God’s Plan for Christmas
Christmas foretold by the Patriarchs
“Grampa said that he was going to talk to us about Moses tonight,” said Jon as he set out the mugs for their hot chocolate. “I was trying to remember everything I knew about Moses and couldn’t quite figure out how he was like Jesus.”
Sue pulled a bag of marshmallows out of the cupboard, cocked her head to one side, and responded, “I think it might be how he led the Children of Israel out of their slavery and took them to the promised land.”
“Yeah, that’s probably it, but Moses lived for, like a really long time. Didn’t he? And Jesus was only around for about thirty years.”
“I’m not sure how that fits into the story. I guess we’ll have to wait for Grampa to tell it.”
“Yeah, let’s finish getting the treats ready and hear what he has to say. He always seems to surprise me with his stories.”
“Yeah, me too.”
* * *
If everyone is settled, let’s get started. Tonight, our story comes from the first part of the book of Exodus. I wanted to talk about Moses because he was the next in the line of what we call the Patriarchs. That means that he was one of the fathers or main leaders of the Jewish faith. Moses was born at a time when things were getting really bad for the descendants of Jacob in Egypt. They had grown so large in number that they Egyptians were afraid of them, so they forced them into slavery. They were making them build the great cities of the land and even forcing them to make their own bricks for the buildings. They had gone from honored guests to despised slaves in just 400 years. Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, even tried to keep them from having any more boy children and ordered the women helping the Hebrew women give birth to kill the boy children and only let the girls live. But, the Bible tells us that the midwives feared God and disobeyed.
Moses was born at this time to a couple from the tribe of Levi, and you might remember the story of how he was put into a basket of reeds and floated down the Nile River where he was found and adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter. He was raised like a prince in the royal household until one day when he went out to visit his own people and killed an Egyptian that was beating one of the Hebrew slaves. He ended up having to run away to the land of Midian. He was about forty years old when he runs away, and during the next forty years, he marries and has some children and becomes a shepherd. All that works out well for Moses, but his people are still suffering. They cried out to God, and he heard their prayers. At the right time, he chose to act. He called Moses.
God’s call of Moses is interesting because he uses a burning bush that wasn’t being burned up. That must have really caught Moses attention and amazed him, but God really got his attention when he spoke to Moses out of the middle of the bush and called him by name. You can read all about the details of this in Exodus chapter three. But, in the end, Moses returns to Egypt and, together with his brother Aaron, deal with Pharaoh and demand that the Children of Israel be let go. After a great deal of haggling and God inflicting the Egyptians with ten different plagues, the people were allowed to leave.
Moses led them through the desert, across the Red Sea, and into the wilderness to a place called Mount Sinai. It was there that God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, and most importantly to our point tonight, God allowed Moses to see him face to face. That is where Jesus is like Moses. In the book of Deuteronomy chapter 18, verses 15 it says this:
“Moses continued, “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your fellow Israelites.”
You see, the people were afraid of the voice of God thundering down from the mountain in the midst of lightning and thunder. They thought that God might just kill all of them. But, God, in his tender mercy and love says this in verse 18: “Then the LORD said to me, ‘What they have said is right. I will raise up a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites. I will put My words in his mouth, and he will tell the people everything I command him.’”
This is his promise directly to the Children of Israel that he would send Jesus. Jesus knew the Father face to face like Moses did and would speak all the words that the Father commanded him to say. In the Gospel of John 12:49, Jesus says very clearly that “I don’t speak on My own authority. The Father who sent Me has commanded Me what to say and how to say it.” Jesus says here exactly the same thing that Moses predicted he would say and do.
* * *
Grampa took a big drink from his hot chocolate and said, “So, can you see how God revealed Jesus in the life of Moses and predicted or foretold the promise of Christmas?”
Jon, sat there with his mouth open and moving but no words were coming out.
Sue reached over and pushed his chin up to close his mouth and said, “I think what Jon is trying to say is wow! It is more than amazing how not only planned it all out but also brought it to pass.”
Stanley was sitting quietly and finally just said, “Can I have the last cookie?”
Well, if we were detectives looking for clues to tell us how much God loves us. I think that we are beginning to build up a lot of evidence that he loves us all very much. Who else would go to so much trouble to organize all of history to bring us just the perfect Christmas present?
In Acts 3:22, Peter shows us that he understood it and tells us these words of wisdom: “Moses said, ‘The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from among your own people. Listen carefully to everything He tells you.’”