remember Levi and what he did to the men of Schechem (Gen 34)? Remember when God spoke through Jacob that He would divide or scatter Levi from Simeon in Gen 49:5-7? Well, we see Moses is going to come forth from this tribe. This of course would include his brother Aaron who is the foundation person of the new priesthood. It is important to focus in on his parents, specifically his mother as we progress through this chapter. Both his parents are cited in Heb 11:23 for their faith and that they did not fear the commandment of the king. They had the child and did not follow through on the commandment of the king to destroy the male child.
There are times when laws of the land are not to be obeyed. We need to live respectable lives, be law abiding with government provided it does not violate God’s law. As the days draw near to the end it will not be so difficult to know what is to be obeyed and not obeyed. Once lawlessness begins to gain a foothold it breaks through anchoring moorings of morality, resulting in violence and anarchy. This is happening right before our eyes in today’s world. The tower of Babel is in play once again. Man and his lawless ways are on the loose and it seems that nothing is able to restrain its force and influence.
Look, God spent 80 years preparing a deliverer and law-giver. Do you not feel there are similar preparations underway today? 80 years takes time. If we learn the lessons of biblical and natural history we may be able to see an acceleration of this needed standard. It is a process and it’s one that many neglect or choose not to engage in. Jesus said many are called, but few are chosen (Math 22:14).
Jocabed, the mother of Moses hid him for about 3 months. The time came when she could no longer hide him resulting in her placing him in an ark and placing the ark at the bank of the river. It so happened that the ark came to the attention of Pharaoh’s daughter. Now, is that coincidence or do you think it is God once again intervening to ensure His purpose and plan that he determined before the foundation of the world would come to pass (Rev 13:8)?
What was required here was an action on the part of Jocabed. She had to be willing to take her hands off the precious possession of her son and release him to God. There were no guarantees other than her trust in the Lord. Jocabed, by faith released Moses into the unknown. Once she took her hands off her precious son God was then able to sovereignly move on behalf of the child. Here again we see God’s determinate will being fulfilled in conjunction to the faith that was exhibited by Jocabed. It is a beautiful blend of God’s sovereignty and man’s free will. Amazingly, God allows for Jocabed to be reunited with her son and then is even paid wages to nurture it (Exo 2:9). God is so good. Lord, please teach us in how to let go, that we not hinder your ability to work in any way shape or form.
In the latter part of chapter 2 we see that Moses developed and became accustomed to the ways of Egypt. Still, his burden was for his people. He saw their bondage and found himself identifying more with their suffering than with the comforts he enjoyed due to his position. God raised up Joseph several hundred years earlier to bring them into Egypt now God was going to use Moses as the one who leads them out.
I feel we can assume that Moses began to sense his call as a leader during his 40 year upbringing in Egypt. In vs 11-12 we find Moses settling a dispute on behalf of a Hebrew man who was being tormented by an Egyptian. Now we can see that Moses is fulfilling his call as a deliverer. The very next day he seeks to settle a matter between two Hebrew brethren. It looks like another chance to assert himself as a leader thus affirming his call. Imagine how Moses felt when he found himself rejected by the people he felt called to deliver. To make matters worse we find Pharaoh is out to slay him. So much for being a deliverer while making the choice in giving up his worldly privileges.
Moses is now transitioning between the positions of one being CALLED into the qualifying role of becoming CHOSEN in the wilderness of Midian. Think what Moses must have been feeling. Have I missed you God? I thought I was right in doing what you were calling me to do. Is it fair to say that he may have been struggling with identity? Is it fair to say that many are struggling with identity today? To me, the answer is clearly yes. Moses was rejected by the very ones he was called to deliver. What a lonely and solitary place to be. The Lord Himself experienced this as well.
There are a few noteworthy points to consider as Moses went into Midian. First, it was by faith that he went into Midian. It was God who ordained this place of further preparation for him.
Heb 11:27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.
Secondly, God affirmed his calling as a deliverer by allowing him to deliver the daughters of Jethro from evil shepherds (vs 27). This is the goodness of God. God reaffirmed his calling to Moses as a deliverer. One can only imagine his thoughts in going into a strange land having felt like he failed miserably in his calling. One can imagine the disillusionment. This is oftentimes how God works. He allowed Moses to exercise deliverance capacities on behalf of the 7 daughters of Jethro. Sometimes all we need is a token of what is to come. I believe that Moses was greatly encouraged by this. Remember, he fled Egypt in faith. Thirdly, he soon received a wife. Bear in mind that he did not go into Midian for the purpose of finding a wife. But while in the way (Remember Gen 24:27 with Eliezer)? God confirmed his calling and presented him a wife. Once again all the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth (Psa 25:10).
Moses dwelt with Jethro and served him during his time in Midian. In addition, Moses was becoming acquainted with the land that he would one day lead Israel through. This is the preparation of a true shepherd. He is one who goes before and tests the ground. It is also one of the qualities of the Lord as Jehovah-Nissi which is translated “The Lord our banner”. It was in this land of obscurity where Moses was CHOSEN and qualified for the task that the Lord was about to present to him. Remember in an earlier commentary we referenced the priest Joshua? He found favor with God as one who was plucked from the fire.
