Important People in the Old Testament… Moses

Go tell it on the mountain, over the hill and everywhere. Go tell it on the mountain, to let My people go. Who’s that yonder dressed in red? Must be the children that Moses led. Let My people go … Who’s that yonder dressed in white? Must be the children of the Israelite. Let My people go … Who’s that yonder dressed in black? Must be the hypocrites turnin’ back. Let My people go.

So say the lyrics of a once popular song (Peter, Paul and Mary).

Moses is the main character featured in the Bible books from Exodus to Deuteronomy and was the man who liberated the Israelites from Egyptian bondage. God hated the slavery of His people, so he sent a deliverer, Moses, to liberate them from the hands of Egypt. In Exodus chapter 2 we read of Moses’ story and how he was adopted as an infant by the daughter of the pharaoh of Egypt, and thus received the education and upbringing of an Egyptian prince. When Moses was born the Hebrews were slaves in Egypt. Pharaoh was afraid of them because he thought they might take over his country. He ordered that all Hebrew baby boys be killed at birth so that they would not grow up and fight against him. To save Moses his mother made a plan. She hid him in a basket by the side of the River Nile.
Moses’ sister Miriam watched over him until Pharaoh’s daughter came to the river to wash. She found Moses in his basket. Miriam told her she knew a woman who could be a nurse for the baby. It was his mother. Pharaoh’s daughter took him back to live with her as though he were her son. “And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds” (Acts 7:22). At the same time the Lord determined that Moses should be taught in his earliest years by his own mother. This meant that he was founded in the faith of his fathers, although he was reared as an Egyptian (Ex. 2 v 1-10).

Moses grew up as an Egyptian prince, but he never forgot he was a Hebrew. When Moses was forty, he killed an Egyptian taskmaster who was beating an Israelite slave; Pharaoh’s anger burned hotly, and Moses was forced to flee Egypt. He eventually wandered into the camp of Jethro, a Midianite shepherd. Here, Moses married one of Jethro’s daughters, and tended his sheep for another forty years. When Moses was eighty, he received a message from God telling him that it was time to free the slaves down in Egypt (Exodus 3-4 v 1-17, 27-31).  Moses resisted at first, but God informed him it was not an option. Moses went.

Pharaoh did not want to lose his slaves. He would not let them go, because they worked on his grand buildings. Awful things began to happen in Egypt. There were ten plagues. Before each one, Moses had warned Pharaoh what would happen. Moses told him the disasters had been sent by God. The last plague was the worst. The eldest son in every Egyptian family, including Pharaoh’s, died. God had warned Moses to mark the doorposts of all Hebrew houses so that Hebrew boys would be safe. Pharaoh was so upset by losing his son. The Hebrews knew they must leave Egypt quickly. They needed food to take with them. There was no time to let the bread rise before it was cooked. They had to take the dough as it was. Pharaoh changed his mind again and sent his army after them to get them back. The army chased the Hebrews to the banks of the Red Sea. They would have been trapped but a miracle happened. God told Moses to lift up his rod and as he did so the waters parted to make a dry path. They were able to make their escape.When all the Hebrews were safely at the other shore, Moses lifted up his rod again and the waters of the sea closed on Pharaoh’s army who had been chasing them. God had saved the Hebrews.Even though the Hebrews were free, they were still in the desert. They wanted to find a land called Canaan which God had promised them. The journey was long and they soon ran out of food. They were very hungry and blamed Moses for taking them out of Egypt. Moses told them that God would give them food. God told Moses, “I will give the people food.” The next day the ground was covered with a white food which tasted like honey. Moses called this food manna. God also sent flocks of birds called quails that they cooked and ate. When their water ran out, God told Moses to strike a rock with his rod. As he did so water rushed out and they all had enough to drink.

After three months of travelling the Hebrews came to the foot of Mount Sinai. God called Moses to meet him on the mountain. As he climbed there was thunder and lightning. When he was up the mountain God gave Moses ten laws which told the people how to live.
These 10 commandments were written on two tablets of stone. Moses stayed so long on the mountain that the people waiting at the foot of the mountain grew angry. They decided to make another God for themselves. It was a golden calf. When Moses returned he was shocked to see the people dancing and worshipping the golden calf. He broke the tablets God had given him and destroyed the golden calf. God forgave his people for worshipping the statue and told Moses to cut two more tablets of stone.

Moses took the stone tablets up the mountain and God gave him the Ten Commandments again. When he came down all the people listened to Moses as he told them what God had said. Moses promised God that the Hebrews would keep all of the Commandments.
Throughout his life Moses was the mediator between the Lord and his people. Through Moses the Lord revealed His purpose to Israel and sustains the covenant relationship. God’s presence with His people is highlighted in the life of Moses and throughout the book of Exodus. The covenant promises which were given to Abraham are brought out in events and instructions in Exodus as the Lord uses them by remembering His promises (Exodus 2 v 24, 3 v 6). The promise extended to both Abrahams descendants and all the nations of the world (Genesis 12 v 1-3).They included the land that Israel will inhabit, numerous offspring and blessings.

He is the only one to have spoken to God face to face, and is one of the Bible’s most well-known characters. In short, he was a very holy man of God who was willing to follow his Lord to anywhere he would care to lead. An example for us all to follow. Moses is mentioned in the New Testament also. The writer of the book of Hebrews refers to Moses 11 times, including a short summary of his life in chapter 11 were he mentioned many of the Old Testament heroes. In prophetic power, spiritual insight, and leadership qualifications, Moses ranks with the mightiest men who ever lived. He is known as The Law Giver, even Christ was describes as a Prophet like unto this ancient leader of Israel’s hosts (Deut. 18 v 15-19). Moses is also referred to in the one chapter book of Jude. And Revelation 15, one of the songs that people are said to be singing in heaven in “the song of Moses the servant of God”. God used Moses’ faith to institute the Passover feast from this event. In this passage we learn that Moses is great because he made a choice before God. He is great because he committed himself to God. He is great because he obeyed the word of God at the cost of his life. May God bless us to follow the example of faith!

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