The Birth and Calling of Moses

Exodus 1-4

The twelve sons of Israel moved to Egypt to meet Joseph. Eventually Joseph and his brothers died, but the children of Israel grew strong and multiplied all over the land.

A new Pharaoh came to power in Egypt, one who didn’t know Joseph. He was afraid that the people of Israel would become too big and overtake them, so he oppressed them by giving them more work than they could do. But the more they were oppressed, the more they grew. So the Pharaoh decided on a new tactic: to kill all newborn Hebrew males.




Well, one particular family from the line of Levi had a beautiful baby boy. His mother hid him for a few months, but when she couldn’t hide him anymore, she made a basket out of papyrus reeds, asphalt, and pitch that would float on the Nile, where the king said to toss all the baby boys. As it turned out, Pharaoh’s daughter saw him floating and took him out of the water. She named him “Moses,” because Moses sounds like the Hebrew word for “to draw out.” Moses grew up as Pharaoh’s grandson.

One day he was among his people, the Hebrews, and saw an Egyptian beating one of his fellow a Hebrew. He made sure no one was looking, then he killed the Egyptian and buried him in the sand. The next day he realized that the word had gotten out about the murder, so he fled the country in fear of Pharaoh and settled down in the land of Midian.

Moses in Midian

He married a woman named Zipporah, who was the daughter of the priest of Midian, Jethro. He became a shepherd and kept the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law.

One day, when he was with his flock on the west side of the wilderness at Mt. Horeb, God appeared to him through a bush that was on fire. The bush was burning, but it didn’t burn up. When Moses turned to see the bush, God said, “Moses, Moses!”

Moses Talks to God

When he came near the burning bush, God made him take his shoes off. Then he explained that he was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and told him that he had seen the affliction of his people and that he had heard their cry. He said to Moses, “Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt” (Exodus 3:10).

In response, Moses brought up five issues, but God answered them all. 1. Moses said, Who am I that I should do this? God said, “I will be with you.” 2. Moses said, What should I say your name is? God said, “I am who I am.” 3. Moses said, “They will not believe that you appeared to me,” and God gave him two miraculous signs so that they would believe. 4. Moses said, “I’m not good at talking,” and God said, “Who made man’s mouth? Didn’t I make it? Go and I’ll teach you what to say.” 5. Finally, Moses just said, “Oh, please send someone else!” And God gave him Aaron to help out.

So Moses went back to Jethro and got permission to leave and to complete his mission. Then, Moses set out for Egypt with a staff in his hand.