Used By God – Exodus (The Background People)
An interesting title to call this devotional isn’t it? The background people. We don’t know the name of Moses’ mother, father, sister, and not even the name of the daughter of Pharaoh. We know Moses wrote Exodus, so why didn’t he bother to tell the world and future generations the names of his own parents and sister? Why didn’t God inspire Moses to preserve these four individual names? What can we learn from this introduction of Moses’ birth as it relates to us Christians in the 21st Century? (I did some extra research on this. For some reason, Moses preserves the names of his Mother, Father, Sister, but later on in the book of exodus. But, why? Why did Moses not just write his family members’ names into this passage of the Book of Exodus? Was Moses intentionally trying to make this passage mysterious? He got me thinking ‘who are these people?’ Moses wrote it this way for a purpose, what was that purpose? Let’s see!)
I would like to point out Moses comes from the Levi Tribe. This tribe was actually not given land. They are the (technical) 13th Tribe of Israel that we just happen to forget about, because the Bible always talks about the 12 tribes of Israel and for some reason, forgets to talk about the Tribe of Levi. The Tribe of Levi was the Tribe of Priest. God intended for this tribe to perform all the priest duties for the nation of Israel. They never receive any land, they spread out across the other 12 tribes to be the Priest of the other 12 tribes and live on the offerings of the other 12 tribes. If you read in Revelations 7:7, it has the Tribe of Levi listed. There are also only 12 tribes in Revelation listed, so where is the 13th tribe, is there a tribe missing? Let’s find out.
Understanding The 13 Tribes
Going back to Genesis 49, we read who the 12 tribes of Israel exactly are…
- Reuben (Verse 3) & (Revelation 7:5)
- Simeon & Levi (Verse 5) If you keep reading Jacob actually prophecies that they will be scattered across Israel in Verse 7, which is what happens later on during the Life of Moses. In verse 3 we see that these two are brothers, but they get put together as one tribe. Here is the weird part in Revelation 7:7 there is a Tribe of Simeon, so now we are missing two tribes in Revelation 7. Genesis 49 puts them together, Revelation 7 separates them into two different tribes.
- Judah (Verse 8) & (Revelation 7:5)
- Zebulun (Verse 13) & (Revelation 7:8)
- Issachar (Verse 14) & (Revelation 7:7)
- Dan (Verse 16) & Not Listed in Revelation 7 as one of the 12 tribes
- Gad (Verse 19) & (Revelation 7:5)
- Asher (Verse 20) & (Revelation 7:6)
- Naphtali (Verse 21) & (Revelation 7:6)
- Joseph (Verse 22) & (Revelations 7:8)
- Benjamin (Verse 27) & (Revelations 7:8)
After Jacob listed these tribes and he gave prophetic meaning to each other, verse 28 says “All These are the twelve tribes of Israel”. There is one problem, well, actually two problems, in Revelation 7 the Tribe of Dan is not listed, but it does list the Tribe of Manasseh, the Tribe of Manasseh? Who is Manasseh? Where did Dan go?
Well first Manasseh was the son of Joseph, Joseph had two sons Manasseh and Ephraim, they both became Tribes. The Tribe of Manasseh makes it into the 12 tribes of Revelation 7. So what happened with Ephraim? The story of these two brothers? Well, we read about an interesting story in Genesis 48. Right before Jacob dies he blesses Ephraim, the younger brother, and says he will be like his older brother Manasseh, he will be a group of nations. Not a Great Nation, a GROUP OF NATIONS! This is happening in Genesis 48:19-20. This naturally makes me want to see what Tribe Jesus is from and we see he came from the line of Judah. Which means nothing, that is for right now. So where is the Tribe of Ephraim? Where is the Group of Nations? Who is the Group of Nations? Honestly, I didn’t expect this to go this deep.
Little more about these two tribes. All the way in Joshua 14:3-4 we learn about how the tribe of Levi wasn’t given land, because Joseph’s two sons became two tribes. Then in Joshua 16, we learn about the Allotment for both Ephraim and Manasseh.
So who & where is this Group of Nations called the Tribe of Ephraim. They’re the Northern Kingdom of Israel, which was overtaken by the Assyrians in 722 BC. Judah is the Southern Kingdom which got overtaken by the Babylonians nearly 140 years later (586 BC). When Israel went into a civil war, they divided between the north and the south. Just like the United States. The United States also had 13 colonies. And I am proving how Israel had 13 tribes.
