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Read Exodus 2 here.

Moses is a true Levite (v1).  Which tells you, among other things, that he'll be a man of violence (v12! cf Gen 34:25ff; 49:5-7).  He is not the Judah-ite King (Gen 49:8-12) to whom the nations will bow.  The LORD's Glory will not be united to his company (Gen 49:6).

Moses is not himself the Saviour.  His name (v10) means 'saved'.  This is not the One Jacob looked for (Gen 49:18) whose name means "salvation" - i.e. Jesus.

But he will share many traits with Him.  He will be a priest for the people, acting on their behalf, declaring the word of the LORD.  And like a new Noah he will come through waters of judgement (v3 - the 'basket' is simply the same word as 'ark').  And his salvation will mean salvation for all who follow him.

After 400 years of 'radio silence' from God, he leaves his father's company, survives a genocide aimed at eradicating the male seed and is raised by his natural mother in a foreign land.  He enters their condition (Acts 7:22) and becomes "great" (lit. v10 and 11).  He is set as prince and judge of his people (v14) and this is for their redemption (though they don't see it).  But in the Lord's wisdom this redemption won't come through earthly might (v15).

Moses' first 40 years (Acts 7:23) were spent 'becoming great' in Egypt.  Imagine it - the greatest empire the world had known.  And he was at the centre of it all.  He had become wise in all the ways of Egypt and was mighty in word and deed, as Stephen's speech declares.  And yet, as Hebrews 11 says:

24 By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, 25 choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible.

For all its appearance by sight, Egypt offered only 'the fleeting pleasures of sin.'  Moses 'saw' something else.  Or rather someOne else - the visible Image of the invisible God.  And reproach with and for Christ is a greater wealth than all the treasures of Egypt.  'Seeing' and 'considering' this, he refuses his royal identity and sides with his oppressed people for the sake of Christ.

This Levite found a truth that a Benjamite would later describe:

7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.  (Phil 3:7-12)

Moses too has fellowship with Jesus in suffering.  And, as with Paul, it conforms him to Christ's likeness.  Moses' second 40 years will be spent becoming a saviour shepherd (v17ff) who waters the flock, defending and winning his bride.  This second 40 years was very different to the first.  But it's so important.

Redemption will not come through Moses' power politics.  He will not 'play the game' and become an inside man in the Egyptian system.  And neither will he simply be the insurrectionist bringing redemption through earthly violence. Both forms of worldly power are taken out of the equation.

From v23 the camera focuses in on the Israelite's only hope - not their 'great' man, but their gracious God:

the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. 24 And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 God saw the people of Israel - and God knew.  (ESV)

God heard.  God remembered.  God saw.  And God knew.  What wonderful verbs!  Meditate on these today.

And what an awesome Subject for these verbs - repeated every time for emphasis.  It is God's action that will bring about redemption.  And He is not a callous or indifferent God.  The Father Almighty is not deaf, forgetful, blind or ignorant.  The cries of His children 'come up' to Him.

We may question His rejection of earthly power and the intollerable wait.  But Exodus 2 teaches us something crucial: Though our Father does not redeem according to our wisdom or timing, He does redeem according to His own - according to His own covenant promises and character.

And His response - so typical! - is to send His Angel (chapter 3), the true Saviour and Hero of the Exodus.

More on this tomorrow....


by Jacky Lam

Jacky blogs at The Sent One - an awesome Christological commentary on the whole bible.  He has collected together his pentateuch comentary (including Exodus) here.  A real treasure trove.

And do read Exodus 1 first...

From Genesis to Exodus

In Genesis we saw promises.  They reach back from the promise made through Joseph - the mediator of peace with Pharoah on behalf of his brothers.  We trace it back further through his forefathers Israel, Isaac, Abraham, Noah, Enoch, Seth, and back to the head, Adam.  He received the first promise (Genesis 3:15) - the good news to be founded upon his Seed.  There was never any confusion as to the object of these promises – the Christian saints of Genesis looked squarely at the Promise of the Redeemer God-man.

The continuation of this great Promise is borne in the title of the second book of Moses -"ex-hodus" - referring to the exit.  This is the 'going-out' of the Israelites from Egypt after they had settled there at the end of Genesis.  The Hebrew title of this book also brings out the theme of continuation in the name "we’elleh shemoth" – which literally means “And these are the names of.”  This is a repetition of the phrase appearing in Genesis 46:8.  This commenced the genealogy of those who came into Egypt just the same way Exodus 1 begins.  Moses' adoption of this phrase reminds us of the Promise carried forward in each generation.

Joseph was confident in Genesis 50:24-25:

"…God will visit you and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob… God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here"

As Exodus begins (v1-5), each Israelite is named in the lineage of Abraham.  And so we see the book Exodus as a fulfillment of the LORD bringing the Israelites out of this land and into the land of those born in the name of Abraham as forefather.

Chapter 1 explains how awesome Israel has become.  From a mere seventy persons to an exceedingly strong and fruitful congregation united by the Promise. Where Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob died without seeing the promise come to fruition (1 Peter 1:10-12), Exodus immediately introduces us to the fulfilling of the covenant with Abraham (Genesis 12, 15).

