After the Israelites cried out, God chose a partner to help Him lead the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt. Who was this partner and what character traits do we see him exhibit? One of the first things we see (In Exodus 6:20) is that Moses’ parents are named “Amram” and “Jochebed.” The name “Amram” means “exalted people,” and the name “Jochebed” means “give glory to Adonai (God).”
Did Moses inherit his heart and godliness from these two parents? At a time when it seems that most Israelites were worshipping foreign gods, Moses’ parents had names celebrating the God of Israel and their heritage.
When we first see Moses as an adult, he intervenes and kills an Egyptian when he sees the Egyptian beating a Hebrew slave (Exodus 2:11-12). One of the next incidents we hear about is Moses rescuing the 7 daughters of the priest of Midian from unruly shepherds (Exodus 2:16-17). Later on in Exodus 32, God says he is going to eliminate the Hebrew people and start over with Moses and Moses pleads with God, “Please, don’t hurt them.”
Moses had an intense sympathy and compassion for hurting people. It shows up all over the place. God picked and shaped a partner who was like him; a man who would hear the cry of someone who was hurt.
Moses had a heart for people who were hurting and suffering, a heart like God.
The thing that has struck me the most this year when reading through the Torah, Haftarah, and Gospel portions is how much the poor, the widow, and the oppressed are mentioned. This topic seems to be brought up more than any other.
Abraham Joshua Heschel once said, “The more deeply immersed I became in the thinking of the prophets, the more powerfully it became clear to me what the lives of the prophets sought to convey: that morally speaking there is no limit to the concern one must feel for the suffering of human beings.”
Another fascinating thing I realized this year is that when God decides to aid the Israelites after they cry out, he doesn’t take out his wrath and vengeance on the Egyptian people and their leaders, at least initially. God first sends the plagues so that the Egyptians will know him experientially (Exodus 6&7), and then says he will exercise judgment on the gods of Egypt (Exodus 12&33), and only after plagues directed individually at the gods of Egypt, does he strike the people of Egypt.
Now in one sense, the gods of Egypt are simply stones and sticks, but Deuteronomy 32 indicates that there is a real struggle going on here, and that there is in fact spiritual warfare with the pagan gods. Paul later on quotes Deuteronomy 32 in 1 Corinthians 1:10. We’ll explore the plagues in the next Exodus post, so stay tuned!