PastorRodney’s Weblog

Preaching from the Pulpit of Ephraim Church of the Bible

Exodus 2:15-22; A Savior to the Gentiles

 http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20100523_exodus02_15-22.mp3

5/23 Exodus 2:15-22 A Savior to the Gentiles

2:15 When Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and stayed in the land of Midian. And he sat down by a well.

16 Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came and drew water and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. 17 The shepherds came and drove them away, but Moses stood up and saved them, and watered their flock. 18 When they came home to their father Reuel, he said, “How is it that you have come home so soon today?” 19 They said, “An Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds and even drew water for us and watered the flock.” 20 He said to his daughters, “Then where is he? Why have you left the man? Call him, that he may eat bread.” 21 And Moses was content to dwell with the man, and he gave Moses his daughter Zipporah. 22 She gave birth to a son, and he called his name Gershom, for he said, “I have been a sojourner in a foreign land.”

23 During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. 24 And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 God saw the people of Israel––and God knew.

We’re in Exodus, with the Hebrew people, 400 years in Egypt, slaves, cruelly oppressed and under threat of extermination. We’ve seen God raise up for Israel a deliverer – Moses – under official threat of death at his birth, spared by the midwives, protected by his mother, entrusted to God in an ark on the Nile, drawn out of the water by the Pharaoh’s daughter, his own mother hired to nurse him at the suggestion of his sister, then again entrusted to God and handed over to the Egyptians. He was educated in Pharaoh’s house, became mighty in word and deed, and had a promising future. He had nothing to gain and his whole life to lose by embracing his heritage. But still, he chose to identify with his own people, the oppressed Hebrew slaves. He went out to his people, he looked, and he saw. In a daring act of faith he took action to alienate himself from the Egyptians and invest his own future with the slave people.

Acts 7:23 “When he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brothers, the children of Israel. 24 And seeing one of them being wronged, he defended the oppressed man and avenged him by striking down the Egyptian. 25 He supposed that his brothers would understand that God was giving them salvation by his hand, but they did not understand.

Instead, he was rejected by the people he was sent to save. His intentions were thoroughly misunderstood.

Isaiah 53:3 He was despised and rejected by men; …

John 1:11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him….

They answered:

Exodus 2:14 … “Who made you a prince and a judge over us? …

So salvation through Moses is rejected and he is again under sentence of death, and flees into the wilderness.

2:15 When Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and stayed in the land of Midian. And he sat down by a well.

Moses spends his exile in the land of Midian. Where is Midian? Who were the Midianites?

God promised Abraham a son. At 100 years old, God gave Abraham and his wife Sarah the promised son Isaac. Sarah lived to be 127 years old (Gen.32:1). In Genesis 25, we learn that after Sarah’s death Abraham remarried.

Genesis 25:1 Abraham took another wife, whose name was Keturah. 2 She bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah.

So Midian was one of the sons of Abraham and Keturah. The descendants of Midian apparently intermarried with the Ishmaelites, descended from Abraham’s first son by his wife’s servant Hagar, so that the names became interchangeable (see Judges 8:24). Midianites were a nomadic group that ranged anywhere from the Sinai Peninsula all the way north of the Dead Sea. It was Midianite traders who bought Joseph as a slave from his brothers and sold him in Egypt (Gen.37:28,36). Interesting that Midianites brought Joseph down to Egypt, and now Moses running from Egypt ends up with the Midianites. Later on as the Israelites approached the promised land, it was the Midianites who along with the Moabites conspired to hire the prophet Balaam to curse the Israelites (Num.22:7), and then the women of Moab and Midian tempted Israel to sin and worship Baal of Peor (Num.25) and brought God’s judgment. In the time of the Judges, God raised up Gideon to defeat the idolatrous Midianites (Jud.6-8). It is into the land of Midian that our rejected deliverer runs for his life, and he sits down by a well.

