Moses – the meekest man who ever lived

The following notes relate to my third in a series titled “the prophets of the Bible” …

Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth” Numbers 12:3

As I youngster I read somewhere: “Moses spent 40 years believing he was a somebody; 40 years learning he was a nobody; 40 years discovering that God can use a nobody”, and it still rings true.

There were four women who were instrumental in saving Moses around the time of his birth:

  1. Miriam (his sister – and later a prophet who along with brother Aaron accompanied Moses in his wilderness journey, although also opposed him and paid the price), who had the quick wit to connect Pharoah’s daughter with Moses mother
  2. Moses’ mother who ensured his survival
  3. Pharoah’s daughter who adopted him as her son
  4. The midwife who feared God

Four books (Exodus, Leviticus Numbers, Deuteronomy) Moses largely features. So many incidents besides the reading we are going to look at, which we can’t get to tonight …

  1. The plagues culminating in the Passover
  2. The crossing of the Red Sea
  3. Various incidents in the wilderness sojourn
  4. The receiving and passing on of the Law
  5. Meeting God on the mountain and having to confront the people who were worshipping the Golden Calf when he came down
  6. The tabernacle and feasts of YHWH
  7. A variety of stories where Moses is a key character

At the end when we read of Moses death (it was God who buried him and no-one knew where his grave was) we read: “Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face” Deuteronomy 34:10. We know him as a great leader of the people and the law giver (e.g. when Jesus conversed with Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration) but he was also a great prophet who prophesied of a prophet to come greater than he, the Lord Jesus Christ.,, “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him“. Deuteronomy 18:15

By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel”. Hebrews 11:23-28. Like Enoch he acted based on faith.

Acts 7:20-42 – in his defense before the Sanhedrin, Stephen referred to Moses several times, making the recurrent link to the hard heartedness of Israel

But our main focus is Moses encounter with God at the ripe age of 80, recorded in Exodus 3:1 – 4:17. Having killed an Egyptian task master, aged 40, while trying to protect his people he had to flee for his life and spent the next 40 years in relative obscurity e.g. looking after Jethro’s (his father in law) sheep.

  1. 3: 1-12 Moses and meeting God at the Burning Bush (it burned but was not consumed)
  2. 3: 13-15 The Name of God is revealed: “I am who I am”
  3. 3: 16-21 Moses is commissioned to be the one to go to Pharoah and to deliver the people
  4. 4:1-9 Signs were given for Moses to use when speaking to Pharoah
  5. 4:10-17 Moses was reluctant throughout the encounter and claimed a speech impediment. Aaron assigned as spokesperson

Three important verses to consider (and there are many more):

We need to spend time in God’s presence (and the results will be astounding): “When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord.  When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him Exodus” 34 29-30

It is always about God and His glory (we are at best unprofitable servants). “Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory. And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.  But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”” Exodus 33:18-21

But God is no respecter of persons. Like his fellow Israelites who disobeyed, Moses would not enter the Promised Land: “But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.” These were the waters of Meribah, where the Israelites quarreled with the Lord and where he was proved holy among them. Numbers 20:12,13


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