Shabbat Shalom and welcome to this week’s “Parasha Shemote”. In this week’s parasha, we continue with our story of Yisrael being built into a nation through one man named Moshe. And how through a series of events in his life, Yahweh takes a simple man from humble beginnings, and begins to turn him into a leader of a nation. An important lesson we can all take away from this is that no matter who you are, if you think that Yahweh cannot use you to bring Him glory, then you clearly have not read your Bible enough.
To me, the story of Moshe is a story of a man who did not think he brought anything of value to the table and tended to focus on his own inabilities, and yet Yahweh still used him to free His people. For me, this reminds me of what Yahweh said to Yehoshua in chapter 1 in verse 9.
Yehoshua (Joshua) 1:9
9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for Yahweh your Elohim is with you wherever you go.”
Now why would Yahweh have to tell Yehoshua this? How does this apply to Moshe? How and why would this apply to us as believers in Yeshua today? I will tell you why.
Shaul said, “For Elohim has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
Timotheus Bet (2 Timothy) 1:7
7 “For Elohim has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
This means we are supposed to be warriors for Mashiach.
Qorintim Bet (2 Corinthians) 10:3-6
3 “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in Elohim for pulling down strongholds,
5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of Elohim, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Mashiach,
6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.”
This is our war. This is the way that Yahweh is leading us to build a nation. Yahweh wants a nation that wages war in this way because the true enemy is not our neighbor in the flesh. The true enemy has always been and always will be sin. This is why we must remember that in ourselves we can do nothing. For we are sinful creatures and so we must not think too highly of ourselves.
The reverse is true as well. We must not be so shy and timid that it prevents us from stepping out in faith because that itself is also considered evil in the eyes of Yahweh. We must be willing to be a yielded vessel. Yahweh is the Master potter and we are the clay.
Yahweh says in Yirmeyahu chapter 18,
Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) 18:6-10
6 “ “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says Yahweh. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel!
7 The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it,
8 if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it.
9 And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it,
10 if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it.” ”
There are numerous examples in Scripture that speak to being the clay molded by Yahweh’s hands, and there are numerous examples in Scripture that speak to being a yielded vessel. One great example I think is what Shaul says in the book of Philipim chapter 4. We see him here being that yielded vessel. We see him being that clay molded by Yahweh’s hands that no matter how or where Yahweh carries him, he is content. No matter what happens in Shaul’s life, he understands that Yahweh is the Master potter and he shapes him and molds him to be that yielded vessel.
Philipim (Philippians) 4:11-13
11 “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:
12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
13 I can do all things through Messiah who strengthens me.”
And so as was the case with Moshe, Dawid, Shaul, Yehoshua, Dan’iel, and countless others in Scripture. The confidence is not found within ourselves, but within Yahweh who works through us. This is what makes us the great warrior for Mashiach. As I have said before, Yahweh considers it a great evil to not obey His voice and His commands. And so it does not matter if we choose rebellion in the form of pride and arrogance or cowardice and timidity, to rebel is still evil in the sight of Yahweh. For me, this is the key focus on this particular parasha with Moshe. This is the reason why Yahweh told Yehoshua what He did, why Shaul said what he said, and why Yahweh used the analogy of the potter and the clay with His people.
As we begin in Shemote chapter 1, we read that a new king arose over Mitsrayim who did not know Yoseph, and had no relationship with Yoseph. He and the other Egyptians looked at our ancestors (the Hebrews) and became fearful of them, and chose to oppress them and make them slaves.
Shemote (Exodus) 1:8-10
8 “Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.
9 And he said to his people, “Look, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we;
10 come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and it happen, in the event of war, that they also join our enemies and fight against us, and so go up out of the land.”
This ties into what we were speaking of last week, in regards to building a nation. In verse 12, it says that “the more that the Egyptians afflicted the Hebrews, the more they multiplied and grew, and the more the Egyptians grew in fear of the children of Yisrael.”
Shemote (Exodus) 1:12
12 “But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were in dread of the children of Israel.”
We have all heard of that saying, soft times create soft men, and soft men create hard times, which then go on to create hard men, who then go on to create soft times. And this cycle continues to perpetuate itself. We see here in Scripture, Yahweh was using these difficult times of slavery to take Yisrael and his family, a household of 70 people and transform them into a nation. This is why as the oppression happened and worsened, they continued to come together and focus on what really mattered because when we all have a common enemy, it is natural for us to unite together, and not squabble about petty differences we may or may not have.
