Moses: Man of Character and Grit
Life is difficult. Whether it is trials that come our way, or a self-imposed fight to better ourselves or our situation, life is difficult. These difficulties ebb and flow, and most of the time they seem to smack us when we aren’t prepared. They throw us off our trajectory. Currently, we are going through one of those seasons. Some of us are dealing with sickness. Many are facing being laid off. Some may be losing their jobs. Some may just be bored with what life has thrown at them and are experiencing anxiety or depression with the current situation. Our expectations of how 2020 would be are fleeting. If we aren’t careful, instead of turning to God in this time, we can be caught turning away from Him as we seek relief in other things. Or tragically, we may find comfort sitting in our own misery.
Through this series we are looking for men and women in the Bible who showed resilience and faith during a challenging time. One of the first heroes we encounter in the Bible is Moses. For many of us, Moses ingrained himself in our minds as a hero when we were just children hearing remarkable stories of plagues, thunderous clouds, burning mountains, splitting seas, and venomous serpents. Moses stands out because he had character and grit and because God chose to use him to do some pretty remarkable things. Moses knew what a life of hardship looked like, and instead of letting this suck him in, he hunkered down and followed God.
First, Moses was born into slavery. The Israelites had been subjected to a life of chattel slavery in Egypt. At the time Moses was born, the Pharaoh had just issued a decree that all male children should be killed. This was done to siphon the growth of the Jewish community. Moses’ parents placed him in the river not knowing whether or not they would every see their baby boy again. Moses’ parents thought that putting their baby into a basket in the Nile was the greatest chance that their boy had at survival. Moses was born into difficulty.
The story then picks up pretty far into the life of Moses. Most of what we know about him takes place after his 80thbirthday. Moses ended up growing up in the house of Pharaoh. As he grew up and started entering the middle of his life, he started feeling burdened for his people in their slavery. When he was about 40, he killed an Egyptian who had been beating a slave and was forced to flee into the wilderness where he became a shepherd for another 40 years. Moses didn’t experience his encounter with “I AM” until he was about 80.
It was this encounter with God that changed Moses’ life, made him the great leader of the Israelite nation, and presented Moses with so many struggles and difficulties to overcome. God identified Moses as the man who was to lead his people, the Israelites, out of their captivity into a land he had set aside for them. Moses was the leader chosen to take 2 million slaves from one of the most powerful leaders in the ancient world (who had an entire army at his disposal by the way). He was tasked with leading them into a wilderness where they would meet with God. Then he led them to the land that God was going to give them. Along the way, Moses had to deal with an angry and stubborn people. He was publicly falsely accused on several occasions of arrogantly asserting himself as leader and the mouthpiece of God. One of these times was by a group of Levites. Another time this was done by his own brother and sister. He continually had to deal with a stubborn people complaining about their circumstances and demanding that they be led back to Egypt. He was told over and over that he should have just allowed them to stay in Egypt where life was better. In response to these complaints and accusations, God punished his people. He sent disease, plagues, an infestation of deadly snakes, and fires to kill those who turned their back on the great “I Am” and his appointed leader. In all of this, Moses responded with meekness and humility, weeping and praying for those that accused him. Over and over he pleaded with God to have mercy on his people.
During this time, it’s easy to complain. It’s easy to become depressed and disheartened. Don’t let the times waver you. Be a man or woman like Moses. Hunker down; care for people; pray for those around you. Most importantly, don’t lose sight of God and what He has for you.
Cameron Bowman serves as Director of Outreach & Assimilation at Birchman.