By Kristen Entwistle
If you’ve ever seen the movie, The Prince of Egypt, or heard the stories about the Exodus from Egypt in Sunday school, you’re probably familiar with the life of Moses. His parents – at great personal risk – hid Moses as a baby. There came a time, though, when it was no longer possible to hide the baby. When she could hide him no longer, his mother placed him in a basket and set him adrift on the Nile, trusting his fate to God. The basket was found by Pharaoh’s daughter, who took pity on him and raised him as her own son.
We don’t know whether Moses was raised with the knowledge that he was a Hebrew or if he discovered this later on. What we do know is that as an adult he went to watch his own people at hard labor. While he was there, Moses witnessed an Egyptian who beating a Hebrew slave. Moses, believing that he was alone, killed the Egyptian and buried him in the sand. But, someone apparently had witnessed the attack and news had spread. Fearing that he would be caught, Moses fled across the desert to Midian.
In Midian, Moses took up like as a shepherd, married, and had two sons before meeting God in the burning bush. At the burning bush, God directed Moses to return to Egypt, where he would be God’s instrument for freeing His people from slavery. Moses argued with God, saying that he was not well-spoken enough and that no one will listen to him. But God provided him with his brother-in-law, Aaron, as a spokesman, as well as signs to convince Pharaoh and the Israelites that God had indeed sent him. Moses returned to Egypt, and performed many signs and wonders before Pharaoh. But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he would not let the Israelites go. Ten plagues fell upon the Egyptians, ending with the death of the firstborn. Only then did Pharaoh let God’s people go… but a few days later he pursued them, only to have his army swallowed up in the Red Sea.
Moses continued to lead the Israelites, through the desert where the Lord provided the people with manna and quail and water from the rock, to Mount Sinai, where Moses brings down the Ten Commandments and the Law. Although Moses was a great prophet, leader, and instrument in the hands of God, he was not perfect. Numbers 20 records that Moses and Aaron did not follow God’s instructions and so the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.” (Numbers 20:12, NIV)
Interestingly, we learn more about Moses’ story and his great faith in Hebrews 11, where we will dig deeper into Moses’ life today.
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