Here in this example of Scripture, the Egyptians were the common enemy. But for us today and even then for our ancestors, the common enemy has always been sin and HaSatan. Because HaSatan translates to “the adversary” or “the accuser”. So if the devil is our adversary or our accuser, he will do all that he can to tempt us to give into our sinful passions, and thus try and separate us from having a relationship with Elohim.
Because of our sinful nature and how weak the flesh is, this is why it is so important to fear Elohim and to adorn ourselves in the full armor of Elohim. Shaul tells us in Ephesim chapter 6 to put on the whole armor of Elohim.
Ephesim (Ephesians) 6:10-13
10 “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Yahweh and in the power of His might.
11 Put on the whole armor of Elohim, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
13 Therefore take up the whole armor of Elohim, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
As we will notice in this parasha, Yahweh does not command our ancestors to try and save the nation of Mitsrayim. Rather, instead He subliminally commands them to form their own nation from within which is what He is doing with us today. Yeshua said to His original apostles, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them, and teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.”
Mattityahu (Matthew) 28:19-20
19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in My Name,
20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.”
To be a disciple means we are to follow in the foot-steps of our Rabbi, and our Rabbi is Yeshua. He did not consider Himself a citizen of Rome or a citizen of this world. Instead, He was a citizen of Heaven, of His Father’s Kingdom, which is His Kingdom and His Kingdom will eventually come down to earth.
Whatever nation you currently live in, in your mind, break off your allegiance to it, for we are citizens of Yeshua’s Kingdom and foreigners of the Babylonian kingdoms. A good example of this in this parasha is seen with the Hebrew midwives, Shiphrah and Puah.
Shemote (Exodus) 1:15-17
15 “Then the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, of whom the name of one was Shiphrah and the name of the other Puah;
16 and he said, “When you do the duties of a midwife for the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstools, if it is a son, then you shall kill him; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live.”
17 But the midwives feared Elohim, and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the male children alive.”
The midwives feared Elohim and knew that just because they were slaves, did not mean they had to obey and walk in the evil ways of their Babylonian government. They instead chose to obey Elohim rather than man.
This is why Yeshua said in Mattiyahu chapter 10, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him (meaning Elohim) who is able to destroy both soul and body in Sheol.”
Mattityahu (Matthew) 10:28
28 “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
For their faithfulness to Elohim, He blessed them with families of their own, thus making the Hebrew stronger and multiply even greater. When the King finally realized he would not be able to make the Hebrews kill each other, he had to commanded his own people to kill all the male children. So again with this example and the next one I am going to give, the world is not our friend. The governments of the world will not be our friends. Yahweh used Avraham, Yitzak, Yisrael, and Moshe and transformed them into a nation. Yahweh is doing the same with us. The children of Yisrael, the body of Mashiach.
We know that according to the book of Hitgalut that times are only going to become increasingly difficult for all believers and that the only way for us to stand a chance is to come together as a unified body of believers in Mashiach, which means to be an organized and unified nation in Mashiach.
Yeshua says in Revelation chapter 3,
Hitgalut (Revelation) 3:10-11
10 “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.
11 Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.”
When Yeshua is speaking these words, He is speaking in spiritual terms of those who belong to the assembly of Philadelphia which is only 1 of 7 assemblies He addresses. And it is only this particular assembly that He compliments this way and promises to protect indicating to me that there will be many “believers” who have troubles of their own and will need to go through the metaphorical fires to be purged of any sin and bad behavior. If we desire to be blessed as the Hebrew midwives and the assembly of Philadelphia, then we must be active in making sure that we are doing all that Yeshua has commanded and not only obeying parts of what He has commanded. We must choose to run the race faithfully all the way to the end.
Another woman in this parasha who was particularly blessed was the mother of Moshe. The sort of faith she had is incredible and parents can really relate to this, especially mothers. We see that Moshe’s mother could no longer hide him after he turned 3 months old. She then took a basket and coated it with tar so that she could hide Moshe in this basket and place him in the reeds by the river’s bank in order for the daughter of the king to find him.
Shemote (Exodus) 2:2-3
2 “So the woman conceived and bore a son. And when she saw that he was a beautiful child, she hid him three months.
