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Wednesday in the Word

Second Baptist Church

February 22, 2017

Exodus 2:15-25 - 3:1-3

  1. Verses 15-17. Fleeing to the land of Midian, Moses ended up at a well, to which the daughters of Reuel, a Midianite, had come to water their father's flocks. At this well, the character of Moses as a deliverer of the oppressed is once again manifested. What took place on this particular day was typical, not unusual. The seven daughters of Reuel arrived at the well, where they apparently waited in line for the well to be opened (cf. Gen. 29:2-3). It would seem that these women arrived earlier than the other shepherds who came later, knowing they could “bully” their way ahead of the women who would end up watering their flocks last. Moses did not like what he saw at all. One way or the other, Moses enforced the policy of “ladies first.” The oppressed were once again “delivered.” Moses could not look the other way, even when the daughters were being taken advantage of by strangers. Notice, that Moses has a passion for correcting an injustice when he sees one taking place. God has to show him how to do it the right way. In the last lesson we saw how Moses allowed uncontrolled anger and violence to lead him. Moses must now learn how to fix problems without becoming like those who do injustices.

  2. Verses 18-22. Noting their early arrival, Reuel asked his daughters what had happened. When they had told him the story of their rescue, Reuel gently chastised his daughters for not extending the hospitality of a meal to this stranger who to them was an “Egyptian.” No doubt his speech and dress led to this conclusion. Regardless of his nationality, he should have been extended hospitality, especially due to his kindness. With few words, Moses briefly records that this “chance encounter” led to a lengthy stay in Midian, his marriage to Zipporah, and the birth of a son, Gershom. What is significant is the naming of his son. Moses named the child Gershom because, he said, “l have become an alien in a foreign land” (v. 22). Interestingly, Moses sees himself as an alien in a strange land where he was afforded a great deal of hospitality. Reuel went out of his way to show a great deal of hospitality. If one were reading this account for the first time, without any knowledge of what was ahead, one would have a great sense of letdown here. Israel's future seemed dim, threatened by Pharaoh's oppressive measures, and now the command to kill every Israelite baby boy. Moses is providentially delivered and becomes the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, but this status is renounced, and when Moses sought to deliver his brother, he simply got himself into trouble. Moses fled the country, married into a Midianite family, and seemed to fade out of the picture entirely. We expect Moses’ life to end in obscurity. In spite of all these appearances, God is very much at work as is stated in the final verses of the chapter: During that long period, the king of Egypt died.

  3. Verses 23-25. The point of it is to remind us that, in spite of all appearances to the contrary, God is very much at work. Humanly speaking, it looks as though everything is working against Israel, but this paragraph reminds us that God is very much informed, involved, and intent upon fulfilling His purposes and promises with respect to Israel. On the one hand, God is aware of Israel's affliction, and He has heard their cries for help. On the other hand, God is mindful of His covenant with Abraham, which is also with his offspring (Isaac and Jacob, and the twelve resulting tribes). No matter how bad things may appear to be, God's purposes are being realized. This section ties together the agony of God's people in Egypt (described in chapter 1, but overshadowed by the personal account of Moses in chapter 2) with the deliverance about to take place in the following chapters.

  4. Chapter 3: Verse 1. After forty years of sheep tending (cf. Acts 7:30) Moses’ life had become all too predictable. He knew all the grazing places and had the exact location of every water hole within many miles etched in his mind. An occasional viper or wild beast offered the only excitement. In the solitude of the wilderness, Moses perhaps talked to himself and even to his sheep. Little did he know that today would be the beginning of a new chapter in his life? The burning bush of Exodus 3 was one of those life-altering events which happens but a few times in a person's life. God had done some work on Moses in these forty years. He had shepherded his father-in law's sheep for 40 years, and shepherding sheep has a way of teaching you some things. Moses didn't know it, but he had been in class for 40 years preparing to deal with God's people. The same tools he learned dealing with his father-in-law's sheep, would help him deal with God's people. Oftentimes we don't see how our mundane and mediocre tasks are actually preparing us for some great things. Most of us don't expect to meet God in the mundane and mediocre places of our lives, but that is where God shows up. God shows up while Moses is in the wilderness tending sheep. God will isolate you and humble you to elevate you. Moses is now a humble shepherd not a prince of Egypt. God didn't need a prince; He needed a shepherd. A prince was used to getting his way; a shepherd was used to providing for the needs of others.

  5. Verses 2-3. God had dispatched an Angel to appear to Moses as a burning bush. Burning bushes were very common in the wilderness, but this bush kept burning and burning and didn't burn up. Apparently Moses has had this bush in view for a while and to his surprise the bush keeps burning and burning. Moses had seen bushes on fire over the years and every time the bush usually burned themselves up. But this bush was burning and burning and kept burning. Most likely this bush is burning and the day is becoming dusk and the light of the fire is becoming more and more evident. This bush is a picture of Moses. The bush was made up of material that burns easily, but instead of being consumed, God made the flammable material fire resistant. God is about to take the almost used up Moses, and supernaturally extend him and make him unstoppable. Moses should have been burned up, by his past, and his age, but God is about to supernaturally use something in a way no one expects. Many had canceled Moses out and canceled God out, but just like this bush could not be consumed, God is not finished with Moses. God is about to send Moses up against the most powerful worldly power of the day. In the next few weeks we will see how one person can make a difference with the help of God.

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