(Background Reading: Exodus 1, 2, 3, and 4)

Acts 7:17 But when the time of the promise drew nigh, which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt,

18 Till another king arose, which knew not Joseph.

19 The same dealt subtilly with our kindred, and evil entreated our fathers, so that they cast out their young children, to the end they might not live.

20 In which time Moses was born, and was exceeding fair, and nourished up in his father’s house three months:

21 And when he was cast out, Pharaoh’s daughter took him up, and nourished him for her own son.

22 And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.

23 And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel.

24 And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian:

25 For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not.

26 And the next day he shewed himself unto them as they strove, and would have set them at one again, saying, Sirs, ye are brethren; why do ye wrong one to another?

27 But he that did his neighbour wrong thrust him away, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us?

28 Wilt thou kill me, as thou diddest the Egyptian yesterday?

29 Then fled Moses at this saying, and was a stranger in the land of Madian, where he begat two sons.

30 And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sina an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush.

31 When Moses saw it, he wondered at the sight: and as he drew near to behold it, the voice of the Lord came unto him,

32 Saying, I am the God of thy fathers, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Then Moses trembled, and durst not behold.

33 Then said the Lord to him, Put off thy shoes from thy feet: for the place where thou standest is holy ground.

34 I have seen, I have seen the affliction of my people which is in Egypt, and I have heard their groaning, and am come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send thee into Egypt.

35 This Moses whom they refused, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge? the same did God send to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the angel which appeared to him in the bush.

36 He brought them out, after that he had shewed wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red sea, and in the wilderness forty years.

37 This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear.

38 This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us.

MEMORY VERSE: By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment. By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.

Hebrews 11:23-26

CENTRAL THOUGHT: Divinely preserved at birth and providentially prepared and trained by God, at age eighty Moses was called to go back to Egypt and deliver God’s people from their bondage.


Acts 7:18 “Which knew not Joseph”: had no knowledge of the great favor Joseph had done for Egypt and the known world by implementing a wise economic plan to prepare for seven years of famine; neither did he feel an obligation to Joseph’s descendants to sustain them.

Acts 7:19 “Dealt subtilly”: deal craftily with; circumvent; take shrewd advantage.

Acts 7:20 “Moses”: “The word is no doubt Egyptian in its origin, and Josephus gives its true derivation—from the two Egyptian words, mo, water, and use, saved. With this accords the Septuagint form, Mouses. The Hebrews by a slight change accommodated it to their own language, as they did also in the case of some other foreign words; calling it Moshie, from the verb Masha, to draw” (ATS Bible Dictionary). “Exceeding fair”: beautiful; handsome; elegant. The Jewish historian, Josephus, noted that those who saw him turned to gaze in admiration, and that Pharaoh’s daughter was so captivated by his size and beauty she spoke to her father about his “divine beauty.”

Acts 7:22 “Learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and mighty in words and deeds”: instructed or trained. Egypt boasted of two universities. Philo says that Moses was instructed in music, geometry, arithmetic, and hieroglyphics; the whole circle of arts and sciences. Josephus tells that for twenty years he was an Egyptian military general, commanding Egypt’s forces in the war with Ethiopia.

Acts 7:29 “Madian”: Midian.

Acts 7:30 “Mount Sina”: Mount Sinai.

Acts 7:32 “Durst”: dared.

Acts 7:37 “A prophet”: a quote from Deuteronomy 18:15-19.


Our lesson today is from the summary of Israel’s history given by the New Testament martyr, Stephen, as he testified before the Sanhedrin.

As recorded in Exodus 1, Moses was born at a time when God’s people were in dire straits. Their numbers since coming into Egypt had multiplied so that they filled the land, until the new Pharaoh looked upon them with suspicion. His plan was to subdue them by making them his slaves to build his temples and cities, but as Exodus 1:12 records, “The more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew.” He then gave commands to the midwives to kill the boy babies of the Hebrews upon delivery, but God caused the babies to be born before the midwives could arrive. Finally, the royal edict was that the families themselves should dispose of their newborn sons into the river.

