1. SATAN TRIES TO DEFEAT GOD’S PURPOSE
a. As the children of Israel, dwelling in the land of Egypt, were fast becoming a numerous race, what did Pharaoh propose to do, fearing they would one day turn against him? Exodus 1:15–17, 22.
“The king and his counselors had hoped to subdue the Israelites with hard labor, and thus decrease their numbers and crush out their independent spirit. Failing to accomplish their purpose, they proceeded to more cruel measures. Orders were issued to the women whose employment gave them opportunity for executing the command, to destroy the Hebrew male children at their birth. Satan was the mover in this matter. He knew that a deliverer was to be raised up among the Israelites; and by leading the king to destroy their children he hoped to defeat the divine purpose. But the women feared God, and dared not execute the cruel mandate. The Lord approved their course, and prospered them. The king, angry at the failure of his design, made the command more urgent and extensive.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 242.
2. PREPARING A LEADER
a. What was Moses’ heritage? Exodus 2:1; 6:20.
“[Exodus 1:22 quoted.] While this decree was in full force a son was born to Amram and Jochebed, devout Israelites of the tribe of Levi. The babe was ‘a goodly child;’ and the parents, believing that the time of Israel’s release was drawing near, and that God would raise up a deliverer for His people, determined that their little one should not be sacrificed.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 242, 243.
b. What did Moses’ mother do to save his life? Exodus 2:2–4.
c. How did God overrule the plans of Satan to destroy God’s planned deliverer? Exodus 2:5–10. What can we learn from the way Moses’ mother fulfilled her sacred trust in training her son for God?
“God had heard the mother’s prayers; her faith had been rewarded. It was with deep gratitude that she entered upon her now safe and happy task. She faithfully improved her opportunity to educate her child for God. She felt confident that he had been preserved for some great work, and she knew that he must soon be given up to his royal mother, to be surrounded with influences that would tend to lead him away from God. All this rendered her more diligent and careful in his instruction than in that of her other children. She endeavored to imbue his mind with the fear of God and the love of truth and justice, and earnestly prayed that he might be preserved from every corrupting influence. She showed him the folly and sin of idolatry, and early taught him to bow down and pray to the living God, who alone could hear him and help him in every emergency. . . .
“The lessons learned at his mother’s side could not be forgotten. They were a shield from the pride, the infidelity, and the vice that flourished amid the splendor of the court.”—Ibid., pp. 243, 244.
“Every child born into the home is a sacred trust. God says to the parents, ‘Take this child, and bring it up for Me, that it may be an honor to My name, and a channel through which My blessings shall flow to the world.’”—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 145.
3. AN EGYPTIAN EDUCATION
a. Following his early education in the home, what did the second phase of Moses’ education involve? Acts 7:22. Why do you think God placed him in Pharaoh’s palace?
“From the humble home in Goshen the son of Jochebed passed to the palace of the Pharaohs, to the Egyptian princess, by her to be welcomed as a loved and cherished son. In the schools of Egypt, Moses received the highest civil and military training. Of great personal attractions, noble in form and stature, of cultivated mind and princely bearing, and renowned as a military leader, he became the nation’s pride. The king of Egypt was also a member of the priesthood; and Moses, though refusing to participate in the heathen worship, was initiated into all the mysteries of the Egyptian religion.”—Education, p. 62.
b. Because of the faithful early training from his parents, what choice was Moses led to make later in his life? Hebrews 11:24–26.
“Moses was fitted to take pre-eminence among the great of the earth, to shine in the courts of its most glorious kingdom, and to sway the scepter of its power. His intellectual greatness distinguishes him above the great men of all ages. As historian, poet, philosopher, general of armies, and legislator, he stands without a peer. Yet with the world before him, he had the moral strength to refuse the flattering prospects of wealth and greatness and fame, ‘choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.’
