In the day of Moses, the Jewish people in Egypt were looking for a deliverer, someone who would free them from their oppressions. Pharaoh ordered the midwives to slay all the male sons of the Jews, but the midwives refused. He then ordered his people to save the newborn girls, but to cast every newborn male into the river. When the mother of Moses saw that he was “a goodly child,” she managed to hide him for 3 months. At last, fearful for his safety, she prepared a water-tight basket and placed it at the bank of the river, where it was found by Pharaoh’s daughter, who had come to the river to wash herself.
Some years later, the grown Moses fled into the desert after he slew an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew. He married and settled down until the fateful day that he was led into the mountain where he saw a bush that was burning but not consumed. There he spoke with God. God told him that Israel was crying out for relief from their oppression, and Moses was to be the means whereby the Hebrews would be freed.
Moses returned to Egypt and contended with Pharoah, who continued to harden his heart. Plagues fell upon Egypt: the river turned to blood, Egypt was overrun with frogs, with lice, and with flies; the cattle of Egypt died, but the cattle of Israel did not die; the people and animals were stricken with boils; God sent hail mingled with fire; locusts swarmed over Egypt; and three days of palpable darkness followed the locusts, after Pharoah’s heart remained hardened. At last the ultimate plague was sent: the firstborn of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh himself to the firstborn of the lowliest of servants, as well as the firstborn of the animals, would die. But the firstborn of Israel would not die, that Pharoah might know that God had set a distinction upon Israel.
At last, after this great calamity befellEgypt and Pharaoh’s firstborn son was dead, he at last relented and sent Israel on its way. Later Pharaoh was angered and his heart was again hardened, and he and his men went to recapture the Jews. But God had not finished working miracles. The sea parted, and Israel walked across on dry land. As the Egyptians began to follow them, the water returned to its accustomed course and the chariots and horses of the Egyptians were drowned in the depths of the sea.
On Mount Sinai, God gave Moses the commandments, and instructed him in what became known as the law of Moses. Because of disobedience, Israel wandered for 40 years in the desert, but at last they entered their Promised Land.
From that time until the time of Christ, the faithful members of the house of Judah followed the law of Moses. When Christ began his ministry, the Jews were again enslaved. They were ruled by the tyrant Herod, a pawn of the Roman emperor. They, too, longed for a deliverer, a Moses, someone who would smite their enemies and free them of their oppressors.
But just as the laws of Christ are higher laws than those of Moses, so too was the deliverance that he brought. Jesus Christ gives his people redemption and eternal life. He offers exaltation. He gave himself as the sacrificial lamb to pay the price for our sins. He has redeemed us, and we are his. After his crucifixion and death, the veil of the temple was rent in twain, from the top to the bottom, and the law of Moses was done away.
Moses was truly a great man, a great prophet, and he laboured diligently to serve the Lord and to free Israel. When Christ came, the Messiah, people were expecting another Moses. They didn’t know that they got something even better.
I don’t know why this hit me with such great force right now. I was just watching a documentary debate about Jesus, and it suddenly dawned on me. I had to stop what I was doing and write it down so as not to lose the thought. The gifts Jesus has to give us are better than the greatest good that had hitherto existed. I must be sure not to reject it because it is not what I expected.
Life is hard. It’s full of challenges and sorrow and grief. But it’s also easy if we but follow the Lord. Easy doesn’t, I think, have the same sense we traditionally apply. It doesn’t mean it’ll be a walk in the park on a sunny day. I think easy means that we know what to do. We know how to do it. We have someone who has paid the ultimate price for us, and he offers it to us freely. It means that in those hard and painful times, he has felt our every sorrow, our every grief. He knows us more intimately than we perhaps know ourselves.
I’ll never forget one day when I was having a meltdown. It was before I was married, I think even before I knew Joe. And I was storming around my little basement apartment yelling at Heavenly Father out of hurt and sorrow and frustration, wanting to know why I hadn’t been brought up in the church, why I’d had so many horrible things happen to me, why everything had to be so hard. And I was crying, and it wasn’t a pretty sight. And then the Holy Ghost whispered a scripture to me: “Know thou, my daughter, that all these things shall give the experience and shall be for thy good. The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than He?” And instantly I felt peace. And every time since, when I’ve cried out in desperation, “O God, where art thou, and where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place?” I am again reminded of that incident. He is there. He is always there. I know it. I feel it. He is there.