Reading: Exodus 1&2
About 2,500 years passed from the time of Adam to the time of Moses. Adam’s one act of disobedience plunged the whole creation abruptly into an ice-cold curse. However, in the same moment that it seemed as if all hope was lost, God promised us a way out, a Savior (Genesis 3:15). From the beginning, we were never without hope. There was always Jesus.
The Book of Genesis gives us a foretaste of God’s divine plan of salvation; how He would fulfill his promise of redemption through one family, the family of Abraham. What God hinted at after the fall of man, He unveiled further in the three promises He made to Abraham, which together we call the Abrahamic Covenant: the promise to make Abraham into a great nation through which all nations would be blessed (Genesis 12:2-3), the promise to give Abraham’s offspring land (Genesis 12:7), and the promise to give Abraham descendants far too great to count (Genesis 13:15-16).
God repeated these promises to Isaac, the son of Abraham, and to Jacob, the son of Isaac. Genesis takes us through the lives of these three patriarchs showing us how they acted in faith and held tightly onto the promises of God. Jacob, whose name became Israel, fathered 12 sons, who would later become the 12 tribes of Israel. Genesis ends with Abraham’s descendants, although living in Egypt, far away from the promised land, still holding on tight to God’s promises of a nation, land, and descendants (Genesis 50:24-25).
Detour In Egypt
Exodus picks up around 280 years after the death of Joseph, the last recorded event in Genesis. Joseph, the son of Jacob, and second in command in the pagan nation of Egypt, rescued his family from famine by offering them refuge with him. In response, Jacob (Israel) left Canaan and brought his entire family to Egypt to live, where they stayed for over 400 years (Exodus 12:40).
While in Egypt, Abraham’s offspring began to see God fulfill His promise of many descendants to Abraham. The Israelites flourished and grew in numbers from 70 people (Exodus 1:5) to around 2 million (Numbers 1:46). They became “so numerous that the land was filled with them” (Exodus 2:7). Israel was becoming a great nation, not in the promised land, but instead, in Egypt.
As Israel’s numbers increased, the Egyptian’s tolerance of them decreased. The Israelites sheer numbers threatened Egypt, and eventually, because of this fear, Egypt enslaved and oppressed them. The promises of God could not be stopped, not even by enslavement or oppression because “the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread” (Exodus 1:12).
Satan, who constantly schemed to destroy the line of the promised Messiah, began to work in the heart of the Egyptian king. He ordered every Hebrew baby boy to be thrown into the Nile (Exodus 1:22). Nevertheless, Satan’s plot failed, as we will see in the story of Moses.
Then There Was Moses
Moses was born in Egypt to Hebrew parents during this time of Egyptian subjugation. Moses’ mother devised a plan to save her son from being thrown into the Nile River to die. She hid Moses for three months, but when she could hide him no longer, she put him in a basket and placed him in the Nile near the royal bathing place. The Pharaoh’s daughter found Moses, and “felt sorry for him” (Exodus 2:6). Moses’ sister, who had been watching this scene unfold, approached Pharaoh’s daughter and asked if she wanted her to find a Hebrew nurse to feed the baby. Pharaoh’s daughter agreed, and Moses’ mom became his nurse. When Moses was old enough to be weaned, Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him (Exodus 2:1-10).
Pharaoh’s daughter raised Moses with all the privileges of the Egyptian court, but instead of accepting this privilege, Moses “refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter” (Hebrews 11:24). After seeing an Egyptian beat a fellow Hebrew, Moses killed the Egyptian and hid his body in the sand. The next day, Moses returned to his people and witnessed two Hebrews in a fight. Moses tried to make peace between the two men, but they rejected his help and mocked him. Pharaoh heard what happened and tried to kill Moses. Moses fled Egypt to Midian, not a short journey, as you can see by the map.
Once he arrived in Midian, he sat down by a well. (Exodus 2:11-15). At the well, he saw shepherds harassing the 7 daughters of Jethro, a priest of Midian. Moses rescued the girls and watered their flocks.
Moses remained in Midian for 40 years. He married Zipporah, one of the daughters of Jethro, and became a shepherd. During these 40 years, the Israelites in Egypt “groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them (Exodus 2:23-25).
All Is Not Lost
God heard the cries of his people. God had not forgotten them, and He had not forgotten about Moses. God had been making preparations behind the scenes. He had answered the people’s prayers before the Israelites even uttered them. God saved a Hebrew baby from certain death, positioned him in a position of power in Egypt, and then exiled him to Midian, all in preparation for what was to come: the liberation of His chosen people, the Israelites from Egypt.
God had promised the Israelites he would make them into a great nation, give them land, and make them numerous. Amid oppression and slavery, these promises must have seemed distant and unobtainable to the Israelites. But God was working. God is always working. Even in the middle of trying times, even when God’s promises seem distant and unobtainable, we can rest assured that He is working and that what He promises will come to pass. Salvation is never far away.