Part 4 – Jochebed’s Reward
What’s so incredible about Moses’s decision is that it was made when the temptations of wealth, and ambition would have been at their peak.
His decision was not an impulsive decision, it was a decision that was deliberate. It was the decision of a man who had seen much of life. He had nothing to gain from this decision, and he had everything to lose. Israel was at its lowest, they were suffering slaves in bondage and poverty; while Egypt is at its zenith with everything to offer. Not to mention, Moses is in his prime. He’s good looking, he’s forty, and he’s an eligible bachelor in line for the throne. The price that Moses would have to pay personally would be high.
Hebrews says—by faith Moses refused all these things. He dies to himself a decisive death, and he’s able to do that because he has faith. And, where did he learn to have faith? From his mother.
His faith rests on the belief that God has called him to be the deliverer for Israel. And, for Moses—because he believes God—that promise from God is as good as fulfilled.
Everyone around him sees him as missing out on all he’s turning his back on, but Moses sees himself as gaining all that God promises. That’s how faith works. Moses believed God’s promise to Abraham that his mother had taught him. He believed that after four hundred years of bondage his people would come out; and Moses knew that period had nearly expired. He believed a deliverer would arise, and he believed that Israel had a future.
So here you have Moses, he’s made his decision to identify with Israel. You would think everything would go smoothly after that, right? He has made this huge decision to do what’s right, and you would think that God would bless him. However, he struggles. In fact, he experiences failure. You think, “Well, that’s not a very good start for a leader of a new nation.” If he were a football coach, we’d say get him out of there. Wouldn’t we?
But failures are part of God’s design. They’re designed to take us to new levels in our spiritual growth.
Exodus 2:11 speaks of Moses’s failure, “Now it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out to his brethren and looked at their burdens. And he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren. So he looked this way and that way, and when he saw no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. ”
Moses knows he’s the deliverer for Israel, and so he does what makes sense to him. He steps out and defends this Israelite from the Egyptian. Here Moses is jumping the gun. If Moses had asked God, he would know from Genesis 15:13 and 16 that the Israelites would need to suffer another 40 years until the iniquity of the Amorites was complete.
It’s going to take several years for Moses’s self-reliant nature to be broken down.
His spiritual instincts were right in walking away from all that was in Egypt, but Moses is impetuous, he’s headstrong, he’s used to doing whatever he wants, when he wants, and how he wants. Does this sound like any of our children? He’s used to leaning on his own understanding, and not consulting God.—which is exactly what the world encourages.
Exodus 2:11 says, “he went out to his brethren and looked at their burdens.” Moses felt sympathy for his people, and that’s why he did what he did. He did it with good intentions, but good intentions coupled with impulsiveness won’t make for a good leader of a new nation. He needs to learn to be governed by God rather than impulse.
Jochebed did a great job in laying down a foundation of understanding, but it is God Himself who must refine her child. We need to understand that as mothers we can influence, but it is God who changes our children. We can only go so far in our teaching. We lay a foundation, but it is God that must grab hold of the child and make someone who is sold out to Him.
Moses’s impulsiveness led to fear. Verse 14 tell us that Moses is afraid of being found out because he says, “surely this thing is known,” and then he flees from the face of Pharaoh. This fear is not the mark of a man who feels he has been commissioned by God. If he had believed he was commissioned by God, then he would not have cared who was looking, or what was being said. Remember, his own mother was not afraid when she hid Moses for three months because she knew she was acting according to God’s will. Later on, we see boldness in Moses when he confronts Pharaoh. Hebrews 11:27 says, “By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.” But right now where he’s at, he flees from the face of Pharaoh out of fear.
So, in his fear Moses flees to the desert which is exactly where God wants him, because in the desert he will be a NOBODY. Numbers 12:3 tells us that Moses was more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth. And, he would never have gotten to be that way unless he first learned to be a NOBODY.
It’s in the wilderness where he meets his wife Zipporah, and for forty years he works herding sheep in the desert. Day after day his life consists of caring for the flocks. God is disciplining him.
There comes a day when God reveals Himself to Moses in a whole new way, and He becomes very real to him. While he’s in the desert God commissions him at the burning bush.
Exodus 3:1-3 says, “Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.”
There’s so much symbolism in the burning bush, but just looking at it in terms of Moses the bush is very fitting. As the deliverer of Israel, Moses is about to go through many troubles and trials. Isaiah 43:2 says, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.” God is saying, “there will be many fiery trials facing you, but you will not be burned.”
Something else that’s significant about this bush is that fire is representative of judgment. Previously, Moses had tried to deliver Israel by the works of the flesh, and that did not work. It only resulted in failure. This is 1 Corinthians 3 that says our works will be tried by the fire. If they are works of the flesh, they will be burned up and consumed like wood, hay, and straw, but if they are works of the spirit, then they will not be consumed by the fire. This is a great picture of the works God wants from Moses from here on out as He establishes this new nation.
God tells him in verse 6, “I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”
This is the God his mother has told him about. This is the God of his people. This is the God that he has yearned to know all these years. And, now God comes to him in the most incredible way, and from here on out God uses him in the most incredible way to begin the nation of Israel.
Then God says in verse 10, “Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”
And, so God commissions him as the deliverer of Israel—the very thing that has burned in his heart, and in the heart of his mother. God blesses Jochebed’s faith in His Word. She is our pattern of a mother for these times.