MOSES::MIGHTY MAN OF GOD.
It is always inspirational for me to turn back to the eleventh chapter of Hebrews, and, as it were, walk through God's great gallery to view the great men of faith which are pictured there. And there in great prominence I look upon God's man, Moses! "By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months by his parents, because they saw he was a goodly child; and they were not afraid of the king's commandment. By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to share ill treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; accounting the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt: for he looked unto the recompense of reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible." (Heb. 11:23-27). Walking among the stalwarts who move in letters, you will not find a greater character in literature than Moses, except for the Son of God. He towers over the lesser characters of the Old Testament as the mighty Alps cast shadows over the foothills beneath. We never visualize Moses as growing old and feeble. His indomitable spirit and energetic activity stamps him as a man of strength in every phase of life. He had the great qualities that make for true greatness, and God saw fit to bring him forth in a time of crisis to fully demonstrate his abilities. Moses was a man among men when hardiness and true faith were in demand. Moses never wavered before any of the difficult decisions he had to face.
MOSES: GREAT WARRIOR.
Moses stands before the student of history as a great warrior. From the time he, by himself, began the activity that would lead to Israel's freedom from slavery in Egypt (Ex. 2:11-14), until his death on Nebo, Moses was a winner. Though he had no previous military experience, (at least recorded in the scriptures, JWS) he directed the largest army of men ever assembled under a single command (Eisenhower, as supreme allied commander in Europe on D-Day might have had more under his command, JWS). He took 603,500 men who were slaves, and probably considered to be craven cowards, and made an army of them. These former slaves were completely ignorant of warfare, but Moses molded them into a great army and led them forth victoriously for forty years. And under his leadership, the army of Israel was never defeated. (Certainly, Moses was the primary great leader of this Israelite army and he had the final say, but we cannot forget or leave out Joshua, JWS).
MOSES: DIPLOMAT AND STATESMAN.
Moses is not often remembered as a polished diplomat and statesman, yet no student of political science can afford to overlook the many fine examples of Moses. This man led a nation out of servitude to make of them a respected nation to be feared--and he did it in the short time of only forty years. Their enemies had respect for them because of their leader. He could speak of peace or pronounce war, therefore all men listened when he spoke. He knew how to "win friends and influence people," and he did it in fine fashion as a mighty statesman and diplomat.
MOSES: GREAT WRITER.
Moses has never been remembered as a literary man as he should be. He wrote the first five books of the Bible, and they stand today as the greatest works of history ever penned. The graphic and tersely worded story of creation in the first chapter of Genesis has been attacked by men for thirty-five centuries, and yet those same men are forced to admit that it is the most concise and accurate record of the subject conceivable. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth...And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good" (Gen. 1:1,31). The writing of Moses has withstood the puny efforts of atheists and agnostics without having lost any of its fine pristine beauty. Although there is some dispute about it, it is gener-ally acknowledged that Moses also wrote many of the Psalms. (We must include God as the Architect of all that Moses wrote and all that is written throughout the Bible, JWS).
MOSES: GREAT ORATOR.
On the occasion of his call into the service of God, Moses desisted because he felt he could not speak well enough. God told Moses, "I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; and I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land...Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt" (Ex. 3:7,8,10). Moses, at first, objected to the mission, saying, "Oh, Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant; for I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue" (Ex. 4:10). Strangely enough, it is for his speaking that God's man, Moses, is best remembered! God made this promise to him, "I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee; and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him" (Deut. 18:18). Even the Son of God, according to this prophecy, was to come in the likeness of this great spokesman of God! When Moses spoke to Israel, something like two million people listened in awe! (As Joshua had to fit in in the military strategies of Moses, so Aaron has to be inserted in the speaking process, especially at first in dealing with Pharaoh, JWS)
MOSES: FROM A GREAT BACKGROUND.
The background of Moses could partially account for his greatness. He had the background of great faith, for Amram and Jochabed had their son to instruct in the way of God during those tender, formative years (Ex. 2:1-10). The young adult life of this great man, Moses, was spent in the courts of the Pharaoh of Egypt, that he might gain insight into leadership (Possibly military leadership as well, JWS). But this background ws nothing compared to that power he derived through faith. "By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to share ill treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season" (Heb. 11:24,25).
MOSES: HAD GREAT AMBITION.
Moses was endued with three qualities that make for greatness. He had TALENT, he had ENERGY, he had AMBITION. He had the talent to lead people, to cause them to have confidence in him. He had talent even to influence his enemies. But he purposed to use this talent in the service of God. He had great energy, remaining active in leading Israel until he was 120 years old! But Moses was content to use this energy in the service of God, and to help others. Moses had a driving ambition. But he was, first of all, ambitious to do the will of God. In these three respects, we wish every boy could learn from Moses. These things will still make for greatness, and God can still use such as this.
MOSES: GREAT ENDURANCE.
But, after all is said and done, Moses was known for his endurance through every conceivable kind of obstacle. "By faith...he endured." God said of this man, Moses: "Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men that were upon the face of the earth" (Num. 12:3). But meekness does not mean cowardice. Moses was patient, ;but that did not mean he could not act decisively. Where others may have fretted and fumed, Moses was tempered by his faith in God. It was by faith that he endured, by faith he persevered. It stabilized his meekness and gave strength in his patience. He could endure the wrath of the king, the railings of Jannes and Jambres, the jealousy of Miriam and Aaron, the murmuring of the people. (He mentioned that they had murmured forty times, JWS). And through it all, Moses endured, by faith.
MOSES: GREAT FAITH.
As we think on the wonders of the faith of Moses, we must also evaluate its depth. "By faith...he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he end;ured, as seeing him who is invisible" (Heb. 11:27). Thus, by faith, Moses could see, visualize and comprehend something of the worth of the blessings which awaited a life of faithfulness. So Moses set his eyes on a distant future, and they were never blinded by the immediate present. His eyes were lifted above the things which could have become pitfalls at his feet. His gaze swept out and above the temporal, and the panoramic view set his hopes on that which should be his.
MOSES: GREAT REWARD.
But the question then arises: "Was Moses rewarded for his faithfulness? Did his faith have its reward? Yes, Moses was rewarded throughout his life. His faith made Jehovah near, and His power was a constant source of comfort to Moses. He saw the works of God manifest through all he did, and labored with the realization that he was a tool in the hand of God, as god was fashioning a mighty nation through him. The wisdom and presence of God was in every design and in all his works. Moses so relied upon the mighty "everlasting arms" that he could feel their strength beneath him. It was with such an eye of faith that Moses viewed the "Promised Land" and marched in triumph to it with God's host. Even though he died outside the Promised Land, he had his reward. After fifteen centuries rolled by, Moses appeared on earth again and talked with Jesus and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration about the Lord's approaching death. But look also to the future, beyond this life. When the saints go marching home, they will be singing "the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb" (Rev. 15:3), resounding as a serenade in the corridors of glory. Was Moses rewarded for his faith?! Paul's instructions to Christians carries with it this same great benediction: "While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal" (2 Cor. 4:18). That is why, a few verses later, he wrote: "We walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Cor. 5:7). We need to be "looking unto Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith" (Heb. 12:2). This faith, like that of Moses, will cause us to endure to the end.
BY Dillard Thurman, Gospel Minutes.
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