Poet Emily Dickinson compared hope to a bird:
“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.”
Even in the midst of great hardship, Dickinson suggests, hope will provide warmth and comfort.
Exodus 2 marks the birth of hope for the Israelites, and it begins with a tiny baby hidden in a basket. Baby Moses would grow up to become God’s chosen deliverer. If Pharaoh had had his way, Moses would not have lived much past birth. But he survived thanks to the courage of his parents and sister, Miriam, who hid him in the small basket and sent him down the Nile River. God guided the basket into the hands of an Egyptian princess who not only adopted Moses but, ironically, hired his real mother to take care of him (vv. 8–10). The deliverance of the deliverer sets the tone for the rest of the book!
Then the narrative takes an unexpected turn. Moses, age 40, murdered an Egyptian overseer. As the news spread, Moses fled for his life and ended up in Midian, living as a desert shepherd with a wife and family. Interestingly, his extended family included a father-in-law named Reuel, meaning “friend of God.” (Jethro was apparently a title, not a personal name.) Moses’ sense of exile is seen in the naming of his son, Gershom, when he commented, “I have become a foreigner in a foreign land” (v. 22). When would God’s people be free? The time of deliverance had nearly arrived. The chosen deliverer was alive and safe. “God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob” (v. 24). The stage was set.
What did you learn about God from today’s reading? This is an excellent question to ask whenever you read Scripture. After all, God’s Word is in the end a revelation of Himself. Today we learned that God is in control. We also learn that while His timing is not ours, He makes and keeps promises and hears prayers.