Moses is so prominent in Scripture he ranks third behind only David and Jesus with 848 mentions.
Moses is so prominent in Scripture he ranks third behind only David and Jesus with 848 mentions. 3,500 years later, Moses still matters because he made such an impact as:
1. A Leader: He is considered one of the greatest leaders of all time (sacred or secular). As the first national leader of Israel, he was a meek man who led by example (Num. 12:3).
2. A Liberator: God used his unique background as a prince in Egypt and leadership skills to deliver Israel from slavery.
3. A Lawgiver: Moses gave us the Decalogue (Ten Commandments) and the Torah, the basis for many legal systems in the world.
4. An Author: He wrote most of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible which chronicle creation and the first 2,000 years of human history).
5. A Prophet: As one of the greatest prophets, Moses heard God’s voice, spoke His words, worked mighty miracles and appeared with Christ on Mount Transfiguration.
6. A Shepherd: Moses tended Jethro’s sheep for forty years in Midian, then served as Israel’s spiritual shepherd for forty more years.
7. A Friend of God: Moses encountered God at the burning bush and enjoyed a unique relationship with Him, “The Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend” (Ex. 33:11).
8. A Type of Christ: Everything Moses was to Israel, Christ is to us and more—“The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear” (Dt. 18:15).
Moses’ name fittingly means “drawn out of the water.” His mother made a waterproof basket and set it afloat in the river so Pharaoh’s daughter would find him. A church sign read, “Never lose hope, Moses was once a basket case too.” Incidentally, the three arks mentioned in Scripture all deal with preservation:
1. Noah’s ark — preserved Noah’s family, animals and the human race.
2. Moses’ ark — preserved a baby and the future of Israel.
3. God’s ark — preserved God’s covenant and law.
Infanticide was the law of the land for Hebrew male babies. Pharaoh ordered them all thrown into the river to prevent a revolt (Ex. 1:22). However, Amram and Jochebed feared God more than Pharaoh. When Pharaoh’s daughter heard Moses cry, she could have drowned him on the spot. Instead, her heart melted with love and she adopted him as her own. Ironically, she paid Jochebed to nurse her own son (Ex. 2:9) who taught him about the God of Israel. Then she moved Moses into the palace unaware her adopted son would later topple her family’s empire.
Moses’ life is neatly divided into three sections since he lived 120 years (Dt. 34:7):
• 1st 40 years = Pharaoh’s man (pampered in the palace, he thought he was somebody).
• 2nd 40 years = Jethro’s man (tending his sheep, he found out he was a nobody).
• 3rd 40 years = God’s man (he learned God can take a nobody and make a somebody out of them).
Despite his heroism, Moses had human flaws:
• He killed an Egyptian while defending a Hebrew slave—Ex. 2:11-12.
• God nearly killed him for not circumcising his son—Ex. 4:24-26.
• He smashed the two tablets of stone in rage over the golden calf idolatry—Ex. 32:19.
• He angrily struck the rock twice with his rod instead of speaking to it, costing him a trip to Canaan Land—Num. 20:8-12.
• He clashed with Aaron and Miriam over his second marriage—Num. 12:1-15.
• He was often frustrated by Israel’s stubbornness and unbelief.
Moses is the only person God buried (Dt. 34:5-6) for two reasons: 1. To show His personal love and care for him since they shared such a close friendship. 2. To prevent idolatry. Moses was so mightily used by God, the Israelites, who recently came from Egypt where they deified fallen leaders, might have made his body a shrine. In fact, Satan fought Michael the Archangel over Moses’ dead body presumably for that very reason (Ju. 9). Lesson: always worship the God who uses the instrument not the instrument He uses!
Raised as an Egyptian, Moses never forgot his true identity as a Hebrew, evident by five decisions he made by faith (Heb. 11:23-27):
1. He refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. While she spared and adopted him, she was still an idolater and a negative influence he rejected.
2. He suffered with Hebrews instead of sinning with Egyptians. Sin, like a credit card, is fun for a while, but eventually you will pay. Moses joined the oppressed minority rather than the sin-obsessed majority.
3. He valued spiritual things more than Egypt’s treasure. Moses chose what was eternally valuable. Egypt’s gold was no match for God’s glory.
4. He forsook Egypt. He fled to Midian and traded his evil stepfather (Pharaoh) for a godly father-in-law (Jethro, also called Reuel, meaning “friend of God”).
5. He focused on Him Who is invisible. With all the visible glitz, glamor and gold of Egypt at his fingertips, Moses chose to serve the invisible God — Yahweh!
Remember Moses’ excuse when God called him? “O my Lord, I am not eloquent . . . but I am slow of speech” (Ex. 4:10). That seems to contradict Acts 7:22, “Moses . . . was mighty in words and deeds.” When God met him at the burning bush, Moses had been in Midian for forty years. He probably didn’t speak much Egyptian there (if you don’t use it, you lose it). Either his language skills declined, or he developed a speech impediment later in life. Regardless, God’s anointing overcame his limitation.
So, what life lessons do we learn from Moses?
•Our birth status doesn’t determine our destiny.
•Successful mid-life career changes are possible.
•Meekness is not weakness.
•You don’t have to be a tyrant to be a strong leader.
•Divine ability trumps our disability.
•Faithfulness is just as important to God as faith (Num. 12:7).
•If we seek God’s face, we’ll get His glory too (Ex. 34:28-35).
Of all the titles on his business card, the most important is “Moses, the man of God” (Dt. 33:1). His staff rained plagues down on Egypt, his faith opened the Red Sea, his prayers brought manna from heaven and water from a rock, his face glowed with God’s glory, his words are still read and loved by millions, his obedience shook Egypt and saved Israel and his life is still an inspiration to us all.
Ben Godwin is the author of four books and pastors the Goodsprings Full Gospel Church. To read more articles, visit his website at bengodwin.org and take advantage of his 4-book bundle for $25.