3 But when she could no longer hide him, she took an ark of bulrushes for him, daubed it with asphalt and pitch, put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the river’s bank.”
To me, this all seems intentional on the part of Moshe’s mother because she knew that she can no longer hide him and she knows that his life is in danger. So out of faith, she sets all this up with hopes that the Pharaoh’s daughter would show compassion on him and provide a better life that would not lead to his death. This takes some serious faith. Who knows what could have happened in the time it took for the daughter of the king to find him. And all thanks to Yahweh, the Pharaoh’s daughter had compassion on Moshe and because of her faith, He rewarded Moshe’s mother by giving Moshe back to her for a time.
Moshe’s sister whom we know to be Miriam, was able to intercede on her mother’s behalf and was able to bring Moshe back to his family and he stayed with them likely until he was weaned which would have been around the age of 5 roughly. This is key for Moshe’s development of his identity. For the first few years of his life, his parents and the community of Yisraelites have this opportunity to imprint on him and help him understand who he is, where he comes from, and the promises that Elohim has made for their people. So overall, this is a tremendous blessing for Moshe’s parents.
Where we really begin to get an understanding of Moshe’s character is when we see his interaction with the Egyptians once he is grown up into an adult. Moshe, at this point in his life, is fully aware of where he comes from and how he has been blessed to have lived a life of royalty in pharaoh’s house. One day he decides to go out among his brethren and see the sort of life they live versus what he is living. I suspect he did this because he felt guilty for how he was blessed, and yet was not doing anything to help his brothers out. And so it happens that when he went out, he happened to see an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, and this injustice drove him to take matters into his own hands. He killed the Egyptians and buried him in the sand.
This is a risky but bold action on Moshe’s part and reveals a lot about him when he was a young man. Moshe decided to do this in secret because likely, if he would have made known this injustice to the Pharaoh, likely there would be no repercussion for this type of abuse towards a Hebrew so he looked this way and that way and responded according to his own wisdom, which in a way back fires on Moshe. The following day when he tries to break up a fight among two Hebrew men, instead of them responding with some form of gratitude or thanks, they actually respond in a disdainful way, by saying, “Who made you prince and a judge over us? Do you intend to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?”
Shemote (Exodus) 2:13-14
13 “And when he went out the second day, behold, two Hebrew men were fighting, and he said to the one who did the wrong, “Why are you striking your companion?”
14 Then he said, “Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you intend to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?”
I believe this back fires on Moshe for a few reasons. His brothers probably look at him with some sort envy and he never did try to stop the abuse in the moment. Instead, he chose to enact his wrath upon the Egyptian in his own way and this probably seemed a bit shady to his brothers.
According to Yaakov, in chapter 1 and verse 19 he says,
Yaakov (James) 1:19-20
19 “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath;
20 for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of Elohim.”
I do not know if Moshe would have handle this situation any differently; that his interaction with the two Hebrew men would have turned out any different, but I think it is fair to say, that the bigger lesson learned here is to seek Yahweh’s counsel in all situations.
To me, this interaction between Moshe and the two Hebrew men fighting is pretty telling of the condition of the human heart. Here are two Hebrew men who are fighting with one another and all Moshe is trying to do is to correct and help them to understand not to fight with one another. The only way they can think to respond back is in disdain? This reminds me of Yeshua and what He did for us. He came to teach us how to love Yahweh the right way and to love one another the right way. All we ended up doing was putting Him to death.
Now that Moshe’s secret has been made known, he fears for his life because Pharaoh now knows what he has done and seeks to kill him. This is when Moshe decides to flee Mitsrayim and understandably so. When he flees, he finds himself settling in the land of Midyan, and along the way to Midyan, he comes across Yitro’s daughter’s drawing water, and being harassed by some shepherds. With an act of courage and honor on Moshe’s part, we see that he drives away the shepherds and helps Yitro’s daughters water their flock. I think by now we can tell that he is a man who seeks to do the right thing. He loves justice and wants to see justice done, which is a good characteristic for someone who is going to lead Yahweh’s people.
In Mishle 16:12 and 29:4 says,
Mishle (Proverbs) 16:12
12 “It is an abomination for kings to commit wickedness,
For a throne is established by righteousness.”
