Leader's Preparation by Mankind
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

Open your Bibles, please, to the book of Exodus, chapter 2. In chapter 1, we had the preparation of the children of Israel for deliverance from Egypt. In chapter 2, we have the preparation of the deliverer. There can be no deliverance without a deliverer. As we read this chapter, keep in mind that it has for its theme the preparation of the deliverer, and see how far back the preparation began. See when God began the preparation of the deliverer.

Sometimes we talk about preparing for the ministry or preparing for some career or vocation. We speak of the preparation's beginning about the time the individual goes off to secondary school, but I want you to notice when this preparation actually began:

Exodus 2

1And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi.
2And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months.
3And when she could no longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river's brink.
4And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him.
5And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river's side; and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it.
6And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews' children.
7Then said his sister to Pharaoh's daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee?
8And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called the child's mother.
9And Pharaoh's daughter said unto her, Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages. And the woman took the child, and nursed it.
10And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses; and she said, Because I drew him out of the water.
11And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren.
12And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand.
13And when he went out the second day, behold, two men of the Hebrews strove together: and he said to him that did the wrong, Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow?
14And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? Intendest thou to kill me, as thou killdst the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this this thing is known.
15Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh and dwelt in the land of Midian: and he sat down by a well.
16Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters: and they came and drew water, and filled the troughs to water their father's flock.
17And the shepherds came and drove them away; but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock.
18And when they came to Reuel their father, he said, How is it that ye are come so soon today?
19And they said, And Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds, and also drew water enough for us, and watered the flock.
20And he said unto his daughters, And where is he? Why is it that ye have left the man? Call him, that he may eat bread.
21And Moses was content to dwell with the man: and he gave Moses Zipporah, his daughter.
22And she bore him a son, and he called his name Gershom: for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land.

Let us go back over the chapter and notice some of the preparation that was made in the life of Moses, that he might become the deliverer of the people of God. The best commentary on any portion of the Word of God is that which the Holy Spirit makes elsewhere in the Word, and that is especially true in this case. For example, in verse 2, we read:

Exodus 2

2And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months.

There were no less than three references in the Word of God to this act of the father and mother of Moses. The father and mother of Moses were blessed by God with a child. The order had come from Pharaoh that every male child should be killed; but when this child was born, they could not kill him. Multitudes of other parents killed their children to save their own lives, but they could not kill this child. Instead, they made an ark of bulrushes and hid the child. You say, “That was commendable and kind,” but I say that there was something far deeper than compassion that caused them not to kill their child. I want you to notice it, because it is related to God's preparation of the deliverer.

Faith of Moses' Parents

Turn with me, please, to the book of Hebrews, chapter 11, where we will find the Holy Spirit's commentary on this action of the father and mother of Moses:

Hebrews 11

23By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child: and they were not afraid of the king's commandment.

In Exodus, chapter 2, verse 2, Moses said, when he was writing about this experience many years later, that his father and mother saw that he was a goodly child. The Spirit of God, in the book of Hebrews, chapter 11, said that he was a proper child. If you translated this phrase literally, you might translated it, “He was a child fair in God's sight.”

Now turn with me to the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 7, where we see yet another reference to this event. When we look at this reference, we see what is meant by the statement that Moses was a goodly child and a proper child:

Acts 7

20In which time Moses was born, and was exceedingly fair, and nourished up in his father's house…

Once again, I want you to realize that we are not talking basically about the physical attainments of Moses. In one place, he was a goodly child; in another place, he was a proper child; in another place he was exceedingly fair.

Now turn to the Gospel of Luke and notice in chapter 1 what was recorded about another child, because what was recorded about this child even before he was born was recorded about Moses. Remember that Zacharias was given notice that his wife should give birth to a son who was to become John the Baptist. In verse 15, God was telling him, before the child was born:

Luke 1

15He shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.

This, then, is the correct characterization of Moses. This goodly, this proper, this exceedingly fair child was great in the sight of the Lord. The father and mother had spiritual perception enough to see it, and they hid him by faith in the ark which they had prepared with their own hands. This is what we are told in Hebrews, chapter 11, verse 23:

Hebrews 11

23By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months by his parents, because they saw he was a proper child;…

Have you ever read this verse and asked yourself, “Faith in what?” What was it they had faith in? What caused them to dare the wrath of the king to hide his little baby? Believe with me that these God-fearing people were well acquainted with the promises of God. There is no use to talk about faith unless you talk about faith in someone or something.

