April 20, 2021

Ep. 22 - Moses' Failed Rebellion

Ep. 22 - Moses' Failed Rebellion

Exodus 2:10 – 4:22, Acts 7:21-25, Hebrews 11:24-27.  Moses tries to start a rebellion…but things don’t turn out as planned.

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Exodus 2:10 – 4:22, Acts 7:21-25, Hebrews 11:24-27.  Moses tries to start a rebellion…but things don’t turn out as planned.  

“Papa’s Bible Stories” brings the Bible to life for your kids.  For each episode, I pick a Bible story to talk to my very own kids about.  The stories are entirely Bible-based, scripture is quoted at every opportunity, and the kids are always pointed to the Bible as the authority.  And we’re not afraid of having a little fun too!  It is my hope and prayer that your kids will be excited to explore God’s Word for themselves after hearing each and every episode.  #bible #stories #kids #children #adventist #sda  

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Last we left Moses, he was only 3 months old, and had just been adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter.  Moses was going to grow up to be a prince of Egypt.  But…Pharaoh’s daughter also allowed Moses’ mother to raise him until he was old enough to go to court.  Now, the Bible doesn’t tell us how long that Moses was able to stay with his family, but it was definitely long enough for them to ensure that Moses was raised with a knowledge of God.  No doubt his family made sure that Moses knew he came from a special people.  And I’m sure Moses knew all about the promise given to Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob…that one day they would inherit Canaan, a land flowing with milk and honey.  And that even though they were slaves, God had not forgotten them, and that one day God would free them from the Egyptians.

Now as each day went by in Moses’ home, his family would have been extra aware that there was a timer that was slowly counting down…a timer that ended with Moses leaving his family and starting his new life with the Egyptians.  And that new life would be filled with idolatry, and wealth, and temptation.  Egypt was probably the richest nation in the world at that time, and Moses would become part of the richest family in the richest nation in the world.  That meant that Moses would, all of a sudden, be living in the nicest and most beautiful places anywhere.  And probably would be able to have just about anything that he could dream of.  And not only that, but as talked about a few episodes ago, the Egyptians worshipped like a ga-gillion false gods, not to mention that they worshipped all kinds of animals and other things like rivers and mountains.  The Egyptians had a very strange, but very interesting and exciting religion.  So even though Moses’ family only had a short time to be with him, they needed to be very intentional to prepare him for his life with the Egyptians.  They needed to prepare him in a way that he would be able to resist temptation and to resist the religion of the Egyptians.  Each day was precious.  And each day was one less day to prepare Moses for what was to come.

And then one day, the timer ran out, and the day had arrived.  And on that day the Bible says that Moses’ mother, “brought [Moses] to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son.” (2:10) Moses joined the Egyptian court and became part of the royal family.  And as expected, Moses’ life changed in a big way.  All of a sudden, he was living in a super nice palace, and he had nice clothes, and he had servants, and all kinds of amazing foods.  And not only that, but he also began a new education.  The Bible says that Moses became, “learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians” (Acts 7:22) The Egyptians were experts in a lot of things – they were good builders, they were good at growing crops, they had great doctors, and they had an army that was second to none.  And as a prince of Egypt, Moses would have had access to all this incredible knowledge.  And as he grew up, the Bible says that Moses, “was mighty in words and deeds.” (Acts 7:22)

Now of course Moses’ new education would have also included learning all about the Egyptian religion that we talked about.  About all the Egyptian gods, and all the fancy rituals, and all the exciting myths and stories.  What would young Moses do?  How would he react to all these temptations?  Would be get sucked in?  Would he be lead away?  Or would he stay true to the God that his family had taught him about?  Well, the Bible says that as Moses older that he, “refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt” (Heb. 11:24-25) At whatever point, Moses made the firm decision that all the riches, splendour, power and comfort…and all the rituals, and all the exciting myths…did not matter to him.  He would be faithful to what his parents had taught him.  He would follow God…no matter what. 

And as Moses got older and older, he found himself less and less interested in the Egyptian court, and more and more interested in what was happening to his own people.  The children of Israel were still very much stuck in slavery.  Probably everywhere that Moses went, he would see the poor Israelites.  He would have seen them being abused, and oppressed, and being beat up and even killed.  It just wasn’t right.  It wasn’t fair.  Why did the Egyptians think that they could just do those things?  It was terrible!  And as time went on, Moses came to believe that he would be the one to free his people.  I mean, why not right?  Moses was well educated, he knew how the Egyptians did things, he was a good fighter (and probably military leader), and he really was just an all-around capable guy.   And all that lead Moses to think that he was in the perfect position to lead his people to fight against the Egyptians in order to win their freedom.

And I’m sure many years went by with this idea simmering in his head.  But then one day, when Moses was 40 years old, things came to a head.  On that particular day, Moses was visiting with some Israelites, and he looked over, and the Bible says that Moses, “saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren.” (2:11) (BTW kidzos in this part of the Bible the Israelites are referred to as Israelites, children of Israel, and Hebrews…all meaning the same thing.) And for whatever reason, on this particular day Moses decided that enough was enough.  It was time to stop just watching all these terrible things happening to his people, and it was time to do something.  And the Bible says that Moses, “looked this way and that way, and when he saw no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.” (2:12)

There.  Moses had taken the first step to free his oppressed people.  He had shown the Israelites that he was willing to help them and willing to lead them in a rebellion to fight for their freedom.  And as the Israelite he’d just saved ran off into the distance, no doubt Moses thought to himself that the guy would tell all his friends about the amazing thing that he’d just done.  The Bible says that Moses, “supposed that his brethren would have understood that God would deliver them by his hand.” (7:25) And so Moses probably had no doubt that after all the Israelites heard the news of what he had done, there would be singing and dancing and rejoicing in the streets.  Freedom was on its way!

