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Lesson No.: 
Memory Verse: 

"O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  how unsear-chable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" (Romans 11:33).

Cross References: 

I The Oppression of the Children of Israel in Egypt
1. The Egyptians become alarmed at the growing strength of the Israelites, [Exodus:1:8-10]; [Psalms:105:23-25].
2. The hoped-for solution fails to relieve the anxiety of the Egyptians, [Exodus:1:11-14].
3. Pharaoh issues a stern edict to suppress the Israelites, [Exodus:1:22]; [Acts:7:6-7], [Acts:7:18-19].

II The Birth and Adoption of Moses
1. Jochebed, Moses' mother, conceals her baby, setting her daughter as a watch over him, [Exodus:2:1-4]; [Numbers:26:59]; [Hebrews:11:23].
2. The daughter of Pharaoh discovers and has compassion on the infant, [Exodus:2:5-6].
3. Miriam fulfils her duty, providing a godly home for her brother, [Exodus:2:7-9].
4. Moses is adopted by Pharaoh's daughter, [Exodus:2:10]; [Acts:7:20-22].

III Moses' Choice and the Consequence of His Hasty Action
1. Moses makes a choice of forsaking the courts of Egypt in favour of the fellowship of God's people, [Hebrews:11:24-26]; [Mark:8:35]; [Mark:10:29-30]; [Hebrews:11:8-10], [Hebrews:11:13-16]; [John:4:32-38].
2. Grieved at the oppression of his people, Moses attempts a deliverance, [Exodus:2:11-12].
3. His actions being premature, Moses was not accepted by the Israelites as their leader or deliverer, [Exodus:2:13-14]; [Acts:7:23-28].

IV Moses' Flight to Midian
1. Pharaoh's displeasure with Moses causes him to leave Egypt, [Exodus:2:15].
2. Through his kindness to the daughters of Jethro, a priest of Midian, Moses is received into their father's home, [Exodus:2:16-22]; [Genesis:29:10]; [Acts:7:29].
3. The oppression of the Israelites continued, and they cried to God, [Exodus:2:23-25]; [Numbers:20:14-16].


Many years passed between the events in our last Old Testament lesson, which closed with the death of Jacob, and the one we are now considering. At that time the children of Israel consisted of the 12 sons of Jacob and their immediate families -- a mere handful of people compared with the hundreds of thousands of their descendants living in Egypt at the time of this lesson, when their future leader, Moses, was born.

Conditions, too, had changed. A new Pharaoh, who did not know Joseph, was on the throne, and he consequently felt no obligation toward the man who had saved Egypt in an extreme crisis. He turned a suspicious eye toward the herdsman of Goshen. History tells us that the Egyptians had suffered in their earlier history from the rule of a group of shepherd kings. Since the children of Israel were shepherds, they were suspected by the Egyptians of possessing the same nature as their former rulers; and if the control of the nation shifted to the Israelites the Egyptians feared the logical consequences.

The first step Pharaoh took to guarantee the security of his nation was to oppress the Israelites and make them slaves. In this capacity the former free and happy people laboured for many years, building cities for their captors. But this did not have the desired effect upon them. The more they were afflicted the more they multiplied and grew in numbers.

Afflictions are, many times, of great benefit to a Christian. In the history of the Christian church it can be seen that the persecuted Christians were the prosperous Christians. Not prosperous in worldly goods, perhaps, or in the wealth that is seen by the natural eye, but wealthy in the benefits and blessings of eternal value. The Psalmist said that it was good that he had been afflicted; that before he had been affected he had gone astray. In afflictions he had learned the statutes of the Lord; and in faithfulness to His own, God had permitted trouble to come ([Psalms:119:67], [Psalms:119:71], [Psalms:119:75]).

The history of the Children of Israel is certainly no exception. The oppression in Egypt caused them to cry to God for deliverance. Had their lives been entirely free and happy they would never have longed for the freedom of the Land of Promise that was to be theirs in God's time.

Oppression failed to bring the desired diminution in the numbers of Israelites, so Pharaoh issued another decree, designed to reduce the threatening power of the slave people. But he was reckoning with a force that he was not acquainted with. The Hebrew women feared God; and God’s law forbidding the taking of human life was firmly planted in their hearts ([Genesis:9:6). Since they feared God more than man they refused to obey the commands of Pharaoh.

