FROM BONDAGE TO FREEDOM: A Study of the Book of Exodus

Live in the Expectation of Divine Providence

Exodus 2 SCC 6/10/12



            Understand that God often uses the things that are base and weak to destroy the powerful and the strong. 1 Corinthians 1: 27-28 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen the things that are not that He might nullify the things that are… He will accomplish his purpose even using unusual circumstances and weak people. If they trust and obey he can turn the world upside down with them! In Exodus 2 is such a simple account of a mother trying to preserve the life of her baby. This responsible, faithful, caring, act of obeying God by preserving the life of a child through a mothers love is an example of God using the base things to put to shame the things that are strong. Here we will see how the things that are weak undid Pharaoh.




The Irony

            The marriage, the birth, the hiding of the child, and the positioning of Miriam are all faith operations, which ignore the decree of Pharaoh by working around it to preserve the life of the child. Although he was fearful of warriors outnumbering his ruling class, he was not defeated by his worst fears. The very women whom he assumed were no threat foiled his plan. He thought sparing women was safe but in these passages the midwives, Shiphrah and Puah, the Hebrew mother, the daughter of Pharaoh, and Miriam, all work together to spare the one child--Moses. God uses the things that are not to confound the things that are.


When She Saw

            The connecting link between both sections of this story is the phrase, she saw in v 2 & 6. When the mother saw the child she desired to protect it. When the princess saw the child, she had pity upon it. So the most natural (base) simple effect of a baby on these two women spoiled the entire program of the king  (1:16, 22) and prepared the way for the deliverance of Israel’s deliverer.


First, God chose a man from the tribe of Levi because that was going to be the priestly tribe v 1. This tribe will be responsible to live faithfully in the covenant God establishes with His people. It is fitting that at the birth of Moses, Levites are doing just that as they seek to preserve the life in obedience to God. Here Levites are demonstrating that responsibility in accord with the promises to promote and save lives trusting God to work out the details as they do.


Second, Jochobed, Moses mother, saw that Moses was a beautiful or fine child v 2. The appearance indicated to her that the child enjoyed divine favor. This prompted her to act in accordance with faithfulness and obedience to preserve his life at all costs. Based on this knowledge she decided to hide the child the first three months of life until she could determine a way to save him.


Third, eventually she had to act in harmony with her convictions and crafted an ark for him—a type of basket to place him within v 3. The idea of a mother abandoning a child to the river would have been natural given the fact that women of the area would routinely be washing clothes or bathing there. If someone wanted to be sure a sympathetic woman discovered the infant, this would be the place. Her sister was in on the plan and found a good vantage point to wait and see what might become of the infant v 4. So the intervening months a plan was concocted and then put into action. Each step of the way we see a woman acting in expectation of the providence of God against the known factors of the time that could threaten all that she has prepared and planned.


NB: So living responsibly according to what we know the will of God to be and not fearing the forces of evil that may be arrayed against this, the faithful can make decisions in expectation of divine providence to work out the details. When Christians demonstrate faithfulness and obedience to the revealed directive will of God, He will work through the circumstances and the difficulties and use them to create alternatives they never thought imaginable.




The Discovery

            Here the story traces the activities of the daughter of Pharaoh v 5. Here is a picture of a royal entourage coming down to the edge of the river and while the princess is bathing her attendants were waling along the edge of the water out of her way. While she comes down to the Nile to wash she observes the basket hidden in the reeds. Her maid retrieves it for her and she saw what she never expected, there was a baby boy crying v 6. This explains her compassion at the moment and what she felt for the baby was strong enough to eventually prompt her to spare the child from the fate decreed for Hebrew boys.


The Care

            Apparently Miriam was able to slip in among the company of women when the basket was discovered and make the suggestion of someone to nurse the child v 7. We can see the kind of princess she is with enough courage to overturn a decree of her father sparing the child v 8 by agreeing with Miriam’s plan to have a Hebrew woman nurse this child. It would need to be a nursing mother that must be found and of course Moses’ mother was ready for the task. Miriam knew just how to interject this information so the plan could be advanced as God providentially worked out the details. There times ‘nursed’ is mentioned indicating the care that all parties desired this child to receive. Not only is his life being spared it is being nourished and cared for in the most providential way possible—by his own mother. It is the royal family who is sending and summoning to save this child alive—the very one destined to be Israel’s deliverer.


The Naming

            The report of the naming of the child is the climax of the entire story capturing both the event and the destiny of the child v 10. With the naming of the child is an indication that something providential was taking place in the beginning of a new era. The naming takes place after the child was weaned and had grown. When the princess named the child Moses, the motivation for doing so was that she drew him from the river, the source of life in Egypt. The name reflects the unusual circumstances of the deliverance of the child from Pharaoh’s death decree. These circumstances demonstrate Moses to be a child of destiny. He was delivered from death and he would deliver Israel from their fate as slaves in the land of Egypt. His name would preserve the story in Israel’s memory and become the template for their own deliverance throughout their history as God providentially worked to preserve the nation.



            It was God’s providential dealings that turned the prospect of death into a triumphant victory that would undermine the Egyptian empire. The Bible has many stories of miraculous births and deliverances of those destined to lead the people of God. The purpose of such dramatic events is to authenticate their ministry for if their very existence was preserved by supernatural intervention, then their mission and purpose in life must also be if divine origin.


1. Stay faithful to the revealed will of God even when events threaten this course of action. This is the only way you can be assured that God’s providential hand will be at work showing favor.

2. You cannot figure out what God has not revealed. So go with what you already know and trust that God will providentially do whatever is his sovereign plan.