“Moses had been instructed in regard to the final reward to be given to the humble and obedient servants of God, and worldly gain sank to its proper insignificance in comparison. The magnificent palace of Pharaoh and the monarch’s throne were held out as an inducement to Moses; but he knew that the sinful pleasures that make men forget God were in its lordly courts. He looked beyond the gorgeous palace, beyond a monarch’s crown, to the high honors that will be bestowed on the saints of the Most High in a kingdom untainted by sin. He saw by faith an imperishable crown that the King of heaven would place on the brow of the overcomer. This faith led him to turn away from the lordly ones of earth and join the humble, poor, despised nation that had chosen to obey God rather than to serve sin.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 246.
4. FROM A PRINCE TO A SHEPHERD
a. When Moses tried to work out God’s plan for Israel in his own way, what were the results? Exodus 2:11–15; Acts 7:23–29.
“Moses had supposed that his education in the wisdom of Egypt fully qualified him to lead Israel from bondage. Was he not learned in all those things necessary for a general of armies? Had he not had the advantages of the best schools in the land? Yes, he felt that he was able to deliver his people. He set about his work by trying to gain their favor by redressing their wrongs. He killed an Egyptian who was imposing upon one of the Israelites. In this he manifested the spirit of him who was a murderer from the beginning, and proved himself unfit to represent the God of mercy, love, and tenderness.
“Moses made a miserable failure of his first attempt; and, like many another, he immediately lost confidence in God and turned his back on his appointed work. He fled from the wrath of Pharaoh. He concluded that because of his great sin in taking the life of the Egyptian, God would not permit him to have any part in the work of delivering his people from their cruel bondage. But the Lord allowed these things that He might teach Moses the gentleness, goodness, and long-suffering that it is necessary for every laborer for the Master to possess in order to be a successful worker in His cause.”—Counsels to Parents, Teacher, and Students, p. 407.
“It was not God’s will to deliver His people by warfare, as Moses thought, but by His own mighty power, that the glory might be ascribed to Him alone. Yet even this rash act was overruled by God to accomplish His purposes. Moses was not prepared for his great work. He had yet to learn the same lesson of faith that Abraham and Jacob had been taught—not to rely upon human strength or wisdom, but upon the power of God for the fulfillment of His promises.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 247.
b. How did Moses find a home in the land of Midian, and who became his family? Exodus 2:16–22; 18:2–4.
c. What was Moses’ occupation in the land of Midian? Exodus 3:1.
5. TRAINING IN THE SCHOOL OF HARDSHIP
a. What was later said of Moses, which showed the great change brought about by the years of training in the wilderness? Numbers 12:3. What lessons had he learned in the wilderness?
“The education received by Moses, as the king’s grandson, was very thorough. Nothing was neglected that was calculated to make him a wise man, as the Egyptians understood wisdom. This education was a help to him in many respects; but the most valuable part of his fitting for his life work was that received while employed as a shepherd. As he led his flocks through the wilds of the mountains and into the green pastures of the valleys, the God of nature taught him the highest and grandest wisdom. In the school of nature, with Christ himself for teacher, he contemplated and learned lessons of humility, meekness, faith, and trust, and of a humble manner of living, all of which bound his soul closer to God. In the solitude of the mountains he learned that which all his instruction in the king’s palace was unable to impart to him,—simple, unwavering faith, and constant trust in the Lord.”—Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 342.
“In the school of self-denial and hardship he was to learn patience, to temper his passions. Before he could govern wisely, he must be trained to obey. His own heart must be fully in harmony with God before he could teach the knowledge of His will to Israel. By his own experience he must be prepared to exercise a fatherly care over all who needed his help.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 247.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How did Satan know that a deliverer was to be raised up from among the Israelites, and what did he do to try to prevent this?
2. How did Moses’ mother train the child whom she was sure had some great destiny? For what purpose should children be trained today?
3. What led Moses to choose poverty over worldly gain?
4. Why did Moses have to be re-educated in a desert place?
5. What did Moses learn in his years as a shepherd? What things can we learn from the trials we experience in our own lives?