I am enjoying reading through the Exodus story. I love how it just comes to life. There are so many lessons Moses’ life shows us - from his commissioning to fulfilling that calling.
Of the many qualities Moses had, courage may not be one that initially springs to mind. Moses had to face many insecurities and fears when God told him to go back to Egypt, where those fears haunted him. God would build, brick by brick, a foundation of faith and courage by teaching Moses important lessons along the way.
Initially, Moses had little faith in his own abilities. God’s presence drew Moses in at the burning bush and Moses’ answer seems incredible due to God’s awesome appearance. God’s command to free His people from slavery must have been extremely frightening.
“And Moses answered, “Master, please I don’t talk well...I stutter and stammer.” Exodus 4:10 MSG Basically, he gave God every excuse in the book about how Pharaoh would never listen to him. God told him exactly how He would work through him and his brother, Aaron.
Every time God told Moses what to do, Moses questioned, “But who am I that You would choose me?” God continually had to reassure him that He would be with him. God even said He would perform many miracles through him to serve as a sign for the people that God had sent him.
“God said to Moses, “When you get back to Egypt, be prepared: All the wonders that I will do through you, you’ll do before Pharaoh. But I will make him stubborn so that he will refuse to let the people go. Then you are to tell Pharaoh, ‘God’s Message: Israel is my son, my firstborn! I told you, “Free my son so that he can serve Me.” But you refused to free him. So now I’m going to kill your son, your firstborn.’”” Exodus 4:21-23 MSG
God’s promise that He would be with Moses, gave him courage throughout the journey.
Hebrews 13:20- “May the God of peace...equip you with everything good that you may do His will, working in us…”
How very true.
In Exodus 4, Moses mentioned to God two times that He was not a good speaker. He said he had never been able to speak well. He even went to the extent to say that it hadn't changed even though God had started talking to him! He used the excuse of speaking slowly and not using the best words. God answered Moses with a series of questions; "Who made a person's mouth? And who can make someone deaf or not able to speak? Who can make a person blind? Who can make a person able to see? ---- I am the one.
“God equips the called.”
As Moses took each step of faith, God showed His faithfulness and power to Moses which would build the bravery he would need to continue to the next step.
It was a gradual construction of bravery…
There is something odd mentioned in chapter 4 verses 24-26. It said that on the journey back to Egypt, Moses and his whole family camped for the night. God came and would have killed Moses if his wife Zipporah hadn’t stepped in and quickly circumcised their son.
Now, that little bit of information seems strange. Why would God have commissioned Moses to begin this great rescue of His people and then threaten to kill him?
Well, commentaries say that Moses obeyed God’s command in circumcising their firstborn but this was their second son and for whatever reason, he had not obeyed this time. It is possible Zipporah had some responsibility in this because she seemed disgusted by the need to do so in her reaction.
Another brick...this time the lesson: obey God quickly and He will bless your efforts, increasing your courage to continue.
Then more bricks - Moses’ bravery grew as he and Aaron rounded up all the leaders of Israel and told them everything God had said. They demonstrated the wonders before the people and the people trusted and listened, believing that God was concerned with what was happening to them. It showed them that God saw their affliction and then they bowed low and worshiped.
“God continued speaking to Moses, reassuring him, “I am GOD. I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as The Strong God, but by my name GOD (I-Am-Present) I was not known to them. I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, the country in which they lived as sojourners. But now I’ve heard the groanings of the Israelites whom the Egyptians continue to enslave and I’ve remembered my covenant. Therefore tell the Israelites:
God continued speaking to Moses, reassuring him, “I am GOD. I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as The Strong God, but by my name GOD (I-Am-Present) I was not known to them. I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, the country in which they lived as sojourners. But now I’ve heard the groanings of the Israelites whom the Egyptians continue to enslave and I’ve remembered my covenant. Therefore tell the Israelites: “I am GOD. I will bring you out from under the cruel hard labor of Egypt. I will rescue you from slavery. I will redeem you, intervening with great acts of judgment. I’ll take you as my own people and I’ll be God to you. You’ll know that I am GOD, your God who brings you out from under the cruel hard labor of Egypt. I’ll bring you into the land that I promised to give Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and give it to you as your own country. I AM GOD. ” Exodus 6:2-6 MSG
The lesson: God is faithful to His promises.
Of course, the most popular story is how God brought each plague against Pharaoh. God protected them as they watched Him decimate their enemies. In turn, Moses’ displays of God’s power inspired the Jews to bravely follow his lead. Each plague had meaning to the Egyptians. And after the last plague, every firstborn of Egypt human and animal...God showed how powerful He truly is.
Another faith-building brick. This time, the lesson learned was God is all-powerful.
So, by the time God leads the people out of Egypt to the epic parting of the Red Sea, it’s little wonder that Moses’ answer to the people is, “Don’t be afraid. Stand firm and watch God do His work of salvation for you today.” Exodus 14:13
All along his journey, God was building a firm foundation of faith by showing Himself strong to Moses. The lessons learned led to the amazing display of Moses’ faith in God that He would miraculously save them.
And He did. But the story didn't end at the Red Sea. We also know God walked with Moses, leading the people through the wilderness for 40 years. Remember that Moses was unable to enter the promised land because he broke faith with God in the presence of the Israelites at the waters of Meribah Kadesh. (Numbers 20). Moses disobeyed a direct command from God when He told him to speak to the rock to bring forth water and instead, Moses struck the rock with his staff. He relied on force instead of simply obeying God and trusting He would be true to His promise.
Let us take these courage-building lessons to heart that Moses teaches us. May we learn them well.
Rest-assured God will be with you.
Know He will equip you.
Believe God is faithful to His promises.
Trust He will work His power through you.