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This blog post is Part 5 of a series entitled "From Fear To Freedom" by Pastor Jeffrey Dean Smith of Donelson First in Nashville, TN. 

Message Date: February 25, 2024

I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord. I am confident that the personification of the devil as the symbol of all evil assumes the living shape of the Jew.

I view the Jews as a race and not a religious community. The Jewish presence is a race-tuberculosis of the peoples. The initial goal of a German government must be discriminatory legislation against Jews. The ultimate goal must definitely be the removal of the Jews altogether.

Adolph Hitler
September 16, 1919

The Nazi persecution of the Jews was birthed by words… horrific words spoken by Adolph Hitler that one cannot fathom ever becoming reality. However, these horrific words would eventually lead to even more horrific actions. Discrimination escalated to antisemitism. What followed was incessant actions of dehumanization which culminated in the genocide massacre of 6 million Jews.

Young baby Moses was born into a similar time of inhumanity toward the Jews. Moses entered a world of cruelty and whips and pain and mercilessness. His people were oppressed, beaten, hated, abused, maligned, and denigrated. At a time of slavery and despair, a truly dark era; one of the darkest of times on our planet, life moved forward for the nation of Jews and, even though oppressed, continued to multiply and spread. 

Today is going to be one of fact-finding for us. We often have these days in our times of Sunday studies at DF. And today is an important day for us in our From Fear to Freedom series. Not only have we finally arrived at Moses. We too will discover some interesting tid-bits of information upon which we will lean throughout this study.

Exodus 2:1-10

Several fascinating scenarios in a most fascinating story:

1. Moses’s family are literally Israelites. At the beginning of Exodus 2, a Levite couple marries, and they begin having children. We will soon find out that their daughter’s name is Miriam, who is not yet a teenager. They too have a son, Aaron. And three years after the birth of Aaron is where the Exodus story begins with the birth of a man unlike any other the world will ever know… and a man whom I presume Pharaoh wishes he will never meet! Who are the Levite’s? The Levite’s are one of the twelve tribes of who… of Israel! Levi was the third son of Jacob and Leah. Recall that Jacob is the son of Isaac and the one who stole his brother Esau’s birthright. Jacob too, as we studied several weeks ago, wrestled with God at Jabbok all night before reuniting with his estranged brother. It is at this place where God changed his name to… Israel! Isn’t this amazing. Moses, the one called to save the nation of Israel is too the family member of the original Israel… Jacob! You can’t script this stuff, y’all! This is amazing. I tell you, if the Word doesn’t excite you, what does? This story is just packed with so very much AMAZING! Are you kidding me! The man who God called has been set apart to save the nation of Israel is in fact in the family line of Jacob – the man God named Israel!

The Levite’s will eventually serve very specific religious duties for the nation of Israel. The Levites will soon become officials in God’s tabernacle for the entire nation of Israel, and they will be set apart by God to administer very specific religious and legislative roles throughout the entire nation. 

Numbers 1:47-53

Obviously God thinks highly of the Levites. To this day, it is estimated that there are approximately 300,000 living descendants of this tribe.

2. An entire nation commit genocide. In the late 1930’s, much of Germany considered Jews to be a normal and acceptable part of society. Even after the genocide on Jews had begun, many German’s disagreed with the war and believed Hitler was merely power hungry and had carried his pursuits too far. But by the height of World War II in 1943, a majority of Germans believed the indoctrination of Adolph Hitler that:

“All Jews are a race of peoples who are merely a parasitic vermin of which the world needs purging worthy only of complete eradication.”
Adolph Hitler
Mein Kampf, 1923

In just a few short years, Hitler had convinced an entire nation of Germans and their collaborators that the Jews must be hunted down and exterminated because they are a threat to a healthy Germany. Hitler wrote in the Mein Kampf (mine-campf) that there must be a radically pure state. Once assuming the position of the Führer [foo – er], or Leader of the Nazi Party, Hitler began working to assimilate all Germans into his way of thinking. He formulated and articulated the ideas that came to be known as “Nazi ideology.” An entire nation soon followed the ways of this perverted and racist leader. It would only be a few years later that 6 million Jews would be killed in his attempt to create the Nazi ideological concept of race.

