The First Hindrance
“Well, the first event in our story was a change in the Egyptian government,” Grandpa turned from the feeder and reached for the pitcher. As he refilled his glass, he continued, “A new Pharaoh took the throne, and he didn’t really much care about all that Joseph had done for Egypt. So, under the new government, the Hebrews lost the benefits that they had under the old government.” Setting the pitcher down, he turned back towards the feeder just in time to see a bright green flash in the sunlight, zipping away from the feeder. Before raising his glass to his mouth, he quietly asked, “Was that a male hummer?”
Micah nodded, “I saw a bright red patch on his throat.”
“Such a pretty little bird.” Grandpa set his glass on the table and resumed the story, “So, the new Pharaoh evaluated his situation and decided the Hebrews were a threat to him. You see, since the Hebrews were on good terms with the previous government, he was concerned that they might join with his enemies and oust him from the throne. So he told his administrative staff that they needed to be wise and find a solution to the problem of the Hebrews. He said that if they weren’t careful, the Hebrews might join their enemies, fight against them, and leave the land of Egypt.”
The low buzz of tiny wings overhead interrupted him as a tiny bird zipped by on its way to the feeder. They watched in silence as it hovered and fed for a few seconds. Then, in the blink of an eye, it was gone.
Micah spoke up, “How come Pharaoh didn’t want them to leave?”
“That’s a good question, Micah. It seems to me that Pharaoh would have been glad to be rid of them so that he wouldn’t have to worry about them anymore.”
“Maybe he didn’t want to lose his slaves.”
Grandpa nodded, “Yes, that certainly was the case later on. But remember, they weren’t slaves when the new Pharaoh first came to power. But whatever his reasoning, Pharaoh did not want them to leave.”
Micah cradled his tea in his lap, thinking for a few moments. Then he said, “So, this is another obstacle to God’s purpose, kinda like the situation with Joseph’s brothers’ hatred?”
“It sure looks like it,” agreed Grandpa. “And the way God worked with Moses is just as amazing as what He did with Joseph.
“Now, to deal with the problem of the Hebrews, Pharaoh and his administration decided they would try a form of population control by working the Hebrews to death. They passed legislation that forced the Hebrews to build supply cities for Pharaoh. Evidently, they were clever in how they implemented the new policies because the Hebrews didn’t rise up in rebellion against Pharaoh. And before they knew it, the Hebrews found they had lost their freedoms and had basically become slaves of Pharaoh, see. Now, Pharaoh…”
“Whoa,” interrupted Micah, pointing to the feeder, “look at that!” Two hummingbirds were zipping about the feeder, each trying to chase the other away. The squabble ended when one of the tiny birds flew off among the trees.
“Silly birds; there is no need to fight. There is more than enough there for the both of you,” said Grandpa, shaking his head. “Let’s see, where was I? Oh, yes. Pharaoh was hoping that by making the Hebrews work extremely hard, they would stop having lots of kids and their population would decrease. But to his dismay, the opposite happened. Now, can you imagine what he did next to reduce their population?”
Micah placed his empty glass on the table and said, “Didn’t he order that their babies be thrown into the ocean?”
“Pretty close. Actually, it wasn’t all the babies.”
“Oh yeah, it was just the baby boys!”
“That’s right. I guess you know this story pretty well. Yes, Pharaoh commanded his people to throw all the Hebrew baby boys into the Nile river.” Turning his gaze to Micah, Grandpa said, “It was a terrible situation for the poor Hebrews. But you know, Micah, the situation reminds me of the vision given to the apostle John in Revelation 12. He saw a dragon standing before a woman to devour her male child as soon as he was born. The Hebrew people enslaved in Egypt were like a woman in labor, ready to give birth to a male deliverer. But the devil was like a cruel dragon, standing in front of the woman with open jaws, waiting to devour the deliverer as soon as he was born, see.”
Grandpa paused to finish off the remainder of his sweet tea. Micah asked, “So, what did God do?”
Grandpa set down his glass as he replied, “Well, He didn’t smack that dragon on the nose and order him to leave the woman alone, nor did He send an angel to devour Pharaoh. Instead, He had a pretty princess snatch up the deliverer before the dragon could snap his jaws shut.
“Here is how it happened. God’s deliverer was born as a beautiful baby boy. The scripture says that when his mother saw how perfect the child was she couldn’t bear the thought of him being thrown into the river, so she hid him as long as she could. But when she could no longer hide him, she got an idea of how she could put her son in the river without drowning him. Do you know what she did?”
Micah nodded, “She put him in a basket that floated in the river!”
“Exactly right! It was like she put her baby right into the jaws of the dragon! But before the jaws could snap shut, guess who stopped at the river for a bath?”
“The princess!” exclaimed Micah. “And she decided to adopt the baby as her son. Then she told his sister to get his mother.”
Grandpa smiled, “You got it. The princess gave the girl permission to find a nurse for the baby and Miriam brought the baby’s mother. So, Pharaoh’s daughter named the baby, Moses, and took him home. Just like that, God thwarted the dragon in his attempt to destroy the deliverer!”
“Yeah!” cheered Micah, pumping his fist.
“So, you see, Micah, God didn’t reverse what Pharaoh did, but actually worked within what Pharaoh had commanded. Remember? Pharaoh’s command was that the baby boys be thrown into the river. Well, the baby Moses went into the river. It’s just that there was a minor detail of a basket between him and the water. Thus, far from being defeated by Pharaoh’s command, God actually used it to accomplish His purpose.”
“Just like He did with Joseph and his brothers,” nodded Micah.