Peril or promise?

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What was the state of the nation (or your family) at the time of your birth? Was it a ‘good’ time or a ‘bad’ time? Consider God’s perspective on your birth by reflecting on Psalm 139:13–16 and Ephesians 1:4; 2:10.

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Bible passage Exodus 2:1–25

Exodus 2

The Birth of Moses
 1 Now a man of the house of Levi married a Levite woman, 2 and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. 3 But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. 4 His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.

 5 Then Pharaoh's daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the river bank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her slave girl to get it. 6 She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. "This is one of the Hebrew babies," she said.

 7 Then his sister asked Pharaoh's daughter, "Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?"

 8 "Yes, go," she answered. And the girl went and got the baby's mother. 9 Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you." So the woman took the baby and nursed him. 10 When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh's daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, "I drew him out of the water."

Moses Flees to Midian
 11 One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. 12 Glancing this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. 13 The next day he went out and saw two Hebrews fighting. He asked the one in the wrong, "Why are you hitting your fellow Hebrew?"

 14 The man said, "Who made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?" Then Moses was afraid and thought, "What I did must have become known."

 15 When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian, where he sat down by a well. 16 Now a priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came to draw water and fill the troughs to water their father's flock. 17 Some shepherds came along and drove them away, but Moses got up and came to their rescue and watered their flock.

 18 When the girls returned to Reuel their father, he asked them, "Why have you returned so early today?"

 19 They answered, "An Egyptian rescued us from the shepherds. He even drew water for us and watered the flock."

 20 "And where is he?" he asked his daughters. "Why did you leave him? Invite him to have something to eat."

 21 Moses agreed to stay with the man, who gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses in marriage. 22 Zipporah gave birth to a son, and Moses named him Gershom, saying, "I have become an alien in a foreign land."

 23 During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. 24 God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. 25 So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Audio Bible passage

The audio version of the passage is taken from the Contemporary English Version (CEV).

Explore the Bible

Wrong time to be born...
In the 1990s, terrorism plagued my country. Just weeks after giving birth to my first baby, a colleague’s teenage son was killed in a bomb blast. It felt like the worst of times to raise a child; releasing the terrors of the night into God’s hands was a daily struggle.

Moses was born during a time of terrible tyranny (Exodus 1:22). When the midwife pronounced, ‘It’s a boy!’ how might Moses’ parents have felt? From a parental perspective, this was a time of peril.

...or perfect timing?
Yet, from God’s perspective – as described by Stephen, the first Christian martyr – this was a time of promise (Acts 7:17a), because Moses’ birth set in motion God’s action plan for the fulfilment of the covenant promises to Abraham (v 24). In the midst of great peril, God’s gracious provision was evident (vs 5–10).

Moses’ actions, however well intentioned, only result in unwarranted setbacks and suffering (vs 11–15). While God’s master plan can never be thwarted, its realisation happens in God’s way and in God’s time (vs 23–25). Trust is not only believing God’s Word, but awaiting its fulfilment with patient obedience.


Is there some situation in which God is inviting you to relinquish control and choose to trust his wisdom, timing and provision?

Tanya Ferdinandusz

Deeper Bible study

There are three distinct stories here; all helping us to understand the man Moses became and preparing us for chapter 3, when the story of God’s deliverance of Israel really begins. The first story reveals the initiative and intelligence of Moses’ mother and sister. Whether the mother, Jochebed (Exodus 6:20), worked so hard to save Moses, even giving him up to save his life, because he was a ‘fine child’ (v 2) or just because he was ‘her child’ is an interesting question. One can imagine the relief and thanksgiving when she received him back without the threat of a death sentence. It is clear that Moses from his early years knew his Hebrew heritage and that he was greatly loved and treasured. We don’t know when he moved into the royal household, perhaps after weaning or possibly not until he was 5 or 6, but he then became the son of Pharaoh’s daughter and would have been educated as such, presumably absorbing confidence and self-esteem.

