By Serena Lopes
Years before Moses was born a new king ruled over Egypt. He was cruel and heartless, especially toward the Hebrews. They were strong and numerous and the pharaoh feared they would one day over take him. In hopes they would stop multiplying he set out to oppress them by making them his slaves. They were forced to build the king cities and he afflicted them with many burdens. In spite of this they increased in numbers, so he set out to make their suffering worse. He gave the command that all Hebrew newborn males be killed by drowning. So when Moses was born, his parents hid him for 3 months, and when they could no longer do so, his mother placed him in a basket and laid it by the river’s bank. Coming down to the river, the pharaoh’s daughter saw the basket, sending her maid to retrieve it, opened it and saw a baby crying. Knowing he was a Hebrew she felt compassion and decided to raise him as her own. She called him Moses because she took him out of the water.
May years later Moses, now grown, found out about his true lineage and this gave him a new perspective when he was among the slaves. They were his brethren and it pained him to see them so afflicted. When he saw an Egyptian strike a worker his pain turned to anger and Moses killed him before he struck the slave again. When the pharaoh heard this he sought to kill Moses. Fleeing in fear, Moses came upon the land of Midian and decided to call it home.
Many years passed when the King of Egypt died and his son became the new pharaoh. Moses was now married with two sons and while he was tending to his sheep he came upon the mountain of God. It was here the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire in the midst of a bush. God said to Moses, “I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, I have seen the affliction of my people and heard their cry.” God told Moses to return to Egypt for those who sought him were now dead. His mission from God was to deliver his people out of Egypt and into a land that flowed with milk and honey. Moses did as God commanded but the pharaoh refused in disbelief and God told Moses he would send a curse upon Egypt. Many times Moses returned and demanded the freedom of his people. Each time the pharaoh would refuse and God placed another curse upon them. Egypt was wrought with many horrors, from turning the river water into blood to filling it with frogs. Plagues continued with hailstorms, locusts and blistering boils and still the Pharaoh refused to let them go.
Moses was warned of the final curse and told his people to sprinkle their doors with the blood of a lamb. The final curse came to pass at midnight; the Lord slew every first born in Egypt, except those whose doors were sprinkled with Lamb’s blood as Moses told his brethren to do. It was with the death of his son that Pharaoh told Moses, “Go forth from among my people, you and the children of Israel.” Finally free, Moses led them by way of the Red Sea but the Pharaoh, having a change of heart, pursued them. The Lord told Moses to lift his rod and stretch forth his hand over the sea, and in doing this the waters divided in two. Moses and his brethren went through the midst of the sea on dry land and when the Egyptians started across, Moses once again stretched forth his hand and the waters came upon them and shut them up in the middle of the waves.
Traveling for three months now they came upon the mountain of Sinai where God gave Moses the Ten Commandments. For forty days and nights God spoke to Moses atop the mountain engulfed in a cloud. During this time the people of Israel grew impatient and began to build altars with false gods in the shape of a calf, worshiping it. They sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play. When Moses finally came down, seeing the multitude of sins being committed, he threw down the tablets of stone breaking them at the foot of the mount. Moses begged God to forgive them, but God cast out those who sinned against Him and did not allow them to enter the land God promised. Moses carved out two more tablets and the Ten Commandments were once again written by God. Those who remained faithful during the forty days did all that the Lord commanded and built the Ark of the Covenant. This being done, Moses led them forward until they came before the Land of Jordan. Because Moses broke the tablets in a fit of rage he was not allowed to enter Jordan with his brethren. At 120 years old Moses went up a mountain and watched the children of Israel go forth into the Promised Land and there he remained until his death.
There have been many chosen by God to become a great symbol for us to follow; Moses is definitely one of them. If he were with us today his persistence for us to remain faithful to God’s Commandments would be never ending. As Moses said to the people, “Take courage, be valiant, the Lord is with thee!” These are truly words to live by.