It’s a Wonderful Life
In the movie It’s a Wonderful Life, George Bailey is given a special gift to be able to see what life would have been like in Bedford Falls if he would not have been born. As he saw, a lot of good happened because he was born and lived the life that he lived. So with that in mind, I ask the question, “What if Moses had not been born?” The Book of Exodus tells the story of Moses and the Exodus from Egypt. In verses 6-10 of chapter 1 it states, “And Joseph died, and all his brothers, and all that generation. But the sons of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly, and multiplied, and became exceedingly mighty, so that the land was filled with them. Now a new king arose over Egypt who did not know Joseph. And he said unto the people, ‘Behold, the people of the sons of Israel are more and mightier than we. Come, let us deal wisely with them, lest they multiply and in the event of war, they also join themselves to those who hate us, and fight against us, and depart from the land.’ So the king ordered taskmasters over the Israelites and put them to hard labor. But the more they were inflicted the more they increased. So the king ordered the midwives to put to death all Jewish baby boys that were born. But they could not because of their fear of God. So there was born a son to a Jewish couple, Amram and Jochebed and they saw that their child was beautiful. Jochebed hid the child for three months until she could no longer hide him. So she made a waterproof basket and set the child in it and put him along the reeds of the Nile” (Exodus 2:1-10). When Pharaoh’s daughter, believed to be Queen Hatshepsut, went down to the Nile to bathe, she found the child, raised him as her own, and called him Moses. So what if Moses had not been born, or should we say, had been put to death by the midwives? Let’s take a closer look at Moses’ life.
Moses: The First Forty Years
Moshe (Moses) in Hebrew means “drawn out,” but the equivalent in Egyptian, Ms’, means “child”. Moses was born about 1520 BC. According to the historian Josephus, he was born at Heliopolis, Egypt. Acts 7:22-25 tells us that “Moses grew and was educated in all the learning of the Egyptians, and he was a man of power in words and deeds. But when he was approaching the age of forty, it entered his mind to visit his brethren, the sons of Israel. And when he saw one of them being mistreated unjustly, he defended him and took vengeance for the oppressed by striking down the Egyptian. And he supposed that his brethren understood that God was granting them deliverance through him, but they did not understand.” Moses most likely did not understand himself at this point in time. But when he discovered that his deed did not go unnoticed, he became afraid and fled. Hebrews 11:24-27 states it this way: “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to endure ill treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin; considering the reproach of Messiah greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt not fearing the wrath of the king for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen.” So you may say that up to forty years old, it would have not made a difference if Moses lived or not, but all things are built on a foundation. Let’s begin to build.
Moses: The Second Forty Years
Moses left Egypt, and I’m sure that he felt he was never returning. He was a man without a country, a man without a people, and a man without a home. Moses headed for Midian, where he found himself living with a man named Jethro, a Midian priest, and his daughters. Eventually Moses marries Jethro’s eldest daughter, Zapporah, and has two sons, Gershom and Eliezer. The loneliness lifts and life goes on. One day as Moses was attending Jethro’s flock on the west side of the wilderness, he came to the Mountain of Horeb, the Mountain of God, and there was a bush burning. But Moses saw that the bush was not being consumed; so he came closer to see why it was not being consumed. God will do many things to get our attention, to draw us closer, to take a second look. When Moses drew near, the Angel of the Lord called out to him, “Moses, Moses!” and Moses answered, “Here I am.”
We see this all throughout Scripture: God calling out to His people and their quick response to answer Him. Samuel, when just a child, heard God calling him and thought it was Eli, until Eli realized that it was God calling the child (1 Samuel 3:1-10). We see Isaiah in the presence of the Lord, asking “Who will I send?” And Isaiah says, “Send me” (Isaiah 6:8). Yeshua’s (Jesus) disciples, when He called them, left their boat and their father to follow Him (Matthew 4:18-22).