At the end of Exodus 1, we read of a similar campaign of dehumanization that happens within the nation of Egypt. No longer is the anti-Jewish campaign one merely involving “slave masters.” At first, this is precisely how the Pharoah carried out his orders. He used his thugs as “slave masters:

Exodus 1:11

But after not getting the results he wanted, it appears the Pharoah has now involved the entire nation of Israel in his attempt to eradicate the Jews entirely from Egypt:

Exodus 1:22

People /Hebrew/ am = nation of people

Not just his soldiers… a nation of people!

Again, how quickly a nation follows its leaders! Notice who is throwing babies into the river now - look at this verse again!

Exodus 1:22

The murdering of babies is not only happening by Pharoah’s army is it? No! This horrific and unimaginable act is too happening by all of his people – by a “nation of people;” the Egyptians. Notice Scripture says that “all his people” – all Egyptians are doing this to the Hebrew families. It’s really unfathomable what is happening in this nation of Egypt to these families who were once welcome here with open arms by the Pharaoh of Joseph.

3. The “girl power” is unmistakable! How in the world can women be called inferior? How in the world can anyone say that a woman is “less than” in this world? Look I live in a home with three ladies. I have four wives in four different states! Just kidding! Seriously, I live with three ladies and not a single one of them is weak. Amy, Bailey, and Brynnan are super smart and talented and independent and strong. And I tell Bentley and Boone all the time, “Boys, we are honored to have these three wonderful ladies in our lives!” Don’t screw up!

And… here is what is ludicrous… in Muslim countries of the Middle East today, women are forced to cover their faces and to wear a Niqab (nu-cob). Many are not allowed to work outside of the home. In many places on the other side of the world, a woman can be imprisoned for attending school and for trying to vote in elections. Yet, it is women over and again in this story who do the unthinkable and place their lives at great risk to do what is right and noble over and again! Here in Exodus 2, women play a critical role in this story… again! We continue to see woman rise to the occasion and do the unthinkable in this story.

Exodus 2:1-3

We read in Exodus 1 where, even though the Pharaoh tried to oppress the nation of Israel to keep them from growing, God’s people grew and grew and grew. So, here we have women, even though oppressed, continuing to welcome children into the world. The Hebrew women were fertile and strong. And the nation of Israel is ever-growing due to this fact. Secondly, as we studied last week, the two midwives, Shiphrah and Puah, defied the command of the most powerful man on the planet choosing to protect the unborn out of their fear of God. The end result was exactly what the King of Egypt was desperately trying to avoid – the nation of Israel increased and became even more numerous. And in Exodus 2, we read where once again, a woman, steps in to protect her children!

Moses’ momma defied the command of the Pharoah too and hid Moses for three months! Three months! How did she do this? How did she hide her baby when Egyptians were in their village searching for babies to drown? How did the Egyptian people not see the child – not hear the cries of a crying baby? I have to believe that Jehovah God had is hand on this family – on this mother – and on the very life of Moses! Remember… a nation of people is hunting them down! And then, we too see yet another female, this time a young girl, step into action. Moses’s sister, Miriam, places her life at risk to protect her younger brother:

Exodus 2:4-8

Pharaoh’s daughter is bathing. And Moses’s big sister, Miriam, places herself at great risk stepping into such an intimate environment while the world’s most powerful, and too, dangerous, man’s daughter is bathing. Miriam possesses impeccable timing. She steps in at the right time to speak with Pharaoh’s daughter. Not too early, not too late. She doesn’t over communicate but says exactly what is right at the exact right moment. I too find it fascinating that, for 90 days, as I just mentioned, this babies cries have not been heard by the ears of those wanting all male babies dead. But now, the cries of Moses are heard. I have to presume Miriam is watching with nervous anticipation. She too most likely hears her young brother crying. Maybe too she is crying as she thinks to herself, “Please young brother… please stop crying! They are going to hear you, find you, and throw you into the Nile!” But in actuality… it's the very cry of her brother while floating in the reeds on this riverbed on this day that saves him!