The second story reveals that as Moses grew his interest in his ethnic origins remained. He saw the injustice of the Israelite's position and felt strongly enough to kill one perpetrator of that injustice. His intervention next day when two Hebrews fought shows that his dislike of violence was not limited to Egyptians abusing Hebrews. It was clear, however, that his original killing was widely known and, knowing that Pharaoh’s fear of a Hebrew rebellion would be stronger than any loyalty to his adopted grandson, Moses fled.

The third story also illustrates his concern for justice and righteousness, as he helps the Midianite shepherd girls. Verses 21–25 cover the next 40 years: Moses married, Pharaoh died, the Israelites (at last) cried out to God, God heard and decided to take action.

Mary Evans

Bible background: Moses

His upbringing
Moses was the son of Amram and Jochebed. His life was miraculously preserved when the daughter of Pharaoh found him among the bulrushes and adopted him as her son.

According to Exodus 2:10 his name is to be explained by the fact he was drawn (masa) out of the water. Papyri and inscriptions from the Ramesside era contain several references to Mose as a personal name. In Acts 7:22 he is described as ‘educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians’ and ‘powerful in speech and action’.

His call and confrontation with Pharaoh
Having lived in Egypt till he was 40, then in Midian for another 40 years, Moses was unexpectedly called by God to demand Pharaoh to set his firstborn son, Israel, free to worship him in the wilderness (Exodus 4:22,23; 5;1).

Pharaoh’s stubborn refusal leads to the ten plagues, the Exodus and the destruction of Pharaoh’s armies after Moses’ command to the people to ‘stand firm, and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today’ (Exodus 14:13).

His leadership of Israel in the wilderness
The law is given to Moses on Mount Sinai, where he stays in God’s holy presence for 40 days. Moses intercedes with God for Israel when they turn against him, and leads them to the verge of the Promised Land. He dies having been granted a view of the land from Mount Pisgah at the age of 120.

Moses is described as the most humble man on earth (Numbers 12:3), as one who is faithful in all God’s house (see Hebrews 3:2) and as a man with whom God spoke face to face (Numbers 12:7,8).

His significance
Moses towers over pentateuchal history, and played a huge role not only in Jewish but also in Christian and Islamic tradition. He was considered the author of the Pentateuch (ie the first five books of the Bible), and is named nearly 300 times in Exodus, over 700 times in the Old Testament as a whole, and about 80 times in the New Testament.

His many roles included being ‘prophet, priest, leader of Israel, poet, miracle worker, hero of the exodus, mediator between God and humans, interpreter of God’s words, and founder of Israel’s law, religious cult and political administration’.1 He was truly both a ‘man of God’ and a ‘servant of the Lord’.

1 MW Chavalas, ‘Moses’ in DOTP, eds TD Baker, DW Baker, IVP, 2003, p570

Bible in a year

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Exodus 27,28

Matthew 28

From the tiniest corner…

An audio prayer exploring the idea that God hears the cry of the oppressed.


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Everyone needs compassion (Mighty to save)
Ben Fielding & Reuben Morgan
Copyright © 2006 Reuben Morgan & Ben Fielding/Hillsong Publishing/
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There must be more (Consuming fire)
Tim Hughes
Copyright © 2002 Thankyou Music

  • Rachael Hampton | Monday, 06 February 2017

    Thanks BARBARA, of course the midwives were Hebrews (v15). Wonder why I thought they were not. ANGELA, what a tender thought that God might well ask us as we begin our day, 'How are you?' 😊 HILARY, amen to your comments yesterday. Thanks ADAM and GILVIN for wrestling so respectfully with the seeming contradictions in the Romans passage. Moses: All those years as an Egyptian prince, and yet his passionate love for his own people remained. I cannot believe he deliberately killed the Egyptian. I thought his story was portrayed well in the animated movie Prince of Egypt. May your day be blessed Word Livers, as we walk the paths He has lovingly prepared for us.

