20 “At that time Moses was born—a beautiful child in God’s eyes. His parents cared for him at home for three months.21 When they had to abandon him, Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him and raised him as her own son.22 Moses was taught all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was powerful in both speech and action.
23 “One day when Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his relatives, the people of Israel.24 He saw an Egyptian mistreating an Israelite. So Moses came to the man’s defense and avenged him, killing the Egyptian.25 Moses assumed his fellow Israelites would realize that God had sent him to rescue them, but they didn’t.
26 “The next day he visited them again and saw two men of Israel fighting. He tried to be a peacemaker. ‘Men,’ he said, ‘you are brothers. Why are you fighting each other?’
27 “But the man in the wrong pushed Moses aside. ‘Who made you a ruler and judge over us?’ he asked.28 ‘Are you going to kill me as you killed that Egyptian yesterday?’29 When Moses heard that, he fled the country and lived as a foreigner in the land of Midian. There his two sons were born.
30 “Forty years later, in the desert near Mount Sinai, an angel appeared to Moses in the flame of a burning bush.31 When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight. As he went to take a closer look, the voice of the Lord called out to him,32 ‘I am the God of your ancestors—the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.’ Moses shook with terror and did not dare to look.
33 “Then the Lord said to him, ‘Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground.34 I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their groans and have come down to rescue them. Now go, for I am sending you back to Egypt.’[a]
35 “So God sent back the same man his people had previously rejected when they demanded, ‘Who made you a ruler and judge over us?’ Through the angel who appeared to him in the burning bush, God sent Moses to be their ruler and savior.36 And by means of many wonders and miraculous signs, he led them out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, and through the wilderness for forty years.
37 “Moses himself told the people of Israel, ‘God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from among your own people.’[b]38 Moses was with our ancestors, the assembly of God’s people in the wilderness, when the angel spoke to him at Mount Sinai. And there Moses received life-giving words to pass on to us.[c]
39 “But our ancestors refused to listen to Moses. They rejected him and wanted to return to Egypt.40 They told Aaron, ‘Make us some gods who can lead us, for we don’t know what has become of this Moses, who brought us out of Egypt.’41 So they made an idol shaped like a calf, and they sacrificed to it and celebrated over this thing they had made.42 Then God turned away from them and abandoned them to serve the stars of heaven as their gods! In the book of the prophets it is written,
‘Was it to me you were bringing sacrifices and offerings during those forty years in the wilderness, Israel? 43 No, you carried your pagan gods— the shrine of Molech, the star of your god Rephan, and the images you made to worship them. So I will send you into exile as far away as Babylon.’[d]
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