The Jewish historian Josephus tells us that Moses was a mighty man in Egypt; that Moses led military conquests and was offered the throne of Egypt, but he refused. This may be what the writer to the Hebrews referred to in:
Hebrews 11:24–25 (NKJV) “By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin.”
We also remember Stephen’s words about Moses in:
Acts 7:22 (NKJV) “And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds.”
Stephen goes on to tell us in Acts 7:23-29 that when Moses was 40 years old, it came into his heart to help his people, to visit his brethren, the children of Israel. The context of Stephen’s speech emphasizes the fact that the people weren’t ready, that the Jews would go on to have a history of resisting the Holy Spirit and the deliverers God sent their way (including Jesus).
Although it was good that it came into Moses’ heart, he wasn’t 100% ready either. When he killed the Egyptian, he looked to the right and to the left, but he didn’t look up to God. In all reality, it would take 40 more years for both Moses and the people to be ripe and ready for redemption. There was more preparation necessary.
Moses fled to the land of Midian and he became a Shepherd. That’s fascinating considering the fact that every shepherd was an abomination to the Egyptians (Genesis 46:34). But God had spent 40 years teaching Moses that he was something, He would spend the next 40 years teaching Moses that he was nothing, so that Moses would spend the last 40 years leading the people, knowing that God was everything.
I’ve always loved the scene in the movie/cartoon Prince of Egypt, when God appears to Moses in the burning bush. The burning bush symbolizes Israel, in the fire but not consumed. When Moses drew near he was commanded to remove his sandals from his feet, for the place he stood was holy ground (sandals symbolizing the work of man).
It was time.
Exodus 3:7 (NKJV) “And the LORD said: ‘I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows.’”
The passage above is beyond beautiful when we consider that the God of universe sees our oppression, God hears our cries, and God even knows our sorrows – in His timing He will “come down” to deliver us.
This was the commission of Moses, who by this time had been reduced to zero confidence in himself.
When Moses asked, “Who shall I say sent me, what’s Your name?” God responded with His wonderful name “I Am.” (Exodus 3:14) Not – “I was,” or “I will be.” “I Am” is in reference to His constant and eternal existence past, present, and future; it’s in reference to His self-sufficiency; it’s a concept we must capture as Christians, that God is all we need whenever we need.
God says, I Am Your friend. I Am Your Healer. I Am Your Love. I Am Your strength. He is all we need whenever we need.
We get a glimpse of this in the 7 “I Am” statements of Jesus in the Gospel of John. Jesus said, I Am the Bread of Life, I Am the Light of the World, I Am the Door, I Am the Resurrection and the Life, I Am the Good Shepherd, I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and I Am the Vine.
As a matter of fact, Jesus took this name – “I Am” for Himself throughout the Gospel of John which presents to us the deity of Christ. We read this explicitly in:
John 8:58 (NKJV) “Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.’” (see also John 8:24)
God informed Moses that Pharaoh wouldn’t let His people go very easily, so the LORD would stretch out His hand and strike Egypt…after that, His people would be free. It would require the death of the firstborn, and the blood of the Passover Lamb. Hmmm, where have I heard that before?
It usually happens in that order (It’s almost like clockwork) immediately following the glory of those mountaintop experiences, we descend down into the demon-possessed valleys.
A father had brought his son to the disciples but they couldn’t help or heal, they couldn’t cast out the demon. Jesus was disappointed (to put it mildly) at the lack of faith on the disciple’s part, but He goes on to cast out the demon from the boy, restoring him to his father.
The disciples wonder why they couldn’t do it (Matthew 17:19). Jesus revealed to them 2 things.
1. Their lack of faith (Matthew 17:20)
2. Their lack of fasting (Matthew 17:21)
Next, we have an interesting truth about taxes.
“According to custom every Jew 20 years old and above was required to pay a temple tax of half a shekel or two drachmas each year to help support the temple (cf. Exodus 30:13–15; Nehemiah 10:32).” – Bible Knowledge Commentary
They questioned Peter about it, who took it to the Lord.
“The Lord was demonstrating to Peter that not only should He as King be tax-free, but also His disciples, as sons of the kingdom, should be free from such taxes (v. 26). They too had a privileged position, and the King should provide all they needed. However, the Lord did not intend at this time to make an issue (offend them, v. 27).” – Bible Knowledge Commentary
So the Lord commanded Peter to do something he enjoyed to do – go fishing; and in the mouth of the first fish you catch, you’ll find the money necessary to pay both of our taxes. Wow! The absolute sovereignty and creativity of God!
And as the saying goes, “If it’s God’s will, it’s God’s bill.” Thank you Lord! (Philippians 4:19)
I sigh as I type.
This is the Psalm that prophesied the cross of Jesus Christ, 600 years before the Phoenicians even invented crucifixion. The Romans would later go on to master this form of execution, which offered the maximum amount of pain over the maximum amount of time.
Jesus quoted Psalm 22:1 from the cross (Matthew 27:46). It was the 9th hour, the sky was darkened, and it was then that the Father placed on Jesus all the sins, of all the world, of all time. The Father was therefore forced to turn His back on His Son. It was the first time in all eternity that the Father was separated from His Son (that’s what sin does – Isaiah 59:1-2).
This was what Jesus dreaded the most. This is why Jesus prayed for the cup to pass from Him. SUFFERING WAS THE START OF IT, SIN WAS A PART OF IT, BUT SEPARATION WAS THE HEART OF IT.
He was forsaken so that we would never be forsaken if we place our faith in Jesus Christ (Hebrews 13:5).
They mocked and surrounded Him; His mouth was dry, His bones were dislocated, His heart was broken.
They pierced His hands and feet (Psalm 22:16).
They gambled for His clothes (Psalm 22:18).
This chapter, along with Isaiah 53 are two of the most vivid prophecies of the cross. He suffered to save us, He died that we might live…may we believe and receive, and never forget the extent of His love (Romans 5:8).
Another necessary reminder.
Stay close to wisdom.
Stay far from the immoral man or woman.
On a practical note, we see here that the man who sleeps around will end up as a dishonorable man, paying years of child-support, extremely susceptible to sexual disease.
May we learn from the Scriptures and the many men and women who live with regret for the rest of their lives – if only they would have listened to the Lord! Any sin can be forgiven, but the law of the Lord is we reap what we’ve sown – there are still consequences of forgiven sin.
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.