Courageous Leadership: Moses (Part 2)
“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you.” -Deuteronomy 31:6
WHEN THE NURSING stage was over for Moses, the Pharaoh’s daughter took him, and he was raised up in Pharaoh’s house as a son of the king.
As Moses matured, he became very upset seeing his fellow Hebrews treated badly. So upset, in fact, that when he saw an Egyptian beating a fellow Hebrew, he flew off the handle and killed the Egyptian. He fled after this experience. Pharaoh found out about the Egyptian’s death, and Moses fled, fearing for his life. This flight took him out to the desert for forty years, where he ran headlong into God. Forty years…
Crazy Faith takes time to build.
AFTER HIS PEOPLE wandered through the desert for forty years, God heard their cries and decided to speak to Moses. God used a bush to get his attention. As it burned with fire, Moses was astonished. The fire never consumed it. “Moses, I have heard the cries of my people!” God spoke from the midst of the fiery bush.
Moses was even more amazed when God told him that he would be the one who would deliver His people out of Egypt. Moses freaked out. This was something Moses wasn’t prepared to hear. He asked God the question anyone would have asked.
“Who am I … that I could bring the people out of Egypt?”
God made a grand statement to Moses after promising His pres- ence in the process. He told Moses to tell the people that the name of their God was “I AM who I AM.” Then, God added four more impor- tant instructions for Moses to follow.
Tell the people “I am the God of their fathers—Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—and I will deliver My people into the Promised Land flowing with milk and honey.”
“Approach the Pharaoh and tell him to let My people go into the wilderness for a three-day journey into the Promised Land.”
“Pharaoh will not let you go the first time you ask. If he doesn’t let you go, tell him I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt will all of My wonders.”
“After I stretch out My hand with all these wonders, Pharaoh will let you go.”
After Moses heard all the words from God, Moses still questioned Him. That gives me great encouragement, personally. I used to feel bad that after hearing instructions from the Lord, I would occasion- ally still question God as to the authenticity of them. And yet, even after God had laid out many promises, Moses still didn’t hesitate to ask, “What if they don’t believe me?”
With patience, the Lord God gave Moses further instructions. “Take the rod you are holding and throw it on the ground!”
Moses did, and the rod turned into a serpent. God then said, “Pick up the serpent by the tail.”
Moses reached down to pick up the serpent, and when he did, it turned back into the rod.
But God wasn’t finished yet. “Place your hand into your bosom and take it out again.”
Moses’s hand became leprous.
“Place your hand back into your bosom again,”
God commanded. Moses’s hand was restored. God also told Moses that if he still met disbelief, Moses was to take some water from the river and pour it onto the ground. The water would turn into blood.
After seeing all of this, Moses, incredibly, remained unsure. He made more excuses. “G-G-God, I’m not a g-g-g-reat speaker. I’m not sure I am the right man for the job.”
“Who has made man’s mouth?” the Lord asked. “Have not I, the Lord? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you will say.”
Moses had one final appeal for God. “O my Lord, please … send by the hand of whomever else You may send.”
Not a good response, given all the things the Lord said. After all this instruction and Moses’s continual excuses, wasn’t it possible that the Lord’s patience may have worn thin? It did, but God was gracious and told Moses that he could take Aaron with him. Moses and his brother gathered the people and headed to meet the Pharaoh for a showdown, prepared with Crazy Faith.
Moses spent time with God. They communicated. Many people run out to do something—supposedly for God—and say they are exercising Crazy Faith, when actually, they are only exercising the crazy part. How do we know the difference? How do we determine,discern that what we think God is telling us is really God and not the bad pizza we ate the night before?
Moses gives us the answer: by spending time and communicating with God. I think that’s why God was patient. Moses wanted to make absolutely certain he was hearing from God and not having a psychotic episode. He knew people, even his fellow Hebrews, would question his direction.
Needless to say, as God had warned Moses, the Pharaoh refused to respond to Moses’s request. Moses, in an effort to change Pharaoh’s mind, threw his rod down in front of Pharaoh and his entourage. The rod became a serpent. Unexpectedly, the magicians in Pharaoh’s court threw down their rods, which also became serpents. Not to be outdone and to prove His mighty power, God caused Moses’s serpent to turn on the other serpents and destroy them.
The king was angered at God’s power, and his heart hardened. He would not allow the God of Moses to win the battle.
At this point, God had no choice but to release a full-scale assault on the Pharaoh that would cause him to eventually break and grant the request of Moses. Ten plagues were sent to change Pharaoh’s mind. (Read the account in Exodus 12-14.) These plagues in and of themselves continued to demonstrate the awesome power of God and the Crazy Faith of this Hebrew underdog.
Pharaoh—physically, mentally, and emotionally defeated— finally relented and agreed to let Moses and the Hebrew people leave captivity. After 430 years, the Hebrew people were freed from Egyptian rule.
Just because something has been a certain way for a long period of time doesn’t mean it has to stay that way.
Is there anything in your life you would like to see changed?
Is there anything you wish was different? Have you asked God to change it?
What did he say? What can you do to move forward with God?