Moses in the Old Testament
Moses in the Old Testament
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The story of Moses’s life is one of the most compelling and dramatic in all of the Holy Scriptures - Moses in the Old Testament introduction. Moses’s influence in Christianity as we know it today is seen through his life’s account in the Old Testament. After reading the scriptures he was involved in, I could not help but be in awe of his story and his faith in God. His life presents many lessons any Christian can greatly learn from in order to further one’s relationship with God.
Moses was born at the time when the Pharaoh decreed death to every Hebrew boy. When his mother could not keep him hidden any longer, she floated the child’s basket though the rivers of Nile, where he was found by the Pharaoh’s daughter. Though the princess claimed him as her own, but he was brought up by a Hebrew nurse. He was then brought up and schooled as an Egyptian nobility, but was still sympathetic to the plight of the Hebrews. This sympathy for his oppressed brethren was made apparent one unfortunate day when he accidentally killed an Egyptian for maltreating a Hebrew slave. (Exodus 1-2). Fearing the Pharaoh’s wrath, he flees to the desert where he meets the priest Reuel and marries his daughter Zipporah with whom he had two sons (Exodus 2:11-25).
Considered a hero of God’s faith, Moses delivered the Hebrews out of slavery in Egypt and into the “Promised Land”. He is also often touted as the founder of Israel’s religion, making him one of the the most important and influential figures in the Old Testament. He was the mediator of the covenant between the Hebrews and God at Mt. Sinai (Exodus 24) and played as the central law-giver, having received the The Ten Commandments from God, (Exodus 20:1-21) which taught people the right way to live. The authorship of the Pentateuch (or the first five books of the Bible) was also attributed to him.
One of the mistakes that Moses made was to question God when He made first contact though the burning bush (Exodus 3-4). After God told Moses that he will be the instrument by which to deliver the Hebrews from slavery, Moses showed skepticism towards God’s wisdom when he should have unquestioningly accepted. Moses expressed three times that he does not have confidence in his own abilities to lead. This roused God’s anger, but God gives in so instead of anointing just Moses’s to get the job done, God anointed his brother Aaron to help him and be his mouthpiece. In the end, they both accomplished God’s mission and Moses became a respected leader of God’s people. Moses’s story is a compelling example of how the will of God is absolute and that anything, no matter how seeming impossible it may seem, can be accomplished if one just follows God without doubt.
Another unfortunate mistake that Moses committed involves the episode where he drew water from a rock under God’s command (Numbers 20: 1-13). God specifically ordered Moses to speak out to the rock for it to miraculously bring out water, but instead he struck the rock twice rather than performing the miracle in the prescribed manner. As a result, he was not allowed to entrance to the Promised Land. This may seem as a harsh punishment when Moses has already achieved so much, but I believe God has set a higher standard for him, therefore he should have obeyed it as exactly as he has been told. Moses’s disobedience may also give Hebrews the impression that he did not trust in God enough. God said, “”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.” (Numbers 20: 12). This episode teaches us not to disobey direct orders from God, for He alone knows what’s best.
Moses is considered a great prophet in the Christian faith. His legacy lies in the advancement of the Christian faith where one absolute and incorruptible God rules. He expounded the belief in the One God at the time when polytheism and pagan worship abounded. He also holds the distinction of having being the first one to whom God revealed his name. Having codified and presented the Commandments to God’s people, Moses is regarded as the symbol of God’s Law. Moses also helped build a Tabernacle as a system by which the Israelites sought reconciliation with the Lord, and is where God manifested His presence and delivered His people. One of Moses’s most important utterances was preserved in the Book of Deuteronomy which alludes to a future Prophet of God’s people. In that scripture, he also gives out prophetic blessings for the twelve tribes of Israel.
The story of Moses teaches us of the importance of maintaining an intimate and personal relationship with God. Moses faced God without fear and because of this, he lad a very colorful and fulfilling life. Certain verses bespeak how this extraordinary relationship manifested, one of which is an account of how God spoke to Moses as a friend (Exodus 33:11), the other is a tribute to Moses’s legacy towards the end of his life that states: no other prophet ever since has known the Lord “face to face” (Exodus 34:10). He faced the Lord with courage when all the other Israelites were afraid to face God. They said to him: “You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die” (Exodus 20:19).
Moses’s story brings to mind a famous biblical passage “Many are called, but few are chosen.” I personally find the message within Moses’s story eternal. Moses is considered a great man because of his trust and loyalty to God, and by overcoming whatever doubts he may have in the start. He was chosen as the Lord’s representative because God knew that Moses had it in him what it takes to be a great leader and a steadfast follower. These characteristics, as well as his zealous devotion for Divine worship makes him a good role model for all Christians. It also shows how great things can be achieved by trusting and believing in God, for He alone knows what’s best for us. Moses has done many impossible feats and has gone through great obstacles which he himself not thought was beyond his ability. It only goes to show that with God, all things are possible.