World English Institute
MOSES AND THE EXODUS
Joseph, his brothers, and all the people of that generation died. But the people of Israel had many children in Egypt, and their number grew and grew. Egypt was filled with Israelites.
Then a new king began to rule in Egypt. This king did not know Joseph. This king said to his people, "Look at the people of Israel. There are too many of them! If there is a war, the people of Israel might join our enemies and defeat us."
So the Egyptians put slave masters over the people of Israel. The masters forced the Israelites to build the cities of Pithom and Ramses for the king. They forced the Israelites to make bricks and mortar and to work hard in the fields.
MOSES IS BORN
Pharaoh commanded all the Egyptians: "Every time an Israelite baby boy is born, throw him into the Nile River."
In those days, there was a man by the name of Amram who married a woman named Jochebed. The woman became pregnant and gave birth to a baby boy. The mother hid the baby for three months. Then she made a basket and covered it with tar so that it would float. She put the baby in the basket, and she put the basket in the river in the tall grass. The baby's sister, Miriam, watched to see what would happen.
At the same time, Pharaoh's daughter went to the river to wash herself. She saw the basket in the tall grass and told one of her slaves to go get it. The king's daughter opened the basket and saw the baby boy. The baby was crying and she felt sorry for it. She said, "This is one of the Israelite babies."
The baby's sister was still hiding. She stood up and asked the king's daughter, "Do you want me to find an Israelite woman to care for the baby?" The king's daughter said, "Yes, please." So the girl went and brought the baby's own mother.
The king's daughter said to the mother, "Take this baby and feed him for me. Care for the baby, and I will pay you."
So the woman took her baby and cared for him. The baby grew, and after some time, the woman brought him to the king's daughter. The king's daughter accepted the baby as her own son. She named him Moses, meaning "to pull out," because she had pulled him from the water.
MOSES ESCAPES TO MIDIAN
Moses grew and became a man. One day Moses saw an Egyptian beating a man of Israel. Moses killed the Egyptian and buried him in the sand. Pharaoh heard what Moses had done and decided to kill him. Moses escaped to the land of Midian. There, he married Zipporah, the daughter of a priest named Jethro.
THE BURNING BUSH
Time passed and the king of Egypt died. But the people of Israel were still forced to work very hard. They cried for help, and God heard their cries.
Moses was a shepherd over Jethro's sheep. One day, Moses led the sheep to a mountain called Sinai. On that mountain Moses saw a burning bush. But amazingly, the bush was not burned up.
God called to Moses from the bush, "Moses, Moses!"
Moses said, "Yes, Lord."
The Lord said, "Take off your sandals. You are standing on holy ground. I am the God of your ancestors. I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." Moses covered his face because he was afraid to look at God.
Then the Lord said, "I have seen the troubles my people have suffered in Egypt. I have heard their cries when the Egyptians hurt them. I know their pain. So now I am sending you to Pharaoh. Go! Lead my people out of Egypt!"
Then Moses said to God, "But if I go to the people of Israel and say to them, `The God of your ancestors sent me to you,' then the people will ask, `What is his name?' What should I tell them?"
Then God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. Tell the people of Israel, `I AM sent me to you. YAHWEH is the God of your ancestors.'" ("I am" and "Yahweh" are very similar in Hebrew. These terms suggest that God is the eternal One that he always exists and is the same yesterday, today, and forever. God's very name suggests that he is always with his people to bless them according to their needs.)
THE TEN AMAZING PROOFS
So Moses took his wife and his sons and returned to Egypt. There Moses and his brother Aaron went to Pharaoh. They said, "The Lord God of Israel says, `Let my people go into the desert so they can have a feast to honor me.'"
But Pharaoh said, "Who is the Lord? Why should I obey him?" So Pharaoh refused to let the people of Israel go.
The Lord said to Moses, "I will make Pharaoh stubborn. Then I will do many amazing proofs in Egypt. But he will refuse to listen. Then I will punish Egypt and lead my people out of the land. Then the people of Egypt will know that I am the Lord."
One by one, God brought ten terrible disasters upon Egypt to prove that he is God: (1) The water of the Nile River turned to blood. (2) Frogs came out of the Nile River and covered the land. (3) The dust on the ground became gnats, and gnats covered everything. (4) Flies filled the houses of Egypt, and flies were all over the ground. (5) The horses, donkeys, camels, cattle, and sheep in Egypt became sick with a terrible disease. All the farm animals in Egypt died. (6) Moses threw ashes into the air in front of Pharaoh. Whenever the ashes touched a person or an animal, sores broke out on the skin. (7) Hail fell in Egypt and destroyed everything that was in the fields. (8) Locusts covered the land and ate every plant that the hail had not destroyed. (9) Then, thick darkness covered Egypt for three days.
