Moses’ beginning – education - achievements.
Seek the Truth with all your heart.
Moses was educated in all of the learning and wisdom of the Egyptians. Sons of well-off families attended the ‘Temple of the Sun, which has been referred to as ‘The Oxford of the ancient world.’ The course of study began with what we would call Hieroglyphics 101, which has been said by some to be the most difficult language ever put into writing. Instead of characters, it uses pictographs --- highly stylized symbols that represent complex ideas. Moses began to learn this Egyptian language at the temple, and he would also have plunged into sciences, medicine, astronomy, chemistry, theology, philosophy, and law. He would have studied battles, combat tactics, and foes of that nation’s proud military history; as well as the arts --- sculpture, music, and painting. The whole world of Egyptian literature was opened to him, so he would have been immersed in Egyptian learning. His whole time of studying would have been free of all the distractions of sports, functions, and other things which exist today. He was apparently a keen, fast and diligent learner, which made him mighty in words, deeds, and all the Egyptian wisdom.
In the end, after all the academic and artistic learning, one needs wisdom in applying it all; and wisdom takes time and experience, failures, mistakes, and ability to think. Following graduation some students have immediate inherent wisdom, some don’t. Some people can be educated beyond their own intelligence. There can be great desire but little discernment, great aspirations but little humility. However Moses was a fast learner from his mistakes.
Moses flees to Midian.
Exodus 2:11-25 ‘One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labour. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. Looking this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. The next day he went out and saw two Hebrew saw two Hebrews fighting. He asked the one in the wrong, “Why are you hitting your fellow Hebrew?”The man said, “Who made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?” The Moses was afraid and thought, “What I did must have become known.”
When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian, where he sat down by a well. Now a priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came to draw water and fill the troughs to water their father’s flock. Some shepherds came along and drove them away, but Moses got up and came to their rescue and watered their flock.
When the girls returned to Reuel their father, he asked them, “Why have you returned so early today?”
They answered, “An Egyptian rescued us from the shepherds. He even drew water for us and watered the flock.” “And where is he?” Reuel asked his daughters. “Why did you leave him? Invite him to have something to eat.” Moses agreed to stay with the man, who gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses in marriage. Zipporah gave birth to a son, and Moses named him Gershom, saying, “I have become a foreigner in a foreign land.”
During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their bravery 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.’
Moses and the burning bush.
Exodus 3:1-6 ‘Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of GOD. There the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight – why the bush does not burn up.” When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, GOD called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.”
“Do not come any closer,” GOD said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then HE said “I am the GOD of your father, the GOD of Abraham, the GOD of Isaac, and the GOD of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at GOD.’
Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law. For 40 years Moses lived as an obscure shepherd in the desert of Midian. At this point his life was so humble that he didn’t even have a flock of sheep to call his own. ‘Tending the flock’ in Hebrew wording suggests that this was his usual occupation.’
He came in from the remote part of the desert to Horeb, the mountain of GOD. Moses brought the sheep to this mountain, also later called Mount Sinai. The name Horeb probably means “desert” or ‘desolation,’ which gives an idea of the terrain.
The two things distinctive factors about that bush were:
# The Angel of the LORD appeared from the midst of the bush.
# Though the bush was in flames, it was not consumed.
Though the bush was in flames, it did not crackle or diminish, no leaf curled and no branch charred. It was burning, but was not consumed.”
The bush being in flames yet not being consumed was a magnetic sight to Moses, it drew him in for a closer examination. Some think the burning bush was a symbol of Israel, or the people of GOD more generally, afflicted but not destroyed, because GOD is in the midst of them.
It can also be said that the burning bush was a picture of the cross. The Hebrew word used to describe this bush comes from the word “to stick or to prick,” meaning a thorn-bush or bramble. We can think of the cross, where Jesus, crowned with thorns, endured the ‘fire of judgment’ yet was not consumed.
Undoubtedly, this is another occasion where Jesus appeared, in the Old Testament as the Angel of the Lord, as He did many times before His ‘New Testament’ incarnation.
Genesis: 16:7-13. Judges: 2:1-5. 6:11-24. 13:3-22.
We say this is GOD, in the Person of Jesus Christ, because of His inter-woven relationship with GOD the Father. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the FATHER, has declared Him.
(John 1:18) (1 Timothy 6:16) No-one has ever seen GOD in the Person of the FATHER.
GOD’s first words to Moses, calling him by name shows that even though Moses was an obscure, almost forgotten shepherd in the desert, GOD knew who he was; as HE does everyone. We are all significant to GOD.
