Moses

<<OT leader of the Israelites>>

God used him to bring the Hebrews out of Egypt, and within reach of the Promised Land.  He had an older brother Aaron and sister Miriam. He is known as the “lawgiver” – the OT laws were relayed from God, via Moses, to the people, and he is attributed the authorship of the first five books (Gen to Deut, also called the Pentateuch). Under his leadership the Israelite tribes became more unified as a nation and the tabernacle and sacrifice system introduced. Moses’ writings, especially Deuteronomy, are really a diary of God’s faithfulness, His dealings with His people and the rules by which they were to live, with a call for commitment (Deut 30:19,20).  We too need reminders of God’s involvement in our lives, the lessons we have learnt, the victories and miracles we have experienced, together with insights about how we are to live for Him, to cause us to be fully committed to Him.  

Moses lived 120 years.  The first 40 years were spent thinking he was ‘somebody’ as a prince in the Egyptian palace.  The next 40 years he was learning he was ‘nobody’, minding sheep in the desert.  For the last 40 years he was letting God use him to bring the Israelites out of bondage and through the wilderness. God delights to use those who are nobodies to do things of significance in His Kingdom. He lived about 1526 to 1406 BC. 

His story is told in the OT – from Exodus to Deuteronomy – and is mentioned in Acts 7 and Hebrews 11. 

Lessons from his life: * Although he was a Hebrew he was rescued from death and brought up by the ruling Egyptian’s daughter (Ex 1:11-2:10). The Egyptians used the Hebrews as slaves and Moses (the future liberator) was protected and educated by them and would eventually bring God’s people out of this bondage. God has a way of bringing about the most unlikely conclusions from life’s circumstances for His purposes. What are the situations in my life that God has engineered, bringing a very different result to what would be expected by looking at the facts merely from our perspective? Spend time thanking Him for His providence.

* Emotions played a significant part in his life initially.  When the Egyptian guard knocked a Hebrew to the ground Moses over-reacted and his response ended in murder (Ex 2:11,12).  During the remainder of his life, he learned to react and act more maturely, although through frustration he disqualified himself from entering the Promised Land because of disobedience (Num 20:2-12). He saw from afar but did not enter into the promised blessing. Do emotions get out-of-hand in my life?  If so, what am I doing about it? Beware they don’t flare up and cause long term consequences.

* He didn’t consider himself able to do the important task God said he was to do (Ex 3:10,11, 4:10-13).  God repeatedly tried to reason with Moses, saying that He would help, but Moses insisted, “I can’t”.  Look beyond your own limited capabilities and resources, getting a vision of what God wants to do through you.  We limit God by focusing on our own inadequacies.  With any God-given assignment, the task will be beyond us in our own strength but we are not expected to function independently of God’s mighty power – He wants us to be available ‘as instruments’ in His hands, ‘vessels’ through whom He can flow.

* The first encounter with Pharaoh was a setback (as were many more confrontations), resulting in an increased workload for the captives (Ex 5:1-23. Obedience to follow God’s instructions doesn’t necessarily mean less problems, no hardships or quicker results but often setbacks and increased opposition come from those who stand against His purposes. Moses complained to God. We too must bring our questions to God, but be determined to remain faithful to His calling. 

* He persistently confronted Pharaoh.  For a time even the Israelites who had initially rejoiced in the plan, were not convinced and were opposed to him when things didn’t eventuate immediately (Ex 4:31, 5:21, 6:9,12).  Although a good leader listens to their followers and considers their viewpoint, if God has clearly spoken, it is essential for the leader to remain on course, focused, and obedient to the heavenly calling to see breakthrough come (Ex 7:1-6).

* Moses was optimistic God would deliver the Israelites. However, there had to be continual human involvement too – “quit praying and start acting” (Ex 14:13-15). Seeking guidance should be the first step but never is it the only requirement expected of us. There must be action, obediently doing what we have been instructed to do. 

* He was a mediator and reconciler between God and about 2.5 million people.  Rather than make a name for himself, he wanted God to be glorified and was viewed as the most humble man on earth (Num 12:1-3). It was not an easy position as sometimes he was caught in the middle; ridiculed by the people and with God voicing His displeasure because of the people’s sin (Ex 16:28,29, 17:1-4, 32:10-14; Num 14:11-20).  He maintained strong leadership yet was ready to accept verbal accusations without resentment or recrimination, just as Jesus did not retaliate or try to vindicate Himself (1 Pet 2:23). Am I able to withstand unfounded attacks against my character or do I seek to justify myself or allow self-pity to take over?

* Initially, Moses tried to do everything himself until a better approach was shown to him (Ex 18:13-26).  No one person, organisation, or church has the whole truth or can do it all. After God told him he would not be leading the Israelites into the Promised Land Moses was concerned that a new leader would be found to care for the people (Num 27:15-23). The ability to impart vision, delegate, train up future leaders and helpers, together with networking among others, are marks of a good leader. No one of us is indispensable. Don’t try to carry the whole burden alone, but delegate and gather others around you who have a similar passion and can shoulder some of the responsibility, so you do not become burnt out.

* The Lord knew him face to face and worked mighty wonders through him (Deut 34:10-12). There is a price to pay to know Him closely, but the joy and intimacy is amazing. Is my relationship with the Lord becoming more intimate or do I only know Him ‘from a distance’?

See also: Aaron, burn out, commandments, delegate, Egypt, exodus, Exodus (Ex), Hebrews, Joshua, law, leaders/leadership, tabernacle, wilderness wanderings.


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