Moses – His Legacy

Today we wrap up our study of Moses and look at the legacy he left. We read in Deuteronomy 18

“The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen— just as you desired of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’ And the Lord said to me, ‘They are right in what they have spoken. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him.

Deuteronomy 18.15-19

The leadership is great, his call, his preparation, his recall are all great, but perhaps the most important thing about Moses, perhaps, is the clear and cogent pointer he gives towards someone better.

He says, the Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothersto him you shall listenI will put my words in his mouth…he shall speak to them all that I command him.

All of these things point to one person, don’t they?

Someone who would be descendent from the nation of Israel, someone who would represent God before people, and people before God, someone who would speak the Word of God. Some thought this was John the Baptist (John 1.19-21), but all of this points us to Jesus.

Jesus is descended from the nation of Israel (Matthew 1.1).

Jesus represents God before people, and people before God (1 Timothy 2.5).

Jesus speaks the Word of God (John 12.49). Jesus IS the Word of God (John 1.1, 14).

What this means for you is that the history is great, seeing the roots of our faith is great, seeing the wondrous workings of God in the past is great, looking at the life of Moses is great, but, greater than that is looking at what Moses pointed to – to Jesus.

This was always going to be the plan for humanity, and for you. Salvation, reconciliation, and justification are all available through the One Moses pointed to. Let us never lose sight of the truth that Moses, and every other person mightily used of God always points to one place, to one person.

The legacy of his life is a pointer to the person and work of Jesus!

Moses – His Death

In Deuteronomy 34, we read of the death of Moses. After his rash and self-centred partial obedience, partial disobedience back in Numbers 20 he doesn’t make it to the Promised Land. We see that the Lord takes very seriously being misrepresented or misinterpreted by His leaders to His people.

Moses is taken up to Mount Nebo (apparently modern-day Jordan looking west) and dies in the presence of the Lord (v.5). Moses was, no doubt and as we read, a great servant of the Lord, but even he fell short, didn’t he. For all his leadership credentials, his obedience, his righteous indignation at the sin of God’s people, Moses still fell short.

No matter how hard we try,

no matter how much experience we have in any given situation,

we are still going to fall short of the righteous requirements of an altogether Holy God.

Rather than lament the personal failures of Moses, let us draw hope from the fact he failed. If he were all that humanity needed, if he never died, if he were all-sufficient, then we would never have had need for the ultimate leader of God’s people to come. The truer and better Moses, the ultimate servant of the God did come, didn’t He?

For you, the story of Moses is just another preview, type, foreshadow, pointer to the life of Jesus (John 5.39Luke 24.27). Every not-quite, every failure, every oh-so-close-but-so-far moment in Scripture finds its fulfilment in Jesus.

For you, this means that you have a one-stop-shop, a singular destination to head towards when looking for salvation, for fulfilment, for peace, for acceptance, for forgiveness.

The death of Moses, for you, is another pointer to the person and work of Jesus. 

Moses – His Leadership

Many people look at the Moses-style of leadership as autocratic, authoritarian, and absolute: there’s this one guy through whom everything must go, kind of thing. Personally, I don’t see this to be the case.

First things first, Moses always sees himself as second-in-command to the Lord.

Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”

[God] said, “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”

Exodus 3.11-12

Moses is also painfully aware of his own shortcomings (4.10), and at one point even asks NOT to be the leader (4.13). He settles for a situation wherein he basically relays information from God via Aaron,

[God] said, “Is there not Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. Behold, he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth, and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth and will teach you both what to do. He shall speak for you to the people, and he shall be your mouth, and you shall be as God to him.And take in your hand this staff, with which you shall do the signs.”

Exodus 4.13-17

He grows into the role, as all leaders do, and is firmly established by God as ‘the guy‘ (Numbers 12). It is then in Exodus 18 that we see a key piece of leadership structure, a piece of information those seeking to discredit Moses and this style often overlook.