I want to pause for a moment to say a few words about sibling love. I have counseled with so very many people through the years who have been consumed, and even heartbroken, over sibling rivalries. Someone did something; someone said something; someone was mistreated, and the family suffered. I want to remind you – no family member is perfect. At one point or the other, almost every one of us hurts those whom we love. Because we are fallen people. We studied this very dilemma several weeks ago with the story of Jacob and Esau who were at odds with one another for most of their adult lives. 

Miriam is one of the true heroes of the Bible of whom we often overlook. She showed so very much love for her younger newborn brother, Moses, in her willingness to actually commit a crime against the state of Egypt by hiding her brother and then spying on royalty as she bathed. What an example of sibling love!

Deeply loving my family requires me to place their greatest needs before mine.

Miriam could have placed her brother in the reeds and then left whatever happens next to chance. But she did not! Miriam waited. She watched. And then she acted. Another woman in this story plays an incredibly critical role… Pharaoh’ daughter! She too defies her daddy’s wishes to kill all Hebrew newborn boys. She could have had her attendants drown the baby when he was discovered. But instead, she too wisely listens to Moses’s sister:

Exodus 2:5-10

We don’t know much about Moses’ Egyptian mother. We don’t even know her name. She is mentioned only five times in the Bible. But we do know she was remarkable, and she was fearless. She knew what her father had ordered – the murder of every Hebrew-born male:

Exodus 1:22

Moses’ Egyptian mother knew the risk in bringing a lowly Hebrew boy into the palace to live, but she did it anyway. Imagine that conversation! Pharaoh’s daughter came home one day, knowing full well daddy hated the Hebrews and wanted their baby son’s dead…and then proceeded to introduce daddy to his newest grandson – a Hebrew! Have you ever had to come home and tell your daddy something you did not want to tell him? I sure did! This story makes me laugh a little when I think about the time I had to come home and tell my dad that I had driven my best friend’s car down the street and right into the back of a parked car in our neighborhood. I then had to tell my dad, when the police came, I told them I wasn’t the one driving, even though I was! And, did I mention, I wasn’t even old enough to have a driver’s license yet? And I remember when I really wanted my ear pierced in high school. I did it on the morning of prom my junior year… a friend of mine numbed my ear with an ice cube at her house!... Man, I should have thought to tell my dad with both of these stories that this was nothing compared to the news the Pharaoh of Egypt heard from his daughter about his newest little grandson…a Hebrew!

Think of this… Is it a coincidence that on the same day Moses’ parents place him in the Nile, he is found by someone who has the power and resources to protect him? Is it a coincidence that the girl who finds the baby boy and chooses to keep him as her own, is the daughter of the dictator who ordered all baby boys born into this land to be murdered? Absolutely not! There is nothing coincidental about this story y’all. This young girl, the daughter of Pharaoh, who was the most powerful man on the planet at the time, was chosen by God to be the Egyptian mother of a son who would do great things for God and would eventually lead God’s people out of the hands of the Egyptians and into the land promised to God’s people to Abraham out under the stars! The pharaoh’s daughter is seemingly one of the most important people in all of the Old Testament. Though she isn’t known for becoming a majestic queen or the leader of an Egyptian dynasty, she will forever be known as a one chosen by God to fulfill a critical role as – a parent. Though we know nothing more about her, we do know she is the only daughter of an Egyptian King who became a mother to Moses and who will forever be able to say, “God chose me.”

I sure want to remind all parents of this truth today: When it comes to parenting, there are no coincidences with God. God is the author of life. And if I am a parent, it is because God has a plan for me that no other parent can do.

This past Wednesday night after MD WK, Amy and I drove to Shelbyville, TN to sit with Steve and Melissa Davis as they had to make the very hard and difficult decision to remove their daughter from a ventilator. Amy and I stood in that hospital room with these two loving parents and watched them laugh and cry with their daughter, Brittany, who, because of the promise of eternity for those who receive Jesus as Savior, is now in heaven with Jesus. Some of you may know that Brittany was in a terrible accident almost 7 years ago. Ever since, Brittany faced insurmountable health struggles. Eventually her body just gave out. I know the Davis family would so appreciate your attendance as we celebrate the life of this young lady.

