When it comes to Old Testament heroes, arguably the greatest of all is Moses. Of all the great men and women of the Old Testament, few could put together a resume comparable to that of Moses. Moses set the standard for leadership, delivered the law that ruled God’s people until the time of Christ, wrote at least five Old Testament books, and worked some of the greatest miracles recorded in the entire Bible. More importantly, Moses had a relationship with God that is nearly unparalleled by other Old Testament characters. Truly, Moses is one of the greatest characters we can learn from in all of the Bible.
The story of Moses’ life is amazing in and of itself. He was raised by Pharaoh’s daughter in a time that his people were enslaved by the Egyptians. At the age of 40, Moses was forced to flee Egypt after killing an Egyptian for beating an Israelite. In the land of Midian, Moses was called by God to return to Egypt to free the Israelites. God wrought ten devastating plagues on Egypt, until finally Pharaoh released the nation.
Moses led the nation to Mount Sinai, where he was given the Ten Commandments as well as the rest of the law that would govern God’s people until the formation of the Church. After the law was given, proper worship was instituted, and the tabernacle was built, Moses led the nation to Kadesh-Barnea where they were to begin the conquest of the Promised Land. Due to the nation’s rebellion at Kadesh however, the Israelites were cursed to wander the wilderness for 40 years, until all the fighting men over the age of 20 had died.
On one occasion during the years of wandering, Moses struck a rock to bring forth water instead of speaking to it as God commanded. Because Moses failed in that instance to hallow God before the nation, Moses was barred from the Promised Land himself. He continued to lead the nation, until the 40 years was completed, and the old generation had all passed away. Then, from the plains of Moab, Moses retold the Law to the new generation as they prepared to begin their conquest of Canaan. Finally, at the age of 120 years, Moses went to the top of Mount Nebo, where he was shown the Promised Land by God before passing away.
Countless lessons can be gleaned from the life of Moses. First of all, Moses shows us that anyone can be a successful worker for God. When God called Moses in Exodus 3, Moses was unwilling to go, and felt unqualified for the job God required of him. Once he listened to God though, and followed God’s instruction, Moses became the greatest leader in Israelite history! Moses teaches us that no matter what we think of our own abilities, we can be successful in working for God if we will follow His instruction.
Secondly, Moses teaches us what it means to be a true leader. Other than Jesus, perhaps there is no character that truly defines leadership better than Moses. Moses lead an entire nation out of slavery and to the borders of the Promised Land. More impressively, he did so with one of the most difficult nations of people imaginable. For all his effort and hard work, Moses usually received nothing but complaining and rebellion. At times the nation wanted to stone Moses; at times they wanted to leave Moses and return to Egypt; and at one point his own brother challenged him. Yet through all of the hardships Moses faced as a leader, he continued to do his job. It would have been easy for Moses to give up on the nation; they had given up on him multiple times. But he never did. He continued to lead as he knew he should, until the nation arrived at the banks of Jordan, ready to enter the Promised Land. Today, leaders face hardships and struggles, and often their hard work is met with complaints by the people they are trying to help and lead. It is a temptation to give up on the work and give up on people, but leaders must remember the example of Moses, and stay true to God and stay true to their duties as a leader of His people. While their efforts may not always be appreciated, they will be instrumental in guiding God’s people to the true Promised Land.
As a leader, Moses teaches us the great lesson of love. Moses wasn’t only patient with the nation he lead, he truly loved them. In fact, on at least two occasions, the nation outraged God to such a degree that He was ready to wipe them out and start over with Moses. Both times however, Moses intervened, and pleaded for the people. After all they had done, and after all of the mistreatment towards Moses, his goal was still to get the nation to the Promised Land. Leaders today need to have attitudes of love towards those they lead like Moses had towards the nation of Israel.
Lastly, an unfortunate lesson that Moses teaches us, is that even the greatest of men can fail. In Numbers 20, Moses struck a rock, and in a sense took the credit for the water that came forth, instead of hallowing God and speaking to the rock as he had been commanded. For his mistake, Moses was barred from the Promised Land. After putting up with all that Moses had put up with for nearly 40 years, he wasn’t even allowed to enjoy the Promised Land himself. When Moses died, he was shown the Promised Land from a mountain in Moab, but he never tasted the land’s fruit, enjoyed the lands milk and honey, or rested in a home in the Promised Land. All Christians should take note; if Moses could fail and face such great consequences, so can we.
So many lessons can be gleaned from the life of Moses. All Christians today should read and study this great man’s life, to strengthen them on their journey to the Promised Land.
Article By Nate Bibens