Moses was the son of Amram from the tribe of Levi. He was born in Egypt during a time when the Hebrew population boomed, which did not please the Pharaoh of Egypt (Exodus 1:12). Thus, Pharaoh of Egypt commanded all newborn Israelite boys to be murdered. For this reason, Moses was sent in a basket down the Nile River.
Pharaoh’s daughter finds him and raises him, and he lives happily as an Egyptian until he kills an overseer who he sees abusing an Israelite. He then flees to Midian, where he marries Zipporah and lives as a shepherd until God appears before him in the form of a burning bush, ordering him to return to Egypt to free the Israelites.
The Exodus from Egypt
Moses, obedient to God’s command, returned to Egypt and with his older brother Aaron. They went before Pharaoh and asked him to let the Hebrew people leave so they might go and worship God. However, Pharaoh’s heart was hardened and he refused. Therefore, one by one, the 10 plagues were sent upon Egypt.
Before the final plague, based on God’s command, Moses warned the Hebrews to kill a lamb and spread its blood over the door post. That night the Angel of the Lord passed over Egypt and killed all the firstborn sons, but he did not enter any house with blood on the door post.
Through this, Pharaoh finally let the people go. The Israelites left the next day, but Pharaoh changed his mind and sent his army to pursue them. God then commanded Moses to use his staff to part the Red Sea so that they may pass through it to safety and drowned the Egyptian army behind them. This event of their escape from Egypt is known as The Exodus.
The Covenant with Israel
Now having crossed the Red Sea, the Israelites began their journey to the Promised Land. During this time Moses was commanded to go up to Mount Sinai to receive commands from God. God gave him the Law and instructions for how to build the tabernacle as a place where the people could come to worship God as His spirit dwelled with them. Moses was God’s mouthpiece for His people and continued to lead the Israelites.
The Israelites Built a Golden Calf
While Moses was on a mountain receiving commandments from God, the Israelites feared he would not return. As a result, his brother Aaron made a golden calf to symbolize God’s presence, and the people started worshiping this — breaking the covenant they made with God.
Death of Moses
For 40 years Moses led the Israelites. Moses and the Israelites do not reach Israel until they have wandered in the desert for a generation. However, he died at the age of 120 years before being able to enter the promised land. While Moses is mentioned various times throughout the rest of biblical history, there is one moment where he appears again in Mark 9:2-8 where Moses and Elijah appear and talk with Jesus when He is transfigured before Peter, James, and John. To this day, Moses is one of the most recognizable characters in the Bible and in history, famous for his enduring faith, humility, and obedience.
Have you ever heard of Gideon and the 300 men who saved the Israelites from the hands of the Midianites? Have you ever wondered why there were only 300 or how the process of choosing them go? Was it through boot camp? Or a battle of strengths? Let’s take a look at the story of Gideon’s 300.
Who was Gideon, and why was he chosen?
For a span of 7 years, Israel was oppressed and invaded by the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples (Nations who did not belong to God). This was due to their betrayal against God by worshipping the gods of the Amorites even when He had commanded them not to do so in Ex 20:3-6. The Israelites were impoverished by the Midianites that they cried out for help from God. Thus, God had chosen him, son of Joash the Abiezrite from the tribe of Manasseh, as a judge to save the people of Israel from the hands of the Midianites.
When he was chosen by God, he asked God for signs to prove that it was really Him speaking to Gideon.
First, through the meat and unleavened bread he prepared, God proved Himself by having His angel set the meat and bread on fire by just touching them with the tip of the staff in his hand.
Second, he placed a wool fleece on the threshing floor. He said that if there was dew only on the fleece and all the ground was dry, then he will know that God would really be with him to save Israel from the Midianites. The next day, God did so.
Lastly, he asked for one more request and this time, it was to make the fleece dry but have all the ground covered in dew. That night, God once again proved Himself to Gideon.
Through that, he was finally able to trust that God will really use him to defeat the Midianites and bring victory to Israel.
Why were only 300 people chosen?
When all of his men were gathered and camped at the spring of Harod, there were originally 32,000 men. God said Gideon had too many men for Him to deliver Midian into their hands. At that time, the Israelites were worshipping the gods of the Amorites and had forgotten about Him already. Thus, God did not want Israel to think they defeated the Midianites because of their own strength but to know that it was through God that they were victorious. And so, the process of choosing the 300 people began.
Choosing the Three Hundred
To begin with the selection of the people who will be part of his army, God told Gideon to announce to the people that whoever trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead. With this command, 22,000 people left leaving 10,000 people in his army.
Even with 22,000 people leaving, God still said there were too many men. Thus, He told Gideon to take the men to the water where God will be sifting them. God said, “Separate those who lap the water with their tongues like a dog from those who kneel down to drink.” (New International Version, Judges 7.5). The 300 men who lapped water with their hands to their mouths were the ones chosen as Gideon’s 300.
Through Gideon and the 300 men, God was able to save the Israelites from the Midianites which brought peace to Israel for 40 years.