ISSUE: 2012, Volume 9, Issue 2
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He was the man that God chose to lead a slave nation from Egyptian captivity through a wilderness to a promised land. He was the Prince of Egypt who became a shepherd, prophet, leader and so much more.
Moses had a spectacular beginning and end to his life. His life ended when God buried him away from the gaze of men, and hid his grave. He was also hidden at the beginning of his life as the precious boy born to Hebrew slaves in Egyptian captivity. The Bible records his family protecting him by putting him in an ark, and placing it in the river Nile. Pharaoh’s soldiers were killing Hebrew male children at that time in a genocide aimed at destroying the increasing numbers of the Hebrew slave nation. In a remarkable incident, his life took a dramatic turn when Pharaoh’s daughter discovered him in his ark. She made a decision that would change the course of history; she adopted the child.
The kindness shown to Moses by his adoption is a lovely early Bible picture of the work of God in salvation. He was a helpless baby under the sentence of death, floating in a river with no one to help. There appears to be no reason for Pharaoh’s daughter to act as she did other than compassion. With full knowledge of the racial identity of the child, and the consequences at that time in Egypt, she acted to preserve his life. He was brought into the Royal family of Egypt, and given status and privilege which he could never have attained other than through his adoption. From a baby facing death, he became a son of the King.
Moses was not the only person in the Old Testament to be adopted. Mordecai adopted Esther, and Mephibosheth sat at King David’s table as one of his sons.
In the New Testament the apostle Paul wrote, ‘For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father”. The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God’, Rom. 8. 14-16 NKJV.
The Roman Christians to whom Paul wrote were familiar with the concept of adoption in their culture. It was their understanding of adoption that Paul references as he explains the work of God in their salvation. If a father of a household had no son to carry on his name, or was dissatisfied with the sons he had, he could adopt a son from another family. He would choose a son whom he considered to be suitable to inherit his name and estate.
In the Roman culture, it wasn’t easy to do this because they had a rule called ‘Patria Potestas’, which meant ‘the rule of the father’, and, as long as you were the son of your father, he had total control over you for your whole life until he died. This meant that you had to go through a big process to adopt another man’s son.
They had an elaborate system where they would attempt to emancipate one of the children from ‘Patria Potestas’. They would then go through a process called ‘Vindicatio’, where legal status was given to that new adoption, and the son could move from one family to the other to bear the name and the title of that new father. As an adopted son in Roman culture, your father had chosen you. Your adoption cut all links with your previous family and any debts you had were cancelled. You were brought into your new family, with the name and wealth of your new family.
As a Christian you have been chosen by God to be in His family. It was not easy for God to take you from your natural family association, as a son of Adam, but He loved you when you had nothing and has given you His name, wealth and security.
Just as Moses was taken from bondage and fear to become a son of the King, God has taken you out of the bondage of sin and made you a Son of God.