Genesis Through Joshua- Exodus: Divine Authorisation in Moses' Birth and Call

We want to understand how the first 4 chapters of the book contribute to the rest of the book.

Moses writes this book to defend his authority and programme.

Remember the structure previously mentioned:
1-18 Deliverance of Israel under Moses
19-24 The Covenant law under Moses
25-43 Covenant worship under Moses

Basic Content
1:1-2:10 Moses Birth
2:11-4:31 Call of Moses

Moses Birth 1:1-2:10
Why did Moses write about his birth the way he did?

1) 3 failed oppressions
1-1:14 Israel multiplies under oppressive suffering
1:15-1:21 Pharaoh orders the midwives to kill the children -the midwives disobey
1:22-2:10 Pharaoh orders his men to throw the children in the Nile-story of Moses birth

2:10 = Moses is named

2) Ironic Reversal of Oppression
1-1:14
Pharaoh tries to stop the multiplication. He decides that working them hard would stop them increasing. The Israelites multiply all the more.

1:15-1:21
Pharaoh wants to oppress the Israelites by the midwives. The midwives makes a bad excuse. They say the Israelite women have children with speed! Pharoah accepts the explanation. More multiplication.

1:22-2:10
Pharaoh orders genocide. Moses is placed in the Nile. Pharaoh’s own daughter rescues Moses and names him. ‘Moses’ = he was drawn out of the water (this is the Hebrew explanation). The Egyptian word for Moses means ‘Son’.

Moses message: ‘My birth was the climax of God’s ironic reversal of decrees set against us’. It all worked for his good!

Moses’ call to lead Israel
Moses kills a man through anger at the oppression and so has to leave Egypt. Flees to Median. God then calls him by a burning bush. Moses comes back to Egypt.

1) Moses flees Egypt
The story shows that Moses was concerned about his own people. Moses identifies himself with Israel.
2:14 ‘who made you a ruler….’. Moses runs.

2) 2:15-2:22 Moses leaves to go to Midian.
2:21 Moses and Zipporah have a son called Gershom. Moses says ‘I have become an alien in a foreign land’ (NIV). KJV writes the verse in the past tense.
While Moses was in Egypt he was a foreigner. Moses is re-iterating that he is happy in Median. He does not see Egypt as his home. Moses is affirming to the Israelites that he belongs with them. He is defending his right and authority over the Israelites.

3) God remembers and has compassion.
Moses leadership was in fulfilment of the covenant that the Lord made with the patriarchs (2:24-3:1). Moses introduces his call as an act of God’s compassion and will.

4) 3:1-4:17 God calls a reluctant Moses.
Again Moses is defending his role as the leader of Israel. An angel of the Lord calls Moses.
Moses didn’t think of himself as adequate for the job. His position of leadership was not his desire. He has a lack of confidence in his natural skill and ability.

3:11 = Moses questions ‘Who I am?’. God promises a sign- worship on the mountain (Sinai). The readers knew this had happened.

3:14 = ‘I am who I am’ this could be translated ‘I cause to be what I cause to be’.
God is revealing Himself to Moses as a divine warrior leading the armies to battle. See 3:20. God is promising to act as a warrior.
15:3 = ‘The Lord is a warrior’ God enforces the promises of the covenant.

Moses is represented as one who is forced by God to take a leadership role.

5) Preparations for the tasks
4:19-20 Moses leaves Midian.
4:24-26 Moses fails to keep the covenant so Zipporah circumcises their Son.
Moses is humble admitting his mistakes.

6) Moses Returns to Egypt with Aaron
4:27-28 Moses and Aaron were a team

Summary Meaning
All of these stories tell the Israelites that Moses does not want to exert his own authority over the people. He only wants to respond to the calling of God.

Meaning for today
The church should look to Christ as their divinely ordained leader. The NT shows us that Christ is qualified for this work. Therefore we should trust him.

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