Moses and his path to Godly leadership. Although Moses became a great Jewish leader, he and God disagreed on the timing for it. When Moses thought he was ready, God didn’t. When God thought he was ready, Moses didn’t. Here’s how they finally agreed in the story recorded in Exodus chapters two through five.
When Moses was born, the Egyptian king had a Hebrew baby alert in effect. Kill all male babies. The Hebrew midwives were tasked with the order, but refused to carry it out. So Moses survived his birth. And when his mother could no longer hide him, she put him in a floating basket among the reeds along a river bank where the Pharaoh’s daughter bathed. She found the basket, adopted Moses, and raised him as her own.
Moses and his path to Godly leadership. God considers pride a disqualification
The rest of Israel was enslaved, but Moses enjoyed a privileged lifestyle. You can imagine the jealousy this caused. They suffered while Moses enjoyed the best education and training Egyptian royalty afforded. Not to mention all the right power connections. So from a human perspective, Moses was uniquely qualified for leadership.
Apparently, he thought so too.
One day he intervened as an Egyptian beat a Jewish man. He killed the Egyptian and hid the body, demonstrating his sympathetic cause with the oppressed Jews. But when he intervened the next day as two Jewish men quarreled, they turned on him. Was he going to kill them too? Moses realized the Jews didn’t see him the way he saw himself.
Of course, that’s how pride works. You’re blind to what everyone else clearly sees in you. And God rejects it from godly leaders. Moses decided he might be in danger when the Pharaoh learned what he had done.
So he demonstrated his first courageous act of leadership and ran for his life.
Moses and his path to Godly leadership. God looks for willingness and a spirit of humility
Moses sought refuge a long distance away among the Midianites who were related to the Israelites. While resting at a well, he came to the aid of seven sisters there to water their flock of sheep. They invited him to their home for dinner and he ended up staying and marrying one of the sisters.
Forty years later while tending his flock, God appeared to Moses in a burning bush and called him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. But he was now 80 years old. His youthful brashness and ambitions were gone. He had fully embraced the humble life of shepherding. He was settled. You’d expect that of an 80 year old. Time to slow down. No new adventures needed. But God was just warming up. And after Moses rattled off a list of disqualifying excuses that God ignored, he finally submitted to God’s will.
It’s an important lesson for us today. There is no retirement from serving God. Especially when God gives you an assignment. Nor is it about your qualifications. Because God’s interest is not in your ABILITY but AVAILABILITY.
You provide the willingness and God provides the way
Somewhere along the journey into humility Moses also lost confidence. Why? Maybe his youth and energy was spent. His Egyptian training forgotten after 40 years of non-use. His influence among the Israelites in Egypt dissipated.
And even worse, God called on him to demonstrate his greatest weakness–Public speaking.
But that is exactly God’s strategy throughout the Bible and today as well. Because it’s when you’re out of your league and beyond your capabilities that God does his best work. And why God uses our greatest weakness to bring him glory. He wants us to rely on him and give him the credit.
As Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, God gave him all he needed. Demonstrating miracle after miracle on the journey out of Egypt, through the wilderness, and to the border of the promised land.
Have you ever had experiences like that? When God gives you jobs beyond your capabilities? I have. They’ve been my greatest fear and greatest blessing. And by the grace and power of God, I will keep pressing on. I pray you do too.