His Father-in-Law says, look,

“What you are doing is not good. You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone. Now obey my voice; I will give you advice, and God be with you! You shall represent the people before God and bring their cases to God, and you shall warn them about the statutes and the laws, and make them know the way in which they must walk and what they must do. Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. And let them judge the people at all times. Every great matter they shall bring to you, but any small matter they shall decide themselves. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. If you do this, God will direct you, you will be able to endure, and all this people also will go to their place in peace.”

Exodus 18.17-23

Clear then; God in control, leadership covenant with one man, who then appoints other men to care for groups of people within the wider family. We see this mirrored in the New Testament with Jesus, the Church, Pastors, and Elders (see Ephesians 1.22, 4.10-12, 5.23, Colossians 2.10, Titus 1.5).

What this means for you is that we all have the opportunity to live and serve and thrive in structures that God has tried, tested, and found to be true over many, many years.

For you, this means that Jesus is the Head of any church you are part of. If He is not, it may be time to gracefully talk to those in leadership.

For you, this means that the plans and protections that God has always put in place for His people are still there for you. Is there a better place to be?

If you are journaling along with this series, try this today – who has God put in these roles in my life? What is my role in my current location? How can I support those in God-appointed roles in my life?

Moses – His Perspective

Between Exodus 5-15 we see Moses at the forefront of some of God’s miraculous and wonderful workings. Moses is the mouthpiece, the man charged with delivering the message, the minder of God’s people, but he never takes on the role of the master. After crossing the Red Sea, Moses and the people sing a sing of praise to God, which ends like this,

You will bring them in and plant them on your own mountain,
the place, O Lord, which you have made for your abode,
the sanctuary, O Lord, which your hands have established.
The Lord will reign forever and ever.”

Exodus 15.17-18

Despite being used mightily of God Moses never seeks to be the Man, only the man. He finishes this song of praise by reiterating that the Lord will reign forever and ever, not man, I’m really something special, look at all the stuff that has happened under my leadership, I’m the Man!

His perspective never changed – nobody is like God (vv.11-12).

Many years later, another would hold this perspective of God too. He said that none is good but God alone (Mark 10.18), that His only wish was to do the will of the Father (John 5.19), and that He was seeking glory for the Father alone (John 8.50). This perspective is what we need.

What this means for you is that there is a model to be followed; seeing ourselves in right and proper perspective. When we truly see that nobody is like God, that He alone is good, that we exist to do His will, and that we should seek His glory above our own, our perspective is right. 

If you are journaling along, try answering this – how do I see myself in relation to God?

Moses – His Return

So far Moses has been called, prepared, recalled, now he returns. However, it doesn’t go too well,

Afterward Moses and Aaron went and said to Pharaoh, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.’” But Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and moreover, I will not let Israel go.”Then they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God, lest he fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword.” But the king of Egypt said to them, “Moses and Aaron, why do you take the people away from their work? Get back to your burdens.”

Exodus 5.1-4

They arrive, get straight to business and tell Pharaoh to let [God’s people] go. The answer is pretty unequivocal; will not let Israel goGet back to your burdens

Moses’ return was pretty unspectacular, wasn’t it. Maybe there was excitement building (4.30-31), maybe the people thought there was going to be a dramatic and instant political revolutionary rescue, but, sadly, their messenger was flat-out refused. If anything, it made the burden heavier for God’s people because their hopes had been dashed (5.9, 20-21).

Many years later, there was another Messenger sent to redeem and rescue God’s people. There was another Messenger around whom excitement built. There was another Messenger whom the people expected to liberate them politically and radically. There was another Messenger who (on the surface) was defeated and rejected. But, that’s not where that story ended, and Moses’ story doesn’t end here either.

The Good News for you is that the truer and better Moses did come and liberate God’s people, He did rescue them, He did redeem them, and He stands ready to redeem you

This Messenger says to you today, 

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

Revelation 3.20

If you are journaling along with this series, try this today – when did I open the door to Jesus? Have I ever opened the door and invited Him in? If not, why not?