The double call “Moses, Moses!” implied importance and urgency, as when GOD called “Abraham, Abraham!” (Genesis 22:11). “Samuel, Samuel!” (1 Samuel 3:10). “Simon, Simon!) (Luke 22:31). “Martha, Martha!” (Luke 10:41). and “Saul, Saul!” (Acts 9:4).
GOD, because of HIS immediate presence, told Moses to do two things to show special honor to this place.
HE told Moses to stay at a distance.
HE commanded Moses to show reverence for HIS presence: “Take off your sandals.”
This was a holy place; and because GOD is holy, there will always be a distance between GOD and man. Mankind will never be equal to GOD, though we will be able to have close fellowship with Him in heaven and on the new Earth.
“Take your sandals off” showed an appropriate humility, because the poorest and most needy people have no shoes, and servants usually went barefooted. It also recognized the immediate presence of GOD. Similarly in many cultures taking off your shoes when you enter someone’s house, shows respect. Being in this place of GOD’s immediate presence was similar to being in HIS house.
As people walked in dust, gravel, and sand, when travelling, hence the custom of frequently washing the feet in those countries where sandals were worn. Removing one’s shoes was, therefore, an emblem of laying aside pollutants and sin.
The GOD of Abraham, the GOD of Isaac, and the GOD of Jacob; revealed Himself to Moses by declaring His relationship to the patriarchs. This reminded Moses that GOD is the GOD of the covenant, and HIS covenant with Israel was still valid and important. This wasn’t a “new GOD” meeting Moses, but the same GOD of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
In the days of Moses some might have thought that GOD neglected or forgot His covenant in the 400 years of Israel’s slavery in Egypt, since the time of the patriarchs. Nevertheless, GOD was at work during that time, preserving and multiplying the nation.
Moses hid his face, because he was an imperfect human who could not look upon GOD.
GOD’s steps in freeing the Israelites from Egypt so that Moses could lead them home to Israel.
Exodus 7:13 forwards Pharaoh refused to let the Israelite slaves in Egypt, leave to return to Israel. So GOD released the following plagues in turn on Egypt:
The plague of blood. Exodus 7
The plague of frogs. Exodus 8
The plague of gnats. Exodus 8
The plague of flies. Exodus 8
The plague on livestock. Exodus 9
The plague of boils. Exodus 9
The plague of hail. Exodus 9
The plague of locusts. Exodus 10
The plague of darkness. Exodus 10
The plague on the firstborn. Exodus 11
Exodus 12:29-32 ‘At midnight the LORD struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well. Pharaoh and all his officials and all the Egyptians got up during the night, and there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead.
During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the LORD as you have requested. Take your flocks and herds, as you have said, and go. And also bless me.”
Crossing the Red Sea.
Exodus 13:17 - 15:1-21
GOD enabled Moses to stretch out his hand to part the Red Sea to enable well over a million Israelites to cross over. As soon as they were on the other side at Nuweiba Beach, GOD again instructed Moses to stretch out his arm, and the enormous banks of water either side of the crossing, crashed over the pursuing Egyptian army, which included Pharaoh, who had decided to pursue them, with a great army and many horses and chariots, all of whom were drowned.
Nuweiba Beach together with a suitable exit, was the only suitably large flat area to cope with so many people. GOD knew the best spot on all counts; even the approximately 30 metres deep crossing point was not as deep as the remainder of the gulf.
(I have dived at this crossing point near Nuweiba Beach, which allowed the Israelites to exit at this huge flat area backing onto the only way through the tall rugged cliffs in that area. There is evidence still apparent on the ocean floor of some bones of horses, and chariot parts.)
Moses’ spent 40 years leading the Jews in the wilderness of Midan, before crossing the River Jordan and entering their promised land of Canaan.
Moses receiving The Ten Commandments.
The whole story of GOD giving Moses the Ten Commandments which HE had written – engraved - on two stone tablets, four on one and six on the other, is told in:
Exodus 19:1-25 & 20:1-26. GOD also passed on to Moses, many other instructions.
The whole story is covered in:
Exodus 15:22 extending through Leciticus – Numbers – Deuteronomy.
Exodus 17:8-16 ‘The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of GOD in my hands.”
So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up – one on one side, one on the other – so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the name of Amalek from under heaven.”
Moses built an altar and called it The LORD is my Banner. He said, “Because hands were lifted up against the throne of the LORD, the LORD will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation.”
A wonderful help from GOD.