Finally, the Lord told Moses, "I have one more disaster to bring against Pharaoh and Egypt. After this, he will send you people away from Egypt."
In preparation for the final disaster, the Lord said to Moses, "Each Israelite must get one lamb for the people in his house. The lamb must be a one-year-old male, and it must be completely healthy. You must kill the animal at twilight. You must collect the blood and put the blood on the top and sides of the door frames of your house. You must roast the lamb and eat all the meat. This is the Lord's Passover. Tonight I will go through Egypt and kill every firstborn in Egypt. I will judge all the gods of Egypt and show that I am the Lord. The blood on your houses will be a special sign. When I see the blood, I will pass over your house."
At midnight, the Lord killed all the firstborn sons of the Egyptians. That night someone died in every house, and all the people of Egypt began crying very loudly.
Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and said, "Get up and leave. You and your people can go and worship the Lord. Go!"
After living in that country 430 years, the people of Israel left Egypt. God led about 600,000 Israelite men, with their families and their possessions, out of Egypt. During the day, the Lord used a tall cloud to lead the people. And during the night, he used a tall column of fire to lead the way.
When Pharaoh received a report that the people of Israel had left the country, he and his officials changed their minds. Pharaoh said, "Why did we let the people of Israel leave? Now we have lost our slaves."
So Pharaoh prepared his chariot and took 600 of his best men and all of his chariots. And Pharaoh chased the people of Israel and came near them while they were camped near the Red Sea. The people of Israel saw Pharaoh and his army coming toward them and they were very scared.
The Lord said to Moses, "Command the people of Israel to start moving. Raise the walking stick in your hand over the Red Sea and the sea will split.
Moses raised his arm over the Red Sea, and the Lord caused a very strong wind to blow from the east. The sea split, and the wind made the ground dry. The people of Israel went through the sea on dry land. The water was like a wall on their right and on their left.
Then all of Pharaoh's chariots and horse soldiers followed them into the sea. The wheels of the chariots became stuck. The Egyptians shouted, "Let's get out of here!"
Moses raised his hand over the sea. The Egyptians were trying to run away, but the water returned to its proper level and covered the chariots and horse soldiers. All of Pharaoh's soldiers that had chased the people of Israel were destroyed. But the people of Israel crossed the sea on dry land. So that day, the Lord saved the people of Israel from the Egyptians.
VITAL TRUTHS IN THIS STORY
1. God's people sometimes suffer. It is hard to understand why God lets people suffer even when they are trying to do what is right.
The people of Israel suffered as slaves in Egypt even though they had done nothing to deserve it. God does not always keep us from suffering, but he does give us help in the midst of suffering.
2. God suffers when we suffer. God feels our pain and experiences our grief. God said to Moses, "I have seen the troubles my people have suffered in Egypt. I have heard their cries. I know their pain." God was suffering with the people of Israel and could not stand the pain any longer. That is why he sent Moses to Egypt to lead them out of bondage.
It is comforting to know that we have a sympathetic God who understands our hurts and shares our pain.
3. God proved that he is God. The Egyptians were very religious people, but they worshiped false gods. They worshiped the Nile River and the sun. They worshiped animals as representatives of their gods. They even worshiped the Pharaoh.
The ten disasters were aimed at the false gods of Egypt. When the Nile turned to blood, when the sun stopped shining, when the animals died, and when the firstborn son of Pharaoh was killed, God showed that the gods of Egypt were powerless. God wants people to worship him, not the things he made.
4. The Israelites were saved through the blood of a lamb. On the night of the tenth plague in Egypt, each Israelite family killed a lamb and smeared its blood on the door frames of their house. At midnight, God passed over the land and spared the homes that had a lamb's blood on the door.
The Passover lamb which saved the Israelites from death was a type or symbol of the coming Lamb of God. More than 1,200 years after the Israelites killed their Passover lambs in Egypt, someone would be killed as our Passover Lamb in Jerusalem. He would shed his blood for us. He would die that we might live.
Scripture References: Exodus 1-15; I Corinthians 5:7.
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