Using desperate measures, the final edict came, commanding that all boys born to the Hebrews be thrown into the river when they were discovered. Pharaoh probably felt he was accomplishing two purposes by this decree. First, he was eliminating the future strength of the Hebrew people; and second, he was offering human sacrifices to the river, which was worshiped as a god by the Egyptians. This, no doubt, was one thing that brought about the eventual destruction of Egypt. God, in Heaven, has always been stirred to judgment against people who not only did not worship Him, but who in addition sacrificed defenceless human lives in their idolatrous practices. He exterminated whole nations for that terrible custom.

What might appear to be sheer irony -- but which is the sure indication of the workings of God's hand -- is the fact that Pharaoh's edict of infanticide led to the rearing up, in his own house, at his own expense, and through his own direction, of the future deliverer of Israel. The Psalmist gives us some light on this method of God's providence, for in exalting God this sacred writer said: "Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee" (Psalm:76:10). And here the truth of this beautiful passage is clearly demonstrated. Pharaoh's wrath and anger served only to inspire God's chosen people to deep penitence, eventually bringing the complete overthrow of the proud kingdom of Egypt, and the exaltation of God throughout the whole world ([Joshua:2:9-10]).

Moses was born into the family of Amram and Jochebed, of the tribe of Levi. His mother had faith in God; and seeing that her baby was a beautiful child, she hid him for three months. When it became impossible to hide him longer, she consigned him to the care of the God she loved and honoured. To do that she first had to have faith -- and almost unusual faith -- in the never-ceasing concern of God for His own. She put the baby in a little ark she had made and placed it in the flags that grew along the edge of the river. Her faith was honoured, for it was to that place that God directed the daughter of Pharaoh, whose maternal instinct was stirred upon hearing the cries of the tiny infant.

The wise suggestion, prompted by God Himself, that a nurse from the Hebrew women be brought, gave Moses to his own mother for the tender years of his life. Nothing but the hand of God could have brought this about. It meant that Moses would be brought up in the worship of the true God and be taught the precepts of the God of Heaven instead of the idolatry of that heathen nation. No doubt, his mother told him of the covenants and promises of God that eventually would be brought to pass, and the heart of that young man responded to those teachings when the time came for him to make his own decisions in life.

We read in the book of Hebrews that Moses chose wisely when he was confronted with the choice between the things of God and those of the world. Like Abraham, he was aiming at a goal higher than any human or worldly accomplishment. His ambition was to please God and to serve Him even though it cost him a kingdom, great wealth and prestige, and many comforts in this life. How few, then as now, are willing to make that kind of sacrifice!

But this great man, godly as he was, nevertheless was human; and God had to school and prepare him for his future work. Moses showed his need of that schooling in his first recorded act after going to be with his people. He did not await God's time or direction but attempted to revenge the unwarranted, cruel treatment a Hebrew slave was receiving at the hands of his oppressor. In his impatient zeal Moses killed the Egyptian and hid the corpse in the sand. The motives behind Moses' act were good. He knew that the bondage of slavery was wrong and felt that drastic measures were justifiable under the circumstances; but no matter how urgent the case, we are laying ourselves open to much suffering if we run ahead of God's time and plan.

Jacob took things into his own hands to get the blessing God had promised; and instead of letting God give it, Jacob sought it for himself. The result was that Jacob sought temporal things instead of the covenant promises and the spiritual blessings God intended him to have; and since he took things into his own hands God let him work them out for himself. He laboured many years to earn the temporal things that God would have given him in addition to the spiritual blessings that Heaven had for him. Moses' hasty act cost him years of toil, suffering, and privation, as well as a temporary loss of influence over his people, the Israelites.

How thankful we are that we serve a merciful, loving, and understanding God. Read Psalm:103:13-18. How thankful we should be that if we get ahead of God, in our impatience and hasty zeal, if we obey Him He will tenderly lead us back, school us, discipline us, and teach us to follow Him. Read [Isaiah:40:11]; [Psalms:23:1-6]; [John:10:1-18].


1. What were the names of Moses' father, mother, sister, and brother?
2. Why was Moses put in an ark of bulrushes when he was a baby?
3. What part did Moses' sister take in his concealment?
4. In what way did Moses' sister use rare and good judgment? Would you say her judgment was her own, or did God direct her?
5. Who adopted Moses, and what privileges did that adoption give him?
6. What attitude did Moses take toward his royal home and privileges when he became of age?
7. What hasty action did Moses take?
8. What reaction in the royal circle did Moses' act create?
9. Where did Moses go?
10. After Moses' hasty act and departure from Egypt, what attitude did the Israelites take toward God?