The Other Ark (Exodus 2:1-5)

Exodus begins as Genesis opens and closes – the creator God giving His people a lush and abundant land (Goshen). They are fruitful and multiply and fill the land (Gen. 1:28; 47:27; Ex. 1:7). And there is evil. A new king has come to power in Egypt who did not know Joseph. It has been around 400 years. His goal is to stop God’s goodness and blessings in the most evil of ways.

This is when God sets His plan in motion to deliver His people. . . Moses is born.

One of the interesting narratives is of Moses being placed in a papyrus basket (חבה) a floated among the reeds of the crocodile infested Nile River (Ex. 2:3). This basket, or ark, is the same word used of Noah’s ark (חבה). Both are sealed with tar and put in water, but they are slightly different sizes. One is about a yard long and the other 150 yards! Ok, a little more than slight. But the two narratives are intended to be compared. How do we know this? Because it is the ONLY time this Hebrew word is used in Scripture. Even the ark (אדון) of the covenant is a different word.

Noah and Moses’ ark (חבה) represent God’s means of saving humanity.

  • Noah’s ark saved a righteous family to continue the human race and carry on the Messianic line.
  • Moses’ ark saved a man who would eventually save God’s people from Egyptian bondage and preserve the Messianic line.

And did you catch the irony of story of Moses’ ark? The great deliverer of Israel ends up being raised in Pharaoh’s own household! When we see this type of paradox it is to show how Yahweh was doing His work in the world. No matter how chaotic, distressing or evil our lives may be, God is at work.

  • He carried Noah through the chaotic waters to the other side of safety and blessing.
  • He carries Moses through the dangerous waters of the Nile to safety and blessing.

The Messianic line eventually came to completion in the one called Jesus. Now He carries us through the waters to save us from our own chaos, evil and sin… ourselves. This is symbolized in the believers baptism.  Listen to the words of Peter as he brings all of this together.

I Peter 3:18-21, For Christ also suffered for sins/ once for all,/ the righteous for the unrighteous,/ that He might bring you to God,/ after being put to death/ in the fleshly realm/ but made alive in the spiritual realm… He also went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison who in the past were disobedient , when God patiently waited in the days of Noah while an ark was being prepared. In it a few – that is, eight people – were saved through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the pledge of a good conscience toward God) through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  (emphasis mine)

The apostle Paul also used baptism as a symbol of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus (Rom. 6:3-4). When we are baptized the Messiah takes us across the chaotic, sinful and evil waters of our lives and brings us out safely on the other side for a new life! New creation! We are back in the garden in Genesis 1-2. The place were God’s blessings reside and His people walk with Him.

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