I have to tell you I have been so very impressed with Steve and Melissa Davis. I've known them for many years dating back to before their time here at DF. They are a wonderful family, and it has been so encouraging to watch, in the midst of tremendous challenges, questions, frustration, exhaustion, and even at times, anger, as these two parents have resolved to stay the course with Brittany as she went through many, many years of surgeries, different medications, different doctors, procedures, hospitals and more. Through all the years that I have known them, I have never heard either of them ask, “Why me?” They may have asked it privately, but what a testament to all of us as parents to, when even facing atrociously overwhelming pain and difficulty in watching a child suffer and hurt even unto death, these two parents have remained ever faithful and loyal to the Lord. Steve told me a few minutes after Brittany’s death, “This is going to be so hard to go through, but I know God is walking step in step with us.”

Though I doubt Moses’s Egyptian mother believed in Jehovah God, what we can glean from her moment in this story is the reality that as a parent, she did the hard stuff; she made the hard choices to ensure her child was afforded the best life she could give him.

What a challenge for each of us as parents here today: God could have chosen any person that day to step into the Nile. He too could have chosen any person to be the parent of my child. He didn’t just choose anyone. He chose me. It is of zero coincidence that I am the parent He chose. There is no other parent for the job. There is no other parent capable of doing the job I am chosen to do.

Think about it – Moses would have never been given the kind of education and upbringing he received, one that prepared him for the unique call God placed on his life to lead 2 million plus people on the journey of a lifetime, had he not been pulled from the river that day by Pharaoh’s daughter. The same is true for you and your child! The unique plan God has for your child is founded upon the reality that God chose you to be their parent! And, from even before your child drew their first breath, God has been preparing you to be the parent to lead your child every step of the way.

Another fascinating scenario of this story:

4. Moses is a Genesis-birth.

Exodus 2:1-2

Is not this wording very intriguing to you? When I read that Moses was considered to be “fine,” I thought this was an interesting usage of this word describing a baby. I cannot say that I have ever looked at a baby and thought, “Oh, now that is a fine baby!”And then I became even more intrigued when reading that it was because of this child being “fine” that prompted his mother to hide him for three days. Why would Moses’s mother hide him over the fact that he was “fine?” Do you too find this perplexing? Well, the use of the word “fine” here is about so very much more than the appearance and stature of a child. This unique word “fine” is hinting to us that this birth is extremely important to the Genesis of a new nation – of the nation of Israel. You see… with the birth of Moses, God is stating so very much more than simply a man has been born “fine” by the world’s standard.

There are very few times in the entirety of Scripture where we read this Hebrew word. And too, there is only one other English name we know of that too mimics this Hebrew word for “fine.”  I want to show you one other place we find this Hebrew word. It is the first time this Hebrew words appears in Scripture. And it is first used by God Himself in the book of Genesis. And God uses this word as a summary word to describe all that He has created. See if you can spot the use of this word:

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning - the sixth day.
Genesis 1:31

Do you see it? It’s the word what? It’s the word: Good

Good / Hebrew/ tob = the finest of quality; morally uncompromising; favorable; successful

The use of the Hebrew word “good,” and the use of the Hebrew word “fine” are the same Hebrew words that mean:

Good + Fine / Hebrew/ tob = the finest of quality; morally uncompromising; favorable; successful

I presume Moses’s mother must have received a divine revelation from God when Moses was born. Otherwise, how would she know, how would she sense, this knowledge that her newborn son was a “Genesis birth” - - a birth that depicts the unfolding of a new creation – a new creation of a nation! Even Stephen spoke of this very realization when speaking to the high priest right before he is stoned in Acts 7:

