His name Is Associated with the Phrase "To Give Birth"
His work: To lead God's people out of Egypt and into the Promised Land. His character: Moses enjoyed a depth of relationship with God that set him apart from every other figure in the Old Testament and enabled him to intercede powerfully on behalf of his people. Though a reluctant prophet, he obeyed God as he led the Israelites out of Egypt. Through him God communicated his plan to forge a people unique in history, a people who belonged to him. His sorrow: To have been burdened with the leadership of a "stiff-necked" people whose failure to believe and obey God resulted in delaying their entrance into the Promised Land while they wandered for forty years in the desert wilderness. Moses died before entering the Promised Land. His triumph: On numerous occasions Moses encountered both the power and the love of God to such a degree that his face shone. Unlike other men, Moses spoke with God directly, face to face. Key Scriptures: Exodus 1-20; Numbers 13-14
When Moses witnessed how God had demolished the enemies of his people, he must have been filled with the knowledge of the greatness of God, utterly convinced that no one and nothing was beyond the reach of the Lord's power. That day Moses may have thought the worst was over in his struggle to lead the Israelites to freedom and into the land of promise. He couldn't have known how hard it would be to lead them across the Sinai Peninsula and into Canaan, a journey that would take not months but years.
For though God had freed the people, they were still in bondage—not to any military power but to their own way of looking at the world, to their stubbornness, and to their fear of taking the risks that inevitably accompany a life of faith.
When Moses appointed a contingent of leaders, one from each of the twelve tribes of Israel, to conduct a reconnaissance mission in Canaan, all but two (Joshua and Caleb) came back with a bad report: "We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! But the people who live there are powerful and the cities are fortified and very large. The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them."
The spies' report incited the people to rebellion, and they grumbled and complained, saying: "If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this desert! Why is the LORD bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn't it be better for us to go back to Egypt?"
Because the Israelites entertained an evil vision of God's intentions toward them, making it impossible for them to obey him, he punished them by making them wander in the desert until the last of their generation (except for Joshua and Caleb) had died off. The Israelites who had left Egypt as slaves were not yet ready for the full freedom God intended for them.
But though Moses was frustrated by their response, he did not abandon his people. He did not shrug off the burden of leadership God had given him. Instead, he led them, taught them God's commandments, judged their disputes, prayed for them, and stayed with them until a new generation had grown up that was no longer burdened by a slave's mentality. And God loved Moses and praised him for his faithfulness and strengthened him with everything he needed to stay faithful throughout his long ordeal.Reflect On: Exodus 32:30–32 Praise God: For his mercy. Offer Thanks: That God hears our prayers on behalf of others. Confess: Any failure to regularly intercede for the needs of others. Ask God: To bring people to mind for whom he wants you to pray regularly.
Today's reading is a brief excerpt from Men of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Men in Scripture by Ann Spangler and Robert Wolgemuth (Zondervan). © 2010 by Ann Spangler. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Enjoy the complete book by purchasing your own copy at the Bible Gateway Store. The book's title must be included when sharing the above content on social media.