When we talk about faith in something, it is always faith in the Word of God. When we talk about faith in someone, it is always in God. You remember that in chapter 15 of the book of Genesis, Abraham fell into a deep sleep, and God spoke to him:

Genesis 15

13And he said unto Abram, know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them 400 years;
14And also that nation, which they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.

This was God's promise, and the 400-year period was drawing to a close. The mother and father of Moses believed the Word of God enough, and had enough spiritual perception when Moses was born, to recognize in Moses a deliverer of the children of Israel; and by faith they hid him in this ark which they had made with their own hands. So may I suggest–this is a very important thing for us to keep in mind–that the preparation of the deliverer began with the provision of his parents. God provided God-fearing parents that there might be a deliverer properly prepared for the nation of Israel. Sometimes we begin too late in our preparation; we might need to begin sooner than we do.

Providence of God

Go back now to Exodus, chapter 2, and notice the providence of God in the preparation of the deliverer. The little fellow was hidden in the river, in the ark specially prepared by his parents' hands. In verse 4, his sister stood a good distance off to know what would be done with him. You see, they did not just cast their boy adrift. They did what they did purposely. They put him in the river where they well knew that Pharaoh's daughter would be bathing that day, and they posted the little girl to see what would happen. Of all things, in verse 5, Pharaoh's daughter came down to bathe at the riverside at exactly the right time, not a moment too early and not a moment too late. Of all things, she saw the ark among the flags and sent her maid to fetch it.

If you should look up this particular location on the Nile River in a good Bible reference book, you would see that the chances of Pharaoh's daughter's discovering this little ark among the bulrushes were very slight. She could have come, she could have bathed, and she could have left and never have seen it; but the first thing she saw when she got there was this ark. I do not know that that was by chance. I believe, as we are going to see from another portion of the Word of God, that God arranged it that way. I have always loved this sixth verse. My, how God times things exactly right! When Pharaoh's daughter opened the ark, she saw the child.

Keep in mind that this was a child of the hated Israelites. This was a child of people who evidently openly defied the edict of her father. What would be her natural reaction when that ark was opened and she looked into the face of that little baby? Well, it might be a bit difficult to tell, but God saved the day by causing the baby to cry at just the right time. Any woman with a mother's heart cannot resist a baby crying, especially when the cries of the baby are as pathetic as this one's were. I cannot help but think that God arranged for that baby to cry at just the right time.

I believe, because I believe the Bible teaches it, that the angels are ministers or servants of the heirs of salvation and that the angels are busy doing the bidding of God. I would not be at all surprised if God sent an angel down there to pinch that baby at just the right time that the heart of this woman might be turned toward the child.

Then that little girl was hiding there, in verse 7. Little girls are so sharp that perhaps she needed no special providential prodding, but anyway, did you notice what she did, right there on the spot? She said, “Shall I go get a nurse for you from the Hebrew women?” Imagine Pharaoh's daughter taking the advice of a little girl! She said, “That's a wonderful idea! You go get someone.” In verse 8, the little girl went and got the child's mother. Pharaoh's daughter said to her, “Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages.” And the child's mother took the child and nursed it.

My, what a preparation God is able to make when we leave things in His hands. Do you realize what God was doing here? Every male Hebrew baby was supposed to die. You might keep a baby a secret for three months, but you cannot keep it a secret much longer. The mother of Moses had perfect freedom and license to nurse her baby. If anyone should say to her, “What's that baby doing there; why wasn't it killed?”, she could say, “You go talk to the princess about it.” She had perfect license to nurse her baby out in the open, which was wonderful indeed. On top of that, she got paid for doing it. Did you ever stop to think about that? A mother does what she does because she has a heart of love. But think about doing what you want to do and getting paid for it, too! That is exactly what happened. This is the way God prepared Moses for the deliverance of the children of Israel.

