Today’s reading: Deuteronomy 32-34.
Three things draw to an end with this post: Deuteronomy, the first five books of the Bible known as the Torah or Pentateuch, and the life of Moses. The children of Israel move on without their faithful leader, but let’s stop and look at what made Moses so remarkable.
Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, who did all those miraculous signs and wonders the LORD sent him to do in Egypt–to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel. Deut. 34:10-12
The LORD knew him face to face. This relationship sums up Moses’ character without revealing the reason why he and God were so close. The character traits below may explain this intimacy.
He overcame failure again and again. He went into exile for murder, but returned to Egypt as God’s liberator. He saw the Israelites balk at invading Canaan, but led them for forty years and raised up a new generation. When God censored him for striking the rock, he didn’t get discouraged but finished the task of bringing the people to the Promised Land.
He was teachable. The burden of overseeing the horde of Israelites would have burned him out, but he listened to his father-in-law’s advice and solved the problem.
He was humble. God said that there was no man as humble as Moses. He reluctantly took on the leadership role. His heart was always for the people and God’s glory rather than his own interest.
He was faithful. When everyone else abandoned God, he did not. When the next steps were unknown, he trusted God. When things seemed impossible, he believed God would keep his promises.
He was human. By God’s power he worked miracles. As a man, he made mistakes. He disobeyed God at times. But his human passions also fueled his devotion to God, to the people, and to the task of reaching the Promised Land.
He prayed. Moses got on his face before God for extended periods of time, especially when there was a crisis. He knew how to pray based on God’s character and promises.
He was the friend of God. That’s how God described him. What makes a good friend? Someone who spends time with you, who does life together with you, who sticks with you through good and bad, who is loyal, and who never speaks ill of you. Moses was all of those things, and as a result he developed a deep friendship. Because of that friendship and all of his other qualities Moses was able to come face to face with God.
God chose Moses when he was just a shepherd in the desert. You and I may think we could never accomplish great things like him. But God chooses us when we are lost and separated from him, and like Moses he fills us with his spirit and showers us with his grace. We can be faithful, and pray, and humble ourselves. We can learn from others and keep going even when we fail. If we do all these things, and continue to deepen our friendship with God, then God will also use us to grow his kingdom.
Image by PeteDz Photography on Flickr, CC by-nc-sa 2.0