Mishle (Proverbs) 29:4
4 “The king establishes the land by justice,
But he who receives bribes overthrows it.”
So we can see that Moshe has the makings of a leader, but Yahweh is going to have to work on him while he is in Midyan to become that leader for His people. As a reward for bravery and honor, Yitro gives Zipporah to Moshe for him to marry. From here, we see that Moshe begins to build himself a life of his own with his own family.
Shemote (Exodus) 2:21-24
21 “Then Moses was content to live with the man, and he gave Zipporah his daughter to Moses.
22 And she bore him a son. He called his name Gershom, for he said, “I have been a stranger in a foreign land.”
23 Now it happened in the process of time that the king of Egypt died. Then the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry came up to Elohim because of the bondage.
24 So Elohim heard their groaning, and Elohim remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.”
Much later in Moshe’s life, he is the one who now tends Yitro’s flocks. It is here that the Messenger of Yahweh appeared to him in a flame from the midst of a bush. This caught Moshe’s attention so Moshe goes to inquire.
Shemote (Exodus) 3:1-5
1 “Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of Elohim.
2 And the Messenger of Yahweh appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed.
3 Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.”
4 So when Yahweh saw that he turned aside to look, Elohim called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!”
And he said, “Here I am.”
5 Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is Set-apart ground.”
I find the interaction between Moshe and Yahweh in the burning bush to be a fascinating interaction. As we have spoken about in other places, Yahweh has never left his throne in heaven, therefore this interaction that Moshe is having with Yahweh through the manifestation of the burning bush, is also an interaction with Yeshua, who Himself is one of Yahweh’s manifestations.
Let us look at what Yeshua told Nicodemus in Yochanan chapter 3, in verse 13.
Yochanan (John) 3:13
13 “No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.”
I just find it really fascinating that Yeshua was there with Moshe and that from the beginning of creation, He has always been there with us. We also see that Elohim tells Moshe to tell the Yisraelites that, “I AM has sent you” He says to Moshe, “I AM WHO I AM”.
Shemote (Exodus) 3:14
14 “And Elohim said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.”
To me this is such a powerful statement as if there is nothing or no one who measures up to the awesome and all powerful Yah’Elohim. There are no amount of words that can be used to adequately describe this kind of statement, other than, Yahweh Elohim is who He says He is. He is the great I AM. There is no reason to question Him or who He is. He reminds Moshe of His promise He made to his father’s Avraham, Yitzak, and Ya’akov. He lays out the game plan going forward of what is going to happen and what to expect. What the Yisraelites can expect for themselves is the same we can expect as believers in Yeshua. Elohim tells Moshe that they shall plunder the Egyptians.
Mishle 13:22 tells us,
Mishle (Proverbs) 13:22
22 “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.”
According to Dani’el, the stone that was cut without hands in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, is the Kingdom that Elohim is going to establish here on earth and it will encompass the entire earth. This is a reference to Yeshua’s Kingdom. First it starts off as a spiritual Kingdom and then become a physical Kingdom through His body.
In the same way that Yahweh was transforming Avraham into a nation first in a spiritual way through Avraham and his descendants and then eventually leads them out of Mitsrayim, where they then go on to become a physical nation of their own, through Moshe. Yahweh will do the same with us in the nations of the world through Yeshua and His body, which brings me to two major points in chapter 4 of Shemote.
Moshe makes nothing but excuses for why he is not the right man to lead his brothers out of Mitsrayim. To be fair to Moshe, he is not wrong. He has difficulty speaking and sounds like he has confidence issues, and wonders whether or not anyone will believe him when he says that Elohim has visited me and has commanded me to lead you all out of Mitsrayim away from your slavery.
Moshe is missing the point in all this. It is nothing in of himself that he is going to accomplish all this. It is only through Yahweh that he can do this. The same goes for us as well. It is nothing in and of ourselves that we can take this Great Commission to all nations and make disciples. It is only through Yeshua that we can do this. That is why Yeshua told His disciples, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age”
Mattityahu (Matthew) 28:20
20 “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Moshe’s problem was that he was focusing on his weaknesses too much and for many believers today, we have the same problem. This is why Shaul tells us to find strength in our weaknesses.