Verse 6 says that the land "was filled with them" – and though it would seem that the Israelites and the Egyptians are to co-exist (with the Egyptians learning of this Promised Seed of Adam); the Hebrew men and women are waiting for God to visit them.  They await their exodus out of the land of Egypt where the Promise is neither fulfilled nor found.

Yet, not all people stood under the great Promise, and v.8 immediately opens with Pharoah, the new king "who did not know Joseph".  He is the head, and the very representation of those who stand against the coming One by his very denial of Joseph's mediatory role.  Unlike the previous Pharoahs, this king comes in the name of oppression, a faint type of Herod's oppression of the Jews after 400 years of silence.

Pharoah's fear is that the Israelites would "join [their] enemies and fight against [them] and escape from the land".  Indeed, this fear is a nearly accurate diagnosis of the prophecy of Joseph in Genesis 50.  The Israelites are either the Pharoah's people, or belonging to another.  They will either fight for Pharoah, or fight against him.  They will either stay in the land or escape from the land.

It is therefore clear that the Promised One will effect the latter on behalf of the Israelites.  Therefore those cryptic words of v.22 – that "every son that is born to the Hebrews… shall [be] cast into the Nile" - are words aimed at extinguishing the coming Redeemer.

Yet, this threat is empty in the face of the Promise.  It is only through the resurrection of Israel from Egypt; only through the ascension, the revival of Israel from Egypt can we see the grander picture of Christ’s ascension from affliction.  This is all within the Father’s ordination - think of Genesis 15:3 when He knew that Abram’s sons would be afflicted in Egypt; or Genesis 3:15 when He knew the Promised Son would have His heel bruised; or Genesis 2 when Adam’s bride would be raised up through a pierced side and a death-like sleep.

Therefore v. 8-14 is but a microscopic picture of the cosmic battle between the Satan and the Christ.  It is the serpent, typified by Pharoah the serpent worshipper (c.f. the swallowing up of the serpents in Exodus 7), against the Promised Seed, the serpent-crusher (Genesis 3:15) - typified in part by Joseph, and in part, by Moses.  It would be a mistake to assume that the Israelites are to solely rely on these shadows.  Their faith is not in mere men whose bones remind them of their death (Genesis 50:25).  Their faith is defined by the greater Object - the Redeeming God who will visit them and bring them into life.

The way in which Israel is made fruitful is a lesson for us all.  The more we are afflicted for the purpose of Christ, the more it fulfils God’s prophecies, and the more we are assured of being part of the Promised One (1 Peter 1:6-7; 1 Peter 4:13).

Actually the rapid expansion of Israel (repeated in v.7 and v.20), her persecution, and Joseph's promise reveal to us that the battle between Satan and Christ is not one of equal opposites.  In fact Christ entirely overwhelms.  Christ uses the Pharoah's oppression and works salvation from it.  Pharoah is the proverbial Roman soldier, Pharoah is the angry and prideful cherub (Ezekiel 28/ Isaiah 16) who wishes to remain on a lonely self-exalted (and self-made) throne, attempting to cut Christ on the cross.  Yet, it is the Father's will that new life is born from dead seed; that Israel is "brought up" out of Egyptian captivity; and that Christ is resurrected from the pit to the right hand of the Father.

We are the midwives of other new-born

And it is in the context of such slavery that we are brought to the scrutiny of both the beautiful and the splendid – of both Shiphrah and Puah, the two Hebrew midwives.  They are but one of many stories of the struggles of the Israelites – and it is in their faithfulness that we see His kingdom being advanced.  It is in the lives of the Israelites, in the lives of Shiphrah and Puah, that we see God's preservation of this remnant.  The Seed is not destroyed.  In these two women we see a faint glimpse of Elizabeth and Mary, preserving Elijah and the coming Son.

Who you are

Exodus 1 poses a number of crucial questions which will shape our understanding of how the rest of Exodus plays out.  Are you the:

  • Pharoah, who denies Joseph, Moses and above all the true King of Kings, and rather pledge allegiance to the Father of liars (John 8:44) and schemers (Psalm 1:1, 2:2; Proverbs 24:8)?
  • Mid-wife, who denies the false authority of the evil one in favour of bringing to life more souls, as coheirs and workers of the kingdom greater than Egypt?
  • Hebrew, who is bitterly enslaved in the world thirsting for the return of the Promised One?

There is no clear-cut distinction amongst the three parties.  At times we are more one than the other; at times we are all three, a living contradiction.  Yet, the identities of all three revolve around the "God who will surely visit".  The God who will surely bring us salvation:  He will surely bring in a new creation of a fortress where Gentiles and Israelites co-exist (Pithom v.11), where we stand before him as true children of the Son (Raamses v.11).

To conclude, the Promise-centric nature of Genesis and the Christocentric focus of the Old Testament is our framework for Exodus.  Let us then understand the challenge which the Spirit of God poses in the written word of Exodus.   Let us not accommodate to the daily death of slavery.  Let us be daily captivated by the coming One, who brings new life in the redemption from Satan's slavery, who will resurrect us from the death of Egypt into the life of Canaan.  Let us walk in the blood of Christ through the refiner's fire of the wilderness and into the loving arms of the Father in heaven.  Finally, let us recognise that we are his beloved sons and daughters because of the Promised One, and are co-heirs of a glory far greater than the riches of the edenic Garden.


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