Amram and his wife, Jochebed, both of the tribe of Levi, already had an older daughter, Miriam, and a small son, Aaron, when they gave birth to yet another boy. The Hebrews writer tells us it was their faith which caused them to recognize the special quality he had and gave them courage to hide him from the Egyptian authorities three months. It was their faith which directed them to place him in a waterproof bassinet/boat, which they constructed from reeds and bitumen pitch, and launch it into the canal. With Miriam watching nearby, they trusted him into the hands of God and were rewarded when his cries caused the Egyptian princess, who had come to bathe in the water, to discover him and be moved with compassion. She then allowed him to be nursed by his own mother, who obviously took advantage of this providential arrangement to teach Moses of his true heritage in his formative years. Assuming weaning age to be about three years, he was then returned to the Egyptian princess and brought up in the palace; however, the faith instilled in him by his mother later caused him to return to his roots and forsake the life of Egyptian royalty.

At age forty, Moses’ first attempt to help his people ended with him fleeing to the wilderness, where he met the seven daughters of the priest of Midian, Jethro, or Reuel. Moses married Jethro’s daughter, Zipporah, and had two sons, Gershom and Eliezer (Exodus 18:3-4).

At the end of forty years, he saw the bush burning and not being consumed. Exodus 3:4 says that when God saw that Moses “turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush.” This time—with Moses having possibly twenty years of military experience and forty years’ experience of herding sheep in the desert, and the Hebrews in Egypt crying out to God in repentance and true sorrow—it was GOD’S time; time for deliverance; time for a man who was now fully prepared, seasoned, and humble enough to lead the greatest exodus the world had ever known.

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck


  1. Explain the meaning of Moses’ name.
  2. Explain again what this means: “the time of the promise which God had sworn to Abraham” (this was mentioned in the previous lesson).
  3. Using the scriptures in our lesson and the information from the Lesson Background, explain the situation regarding the birth of Hebrew boy babies at the time of Moses’ birth.
  4. What happened when Moses first tried to help his brethren?


What life lessons can we take away from the beginning story of Moses? Our verses from Hebrews show how the apostle ranked Moses’ parents and Moses himself among the great heroes of faith. We can learn from the trust in God they demonstrated when placing him in the little boat in the water and the obvious diligence they put into training the infant and toddler Moses in the heritage of faith—an amazing view into the power and potential of early—very early—parental training.

We can learn much from the burning bush—an extraordinary illustration of God’s relationship with His chosen people. He, the God who is a consuming fire, was going to dwell among a rebellious, faithless collection of humanity. How was it that He didn’t consume them? “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed” (Lamentations 3:22).

We perceive that our God does not get in a hurry. He is thorough and His plans are perfectly executed. Fullness of time means just that. There are no substitutions for divine preparation.

We learn that God values humility and dependence upon Him more than human talent, expertise, or ability, and that only certain kinds of training produce that. Hardship. Faithfulness in small things. Self-denial. Waiting.

We also learn that being misunderstood by people is not necessarily a moratorium on our calling. We can wait, be faithful, and trust God to open the hearts of the people.

What did you learn from the lesson today?

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck


While ancient Egypt is well-known for the architectural marvels of its pyramids and cities, during its time as one of the most advanced civilizations on earth it boasted world-class universities, equivalent to how Oxford and Harvard are viewed today. As a member of the royal household, Moses was likely trained in everything such advanced education could offer. In addition, as a prince he likely had access to and was trained in the work of the scribes of that day, recording the history of that great civilization on papyrus scrolls (made from the reeds that grew along the river Nile and from which our word “paper” is derived) through the use of hieroglyphics and the scribes’ long form of writing, hieratic. This training was most likely very useful for the work he did in his later years.

Astounding to me is the fact that Moses, obviously precocious and well-trained by his parents at a very early age in the oral history started by Abraham and passed down so efficiently from generation to generation among the Hebrew people, established his concepts of God so strongly that his convictions and identity never wavered, even while a member of Pharaoh’s royal household. His desire to help his people reflected this sense of purpose.

However, while formal education is useful and spiritual training is vital, neither can replace being trained by God Himself. Taught indirectly by God in keeping wayward sheep for forty years, no doubt great preparation for leading wayward people, Moses was then able to establish a direct relationship with Jehovah when he was called from the burning bush, ready to now be used of God in His timing.

Because of these things, Moses was uniquely qualified as a scribe to record for all mankind via the Pentateuch—the foundational books of scripture—the written history and stories God wanted the world to know. Although many modern scholars dispute Moses’ authorship of these books, the Bible is clear that God directed him, the man to whom God spoke “face to face,” to record these things, for it is through him we’ve received the recorded stories of creation, the fall of mankind and our need for a Redeemer, as well as the totally unusual concept during his time of monotheism, the belief in one supreme God. It is no wonder Moses stood on the Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus as representative of God’s written word!

—Bro. Fari Matthews