God promised Abraham that his family would grow into a great nation. In Egypt, that promise is fulfilled. For 400 years God increases his descendants—to the point where the Egyptians feel threatened by the Israelites and cruelly enslave them.
Out of fear, Pharaoh issues a national order that all Israelite newborn boys be thrown into the Nile to drown. When Moses is three months old, his mother places him in a basket along the bank of the Nile, and Pharaoh’s daughter discovers and adopts him. God saves Moses from the massacre.
Raised as a privileged member of Pharaoh’s household, Moses still knows his heritage. As a grown man, when he sees an Egyptian taskmaster beating an Israelite, he kills the Egyptian. Pharaoh seeks his life for the murder, and Moses runs. Exiled, he settles in the wilderness of Midian, marries and becomes a shepherd. In the meantime, God hears the cries of the enslaved Israelites, and it breaks his heart.
The King’s Heart
In the garden, the serpent-enemy was present and listening when God said that his head would be crushed by the seed of a woman. Although unclear about the specifics, the enemy knew that if he could destroy the woman’s seed, he could perhaps save himself.
Only dark forces could have been behind these two murderous orders from Pharaoh:
“When you are helping the Hebrew women during childbirth on the delivery stool, if you see that the baby is a boy, kill him” (Exodus 1:16).
“Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: ‘Every Hebrew boy that is born you must throw into the Nile’” (Exodus 1:22).
Perhaps Satan thought that by destroying Israelite baby boys, he could destroy the Israelites and any possible seeds.
But God used Satan’s evil for good. Without Satan’s order of massacre, Moses wouldn’t have been placed in a basket in the Nile. He wouldn’t have been retrieved by Pharaoh’s daughter. He wouldn’t have grown up in the royal household. He wouldn’t have been educated or been in a position to walk into Pharaoh’s court. He wouldn’t have grown into the leader God ordained him to be. God took Satan’s plan to destroy any possible redeemers and used it to raise up one.
According to Acts 7:23–25, Moses knew he was supposed to be a deliverer of his people—that’s why he killed the Egyptian. He had the right mission (deliverance), but the wrong method (murder). But God wasn’t done with this deliverer. After 40 years’ worth of character development as a shepherd, God knew his deliverer was ready.