Acts 7:1-22

How amazing that, when his life is on the line and right before Stephen’s death, he is speaking of all people – the man set apart at birth, a fine child… the man, Moses! Stephen of the New Testament, and Moses’s mother in Exodus 2 both knew that the boy-to-be man, Moses, was set a part as a “good” and “fine” man of God. As we conclude, I want to blow your mind with something here, y’all! Because Moses’s momma sees Moses as a fine child, she decides to place him in a very unique location. Look at verse 3:

Exodus 2:3

Of course, Moses’s mother does not know this, but her placement of Moses among the reeds in the water is very telling as to what will soon happen because of her son’s obedience. And this piece of evidence is the last fascinating scenario I share with you today:

5. The Ark + The Reed Sea. Have you ever thought about how in the world Moses’s momma could have come up with the idea to place her son in a basket and set him afloat? I am not sure that I could have ever come up with such an idea. Wasn’t there a better way of hiding this baby? The house in which Moses was born was most likely a one-room home; no individual rooms in which to hide really anything, especially a child. So, the river makes sense… especially a river with a riverbed of reeds. This could be the perfect hiding spot for the child. So Moses’s mother does what is necessary to protect the life of her son. And though she does not know it, the way in which she protects her son serves as a supernatural metaphor for how the Lord will save the nation of Israel 80 years later!

Exodus 2:1-3

Several quick things to note here:

First, the papyrus basket was only possible because of Egyptian technology. We discussed this last week. The Egyptians were an extremely creative and innovative nation. They created the process of making baskets and paper using the stem of the papyrus plant. How interesting, it is this very Egyptian innovation that contributed to saving the life of a young Moses. I want to quickly draw your attention to the Hebrew word “basket” in this passage. This word is only found in the book of Genesis. It never again appears anywhere else in Scripture. It is only found in the book of Genesis in the story of Noah and the Ark.

So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. Genesis 6:14e

Ark / Hebrew/ teba = box shaped thing; basket

We know that only 9 people in the Bible have been in such a “box shaped thing; a basket:” Noah, his wife, their three sons Shem, Ham, and Japeth, and the sons three wives who entered the ark, and then in this story, the baby Moses. All 9 of these people were set apart by God for a very specific plan. All 9 of these people were placed in an ark right before God did something supernatural. All 9 of these people were under God’s provision while others died at the hand of God’s righteous judgement. And all 9 of these people were protected by God in water. Truly enthralling y’all! And that’s not all! The reeds in the water are super symbolic to what God is about to do as well. Look at what the word “reed” means in the Hebrew:

Reed /Hebrew/sup = The Reed Sea

What is The Reed Sea? Well, to what sea does The Reed Sea sound extremely close? The Red Sea. This is because the two are the same: The Reed Sea = The Red Sea

Septuagint [Sep – twee – gant] / Latin / = 70; It is believed 76 original translators translated the Hebrew of the Old Testament earning it the designation “The Translation of the Seventy.”

Apparently, not knowing how to translate the Hebrew word for “Reed,” the Septuagint translated the Hebrew word “Reed” as “Red.” The Red Sea was known in the time of Moses to the Egyptians and the Hebrews as “The Reed Sea.” And what will happen later in this study From Fear to Freedom at The Reed Sea? The people of God will be saved by the waters of The Reed Sea that will overtake the Egyptian army pursuing them! So, when Moses is placed among the “reeds,” this act is again supernaturally symbolic of what is to come in this story. Man, oh man… this story is incredible. And it reminds me today of just how intricate every detail of this story is in God’s plan to take care of His people. You know… I am sure there were so very many moments over the course of 430 years for the nation of Israel that they wondered,

“God, where are you?”
“God, why aren't you saving us?”
“God, do You even care?”

And what we are too going to see that is so very important to you and me when we too experience seasons that can be so very hard and painful and overwhelming is…

Even when it appears as though God does not care, He does.
Even when it feels as though God is not involved, He is.
And even when it looks as though God will not provide, He will.


Jeffrey Dean Smith is a husband, father to Bailey & Brynnan, author, and the Senior Pastor at Donelson First in Nashville, TN. If you are in Music City, meet Jeffrey and enjoy iced tea on the front lawn each Sunday at 10:30a.