Trained for His Destiny

But there was a much deeper plan that that. Moses had to be trained. Moses had to be brought up right, and it was not just a mere matter of a nurse's looking after him. There was a need for training for the job that he had to do. Notice in verse 9 that when the princess said, “Take the child away and nurse it for me, and I will give thee wages,” the woman took the child and did not just nurse it; she took the child and trained it. What kind of training do you think she gave it? I am quite sure that in addition to all the training that she gave him in ordinary things, she trained him for his destiny.

Keep in mind that she knew the child's destiny. That is why she made the ark and hid him there. Now she was going to train him for that destiny. How do I know that? Look at verse 11:

Exodus 2

11And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens:…

The Bible does not tell us, but history does, and it is reliable history, that Pharaoh had no sons. He had only a daughter, and Moses was in line for the throne. He could have ascended the throne of Egypt; it was his right. But instead of staying around the palace and dilly-dallying there with royalty, we are told, in verse 11, that when he was grown, when he came to maturity, he went out unto his brethren. Why do you suppose he did that?

Turn with me to the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 7, and listen to the Holy Spirit's comments as to the reason he did:

Acts 7

20In which time Moses was born, and was exceeding fair, and nourished up in his father's house three months;
21And when he was cast out, Pharaoh's daughter took him up, and nourished him for her own son.
22And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds.
23And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel.

Did you notice how the Holy Spirit explained it? It came into his heart; God spoke to the heart of Moses and said, “It's time.” I don't want you to misunderstand what I am saying, but I think it is important to keep in mind that God speaks through His Word. When there is no Word, or little Word, available, the revelation of God's will is more difficult. The reason God could speak to the heart of Moses is that during all the years when his mother had him, she gave him the Word. She drilled into him the facts related to his destiny.

Importance of Knowing God's Will

I want to digress a moment, though it is hardly a digression, to tell you that it is so important to have the Word. That is why I have encouraged my children to memorize the Word of God in the Bible Memory Association. You ask, “How many of those verses can they remember?” Well, if you should point your finger at them now and say, “Say it!”, they probably could not remember any of them. But I am not worried about that. I am not interested in how many verses they can quote. What I am interested in is that God has something with which He can speak to their hearts; I have seen it happen again and again. I have seen how a verse of Scripture that they had memorized but had never thought of, maybe, after they closed their memory book, and the Spirit of God has brought it out of the backs of their minds to the front of their minds and has spoken to them.

Sometimes we get a little bit in a hurry, and we wish God would speak more quickly than He does, or a little louder than He does. But if we can just be patient, God will speak, if you have hidden the Word of God away in your heart. Moses' mother had hidden the words concerning his destiny in his heart.

One day when he was forty years of age, Moses went out to see how his brethren were faring, and we are told in chapter 2 of the book of Exodus that he looked upon their burden. The suggestion of that verse is that he began to understand what they were going through. He realized that something had to be done about it. He realized that something had to be done to relieve the burden. I say to you that if you and I can look about us and see hearts that are burdened and have no desire to do something about it, there is something wrong with the compassion of our hearts.

Continuous Preparation

But learn a lesson now: The preparation of Moses was not something that happened overnight. The preparation of Moses was something that was continuous. Moses was just like a lot of us; he had to learn the hard way. He saw the burdens, he realized what was going on, and he thought that something ought to be done about it. He thought he ought to do his bit. It is amazing how many Christians there are who do their bit, and after they have done their bit, they want to go right on living the way they have lived before. They do not want to be disturbed over much. They do not mind being disturbed for a certain little while, but they do not want to be disturbed permanently. I am quite confident that that was the way Moses felt.

When he went out to look on the burdens of the Israelites, he spied an Egyptian smiting a Hebrew, one of his brethren. He looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. This was Moses doing his bit; this was Moses doing what he could to help his people. I want you to notice before we go any farther that it was not God's bit he was doing. It was his bit, and there is a vast difference. Oh, the desire may be the same, but there is a difference.

Being Sure of God's Direction

Notice what God's work was: Moses was to deliver his people. His mother had said, “Son, God has His hand on you; you've got to help our people; their burdens are heavy, more than they can bear; you have to do something about it.” So when he saw what was going on, he wanted to do his bit; and because he was doing his bit instead of God's bit, he looked this way and he looked that way, and when he thought there was not anyone looking, he slew the man and then dug a hole in the sand and buried him. And he said, “Now I've done my bit; I'll go back to the palace.” He did, and he felt reasonably good.

