If it weren’t for his mother’s clever plan to keep him alive, Moses would have been killed like all the other Hebrew baby boys in Egypt. God’s people had become slaves there. And Pharaoh did everything he could to weaken them. Baby Moses was placed in a woven basket and soon he drifted into the arms of the princess of Egypt, who adopted Moses as her son. They lived in the palace until Moses grew up into a strong young man.
After Moses had moved away from Egypt, God spoke to him from a burning bush. When God asked Moses to stretch his speaking skills to confront Pharaoh, Moses doubted his abilities. Moses questioned, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh?” Read God’s answer in Exodus 4:12. God would help where Moses was weak. He would supply the words; Moses only needed to supply the courage to trust and to try!
So Moses obeyed God and went back to Egypt. No matter how many times Moses told Pharaoh to let God’s people go, Pharaoh still said no. This went on and on, even after God sent horrible plagues (read about them in Exodus chapters 7-11).
Finally after the 10th plague, Pharaoh agreed to let the Hebrews leave Egypt. But as God’s people got closer and closer to the Red Sea, Pharaoh changed his mind…again! He and his army chased after them.
But God made a way for His people, even though it meant walking through an ocean. Moses lifted his arms and God parted the waters of the Red Sea. Soon God’s people crossed through the sea on dry land and safely made it to the other side. Not so for the Egyptians. When Pharaoh and his army started to cross, the waters fell over onto them and not one Egyptian survived.
Then began the journey of 40 years in the wilderness. Moses led the way. Quail and Manna came each day as food for God’s people. Even though they grumbled and complained and made mistakes, God took care of them.
At the top of Mount Sinai, Moses received the Ten Commandments and shared them with the people of Israel (Leviticus 1:1-2; 27:34). The Israelites were able to worship God by following His laws.
Moses didn’t get to go to the Promised Land. He lost his chance when he lost patience and tried doing things his way instead of God’s way. Moses wanted to make sure the people didn’t make the same mistake. He told them to obey God after he was gone. Many of those listening to him were just children when the Hebrews left Egypt, and some weren’t even born yet. Moses wanted them to know they could trust God’s promises, too.
Moses understood broken promises, but never once did he experience a broken commitment from God. God promised to help Moses lead. God promised to provide for the people of Israel. God promised a way to pass over their homes and spare them from the horrific loss of loves ones and livestock. For 430 years—to the very day—God kept His promise to be with and deliver His people (Exodus 12:40-41). God is still a promise keeper. He will show up for you, too.
God in Action
Near the end of Genesis, God saved His people from starvation by bringing them to Egypt. In Exodus, God saves His people again. This time, He rescues them from Egypt.
The king (or pharaoh) of Egypt enslaved the Israelites. He made their lives miserable. When they cried for help, God came to the rescue. He told a man named Moses to stand up to Pharaoh. But Pharaoh wouldn’t listen, so God took action. He sent 10 plagues to prove there was no power in the universe like Him. Finally, Pharaoh told the people they could go—but then he changed his mind. That’s when God did an amazing miracle. He parted the waters of the Red Sea so His people could escape. Then He sent the waters crashing down on Pharaoh’s army.
The rest of the book tells about the relationship between God and Israel. God made a covenant (a peace treaty) with His people Israel. He gave them the Ten Commandments. He also told them to build a tabernacle so He could dwell with them on their journey.
We can learn a lot about God from the story of Moses. God reveals His personal name (3:13-15) and what He’s like. God doesn’t forget His people or the promises He makes (2:23-25). He’s more powerful than the mightiest army and all the false gods put together (15:1-12). He is slow to get angry and quick to forgive (34:6-7).
We also learn that God is always there for us. At one point, He tells Moses, “My presence will go with you” (33:14). At the end of Exodus, God’s presence fills the tabernacle (40:34-37). He travels with the people as they journey toward their new home—just like He promised.