Exodus 1-4

Sunday Evening Bible Survey

February 9, 1997

Introduction

Genesis ended with God's chosen people going down to live in Egypt.

The entire book of Exodus is about getting them back out of Egypt.

Exodus 1

:7 the land was filled with them.

The census taken at the beginning of the wilderness journey showed 603,000 males that were 20 years or older.

If this were of the population, that would make the entire population to be over 2,000,000 people.

:8 a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.

Someone who didn't appreciate all that Joseph had done for the Egyptians.

:11 taskmasters to afflict them

Abraham had prophesied this earlier (Gen. 15:13-14)

:12 the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew.

Lesson:

Growth comes through trials

Israel growing while in Egypt is a great picture of how we grow through our trials.

The trials they're going through are compared to a furnace (Deut. 4:20)

Our trials help to purify our faith, like gold through the furnace.

(1 Pet 1:7 TLB) These trials are only to test your faith, to see whether or not it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests gold and purifies it--and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold; so if your faith remains strong after being tried in the test tube of fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day of his return.

:15 Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah:

These were doubtless the chief midwives, not the only ones.

Shiphrah = "fair"; Puah = "splendid"

:16 if it be a son, then ye shall kill him ...

Sons would only cause the Israelites to become greater.

Daughters could be married into the Egyptian culture.

:17 the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them,

Normally, we are to obey those in authority over us, including the government.

But sometimes we need to disobey those in authority over us, when their orders come into direct contradiction with God's orders.

When the apostles were told to stop preaching the gospel, they replied:

(Acts 5:29 KJV) Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

:20 Therefore God dealt well with the midwives:

God rewarded the midwives because they did not kill the children.

:22 he made them houses.

houses. I.e., families, households.

Lesson:

Take care of God's things, He'll take care of you.

Jesus said,

(Mat 6:33 KJV) But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Exodus 2

:2 he was a goodly child,

goodly = beautiful (cf. Acts 7:20).

(Acts 7:20 KJV) In which time Moses was born, and was exceeding fair, and nourished up in his father's house three months:

:3 an ark of bulrushes,

An "ark" is simply a container, a box.

:3 daubed it with slime and with pitch,

Made it waterproof.

Pitch = asphalt.

:4 his sister

Miriam.

:5 flags

cuwph - reed, rush, water plant

:9 the woman took the child, and nursed it.

God's incredible work!

Instead of losing her baby, she ends up getting to raise him, nurse him, and get paid for it all in one!

:10 he became her son.

Adopted into the court of Pharaoh.

:10 Moses:

Moses means "one who draws out."

:11 he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens:

We might think that Moses had not idea of delivering the Jews from Egypt until much later, but actually this was already on his mind.

(Acts 7:25 KJV) For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not.

Lesson:

The call can come long before the ministry.

Basically, Moses isn't really ready to be used the way that God wants to use him.

But he already has a correct sense that he will deliver the people.

:15 Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian:

Here comes the second phase of Moses' training.

He's had 40 years being raised in Pharaoh's court, the best of opportunities, the best schooling, the best connections.

Now it's time to build God's character traits in as well.

Lesson:

God is as concerned with who you are as what you know.

It's one of the mistakes that people called into ministry can make, thinking that all they have to do to prepare is work on gaining knowledge.

Yet God is just as concerned with your character as your brains.

Moses has had the benefit of great schooling and advantages in Egypt.

But he also seems to be kind of proud of it too, expecting that the people would recognize how great he was.

Now he's going to have to learn humility.

God can't work if a man isn't humble:

(1 Pet 5:5-6 KJV) ... be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. {6} Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

Moses is going to learn his lesson well.

Nu 12:3 (Now the man Moses was very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth.)

:18 Reuel

He's also known by the name of Jethro.

:20 why is it that ye have left the man?

You left a guy like that sitting out at the well???

No wonder none of you are married yet!

:21 Zipporah

Zipporah means "warbler" or "bird".

:22 Gershom:

Gershom means "foreigner" or "a stranger here"

:23 the king of Egypt died:

The one who had wanted Moses dead.

:23 their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage.

God knows. God hears. God cares.

Exodus 3

:1 to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.

This is the same as Mount Sinai.

:2 the angel of the LORD

This is a unique personage in the Old Testament.

We've already seen Him several times in Genesis.

He does not appear in the New Testament.

There are places in the King James where it calls an angel, "the angel of the Lord", but in each case it's an unfortunate translation, and would be better translated "an angel of the Lord".

angel - mal'ak - messenger, representative; just as in NT

As we're going to see, this is actually the LORD Himself.

I would venture to say that it's actually Jesus, in a "preincarnate" (pre-birth) form.

:2 the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.

Not something you're going to see everyday!

:4 the LORD ... God called unto him

Now we see who the "angel of the LORD", the LORD, really is, He's God!

:5 Draw not nigh hither:

Don't get too close buddy!

:5 put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.

put off thy shoes (sandals). A sign of respect toward a superior. Slaves characteristically went barefoot

Lesson:

Do you recognize God's presence?

I wonder how often we realize that we're in God's presence.

I kind of wonder if we ought to take our shoes off more often.

:7 for I know their sorrows;

sorrow - mak'ob - pain, sorrow

God knows. God understands.

:11 Who am I,

Moses' first excuse.

Not all that bad.

It shows that he's learned the "humility" lesson.

At least he's not responding with, "Well it's about time you asked me!"

:12 a token unto thee, that I have sent thee ...

It's interesting to note that God's "token" wouldn't happen until the deliverance was over.