So Moses is now in the presence of God, and God tells him to remove his shoes for the place that he is standing is holy ground. We see this similar dialogue with Joshua when he encounters the Angel of the Lord (Joshua 5:13-15). God proceeds to tell Moses that He has heard the cry of His people, and that He was sending Moses back to Egypt, the very place that I’m sure he did not want to go; for he remembered all too well how the Hebrews did not accept him, and how he had to flee from the Egyptians. Moses tells God that he can not go for he was slow to speech, even though we know that he was well educated in the Egyptian language and their ways. God will use our past to accomplish His will in the future. But after Moses struggled with the thought of all that God was asking of him, God tells him that his brother Aaron will go with him. God has a way of making us face our fears, but He is the Great Deliverer, and He tells Moses that He will be with him and He will bring him back to the place where he is now standing.
Now forty years have gone by, and the Pharaoh that Moses knew was now dead. Moses leaves his home with Jethro and takes his family and heads for Egypt. Along the way, God almost strikes Moses dead for not circumcising his son. Even if God calls us to be His greatest Prophet and servant like Moses, one must live according to God’s ways. God does not have double standards.
Moses and Aaron Before Pharaoh
Moses and Aaron appeared before Pharaoh with one message: “Let My people go!” But Pharaoh tells them, “And who is the Lord that I should listen to Him and let Israel go? I don’t know the Lord, and I will not let Israel go.” Well, Pharaoh was about to meet the God of Israel; and when God was done with Pharaoh, he knew who the God of Israel was and what He could do. Through Moses, God displayed His power and strength over the gods of Egypt not just for the benefit of the Egyptians, but to make a name in the world for all time, and especially to show the Israelites who the one true God was: the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of Israel. After all, they had been in Egypt for 430 years living under the shadow of their false gods and traditions. Ten plagues came, starting with blood in the Nile River and in all the drinking water, then frogs, lice, flies, a disease on the livestock, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, and finally the last: the death of the first born. This would be, as they say, “The straw that broke the camel’s back.” But before this last plague, God instructed Moses about the Passover.
God begins to instruct Moses about the Passover. First, He separates Israel from Egypt by telling them that this would be the first of their months. He tells Moses on the tenth day of the month that they should separate for themselves by households a lamb without blemish, and on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight, they were to slaughter the animal and put on the doorframe and lintels of their homes the blood from the lamb. They were to stay in that home and eat the roasted lamb with unleavened bread, and none was to remain till morning. They were to eat it with their loins girded and their sandals on their feet and their staff in their hand, for they would make haste. God tells them, “I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night and I will strike down all the firstborn of the land, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment, I am the Lord. Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land” (Exodus 12:1-14).
Notice that it was God Himself who carried out this judgment. Hebrews 11:28 tells us, “It was by faith that Moses commanded the people of Israel to keep the Passover and to sprinkle blood on the doorposts so that the angel of death would not kill their firstborn sons.” God tells the people specifically what to do, for this was to be a memorial, a time to remember, for all generations; and this would be an ordinance, a feast forever. So with the tenth and last plague, the death of the first born, Pharaoh tells Moses and all Israel to get out of the land of Egypt.
Moses: The Third Forty Years
So far, we have seen that Moses’ life was certainly not dull. For it was Moses, a Hebrew child, whose life was spared and grew up as an Egyptian, educated in all their ways, and was now the one used to defeat the gods of Egypt, which caused Israel to be delivered from the hands of their oppressors. We find that the Israelites head for the Red Sea, and as they approach the sea, they realize that Pharaoh is pursuing them. So they cry out to Moses, and God tells Moses to stretch out his staff. God caused the waters to separate, and they crossed on dry ground. Pharaoh’s army and charioteers continued in their pursuit, and when all of Israel crossed over, the waters rushed back and swallowed up all of Pharaoh’s army and charioteers. Hebrews 11:29 tells us, “It was by faith that the people of Israel went right through the Red Sea as though they were on dry ground. But when the Egyptians followed, they were all drowned.”
