Moses is one of my all-time favorite characters in the Bible, and not simply because there’s a song about him in Singin’ In The Rain, one of the best musicals ever written. But because he was really just an average guy, but God chose to make him great for His sake.
If you need a quick refresher on Moses and his most famous escapades, read the beginning of Exodus, or I’ll do a quick recap here. Moses was the kid who was sent down the river by his mother in a basket (yep, Prince of Egypt), who then was raised by the Pharoah’s daughter in his palace. When he reached his teenage years, he was passing by a camp where his fellow Israelites were working for the Egyptians. He witnessed an old Israelite man getting beaten and was so infuriated with the injustice of it that he killed the Egyptian slave driver. At this point, I’m sure he was like, “Crap, now what am I going to do? Everyone knows who I am…” so he fled Egypt. Whilst there, he found a girl, got married, and became a shepherd for his father-in-law. Not the most illustrious of careers.
Now you’re caught up. This is the part of the story that really makes me love him. While Moses was out doing his thing with his sheep, the Lord spoke to him. I’m sorry, what? Can you even imagine that happening to yourself? You’re in the middle of class, trying to pay attention to a boring biology lecture, or sitting at your desk job desperately trying to beat the next level of Angry Birds, or walking from your car to the post office, when God speaks to you out of nowhere. No warning, no preview, no nothing. I am impressed with the lack of reaction Moses seems to have. Of course, if I were writing Exodus, I maybe wouldn’t mention if Moses fainted, looked around himself furtively to see where the voice was coming from, or started talking back to one of his sheep, thinking it was one of them. (In my head, I always imagine Moses jumping out of surprise, looking around and trying to find the voice, then resuming his ways until the Lord spoke to him again.)
Here Moses gets his big life task, given to him by the giver of everything. Big deal, right? I don’t know how I would react to such news.
“Hey Hannah, it’s Jesus. No, you’re not going crazy, it’s really me. Yeah. Okay so I want you to do something for me. Yeah, I want you to go to the president and tell him to set all the Catholics free. Let them leave the country. No, I know you’re little and you don’t even know how to get there. Don’t worry about it, I’ll be with you. Yeah, he’s scary and he’s got thousands of men at his command who could kill you at any second. No problem, dude.”
I apologize if that analogy was heretical or made the President akin to the Pharoah. I just needed a modern example. But can you imagine that? Just going about your business, and suddenly God’s like, nope, I want you to go save the world? A little intimidating to say the least.
So Moses goes and does it. Unwillingly, but he does. (What are you gonna do, run away?) He marches up to Pharoah (risking his life because of the warrant out for his arrest, remember), gets rejected a couple times, asks for the Lord’s help again and warns Pharoah of the plagues, witnesses the plagues (which are SO COOL by the way, go read them if you’ve forgotten the awesomeness that is the plagues), and then finally runs out of Egypt with his fellow people across the sea, watching the waters recede from the lifting of his arms and crash down again on the most powerful army of the time because he lets them down.
That’s pretty neat, right? But the best part about Moses is who he really was as a human being. According to Biblical historians, Moses probably stuttered and really wasn’t very popular. He might have been kind of a dork (or whatever word you might have used thousands of years ago to describe someone who likes fan fiction…just kidding). But seriously, that’s the most amazing part about him. God took this nobody – this shepherd – this guy who was pretty unpopular for having lived with his people’s oppressor for about 18 years – and made him into a great leader.
Now the question is, why would God do this? I’ve often pondered this and have come to my own conclusion, and I think you’ll agree with me. Isn’t God all the more powerful for working through someone as normal and kind of boring as Moses? If I was an Israelite, the last person I would want to trust would be Moses. I’d think he was plotting something with the Pharoah, tricking the Israelites into further and further misery, having lived in his palace for so long. Yet people believed him and followed him. Why? Because they knew it was really God who was working through Moses.
Moses stuttered. But he was suddenly able to speak to crowds of people and to the Pharoah.
Moses was shy, yet he gladly stood up to the biggest leader in the land, and faced his people who had been hating him for a long time.
Moses was a shepherd, yet became one of the greatest leaders Israel has ever seen.
Kind of hard to deny God’s hand in that, isn’t it? Such a radical transformation is impossible to ignore. And that’s why Moses is one of my favorite characters. If God can take someone as apparently untalented as Moses and make him so awesome, what can He do with me? What Pharoah is He wanting me to go after right now? And how about you? What is He wanting you to conquer? Think about it.
And for good measure… Moses Supposes (from Singin’ in the Rain…in case you missed it earlier).