The very next day, an undoubtedly excited Moses was walking along and happened to notice two Israelites fighting with each other.  And a disgruntled Moses, went up to them and the Bible says that he, “tried to reconcile them, saying ‘Men, you are brethren; why do you wrong one another?” (Acts 7:26) Moses was probably thinking to himself, “guys…the rebellion has started…save your energy to fight the Egyptians!” But then one of the two men responded to Moses, and the man’s response would have rocked Moses to his core.  The Bible says that one of the men, “pushed him away, saying, 'WHO MADE YOU A RULER AND A JUDGE OVER US? (28)  DO YOU WANT TO KILL ME AS YOU DID THE EGYPTIAN YESTERDAY?'” (Acts 7:27-28) Errrrr.  What?  What did the man say?  Oh boy…Moses was in trouble.

So the man’s totally unexpected response made two things very clear to Moses.  One, that after he’d killed the Egyptian yesterday that there hadn’t been any singing and dancing in the streets.  And not only had there not been any singing and dancing, but the Israelites didn’t have any interest in Moses leading them.  In fact, they even hated him for what he’d done.  Maybe they didn’t even really want to be free.  And two, that everyone already knew what he had done.  And since the Israelites apparently hated him for it, that probably meant that they had already told the Egyptians.  And if that had happened, and if they specifically told the Egyptians that he had saved an Israelite at the expense of an Egyptian, then sooner than later the Egyptians were going to come after Moses.  And in that one moment, all of Moses’ plans, all his years of thinking he would be the saviour of his people, all his expectations of righting all the wrongs that had been done to the Israelites…all came crashing down.  Moses was alone…hated by both Israelite and Egyptian.  What was Moses going to do? 

Well, there was really only one thing to do…run.  The Bible says that Moses, “fled from the face of Pharaoh and dwelt in the land of Midian.” (2:15) The Bible doesn’t give us any details on how this all happened.  I mean, Midian was at least a few hundred miles from Egypt and over a huge desert.  And it doesn’t seem like Moses would have been able to pack much of anything for the trip.  But somehow, a sad and defeated Moses made his way all the way to Midian, and eventually found himself sitting by a well. 

And as he was sitting by the well, wouldn’t you know 7 shepherd sisters came with their flocks to the well to water their animals.  And while they were doing this, some other shepherds came and started to bully the sister shepherds into giving up their spot.  But Moses, having spent a long time putting up with his own people getting bullied, and in no mood to put up with it now, stood up for the sisters and drove the shepherds away.  And as it turned out, the very appreciative father of the sisters was the priest of Midian, a man named Jethro, who worshiped the same God as Moses.  Jethro invited Moses to stay with them, and the two men must have really hit it off because the Bible says that Moses “was content to live with the man” (2:21) and over time he even married one of Jethro’s daughters – Zipporah.  (Which BTW kidzos, this is now the 3rd Bible character who somehow managed to find his wife by a well.  Boy…wells must have been happening places back in Bible times!)

And there in Midian, Moses settled down.  He had a family with his wife.  And he started to take care of Jethro’s flocks as a shepherd.  And boy what a change this must have been for Moses.  Five minutes ago he’d been one of the most power people in the entire world - a prince of Egypt, the richest of the rich, the most powerful of the powerful.  And now here he was…a shepherd.  In fact, the Egyptians particularly despised shepherds (something about thinking they were unclean).  So, from Moses’ perspective, he’d gone from the highest of the high, to the lowest of the low.  It’s like the reverse of Joseph’s story.  And 40 years went by like this.  With Moses living a very simple life, and patiently and painstakingly taking care of sheep in the mountains of Midian.  And any dream that Moses had of leading his people to freedom in a heroic struggle against the forces of oppression…died in those mountains.  And Moses resigned himself to living the rest of his life as a simple shepherd in a far off land. 

But God wasn’t done with Moses yet.  Not by a long shot.  Moses was still indeed going to play a very important role in the freeing of his people…it just wasn’t the role that Moses thought he was going to play.  You see, Moses had made the same mistake that Abraham had made all those years ago.  Remember when Abraham lied to Pharaoh that Sarah was his sister because he was scared of Pharaoh and he didn’t trust that God would protect them?  And remember when Abraham married Hagar because he didn’t trust that God could give him a son through Sarah in her old age?  Well Moses had just done the same thing in Egypt.  Moses knew that God was going to free his people.  And Moses thought that he would help God by starting a rebellion.  But what it really boiled down to was that Moses didn’t trust God to free the Israelites in His own time and in His own way.  Starting a rebellion was not God’s plan.  And well, now here Moses was in the middle of nowhere with lots of time on his hands to think about it.

Would Moses learn to trust in God so that God could use him to do amazing things to free his people?  Well, we will find out next time.