I guess we all have had that experience. We feel burdened to do something for the Lord. We feel as if we should, but we don't want to go all the way; we don't want to be foolish about it; we don't want to get in too deep. So we do a little something and it salves our conscience. We feel better momentarily; we've done our bit. Then we get to thinking, “Well, maybe there is a little something else I can do,” so we go out again. That is what Moses did. Look at verse 13 of chapter 2:

Exodus 2

13And he went out the second day, and behold, two men of the Hebrews strove together; and he said to him that did wrong, Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow?

He had taken upon himself the role of peacemaker, so he tried to make peace. This time the man said:

Exodus 2

14…Who made thee prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me as thou killdst the Egyptian?…

It was a perfectly natural question. Hear me: If you are doing God's work in God's way, no one has a right to question your authority. I did not say they would not oppose you; I did not say they would not make it difficult for you; but if you are doing God's work in God's way, no man has a right to question your authority, and you never have to be speechless. You can always say, “Thus saith the Lord.” But you see what happened to Moses. When they said, “Who made you a judge over us? Who told you to tell us what to do? Where do you get your authority?”, Moses did not have a thing he could say.

Moses' Decision for God

If you will notice the last part of verse 14, he feared; he was afraid. He said, “Surely this thing is known.” It got back to Pharaoh: “Pharaoh, your son is killing Egyptians in defense of Israelites.” Pharaoh called for Moses to give an accounting and was going to put him to death. In verse 15:

Exodus 2

15Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian; and he sat down by a well.

If this were the only verse of Scripture we had, we might think that Moses was some kind of coward, or that Moses decided that flight was sometimes better than fight. It would leave us without the picture we need to have it we are to understand the deliverer of the children of Israel.

Turn with me to the book of Hebrews, chapter 11, in which the Holy Spirit of God draws the veil from over the heart of Moses and lets us see a little bit of what happened in the innermost recesses of his heart. It looked to people as if Moses was afraid, as if Moses fled, as if Moses was a coward; that is the way it looked to people. That was not the way it was. Notice verse 24:

Hebrews 11

24By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter;
25Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
26Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward.
27By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.

Notice the statement of verse 27, “he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king.” The Bible does not contradict itself; in Exodus, chapter 2, we have the account as it appeared to men, and in Hebrews, chapter 11, we have the account as it appeared to God. That is not at all unusual; often throughout the Word of God we find both God's view and man's view.

God's View Versus Man's View

There are many illustrations; one will suffice. In the book of Daniel, chapter 2, we have man's view of government upon the earth. What is it? A great bit image, colossal and magnificent, with a head of gold, a breast and arms of silver, a belly and thighs of brass, legs of iron, and feet of iron and clay. It was an image so great that it could be seen for miles around.

But what about God's view of that same thing? Turn to chapter 7 of the book of Daniel when you have time and compare it with chapter 2. You will find that chapter 7 is talking about exactly the same thing–the government of the world. But how does God see it? God sees it as a wild beast, awful, ugly, coming up out of a dirty sea of water. You see, it all depends on how you look at it. Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart (I Samuel 16:7).

Man saw that Moses left the land of Egypt; the story got out that he had killed an Egyptian, that Pharaoh had heard about it, and that Moses was scared and had to flee for his life. That was what they told because that was the way it looked. They could not imagine anyone in his right mind leaving everything that Moses had unless he was scared to death. Keep in mind that Moses was heir to all the treasures of Egypt.

The Spirit of God presents it in a different way. Notice in Hebrews, chapter 11, verse 24, how Moses arrived at his decision. Perhaps the Lord can speak to our hearts through it:

Hebrews 11

24By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter.

There has to be an object of faith. In his heart was planted the Word of God, and when he had come to years–oh, how I love this verse, and what an encouragement it is to a parent–he made the right decision.

Example of Child Training

You are all familiar with this verse in the book of Proverbs:

Proverbs 22

6Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

There are a lot of God's dear children who get a great deal of comfort out of that verse by saying, “Well, my child is out of fellowship now, but I know he will come back before he dies.” They are quite content if God brings him back by the time he reaches old age. Well, I say to you that I am not content with that, and I do not think that that is what that verse of Scripture means. That verse of Scripture means that if we as parents train up our children in the way they should go, when they reach the age of maturity, they will not depart; they will make the right decisions.

