The birth of Moses is not merely biographical. Rather, it declares God’s agenda of deliverance and sets a precedent for how He raises up those who will deliver His people. The birth of Moses designates him as a deliverer, aligns his deliverance with that of his people, and puts him in a line of deliverers, one day to culminate in the Messiah.
In our study of the Bible, we suffer from over-familiarity—an attitude that says, “I know this. I’ve heard this before.” This is the dilemma of the book of Exodus. We know the book’s stories: Moses, the ten plagues, the Ten Commandments, the golden calf, and the tabernacle. We tend to sprint through narrative passages when their stories are familiar to us.
But, we ought to pause for one compelling reason: narratives contain theology.
In the Scriptures, history is the basis for theology. When we read, we need not only to look for the facts of what happens, but also for the reasons why. What is God doing in narratives as He moves people and maneuvers situations? This approach to reading narrative passages provides a glimpse into the theology that is developing and the character of God that is being displayed.
Let’s examine the familiar passage of Exodus 1-2 and see what rich theological truths can be gleaned.
A Theology of a Deliverer
The book of Exodus has an epic beginning. In the first verses, the list of names of descendants and offspring are quoted from Genesis 46, where God expounds how He has kept the promises of the Abrahamic Covenant. This covenant includes three major promises: land, seed, and blessing. This hook in Exodus 1 highlights the promise of seed—a promise that traces back as far as Genesis 3:15, where God promises that the seed of the woman would crush the serpent’s head. By opening Exodus with these verses, God is saying, “I’m continuing my plan for Israel. I’m moving forward with Genesis 3:15.”