In Qorintim Bet in verse 10, he says,
Qorintim Bet (2 Corinthians) 12:10
10 “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Mashiach’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
This is something that Moshe eventually learns in the process of leading his brothers out of Mitsrayim. The second point I wanted to make in chapter 4 of Shemote was that the whole ordeal that took place between Yahweh, Moshe, and Zipporah regarding their son’s circumcision.
I will preface all this with a lot of the blanks that I am going to try and fill in are my own thoughts about why things happened the way they happened.
Scripture says that “Yahweh visited Moshe and had plans to kill him.”
Shemote (Exodus) 4:24
24 “And it came to pass on the way, at the encampment, that Yahweh met him and sought to kill him.”
The question is why? Apparently, Zipporah knew why and it happened to be over the issue of circumcision. Many historians and scholars agree that the Midyanites practiced circumcision but not in the way that the Yisraelites did. Yisraelites and Midyanites both can trace their lineage back to Avraham. Midyan was a son of Avraham through his wife Keturah, and Yisrael was a son of Avraham through his wife Sarah.
To me, a couple of key lessons to take away from this ordeal of circumcision is that first and foremost Moshe is the leader of his family. He was circumcised on the eighth day and he knew that he was supposed to circumcise his son’s on the eighth day as well. Yet for whatever reason, he did not do so and likely it was because Zipporah did not approve of that custom and possibly thought of it as barbaric. I say that only because I am judging the way she responded to Moshe
Shemote (Exodus) 4:26
26 “So He let him go. Then she said, “You are a husband of blood!” because of the circumcision.”
As we get back to what scholars and historians have said about the Midyanites is that they practiced the custom of circumcision when the groom was to be married, not any time sooner. This might be why Zipporah reacted the way she did. She might not have approved circumcision on children but for adults, that is a whole different story. This likely resulted in an argument between Moshe and her; which also could have resulted in Moshe acquiescing to his wife’s demands. Why would Yahweh have likely sought to kill Moshe for this? If Moshe is supposed to be a leader for his brothers, but cannot rules his own house well according to Yahweh’s commands, then he is not fit to be a leader for Yahweh’s people.
In Timotheus Aleph, we read that one of the requirements for someone who desires to be an Elder or a Deacon for Yeshua’s people, i.e., a leader amongst Yeshua’s body, He must be a man who can rule his own house well. Even though the Yisraelites, and the Midyanites both can trace their lineage back to Avraham, and even have similar worship practices, it is only through the worship practices established through Yisrael that Yahweh wants to prevail.
We have a very similar situation for us today. Christians and Nazarenes can both trace their lineages back to Yeshua and His apostles, and we even have fairly similar worship practices. Yet, it is only through the sect of the Nazarenes that Yahweh wants Yeshua’s teachings to prevail. It is only through the sect of the Nazarenes that Yahweh wants His Son’s Kingdom to be established.
Midyan was a son of Avraham, but Yitzak was the promised son, and through Yitzak came Yisrael, and through Yisrael came Yeshua, and through Yeshua came the sect of the Nazarenes. The sect of the Nazarenes are the promised remnant of Yahweh’s people. In the same way that the Midyanites did not associate themselves with the promise of Elohim, the Christians do not associate themselves with the promises that Elohim has made to Yisrael and his children. Yahweh does not tolerate mixed worship. So for all believers and leaders and especially men as the leaders of your household, let Moshe’s example here in Scripture be a lesson learned, Yahweh comes first no matter what.
Where we conclude in this parasha is with the people being visited by Moshe and Aharon. In their visit, Moshe and Aharon perform the miracles that Yahweh commanded them to perform and the people believed and worshipped Elohim. They fully supported Moshe and Aharon speaking to the Pharaoh, but when the Pharaoh rejected them and made life even more miserable for the Yisraelites, they got angry and upset with Moshe and Aharon.
I equate this example in Scripture with what happens to so many believers in Yeshua. Initially when they get saved, they are pumped and excited to live a life sold out for Yeshua, but then when the pressures come, they get angry and begin to cast blame on others and even cast blame on Yeshua, and some even worse, they reject Yeshua. But Moshe responds well to all this, and this is how we should respond. He comes to Yahweh in prayer about all of it and desires to understand why he was called and why things are happening the way they are. There is nothing wrong with desiring to know why. It only helps us to build a relationship with Yahweh and Yeshua to understand the purpose that He has for our lives.