I wonder if Moses was going to go through times where he wondered whether or not God had ever sent him.

It seems he would.

But the proof of God's sending him, according to God Himself, wouldn't come until they came to Sinai.

Lesson:

The proof of the call is in the results.

Sometimes you aren't really going to know until you see results in your ministry.

But if there are no results in the ministry, if you don't accomplish what God has supposedly called you to do, perhaps God hasn't called you.

:13 What is his name?

Second excuse.

God hasn't mentioned what His name was.

He only referred to Himself as "the God of your fathers ..."

:14 I AM THAT I AM:

Here we have the essence of God's name, Yahweh.

The rough idea behind "Yahweh" is "I AM"

He's the eternally existing one.

He's the one who is always in the present.

the Targum of Jonathan has it, ``I am he that is, and that shall be.''

In the Old Testament, the shortened form, Yahweh (YHWH), is usually translated as "LORD", in all capital letters.

This is to fall in line with the Jewish practice of saying "adonai" (Lord) instead of reading the holy name of God.

Our English translators will have it in capital letters to distinguish it from "adonai".

God will later explain His name more in depth to Moses, for extra credit, read Exodus 34:5-7

:15 The LORD ...

Notice the change from

(Exo 3:6 KJV) Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.

Now God asks him to include His Name.

:17 a land flowing with milk and honey.

This means that it's going to be a fruitful, prosperous, abundant land.

A land flowing with milk means that there is plenty of pasture and water for the cattle.

A land flowing with honey means that it's a great place to grow your crops, plenty of busy bees.

:19 I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go,

Moses is warned ahead of time that this isn't going to be an easy job.

:21 when ye go, ye shall not go empty:

The people will be paid all their back wages for the time they've spent as slaves.

They will ask their bosses for presents, and will come out with lots of goodies.

Exodus 4

:1 they will not believe me,

Moses' next excuse.

He just doesn't think they're going to buy it.

After all, they didn't believe him the last time.

Lesson:

Don't let past failures hold you back.

Moses didn't succeed last time because it wasn't time, not because he wasn't the right guy.

:4 he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand:

One sign involves taking what's in Moses' hand, making it something abhorent, then restoring it to it's true value.

Lesson:

Let God transform and use your abilities.

Moses had now been a shepherd for 40 years, and getting pretty good with a rod.

But when God transforms it, it becomes "the rod of God".

Illustration

Kind of like Eric Nelson's example of how God had him throw down music, being abhorent, then picking it up again to be used in a powerful way.

:6 furthermore

One sign isn't enough.

There must be at least two signs, as confirmation.

(2 Cor 13:1 KJV) This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.

:7 it was turned again as his other flesh.

The second sign was kind of personal.

There was a kind of death to the flesh in turning part of him leprous.

But the Lord also restored it.

Lesson:

Ministry comes from death and resurrection.

We must learn to die to ourselves, and be raised in newness of life with Jesus.

(Gal 2:20 KJV) I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Then the ministry isn't coming from us, but from God who is working in us.

:10 O my Lord, I am not eloquent,

Moses' fourth excuse.

Here's a good point.

Moses apparently had some kind of speech impediment, perhaps he stuttered.

He wasn't properly equipped to lead all these people!

Lesson:

God uses our weaknesses.

It's the areas that we're weak in that we learn to be strong in the Lord.

What you might think is a handicap for you, could actually be something that God could use in a great way, so it's obvious that the work is being done by God, not you.

Paul wrote:

(2 Cor 12:9 KJV) And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

:11 Who hath made man's mouth?

Moses is complaining about some kind of deficiencies in his mouth, yet He's complaining to the guy who made it!

Lesson:

Stop complaining of your weakness, and just let God use you!

God wants us to come to the point where we realize that He made us just the way we are, for a reason, for a purpose.

He wants to use us just the way we are.

:14 the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses,

God is frustrated with Moses because he just doesn't see that God called Him, knowing just who he was, and God still wanted to use him.

You can only make up so many excuses, until you come to the conclusion that God doesn't make mistakes when He calls people.

:14 Aaron the Levite

Is Moses going to kind of miss out on the full blessing because of his reluctance?

It seems so.

:16 thou shalt be to him instead of God.

God speaks to a prophet, and the prophet speaks to the people.

Moses would be like God to Aaron, speaking God's words to him, and then Aaron would speak to the people for Moses.

:20 the rod of God

What was once just Moses' shepherd's stick, is now "the rod of God".

:23 I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn.

God is letting Moses know just what's up ahead.

:24 the LORD met him, and sought to kill him.

The best we can figure out, this is what happened.

Here's Moses, this Jewish guy in the desert, getting married and having kids.

Yet he never does what a good Jewish father should do, he never has his son circumcised.

Perhaps his wife, Zipporah, didn't want their son circumcised.

Circumcision, after all, was the sign given to Abraham that he belonged to God.

And now Moses is going to take over the leadership of the Jewish nation, and his own son isn't circumcised!

God puts a little pressure on Moses to get him to do what's right.

Lesson:

Leaders must set an example.

If you're in leadership, you must be setting a good example to those who look to you for leadership.

Peter wrote to the elders (leaders):

(1 Pet 5:3 NASB) nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.

:25 Surely a bloody husband art thou to me.

She doesn't seem to happy with Moses right now.

But she goes ahead and circumcises the kid.

:27 the mount of God,

Sinai

:30 Aaron spake all the words

So, Aaron starts his ministry, repeating the things that Moses tells him to say.

:31 the people believed:

Kind of surprising.

Well, at least they believe for now...