Now, remember, I was looking at where Jesus came from? He came from the Tribe of Judah, the Southern Kingdom. In Revelations 7:5, the tribe of Judah is listed and in Revelations 7:6 the Tribe of Manasseh is listed. If we go back to Joshua 16:4 & 16:9, it puts the two tribes together. As if they both are living together with each other, sharing the land. Both tribes are in the Northern Kingdom. So we are looking at a two tribe one tribe set up. Like if a whole tribe is being hidden. Kind of weird.
What about the Tribe of Dan? It doesn’t show up in the 12 Tribes in the list of Revelation 7?
The Tribe of Dan sinned against God in many very different ways and they pretty much rejected God and kept worshipping man-made gods. So it’s possible they got excluded from the 12 Tribes of Revelation 7.
So there you have it, the 13 tribes, one tribe is excluded most likely because they rejected God for false gods and they did a lot of other things too, like killing entire groups of people to take their land because the land God gave them was “unacceptable” in their own view.
Okay, awesome! We talked about that tribe subject. So Moses comes from the Tribe of Levi, they are not given any land, they are given two cities and one mission, to perform the priestly duties for the nation of Israel. The reason I wanted to point that out is that Moses later on in the story never even enters the land. He never sees the land God gives to Israel, but he does do something, he sets up the laws and all the priestly duties. King of interest right? God doesn’t just pick anyone from any tribe, he picks someone from a specific tribe. Moses is literally the first guy God uses too. After the 12 tribes are created, well, actually 13 tribes are created and Jacob blesses all his sons and dies and later Joseph dies, 400 years pass by. Then God decides to start speaking, working and He goes to the Tribe of Levi. The one and only Tribe that God uses as his way of speaking to Israel. It would be only the Levi Tribe, their priest that would be allowed inside the Holy of Holies where God will be dwelling among his people. This is also where the Ark of the Covenant will be located. The Priest would have the job of performing the sacrifices and carrying the ark from place to place. They get this huge responsibility. So in the very beginning, when God is ready to pull his people out of the land of slavery and set up his people as a Light to the nations that would worship the one true God, he goes to the Tribe of Levi and chose to use Moses, for no apparent reason. It could be God chose to use Moses, not because he was faithful to God, but someone else was.
In Exodus 1:22, we read about the order Pharaoh gave, the order to cast all newborn baby boys into the Nile. There was one woman though that refused. She let her baby boy live, but she had to do something to keep him alive, so she placed her baby boy in a basket and put him in and put the basket on the river bank. I don’t have kids, but if I did, I couldn’t do this. This must have been a painful decision to make as a mother.
Let’s zoom into this story. Now I like looking at details in the text. Verse 3 says, “she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch”. In this text, the word “basket” in Hebrew could also mean “ark”. So I would automatically think of Noah’s Flood. God used the Ark of Noah as a source of Salvation to the world. And now we see God is beginning the story of Moses, with him in a baby-size ark. Could call it the Ark of Moses as a source of Salvation for Israel. Learn and see cool things by looking at the details.
Let’s zoom back out. Moses’ mother was faithful to God’s ways. She didn’t listen to the order of Pharaoh, she kept her baby alive and healthy, she feared God more than Pharaoh. She most likely was the only mother that did. God blessed her for this amazing act of faithfulness and in doing so caused Pharaoh’s own daughter to find this baby, fall in love with this baby and then literally turn right back around and unknowingly pay the biological mother of the baby money to raise this baby. So This woman never lost anything. She was faithful to God and was still able to raise her son up. Most likely she explained to her son everything and why he would be leaving her and living with the daughter of Pharaoh because later in the story we find out that Moses actually knew when he was older, he was a Hebrew.
So, the background people. God had this amazing plan to use Moses, and in doing he used Pharaoh’s evil order, he used the loving caring heart of Pharaoh’s daughter, he used the curiosity of the sister of Moses, she was wondering where her brother might end up. He without a doubt used the faithfulness of Moses’ mother.
What about the Father of Moses? It just says, “A man from the house of Levi went and took as his wife a Levi woman” Exodus 2:1. What about this guy? What can we learn?
- This Levi Man got himself a Levi Woman as a wife. We are Christians need to find a Christian Spouse.
- This story starts with a man. Literally stops talking about this man in the first sentence. It talks about three different women that God used in the very beginning of the Story of Exodus, of the Salvation of Israel, of the Story of Moses. God uses Woman to achieve his will and his purpose for our lives. Don’t discount your mother, sister, or wife. God uses women in ways and wonders.
I hope this was a blessing to you as much as it was to me. Writing this was something. Literally took me 5 or 6 hours. I wanted to be sure and make sure I wasn’t getting the tribe info wrong and I enjoy finding little details in the stories of the Bible.