Here is a concrete example: Moses' father and mother did not have him very long, but they had him long enough to train him right. We read in verse 24 that when he was come to years, he made the right decision. Oh, we don't know any details about the mother and father of Moses, but if they were still alive when he made this decision, don't you know they rejoiced? Don't you know that while he was in the palace, they were praying for him? Don't you know that while he was being trained in all the lore of the Egyptians, they were praying for him? And don't you know that when he came to years and made his decision, they praised the Lord together?

Notice in verse 24, the decision he made: He refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter. He turned down the throne of Egypt, and that was a definite decision. It was not something that he rocked along with. He had to make a definite decision, and the decision was one that he thought through. It is not hard to make a decision if you don't know what is out ahead, you know. But if you look at verse 25 of Hebrews, chapter 11, Moses knew:

Hebrews 11

25Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;

Here was the affliction of the Israelites, and believe me, it was affliction. Here were the pleasures of sin. Moses looked at one and he looked at the other, and he said, “I'll take the afflictions of the people of God.” That was a real decision. You say, “How could he possibly do that?” Well, he had a right sense of values. Over here were the treasures of Egypt and my, they were treasures, indeed; over here were the reproaches of Christ–the reproaches that are related to taking one's stand for God. There they were. He said, “You know, I would rather have these reproaches than all the treasures of Egypt.”

Faith In God's Promise

You say, “How could he make a decision like that? The man must have been mad. How could he do it?” Well, we are told in the last part of verse 26 that he had respect unto the recompense of the reward. That is a weighty phrase. Do you know what it means? It means that he had respect for God's payday. He had respect for what was going to happen when all the reports were in and God began to pay off. He said, “Because I know what is going to be, I am turning my back on all of this.” So in verse 27, we read that by faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king. He said, “King, I'm not afraid of what you can do. I'm not the least bit afraid of you. I'm making this decision because I've got my eyes on a King greater than you.” And he endured as seeing Him who is invisible. Do you know that you can endure anything if you know the Lord is with you, if you know the Lord is on your side? You can endure if you can see Him who is invisible.

I don't want you to think that Moses got run out of Egypt because he killed a man by mistake. Though he tried to do things in the flesh by his own strength, he reached the place eventually where he did it God's way, and when he did he did not have to run. He walked out of the presence of Pharaoh and went down to the land of Midian.

We will learn as we go on that Moses' training was not finished. It just changed locations. Forty years in the land of Egypt was his first period of training, and now begins the second period of his training–forty years in the land of Midian, forty years on the backside of the desert. We do not know much about this period of Moses' training. Not much is said about it; but if you read in a good Bible reference book about where Moses spent this forty years, you will know that it was training that hardened him. His chief care was looking after sheep, and looking after sheep was good training for looking after human sheep. Those forty years were not wasted.

Moses' Wife as a Hindrance

I don't want what I am going to say to be misunderstood, but in all honesty I cannot pass over it. If you will look at verse 21 of Exodus, chapter 2, and read what the Word of God has to say about Zipporah, you will realize that an element of the training that God gave to Moses was a cantankerous, stubborn, selfish woman for a wife:

Exodus 2

21And Moses was content to dwell with the man: and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter.

If you read what the Word of God has to say about Zipporah, you will find that she withstood Moses in regard to the will of God every time he took a step. She finally called him to his face an old murderer because he tried to do the will of God. Moses carried that cross with him through the wilderness. He was well prepared during those forty years on the backside of the desert.

God Respects His Promise

Look at verse 23:

Exodus 2

23And it came to pass in process of time [the process of time was forty years] , that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage.
24And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.
25And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them.

This is what my Bible says, but you will notice the word “them” in italics, put there by the translators but not in the original text. I suppose it may be all right to put it there, but I think it waters down the meaning of the verse considerably. God did not have respect just unto them; He had respect unto His promise. God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. When He looked upon the children of Israel, God had respect unto His covenant; God did what He did because He respected His Word. When He saw their need, He remembered His Word and He could not deny it; He set things in motion again for their deliverance.

In chapter 3, we will find another phase of the preparation of the deliverer, when Moses heard the voice of God on the backside of the desert.


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