If we have been paying attention to the narrative in Genesis, this should peak our curiosity. Wells were an essential part of life in the desert. The local watering hole was the place for a traveler to find someone to show hospitality. It was by a well that Abraham’s servant found Rebekah, to be the wife of the promised son Isaac (Gen.24). It was by a well that Jacob met the beautiful Rachel and it was love at first sight (Gen.29). In fact Jacob was also fleeing for his life – running from his brother who wanted to kill him. So we have our fugitive sitting by a well in a foreign land.

16 Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came and drew water and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. 17 The shepherds came and drove them away, but Moses stood up and saved them, and watered their flock. 18 When they came home to their father Reuel, he said, “How is it that you have come home so soon today?” 19 They said, “An Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds and even drew water for us and watered the flock.”

The priest of Midian, Reuel, who we will find out also goes by Jethro. Some have tried to make him out to be a priest of the true God, but that seems to be a stretch, seeing that we have the narrative of his conversion in Exodus 18.

Exodus 18:1 Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses’ father–in–law, heard of all that God had done for Moses and for Israel his people, how the LORD had brought Israel out of Egypt.

8 Then Moses told his father–in–law all that the LORD had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel’s sake, all the hardship that had come upon them in the way, and how the LORD had delivered them. 9 And Jethro rejoiced for all the good that the LORD had done to Israel, in that he had delivered them out of the hand of the Egyptians. 10 Jethro said, “Blessed be the LORD, who has delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians and out of the hand of Pharaoh and has delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians. 11 Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods, because in this affair they dealt arrogantly with the people.” 12 And Jethro, Moses’ father–in–law, brought a burnt offering and sacrifices to God; and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat bread with Moses’ father–in–law before God.

This man, like much of his culture around him, would believe in many gods. The Midianites throughout the biblical narrative worshiped the Baals and the other pagan deities. This man was an idolater. After Moses recounts how God delivered them from Egypt, Jethro says ‘now I know that the LORD (YHWH) is greater than all gods’. In chapter 18 when he comes to believe the YHWH is greater than all the gods he has been worshiping, he offers sacrifice to this his new God. But that’s jumping ahead of our story. Here, his seven daughters show up to water the sheep at the local watering hole. They draw the water, which in that culture was only the woman’s job, then after they do all the work, they get bullied away from the watering hole by the local shepherds. It seems this may have been routine for them. Show up, draw the water, get driven away so the shepherds can use up all the water, wait around ’till they are done, come back and draw more water and water our father’s flocks. But this day Moses stood up for them. Wherever Moses saw oppression, he had to do something about it. Whether it was an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, a Hebrew beating another Hebrew, or some mean shepherds taking advantage of some Midianite women in the desert, it didn’t matter. Moses wasn’t sitting around pouting over his own misfortune. Moses stood up and acted on behalf of the oppressed. At no time was he acting out of a motive of personal gain. The first two times he had stood up for the oppressed, it had cost him dearly. But that didn’t discourage him from doing it again. Our text says Moses saved them. This is the first occurrence of this word saved [evy yasha‘] in the bible. The next time this word is used, it is describing what God did for the Israelites in the exodus:

Exodus 14:30 Thus the LORD saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore.

He preserved them from injury, harm or evil, he rescued them from danger. Moses, who thought the Israelites would understand that God was giving them salvation by his hand, now ends up in the desert saving some women from a bunch of mean shepherds. Not only does he rescue them, but he blesses them. He was the guest, and could have expected to be shown hospitality. In the case of Abraham’s servant at the well, he asked Rebekah for a drink, and she gave him a drink and volunteered to water his camels also. After all, it was a woman’s job to draw the water. But Moses, raised by the Pharaoh’s daughter, draws water for the women and waters their flocks.

18 When they came home to their father Reuel, he said, “How is it that you have come home so soon today?” 19 They said, “An Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds and even drew water for us and watered the flock.”

