Bouncing on Pharaoh’s Knee


As we come to Exodus 3, an indeterminate amount of time has elapsed since Joseph’s family moved to Egypt. More important than this gap of time is the change in leadership that had occurred. Egypt was no longer ruled by a faith friendly pharaoh. Instead, they were ruled by a pharaoh “to whom Joseph meant nothing” (1:8). This could mean that he had no knowledge of Joseph and the place he occupied in Egypt’s history. However, given the scope of Joseph’s accomplishments that seems improbable. It’s much more likely that it means he knew about Joseph’s contributions but didn’t care.
For this pharaoh, any concern about the past was overruled by Israel’s burgeoning population (v. 7) and the potential problem it would cause if they decided to revolt against Egypt. Consequently, he attempted to alleviate this potential threat by conscripting them into working endless hours under brutal conditions. He “made their lives bitter with harsh labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their harsh labor the Egyptians worked them ruthlessly” (v. 14).
He would work them to death!
But God had promised Abraham in Genesis 15:5-6 He would make his descendants numerous, and no pharaoh was going to prevent that from happening. Despite the conscription, Israel continued to multiply. “The more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread” (v. 12).
In response, this pharaoh escalated his wickedness to a new low — he instituted a policy of infanticide against all male Israelite babies. At first, he enlisted the Hebrew midwives. When that failed, he issued a general order for all Hebrew baby boys be thrown into the Nile.
This is where Moses came on the scene, as Yahweh showed He was not only powerful enough to rescue a baby from the Nile River, he could arrange events so the baby who would one day liberate Israel would grow up in the palace of Egypt being bounced on pharaoh’s knee! Furthermore, Jochebed (Moses’ mother), was given a government job taking care of her own son!
But everything was according to God’s schedule, not man’s. That’s why, four decades later when a self-willed Moses was ready to be Israel’s deliverer (see Acts 7:23-29), it wasn’t the right time. It was only after four more decades of seasoning in the desert that He called a broken, 80-year-old man to a burning bush. Moses was broken to his way and ready (though he didn’t know it), to be used by God.
And how God used this man. May we live ready to be used by Him.

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