One of my most vivid childhood memories is listening to stories on 33 1/3 LPs on our record player. My favorite was a recording by Joseph Cotten reading the story of Moses. Robert Preston continued with the story of Joshua on the flip side.
Couple that memory with a picture in my illustrated Bible of Moses about to smash the Ten Commandments when he returns to the idol-worshipping Hebrews and I found Moses a riveting character.
I am not alone.
Dr. R.C. Sproul said of Moses, [He] “is so heroic, so majestic in his accomplishments, he has a role in the Old Testament that is unique in its proportions.”
Today we will begin a three-part series on Moses—to be continued on the next two Sundays.
There are 784 references to Moses in the Bible. ¾ of them are in the Old Testament. And many of these references simply say, “And God told Moses,” again and again in the book of Numbers.
Other OT books where Moses is mentioned: Judges, I Samuel, I & II Kings, I & II Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Psalms, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Micah, Malachi.
Moses has been the subject of many works of art—the most famous being Michelangelo’s statue, located in the Basilica di San Pietro in Vincoli.
Moses has been portrayed in a number of biblical films, most notably by Charlton Heston.
Moses was featured on a recording by Joseph Cotten, Tales of the Great Book.
Moses is the subject of many of song, such as “Let My People Go.”
Moses is the subject of a poem by James Weldon Johnson called, “Let My People Go.”
Poor Old Pharaoh,
He’s got all the power of Egypt,
And he’s going to try
To test his strength
With the might of the great Jehovah,
With the might of the Lord God of Hosts,
The Lord mighty in battle.
Moses is honored, in his role as deliverer, to have been an inspiration for African-Americans seeking freedom and equal rights.
Abraham Lincoln was likened to Moses.
Harriet Tubman was nicknamed “Moses.”
Moses was a hero to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who in his last speech, in Memphis, on April 3, 1968, said this:
Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land.
His Life [Exodus 1:1-22; 2:1-10]
During the centuries the Jews had been in Egypt, they had seen many Egyptian dynasties come and go, but the new king was ignorant of Joseph and his family and decided to destroy the children of Israel.
He issued a plan of genocide. Future generations of Hebrew men would be eliminated and girls would eventually marry Egyptian slaves and be absorbed and assimilated into the Egyptian race.
Moses survived, because of the faith of the faith of his mother and the protection of God.
When his mother Jochebed saw he was “no ordinary child.” she placed him in the river and his cries reached the ears of the Egyptian princess.
Moses grew up as the grandson of Pharaoh, who is then the most powerful human being on earth, being the ruler of the mightiest most advanced nation of that time. From his childhood, which was a life of privilege, he was prepared by God to be in a position to lead.
Moses could easily have grown up to be a totally assimilated, totally spoilt Egyptian kid. But the Pharaoh’s daughter has hired his own mother as his nanny and so he never loses the connection or the commitment to his people.
His Role as Mediator [Exodus 2:11-25]
A mediator is someone who stands squarely in the middle between two groups. The mediator intercedes and brings together two parties he is representing. Moses understood very early that if he was going to be a Mediator, he would be a lightning rod. Standing between two parties, he was at risk of being attacked by both sides.
One day he sees an Egyptian taskmaster beating a Jew. He goes into the breach, on behalf of the underdog. He kills the taskmaster. Moses has to flee for his life, forced into exile after the murder of the Egyptian.
In the beginning Moses had realized that he was the one to deliver the people, but he had to be trained and disciplined by God first. He was right in his individual perspective, but he was not the person for the work until he had learned true fellowship and oneness with God. ~Oswald Chambers