Moses’ Flight

The Bible in Art: Moses’ Flight 

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Verses for Consideration: Exodus 2:11-15

11 One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. 12 Looking this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. 13 The next day he went out and saw two Hebrews fighting. He asked the one in the wrong, “Why are you hitting your fellow Hebrew?”

14 The man said, “Who made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid and thought, “What I did must have become known.”

15 When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian, where he sat down by a well. 16 Now a priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came to draw water and fill the troughs to water their father’s flock. 17 Some shepherds came along and drove them away, but Moses got up and came to their rescue and watered their flock.



Have you ever seen something terrible happening in the world around you and wished with all your heart that you could do something about it? Then you can imagine how Moses must have felt. Although he had been raised with all the advantages of Egyptian royalty, he “refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.” The Holy Spirit tells us that Moses “regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward” (Hebrews 11:24-26).

Moses looked forward to his reward in heaven. He was willing to put his life on the line if that’s what being a faithful follower of the Lord meant. He knew he was the one to deliver the Israelites, and on this occasion it seemed as if the time was right to rally the Israelites and lead them back to the Promised Land. Moses saw an Egyptian slave master beating one of his fellow Hebrews. “So he went to his defense and avenged him by killing the Egyptian. Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not” (Acts 7:24,25).

How easy it is to let our emotions carry us away! We may have the desire to do God’s will and see a door of opportunity open. Perhaps the Lord will bless our efforts. But perhaps he will help us in a different way and at a different time than we think he should.

With Moses we too must learn to “wait for the LORD” (Psalm 37:34). Waiting is the most difficult task for any soldier. But soldiers of the cross must follow the Lord’s will, which he will make known to them at the proper time.

The next time you grow impatient, remember Moses, who had to wait 40 years for the Lord to call him to do what he had wanted to do many years before. He learned patience and trust-which is why the Lord makes us wait also.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to defer to your will and timing. When I become impatient, give me the strength to wait on you. Amen.


Title: The Trials of Moses (1481-82) 

Artist: Sandro Botticelli

Wikipedia Description: The fresco shows several episodes of Moses’ youth, taken from Exodus. It parallels the fresco on the opposite wall, also by Botticelli, which depicts the Temptations of Jesus.


On the right is Moses killing the Egyptian who had harassed a Jew, and fleeing to the desert (a parallel with the episode of Jesus defeating the Devil). In the next episode Moses fights the shepherds who were preventing Jethro‘s daughters (including his future wife, Zipporah) to water their cattle at the pit, and then takes the water for them. In the third scene, in the upper left corner, Moses removes his shoes and then receives from God the task to return to Egypt and free his people. Finally, in the lower left corner, he drives the Jews to the Promised Land.


Moses is always distinguishable in the scenes by his yellow dress and the green cloak.