When Moses was born the Israelites were enslaved to the Egyptians. Despite Pharaoh's orders to kill all the Hebrew male babies, "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" (Hebrews 11:23).* They provided Moses' earliest example of steadfast faith and God's faithfulness.
Moses' Faith Established His Identity
Although Moses grew up in Pharaoh's court, as Pharaoh's adopted grandson, he rejected that identity. Instead, because of his faith in God, he chose to be known as a Hebrew, even though it meant being mistreated along with the people of God. He chose to serve God, rather than to "enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time" (Hebrews 11:25). He turned his back on all the treasures of Egypt, renouncing his high position, and abandoning a privileged and promising future.
Moses' Faith Made Him Lead
Although Moses was weak in his own strength--as demonstrated by his reluctance to lead--he ultimately obeyed, enabling God to manifest His strength through him. By faith, Moses learned what other great people of God have also learned: "When I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Corinthians 12:10). God's power shows up best in weak people who trust in Him and obey.
Moses' Faith Made Him Persevere
In obedience to God's command, Moses went before Pharaoh and asked him to release the Israelites, so they could go into the desert for three days to worship God (Exodus 5:3). Pharaoh not only refused, but also commanded the Egyptian slave drivers to make life even more difficult and painful for the Hebrew slaves. Because of this, the Israelites became angry with Moses!
Many leaders would have given up at that point. But Moses persevered. Although he had to appear before Pharaoh again and again, he faithfully obeyed God's commands, and God ultimately brought about the complete deliverance of the Israelites.
Moses' Faith Caused Him to Intercede
Leading hundreds of thousands of complaining people through the wilderness would have taxed the strongest leader's patience. The people repeatedly forgot (or ignored) God's miracles of provision and deliverance. They habitually doubted God's faithfulness and questioned His goodness. They even accused Moses of bringing them out into the desert so they could die!
When the 12 Israelites returned from exploring the land of Canaan, the people refused to believe that God would help them defeat the Canaanites. Even though God had performed miracle after miracle, they chose not to enter the Promised Land. They talked of choosing a new leader and of stoning Moses and Aaron (Numbers 14:10).
Finally, the Lord told Moses, "I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them, but I will make you into a nation greater and stronger than they" (Numbers 14:12).
How did Moses respond? He interceded on behalf of those unbelieving people. He prayed, "In accordance with your great love, forgive the sin of these people, just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now" (14:19).
Moses' Faith Enabled Him to Accept God's Will
When the Israelites arrived at the Desert of Zin, they found no water to drink. Once again, they quarreled with Moses and blamed him for the situation. God told Moses, "Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water" (Numbers 20:8).
Moses and Aaron gathered the people together in front of the rock, and Moses said, "Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?" (20:10). Then Moses struck the rock twice with his staff, and water gushed out.
Because Moses had struck the rock in disobedience to the Lord, God told him that he would not be allowed to enter the Promised Land. Moses' trust in God's righteousness and justice enabled him to accept this decision and continue to lead and encourage the people. He trained Joshua as his successor and assured him that God would be with him. "The Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you" (Deuteronomy 31:6).
Moses' Faith Demonstrated God's Faithfulness
Moses' example of faithfulness to God and to God's people is a beautiful picture of God's faithfulness to His erring children. Before Moses died, he reminded the people that God himself would go ahead of them into the Promised Land and destroy the nations, so the Israelites could take possession of the land (Deuteronomy 31:3).
When we trust Jesus as our Savior, He gives us a new identity. We become children of the Most High God, joint-heirs with Christ. None of us possesses the strength to live a faithful, committed life; however, when we rely on the Holy Spirit, He will enable us to continue to follow God and grow in our relationship with Him.
As we obey and allow God to work within us, He will give us the grace to persevere in spite of adverse circumstances. He will also develop within us a heart of compassion and mercy, so that we can intercede for others, including our enemies.
When God says no to our carefully crafted plan or some desired outcome, if we are willing to trust His faithfulness, He will strengthen our faith in Him. Although He may never explain His "no," we can be certain that His love motivates every decision.
If we allow God to do so, He will continue to use us to demonstrate His faithfulness and love to others, just as He used Moses to demonstrate His faithfulness to the Israelites.
© by Nancy A. Stevens
* All Scripture verses are from the Holy Bible, New International Version®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.