Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Let my people go, that they may serve me. (Exodus 8:1 ESV)
A few weeks ago, we saw that it was the horrific working conditions of the Israelites that was the impetus for their exodus from Egypt. But if we’re not careful, we can mistakenly believe that God freed his people so that they could spend all their time worshiping him through song and sacrifices in the wilderness.
But that’s not at all what we see. Seven times between Exodus 4:23 and 10:3, the Lord states his purpose for delivering his people. Over and over again he declares, “Let my people go, that they may serve me.” Commenting on this passage, one theologian says that “God did not deliver Israel from work. He set Israel free for work.” But work as he had originally intended it.
This sets up a theme we see throughout Scripture: Salvation isn’t an end in itself. It is a means...
Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet. You are to say everything I command you” (Exodus 7:1-2)
God could have set the Israelites free all on his own. He could have taken human form, walked straight into Pharaoh’s palace, and led the Israelites out of Egypt for good.
But that wasn’t his strategy as today’s passage makes clear. The Lord said to Moses, “I have made you like God to Pharaoh.” In other words, while God could have done this work on his own, he chose to do it through Moses and Aaron.
Why? Was it because God had more important things to do? No. It’s simply because this is how God has always chosen to operate. All throughout Scripture, we see that while God is perfectly capable of working on his own, more often than not, he chooses to work in this world through human beings.
That was true with Moses thousands of years ago, and...
“So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” (Exodus 3:10)
God just said he would free the Israelites from their oppressive work conditions in Egypt, which undoubtedly brought Moses great joy. After all, he once killed a guy for the way he treated an Israelite worker (see Exodus 2:11-12).
But what God said next broke Moses’s grin: “I am sending you,” Moses, to do this work. Exodus 3:11 - 4:10 records four excuses Moses makes for why he’s not the right person for this job. Today, I want to look at two of those excuses we borrow all the time to avoid doing the hard things God calls us to do.
Excuse #1: I’m not qualified! Immediately after hearing God’s words in today’s passage, Moses said, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11) to which God replies, “I will be with you” (see Exodus 3:11-12). In other...
The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians. (Exodus 3:7-8a)
We’re in a seven-week series extracting wisdom for our work from the exodus, and in today’s passage, we find the impetus and trigger for this monumental event: Work! Or to be more specific, the horrible working conditions of God’s people.
The Egyptians had “made [the Israelites’] lives bitter with harsh labor…[and] worked them ruthlessly” (Exodus 1:14), screaming “Get back to your work!” (Exodus 5:4), and, “Make the work harder” (Exodus 5:9). So God’s people “groaned in their slavery....and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God” (Exodus 2:23).
And as today’s passage shows us, God heard the cry of his people and acted...
The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, “When you are helping the Hebrew women during childbirth on the delivery stool, if you see that the baby is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.” The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live. (Exodus 1:15-17)
The midwives in today’s passage play a starring role in Exodus 1. What can Shiphrah and Puah teach us about our work today? At least two things.
First, that God uses the nobodies of this world to do his work. To fully appreciate this truth, we must understand the context of today’s passage. The King of Egypt (AKA Pharaoh) had a problem. In Exodus 1:9-10 he’s quoted as saying, “the Israelites have become far too numerous for us….we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave...