What does it say?
A generation later, Exodus begins where Genesis left off (Exo 1). Joseph and his Pharaoh have died. The growth of Israel’s tribes now threatens Egypt’s new leaders and they implement radical policies to control the Hebrews, but the persecution only causes Israel to grow.
A Levite woman knows that her newborn son is divinely special (Exo 2). God’s purpose is confirmed when Pharaoh’s daughter discovers the child on a tiny raft and raises him as her own. Despite this privileged upbringing, Moses knows his identity. Now grown, he secretly kills an Egyptian mistreating Hebrews, but the next day discovers there were witnesses. In fear he flees to the desert, eventually marrying a Midianite and working with her father and his flocks.
Moses is now 80 years old (Exo 3) when God appears to him and lays out the mission of sending him back to Egypt to lead the Hebrews back to Canaan. For the first time God reveals the meaning of his name I Am, usually transliterated as Jehovah.
What does it mean?
Moses’ story is another milestone in God’s mission. Moses receives the Law from God and writes the first five books of the Bible. In many respects, Moses pictures Christ to come. The Exodus story also powerfully illustrates God’s saving nature and the salvation that we receive in Jesus Christ. By the end of the book, the 12 tribes of Israel become a mighty nation just as God promised.
All Pharaoh did to persecute the Hebrews only resulted in greater multiplication.
The early church also learned that persecution accelerates growth.
Even when the Hebrews thought God forgot, he didn’t. There was indeed something special in baby Moses. But God’s mission for him wasn’t revealed until he was an escaped murderer, an 80-year-old “has been” herding sheep and goats.
How will I respond?
Am I broken enough for God to use me? Everything read thus far screams that God has purpose in my life. By this time we should be learning that God’s ability to complete his purpose is not limited to our performance, spirituality or even obedience. Not even Pharaoh can thwart God’s plan! My obedience, faithfulness, devotion and spirituality relate to my degree of joy and sense of fulfillment, not God’s ability to use me. Indeed, I am learning that God’s period of maximum purpose in my life often follows my total brokenness. Am I trying harder, or trusting God more?
If I could summarize God’s purpose for my life in a single sentence, what would that be?