It was not normal for them to accomplish their task so quickly. That makes me think this was an every day ordeal that these women went through. They bring the report to their father – ‘an Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds and even drew water for us and watered the flock’. They assume Moses is Egyptian because of his appearance. He delivered us. The next time this word is used it is used of God:

Exodus 3:8 and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.

So Jethro scolds his daughters for their lack of hospitality to this kind stranger.

20 He said to his daughters, “Then where is he? Why have you left the man? Call him, that he may eat bread.” 21 And Moses was content to dwell with the man, and he gave Moses his daughter Zipporah. 22 She gave birth to a son, and he called his name Gershom, for he said, “I have been a sojourner in a foreign land.”

The priest of Midian extends hospitality to this stranger. He invites him for a meal and gives him his daughter as a wife. So Moses, who alienated himself from the Egyptians, was rejected by his own people, now finds hospitality and welcome in the wilderness with gentile shepherds. He is given a gentile bride. His firstborn son is named as a constant reminder of his status – Gershom; “I have been a sojourner in a foreign land”. Honey, what should we name our son? Let’s call him ‘Alien’; how about ‘Outcast’. That should go over really well with the other kids at school. What’s your name? Well, my dad calls me ‘Reject’. For Moses, this would be a constant reminder of his lack of belonging. He was a wanted criminal in Egypt, now he had settled down with a group of people who did not share his belief in the one true God, and the one group he had tried to identify with – the Hebrew slaves – had rejected him. He was a man without a sense of belonging.

The author of Hebrews describes this well:

Hebrews 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one.

Moses was not at home. By naming his son ‘Gershom’, he was reminding himself and those around him that he didn’t belong. He was surrounded by a culture that did not worship the true God, but he did not adopt their ways. He was content to be an alien there.

Peter highlights our alien status on this earth. He addresses us as elect exiles (1Pet.1:1). He says;

1 Peter 1:17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, 18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.

He says

1 Peter 2:11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.

He exhorts us to follow Jesus’ example to endure sorrows while suffering unjustly (1Pet.2:19). Moses embraces his exile status and even names his kid that.

But there’s more to this story than just what we see on the surface. Moses comes to bring salvation to his people, but he is rejected. He is exiled into the wilderness, and becomes savior and deliverer to some non-Jewish women at a well. Remember, Moses is a pointer to direct our attention to another, The Savior, The Deliverer. The word ‘saved’ in this text is the Hebrew word [evy yasha‘] from which we get the name Joshua or Jehoshua [ewvwhy Yehowshuwa] which means YHWH is salvation. The Greek equivalent of Yeshua or Yehoshua is [Ihsouv Iesous] – Jesus. YHWH is salvation.

Acts 4:11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Jesus was rejected by his own people:

John 1:11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.

Jesus was exiled because people wanted to kill him:

John 7:1 After this Jesus went about in Galilee. He would not go about in Judea, because the Jews were seeking to kill him.

Jesus knew what is was to not belong

Matthew 8:20 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”

Jesus sat down by a well outside Jewish territory. He said to the Samaritan woman who came to draw water:

John 4:13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty forever. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

And he told her that he was the promised Messiah, the deliverer, and even claimed to be the great I AM.

After Jesus was rejected by his people, he brought salvation to the Gentiles:

Acts 28:28 Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen.”

Acts 13:46 And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, “‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.”’ 48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.

Paul says

Romans 11:11 …through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. …25 …a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And in this way all Israel will be saved, …

So Jesus, in his exile, has taken a Gentile bride – the church.

Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

We are part of that church:

2 Corinthians11:2 I feel a divine jealousy for you, for I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.

Moses spent the next 40 years of his life tending sheep in the back side of the desert. Jesus said:

John 10:11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. …14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. ..26 but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

Jesus – Yeshua – YHWH is salvation.

 

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

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May 23, 2010 - Posted by | Exodus, podcast | , , , ,

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