May 12, 2008, 5:20 AM
Moses was born at a time when Pharaoh had ordered all the sons born to Hebrew women to be slaughtered on the delivery table. Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, had branded them ‘an endangered species.’ Moses escaped this treacherous act even though his parents had disobeyed the order by keeping him at home for three months. It is said of him that he was not an ordinary child. God preserved his life and had him groomed in pharaoh’s palace to become the honourable spokesman to Egypt’s pharaoh for the liberation of the Children of Israel, after 430 years of slavery.
Moses was honoured by God to undertake this difficult assignment amidst uphill challenges. Do you know that no one sees God and lives? Yet Moses stayed on Mount Sinai in God’s presence for forty days to return with the two tablets bearing the Ten Commandments? In the course of the journey to the Promised Land, Moses as a result of a fit of temper, was denied entry by God. He could only see the land God had given his chosen people from a distance. He did not enter it.
The greatest honour however was when Moses died and was buried by God. “And Moses the servant of the Lord died there in Moab, as the Lord has said. He (God) buried him (Moses). In Moab … but to this day no one knows where his grave is. Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone.” (Deuteronomy 34:5-7) In summoning Joshua to step into Moses’ shoes, God referred to Moses as his servant. “After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: Moses my servant is dead. Now then …” (Joshua 1:1)
Special mention is made of Moses in the New Testament at the Transfiguration, where together with prophet Elijah they were in the company of our Lord Jesus. “Just then there appeared before them (three of Jesus’ disciples) Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.” (Matthew 17:3)
“As I was with Moses …” Moses had departed the scene, but the Children of Israel had yet to take possession of the Promised Land. The final lap required them to cross the Jordan River. In the absence of Moses, another leader had to be appointed and God identified Joshua, Moses’ aide, for the task. Joshua though inexperienced, had the requisite capability and innate qualities to take up the challenge. God encouraged him: “No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Joshua 1:5) “Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them.” (Joshua 1:6) God filled the huge vacuum created by Moses’ departure with Joshua and the Children of Israel prodded ahead. Honoured by God, Joshua led them to the Promised Land to take possession of it. “I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses.’ (Joshua 1:3) “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
Very few people would qualify as God’s friend, yet Abraham enjoyed that privilege and honour. “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,’ and he was called God’s friend.” (James 2:23) God elevated him when he made him ‘the father of all nations.’ Prior to leaving his home country for an unknown destination, the Lord said to him: “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you and I will make your name great.” (Genesis 12:2) Then he added, subsequently: “Look up at the heavens and count the stars – if indeed you can count them. So shall your offspring be.” (Genesis 15:5)
It is from Abraham’s lineage, that our Lord Jesus, the Saviour of the world, has sprung. Like the stars in the sky or grains of sand, we, the descendants of Abraham, have become too numerous to be counted and have filled the face of the earth. God had guaranteed us life through this covenant that he had made with Abraham.
God did not stop at honouring Abraham alone, the blessings were passed on to Isaac his son, and later to his grandson Jacob whose name he changed to Israel, which means ‘he struggles with God.’ Jacob became the father of the twelve tribes of the nation of Israel. From a deceiver and a cheat, he was elevated after an all-night wrestling match with God. God in so doing fulfilled his promise to Jacob: “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will never leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” (Genesis 28:15)
On their own, none of these characters could have excelled in life to the extent that they could feature in God’s honours list. It is all a result of God’s own handiwork and workmanship. They only made themselves available as instruments in God’s hands. These were ordinary men who walked with God and they became extraordinary. Want to join God’s honours list? Now is the appointed time. Give yourself up wholly to his service as well.