  • Adam Julians | Tuesday, 07 February 2017

    Barbara - you have reminded me of a song I like from Prince of Egypt Yes - I might have found a kindred spirit with Gilvin and wrestling :). It's good to sharpen each other! I don't know - I think in rage Moses could have killed someone. Can't have been easy to see his own people mistreated, to be taken away from his mother and raised in a household that is alien to him and part of those who did oppress. I don't expect human life to have been considered precious in these times! And how must it have been for the mother of Moses to nurse him then have to give him over to pharaohs daughter? Reminds me of Sarah saying to Abraham to have a child with Hagar. No such thing as equal rights in those days! Also the nature of patriarchy to - there doesn't seems to be any choice for the woman given to Moses as a wife, and there being a need for Moses to defend the women who were being bullied by the shepherds. Still, the tough times Moses had experience were perhaps preparation for him and needed in preparation for his calling to be the leader of Israel, confront pharaoh and head the exodus. We may not see purpose in whatever difficulty or hardship we go through but God has a bigger plan!

  • Angela Munday | Tuesday, 07 February 2017

    'Moses was a humble man, more humble than anyone else on earth' (Numbers12:3)......"Choose to trust God's wisdom, timing and provision" (Respond): When we give ourselves over to God's safe keeping, things will always 'work out' as they were intended to be; His way and not ours. God is always watching and waiting; He is the perfect Father who prepares for His children's homecoming.

  • Adam Julians | Tuesday, 07 February 2017

    Oops meant to say Rachael not Barbara.

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Tuesday, 07 February 2017

    #ExploretheBible from God's perspective. John spent 30 years preparing for a six month ministry, followed by one and a half years in prison before he was beheaded. Many people would not consider his life very successful, yet Jesus said John was the greatest man who was ever born (Mt. 11:11). It's a sure fact God does not measure success the same way as the world does.

  • Derek Forster | Tuesday, 07 February 2017

    To God be the glory, great things He has done; So loved He the world that He gave us His Son, Who yielded His life an atonement for sin, And opened the lifegate that all may go i

  • Hilary Dale | Tuesday, 07 February 2017

    Massive challenge, alongside beautiful hope. Am really moved by the passage and commentary today. How God provided hope through the baby snatched from death by a mother who couldn't bear the loss of her beautiful boy, against all odds saved and brought up by the Palace, he nearly blows it all by inappropriate response to the evil around him, but God stick by his plan to craft him into a leader who will lead his people from oppression.. Wow. I am thrilled by God's dealings. Lord make something even of me, to be radical in seeking justice and compassion in this world. May I not leap into solving it my way, but be eyes open to your big plan.

  • Graham Parkinson | Tuesday, 07 February 2017

    It's so encouraging to see that God's plans always work out, however we try to thwart them praise God!

  • David Chipchase | Tuesday, 07 February 2017

    What terrific comments again! Thank you all!

  • Barbara Sabin | Tuesday, 07 February 2017

    My Mother and Father found out they were having a baby on 4th September 1939 the day after war broke out, I was born on the 3rd March 6 months June of 1940 my Father was called up to fight in the second world war. So My Mother lived through that time of 6 years on her own bringing me up. She was supported by her Parents and My Father's Family she was a committed Anglican my Father was a committed Methodist, she decided that she needed to be prepared in the event that My Father did not return home so she took me to the Methodist Church my formative years were there it was a lovely Church with a Sunday School of over 150 children. I have looked at hoards of photographs of these times and we are all smiling..I wonder often what my Mother thought about during those years, she taught me to kneel with her and pray, she taught me along with my Sunday School teachers how much I was loved by God. During the Sheffield Blitz we could hear the bombing we went out to look at planes passing over, we heard the siren we heard the 'all clear' My Father returned home in July 1946 a hero. I know that God protected us, he had a plan which came to fruition when after a varied journey I became a Salvation Army Officer at the age of 60. His knew me when I was being formed, he ordained the number of my days, he chose me, I am his workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works God had prepared this in 1938 when he planned my parents marriage and before then. It is absolutely amazing . Thank you ADAM for the music from Prince of Egypt we took all our children from the Salvation Army Jesus and Me Club to see that film. I'm in His hands, I'm in His hands, Whatever the future holds I'm in His hands, The days I cannot see, ,have all been planned for me; His way is best, you see ;I'm in His hands.

