Hundreds of years ago God needed a leader for a very special purpose. He sent a baby into the world and called him Moses. His father’s name was Amram, the grandson of Levi. His mother’s name was Jochebed; her name is only mentioned twice in the Bible Exodus 6:20 and Numbers 26:59. Jochebed was Amrams aunt as noted in Exodus 6:20. Moses was the youngest of three children born to Amram by Jochebed. He had a sister named Miriam who was a prophetess, and a brother named Aaron who was the first priest in the Levitical priesthood.
God sent the children of Israel into Egypt in the days of Joseph. They multiplied and filled the land, and the Lord gave the children of Israel favor under the Kingship of Joseph. In time Joseph died and the King that knew Joseph died, and a new King arose, which knew not Joseph. The children of Israel became a threat to the new King of Egypt, and he worried that they would become mightier than the Egyptians. Pharaoh set hard taskmasters over the children of Israel; however, the harder the taskmaster were, the more the children of Israel multiplied.
Pharaoh commanded that the midwives kill every male child born to the women of Israel; however, the midwives feared God and did not obey Pharaoh’s command. Because the midwives feared God, God’s favor was upon them and he made them houses. Pharaoh then charged that every male child be cast into the Nile River. Moses’ mother recognized that he was a goodly child, and built an ark made of bulrushes to save her son. She placed Moses in the very river that was meant to kill him and Moses’ sister stood afar off to watch what would happen.
Pharaoh’s daughter was bathing herself and saw the ark, and sent her maidens to fetch it. When she opened it and saw baby Moses weeping, her heart filled with compassion. She recognized he was a Hebrew child; however, by this time Miriam was close enough to the daughter of Pharaoh to speak to her, she said, “shall I go and get a Hebrew woman to nurse the child?” Pharaoh’s daughter sent her, and she went and got the child’s mother. It’s wonderful how God allowed Jochebed to nurse her own child so that special bond between mother and child could be formed.
Moses grew, and his mother gave him back to Pharaoh’s daughter, and it was then that she named him Moses, which means “drawn out”. God knew this special leader needed a royal mentality, so he allowed him to be reared in the house of Pharaoh for forty years.
As Moses grew older, God began to draw him to his Hebrew brothers. He went out and saw the heavy burdens the Egyptian’s put upon them, and he also saw an Egyptian hitting one of his Hebrew brothers. This angered Moses, and he killed the Egyptian. He felt certain no one saw him; however, when he went out the second day, he saw two men of the Hebrews that strove together, and confronted them about their actions. The two men in return confronted Moses about the Egyptian he killed and hid in the sand. This caused fear to come upon Moses, and he fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian. Moses’ reaction toward the two men only proved that he was not ready to lead God’s people.
God placed Moses on the backside of a desert for forty years as a shepherd where he married a woman by the name of Zipporah and she bore him a son and named him Gershom. While Moses led the flock of his father in law, God was training him to become the great leader he needed to lead his people out of bondage in Egypt.
Finally the call of Moses came from God when he came to the mountain of God, Mount Horeb. The Bible tells us in Exodus 3:2, And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. This got Moses’ attention as he looked to see why the bush was not burned. The Lord spoke to Moses out of the burning bush, and told him to take off his shoes, for the place where he stood was holy ground, and went on to say that he was the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. One could only imagine how Moses must have felt at that moment with the holiness of God all around him, and God himself speaking to him out of the burning bush.
After eighty years of God building leadership in Moses, it was time for Moses to return to Egypt to get God’s people out of bondage. God desired to bring his people into a land good and large, and a land flowing with milk and honey. The emotions Moses must have felt at that moment, “who am I God, that I should go to Egypt to get your people?” He questioned what shall, I say to the Hebrews? Or who shall I say sent me? The Lord said he was to say I AM hath sent you.
The Lord spoke to Moses, and said, “I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in the midst thereof; and after that he will let you go” as noted in Exodus 3:20. Our human mind is always reasoning with God; Moses’ reasoning was they would not believe him.
God replied, what is in thy hand? Moses said a rod, and God used Moses’ rod to reveal his power to him. When Moses cast the rod on the ground it became a serpent, and the human emotion of fear came over Moses, and he fled from the serpent. God spoke to Moses, and told him to take it by the tail. One can only imagine how Moses’ heart must have felt at that moment, and the faith it took to obey God’s command.
God then asked Moses to put his hand into his bosom; he did and when he pulled it out it was leprous as snow. God asked him to put it into his bosom again, and when he did it was turned back to normal. One must not forget this was all part of building leadership in Moses.
However, Moses objected to God’s call, and claimed not to be an eloquent speaker. This angered the Lord, but he agreed to use Moses’ brother Aaron as a spokesman. The Lord spoke to Aaron to go and meet his brother in the wilderness on the mount of God.
Moses and Aaron started on their journey to deliver God’s people from the land of Egypt. I would have loved to have been there to hear their conversation, because years had gone by since they had last seen each other. Now they are about to face a challenge many of us as leaders today would not dare try to conquer.
Moses’ first challenge as a leader was his confrontation with Pharaoh when he requested that Pharaoh let the Hebrew children go to hold a feast in the wilderness to their God. When Pharaoh refused, Moses warned him that God would send the pestilence and sword upon the land of Egypt. God however, hardened the heart of Pharaoh so that Moses would be exalted as a leader for the Hebrews, and the power of God could be demonstrated to Pharaoh.
The leadership of Moses was further developed over a period of time as God brought the plagues upon the land of Egypt. Initially, God used Aaron’s ability for leadership to enhance the leadership in Moses. Aaron demonstrated God’s power by casting his rod on the ground to become a serpent, stretching his rod over the waters for frogs, and smiting the dust of the earth for lice.
By this time, Moses’ courage was built so he could speak for flies, for murrain to kill the animals, and sprinkle ashes toward heaven for boils upon the people. Moses eventually became confident enough to speak for God to bring thick darkness upon the land of Egypt. Finally, God brought the death of the first born to cause Pharaoh to send the Hebrew children out of Egypt.
Now Moses was faced with the great task of leading God’s chosen people to the promise land. His first test of leadership came quickly as the children of Israel faced the Red Sea with Pharaoh’s army behind them. Moses obeyed God’s commanded, and stretched forth his rod over the waters, and God parted the waters for the Hebrew children to cross through on dry land. Moses then followed God’s commands taking forty years to lead the Hebrew children to the promise land.
In closing, God then raised Joshua out of Moses’ leadership to take them into the promise land. Moses’ life is one great example of how God can build a leader for his kingdom.
Until Next Time,
Pastor Melinda (Mindy)