Sunday, February 28, 2016

Moses: an example of how God can make our lives extraordinary

Exodus. The story of Moses and the great exit of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. The beginning of the law and their identity as a nation. Moses is one of the most important figures in Judaism and Christianity. He is seen as a great leader but he wasn’t always this way. He was the Hebrew infant was supposed to die but his mother had other ideas and through her actions saved his life. He was found among the reeds by Pharaoh’s daughter and become a prince of Egypt. As an adult he witnessed the brutal treatment of his people. After seeing an Egyptian guard beat a Hebrew man, Moses kills the guard (Exodus 2:11-12). Fearing for his life, Moses would flee to Midian where he would spend many years there. From Moses’ story, we can see the uniqueness of an encounter with God, we can learn from his strengths and weaknesses.

Exodus 3 tells the story of Mosses and his encounter with God through the burning bush. Moses is in the desert tending to his flock when he came to Horeb, the mountain of God when he was led to a burning bush but it not burn up (verses 1-3). As he came closer, he hears a voice calling from inside the bush. Moses answers God and God tells him that He has heard the cries of his people and He will send Moses to lead his people out of Egypt (verses 4-10). An extraordinary experience that causes Moses to ask a very valid question “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (verse 11). What could a simple shepherd do against a king? It’s a question that we were ask ourselves, wouldn’t we? When God calls us, He doesn’t send us alone, just as He doesn’t send Moses alone. Verse 13 says that God tells him that He will go with Moses. The 1998 film The Prince of Egypt created this scene very well. You see Moses’ curiosity, his fear and his doubts as he talks with God. By the end of the encounter, Moses is a changed man with tears streaming down his face.

Moses was a great man and role model in many ways to the Israelites as to us the readers. He was raised in the Pharaoh’s home, he knew he would be get an audience with the current Pharaoh to make God’s demand. He grew up as the grandson of the old Pharaoh (he dies Exodus 2:23). He also lived as a shepherd in the desert. Midian is an area on the other side of the Sinai Peninsula. He knew how to survive in the desert. He’s made the journey across the Sinai desert twice (once when he escaped Egypt and second when he returned). He was also the lawgiver. God entrusts him with the Ten Commandments and the other laws (Exodus 19-23) and well as instructions to build the Tabernacle, God’s place among His people on their journey to the promised land (Exodus 25-31).  

Moses was also a man of flaws too. First, iy is mentioned a few times that he was “slow of speech and tongue” or “speak with faltering lips” (Exodus 4:10, 6:12, 6:30). God was still able to use him to help the Israelites and lead them to the Promised Land. Aaron, Moses’ brother, became his voice when his own voice faltered. Second, he also reacted with anger at the disobedience of the Israelites. In the Exodus, Moses throws down the stone tablets which contain the Ten Commandments when he saw the Israelites worshiping the golden calf (Exodus 32:19-20). His anger would lead to disobedience and lead to Moses unable to set foot in the Promised Land, but that occurs in another book. Either way, Moses’ reactions to situations often got himself in trouble.

The lesson in Moses’ story can help us in our daily lives. We are all called to God in a unique manner. We all encounter Him differently too. My experiences with God may not be the same as yours but they will be powerful to each of us individually. God will use our strengths and even our weaknesses to fulfill His will and His promises. We may not feel we are able to fulfill the task that God has given us. However, with God, we can do anything if we believe and have faith. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend The Prince of Egypt. It is a great telling of Moses’ story and how God used him to deliver His people from slavery. While some elements of the story were changed for dramatic purposes, the essence of the story is there.