  • Adam Julians | Tuesday, 07 February 2017

    Barabara, it's my pleasure. Thank you for sharing of your journey.

  • David Chipchase | Tuesday, 07 February 2017

    HILARY D, my elder two children all enjoyed their churching and made commitments to Christ even if these proved to be superficial. My younger son grew more angry and more with church. It was like having a thunderclould in church with us. When he turned 16, I told him he needn't go any more. He accepted with alacrity and hasn't darkened the door of a church for 20 years. I keep praying. The similarity with Mark is obvious. With this experience and after prayer, I take the liberty of making suggestions re Mark. I think the longer you make him go to the church the more angry and negative he will become. However, as he is still going to church, you can attempt negotiations with him, with the ether saturated with prayers from your family and your WL family. (I didn't try this with Tristan.) My suggestions, tell him you won't expect him to go to church but will he please read a book to give him a different perspective on Christianity and (finances permitting) attend something like an SU camp. I had a look at Koorong bookshop chain web site from Oz and they seem to have range of books that could do the job. John Dickson was one author and ??? Strobel(??) was another. With the camp, tell him to enjoy the activities and please listen politely to the talks. If you want some of my thoughts re the conversation strategies I am happy to provide them. I am posting this on WL because I am sure there is lots of good advice available from other members. Please remember, this is my advice which may or may not be inspired by the Spirit. And keep praying.

  • Oakley Bookworm | Tuesday, 07 February 2017

    HILARY, would you consider adding your son of he would like to try a different church? Sometimes, a new set of people, a worship style alien to your usual experience and attending without the baggage of belonging to a church family or what had happened before can be liberating. I think forcing church attendance can be detrimental, and I don't want to contradict David's advice, but I would explore as many options as possible before suggesting not attending church ad an option. Once a parent sets this green light, it often results in years of absence from the church. As your son is still attending, I would say he either feels a need to or respects you enough to keep going. Maybe a church he has chosen himself would help. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  • Frank Collins | Tuesday, 07 February 2017

    Thanks BARBARA for sharing . I lost my father at 3 weeks at the end of hostilities. Your story makes me pause and reflect on life in a different situation to that which I experienced and what a single mum went through in the post war years. And thanks for the Christian principles of my upbringing.

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Tuesday, 07 February 2017

    Thank you for all the comments today. I don't know why I didn't receive them in the usual way, I've just looked online as I was thinking everyone had gone quiet. Glad I looked. When I asked one of my daughters 'When you die, why should God allow you into heaven' as quick as a flash she said 'I'd say you know my Mum' We know God doesn't have any grandchildren. I pray for my children and grandchildren and leave them to come to know Jesus in His own time.

  • Barbara Sabin | Tuesday, 07 February 2017

    Oh GILVIN our children are so much like us aren't they? You always seem to have the answers for our group and I feel you are always thinking on the same lines as I am. I pray for my children and grandchildren and strangely enough I find it easier to talk spiritually to my Granddaughters and to pray with them than I do with my children. But I prayed with my children for years. I know that the Lord knows all about them and what they need and he will meet their need in His time and when the time is right. God is working His purpose out.

  • Ruth Lewis | Tuesday, 07 February 2017

    I so much enjoyed reading everyone's comments. I love each and everyone of you!!!

  • Roger Hall | Tuesday, 07 February 2017

    Moses made it to the promised land?

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