So God delivered Israel, and all the people sang and danced (Exodus 14-15). God led Israel to Mt Sinai just as He had told Moses He would. There, God revealed Himself to the people once again; but this time God tells Israel that they are His special people from among all the nations. He tells them that they will be a kingdom of priests, His holy nation; and He enters into a covenant with Israel as one would enter into a covenant of marriage (Exodus 19). He then gives Israel all the terms of this covenant, which we call the Torah or the Law of Moses (law, meaning teachings in Hebrew). The people tell God that they will do all that He has asked, but they did not, and time and time again they fell. Then, the people did not trust God to bring them into the Promised Land, so God was angry with them and told them that they would stay in the wilderness for forty years till that generation all died in the wilderness.
But God was a husband to Israel, and He provided for all their needs. For forty years, not even their sandals wore out. God fed them with manna, and He protected them from the heat of the sun and from every predator. While in the wilderness, God shows Moses the heavenly tabernacle and tells him to duplicate it exactly in the same manner to which he saw. So Israel does exactly this, and Aaron and his sons become the first priests, and God shows Moses how he and the people are to worship Him. So God keeps separating His people from the Egyptians and all the pagan nations that surrounded them, making them unique among the nations.
The time came for the fulfillment of the forty years, and God calls Moses home before Joshua takes the people into the Promised Land. The Bible tells us many things about Moses, the great deliverer and prophet of God. The Book of Hebrews tells us that Moses was faithful in all his house as a servant. But what if Moses was never born or allowed to live (for this was Pharaoh’s intention to kill all the Hebrew baby boys)? How would this have changed history?
First, we must understand that Moses was spared because his parents saw something special in him, something that God opened their eyes to see. Nothing happens by chance or coincidence with God. This is no fate, no roll of the dice; all things happen because of God. It was no coincidence that Pharaoh’s daughter came along when she did that day, or that she would have even shown compassion to this Hebrew child, or for that matter, had his mother nurse him, because remember, Pharaoh wanted all the Hebrew baby boys put to death. No, this was all part of God’s plan. So if Moses hadn’t been born, it would have had to have been God’s will, which means Israel would not have had a deliverer, and they would have remained slaves in Egypt quite possibly till this day. There wouldn’t have been a need for the Passover to protect the Israelites from the last plague, death to the first born, which created for such a great deliverance; no crossing of the Red Sea, which separated them from the Egyptians and once again proved God’s power to deliver. God’s name would not have been manifested in the world with such power and might: no chosen people, no holy nation, no Torah, for Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible. There would have been no tabernacle, no worship, no need for Messiah, no cross, no Passover Lamb, no salvation, no believers, no heaven. We would all still be dead in our sins, going to hell.
Romans 9:4 tells us, “According to the flesh, us who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption of sons and the glory and the covenants, and the giving of the law and the temple service and the promises whose are the father’s and whom is the Messiah according to the flesh who is over all. God be blessed forever. Amen.” Thank God that He had planned for Moses such a wonderful life, so that we may have a wonderful life also with our Lord and Savior, Yeshua, who was likened unto Moses (Deuteronomy 18:18-19, John 17:8, John 5:45-47, John 6:14, Acts 3:22). Isn’t that enough reason to celebrate the Passover, to remember the story of the first exodus, and our own personal exodus with our Passover Lamb, Yeshua, who died as the Lamb of God on Passover (1 Corinthians 5:7-8, John 1:29)?
Yeshua said, “Truly, truly I say to you, He who hears My words and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and doesn’t come unto judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” Yeshua held up the unleavened bread at His last Seder Meal and said, “This is My body which is for you. Do this in Remembrance of Me,” and He held up the fourth cup, the Cup of Redemption and said, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this as often as you drink it in remembrance of Me.” Let’s celebrate this year by keeping the Seder Meal as Yeshua did, as Paul did, and as we should too; for let us not take our great salvation lightly.
Passover begins at sundown on the 14th day of Israel’s first month. The Seder Meal is done in remembrance of the first exodus and the day that Yeshua our Savior became our Passover Lamb. Three days later, Yeshua rose victoriously from the dead and we too have been transferred from the kingdom of death into the Kingdom of Life.