Zec 3:2 And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?
It is in these places of obscurity where oftentimes the qualification takes place in being CHOSEN. It is so sad when modern day teaching and theology often dismiss these experiences as not being of God. Moses is now at the age of 80 as we approach chapter 3.
In verses 1-10, Moses has a Divine encounter with the Lord. He was led to the backside of the desert at Horeb, to the mountain of God. (vs 1) In verses 2-3, Moses had what we generally term as a “turning aside moment”. Perhaps it was a day like any other day but suddenly Moses sees something that grabs his attention. Instead of just continuing on his journey he “turns aside” to see this phenomenon. He sees a bush on fire with an angel in the midst. The bush is on fire but it is not being consumed. The moment Moses “turned aside” the Lord Himself begins to speak to him. (vs 4-6) The first manner of instruction was that he had to take his shoes from off his feet since the ground he was on was holy. (vs 5) Our God is a holy God and he is not to be trivialized or presumed upon. The Bible says that we are to be holy as he is holy (Lev 11:44, 1 Pet 1:15-16).
The subject of holiness is oftentimes debated due to its high standards. Some people are put off and choose not to adhere to its requirements. (See Korah in Num 16:1-3) There is something that happens when a people stand in the presence of a holy God. We can do one of two things. Remember when God walked in the midst of the garden after Adam had sinned? What did he do? Did he acknowledge his iniquity and find forgiveness? No, he first tried to cover his iniquity and then chose to hide from the Lord’s presence. Soon thereafter he even blamed God and Eve for his transgression (Gen 3:12). When man stands in the presence of a holy God he is exposed.
Isaiah had a similar experience. In chapter 6 Isaiah saw God in his glory while hearing the heavenly hosts singing out “holy, holy, holy is the Lord. Did he go run and hide? Did he seek to cover up? No, he acknowledged his transgression of unclean lips, (vs 5) and immediately was cleansed in that area. Interestingly, it was in the area of his lips and mouth that God was preparing in order for him to be His mouthpiece. We are changed, as we stand in the presence of a holy God. What about Moses? What was his experience in this unique turning aside moment? In verses 6-9 he heard the heartbeat of God. He became acquainted with the burden that the Lord was carrying for His people. This is an essential for godly leadership. We must come into that place of knowing His heart.
Moses is having a similar experience that Abraham had in coming into a high place of intimacy with God. Abraham was far different than Lot. As we shall see Moses is far different than the congregation he was about to lead. This is the kind of leadership that God is looking to elevate today. It cannot be presumed or flippantly obtained. There is a way of approach and a process that God seeks to bring into our lives. Moses, some 40 years earlier thought that he was ready to assume his leadership role after the slaying of the Egyptian. Not so, he had to go into obscurity for further training and acquainting before he would be ready. His attitude may have been something like “bring it on”, I am forsaking my position in Egypt to answer this mighty call. His intentions were good but he was not yet ready.
Now look at his approach as we consider the next portion of what took place at the burning bush. After God shared his heart and burden with Moses he then makes this statement in verse 10.
Exo 3:10 Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.
Moses might have then said something like Wait a moment, God why don’t you do it? What you spoke in verses 5-9 sounded great so why do you need me? God is certainly well able to bringing forth deliverance on his own. God does not need Moses or anyone to do His pleasure. Think about this! God allows you and I to be potentially incorporated into His divine purpose and plan. He gives you and I the privilege of being able to put the enemy under our feet as well (Psa 149:8-9, Rom 16:12). God spent 80 years preparing a man for this moment. In the presence of a holy God Moses was hearing the heartbeat of God while also being commissioned. Moses was going to be sent as God’s representative and ambassador. This is the kind of commissioning we should desire before going to a Mission Field.
Moses was now reluctant being aware of his shortcomings. Forty years earlier he was fired up and ready to go. Now, at the time of His commissioning he focuses on his weaknesses. God has truly brought a humbling into his life. This is what the wilderness (our Midian) can do for us. God would later say to Moses that “I have made thee like a god to Pharaoh” (Exo 7:1). In other words the Lord seemed to be saying, “Moses you are as a god, faithfully representing me before the king of all the earth. We shall later see that the enemy will work through Pharaoh.
Forgive the following crude remark but it can be likened to God coming against Satan through Moses as he confronts Pharaoh. Pharaoh will be energised and empowered by Satan. This again is a picture of the last day scenario. The unholy trinity of Rev 13 (dragon, beast and false prophet) and their followers coming against God, the Son, (bridegroom) Holy Spirit and the bride (church). The primary takeaway has to be the message of holiness. We will later see the pattern in how one can come into the position of holiness as illustrated through the truths surrounding Moses tabernacle. There is a way of approach into the holy place and holy of holies. It is there where we come into a greater grasp and understanding of the ways of God. It must be taken seriously.
As we come to the close of chapter 3 we see God reiterating what He will do through Moses as he comes before Pharaoh. The time is ripe and it is a fulfilment of what was spoken earlier. He does warn Moses that Pharaoh will not let go easily. This is another truth in spiritual warfare. The enemy does not give up ground easily. In fact he fights with everything he has. Still, God speaks to Moses that in the end he will prevail.
Matthew 13 – Read day 20 commentary