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Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.

“Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.”

Numbers 12: 3

Moses – the great leader, prophet, lawgiver and mediator of Israel – is the most prominent of the Old Testament faithful, and, according to our text, was the meekest man in all the earth. He is most famously known for delivering the nation of Israel from bondage in Egypt. An account of Moses’ life is given from Exodus 1 through Deuteronomy 34. He is credited with writing the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, except for the report of his death, which was probably added by his secretary.

To properly view Moses’ career, we must recognize that as a special servant of God, he was under special Divine providence, even before his birth. The firmness and breadth of his character may be traced to favorable prenatal influences, for his parents were fully consecrated to God. Moses was also born at a time when Pharaoh commanded that all Hebrew parents giving birth to male children should strangle them at birth. Moses’ mother refused the command and hid the child for three months, until she could hide him no more. She placed the babe in an ark and put it into the river, where the daughter of Pharaoh found him. Moses’ sister Miriam came and suggested to the princess that she find a Hebrew mother to nurse the child, and when approved, Miriam called their mother.

For about his first seven years Moses was under the influence of his mother, who undoubtedly shaped his mind, and held him firm in the faith of the Abrahamic Covenant. When he was returned to the princess, he received the finest education that Egypt could offer. St. Stephen said, “Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds” (Acts 7: 22).

Forty Years of Age

Moses’ life was divided into three periods of forty years each. At age forty, Moses, full of sympathy for his Hebrew brethren, slew a cruel Egyptian taskmaster. Thinking that his brethren would appreciate his defense of them and keep the matter secret proved a mistake; for shortly after, when he was endeavoring to correct a dispute between two Hebrews, the one at fault flung the murder in his face. Soon word reached everywhere, even to the king, who began quietly to seek an opportunity to slay Moses. In fear, Moses fled into the land of Midian, where he remained for the next forty years.

During that forty-year period Moses was a shepherd in the service of his father-in-law, Jethro. Undoubtedly during that period of time he learned many lessons of patience. He also became quite familiar with the very land in which he would later lead the people of Israel.

The Burning Bush

At age eighty, when Moses was shepherding his flock by Mount Sinai, he observed a burning bush, but noticed that it was not consumed. When he drew near, the Lord spoke to him from the midst of the burning bush, declaring that He was about to deliver His people Israel from Egyptian oppression, and that He would send Moses to Pharaoh as His representative. Moses protested that he was not qualified, but the Lord responded, “Certainly I will be with thee,” and He assured him that the mission would be successful. The Lord answered all of Moses’ objections, which strengthened and encouraged him to the point where he was prepared to meet the greatest king of earth at that time.

Moses returned to Egypt and confronted Pharaoh, declaring, “Let my people go.” Pharaoh refused, and in contempt increased the oppression of the slaves, which resulted in the people grumbling against Moses. But Moses was steadfast and warned Pharaoh of the consequences if he refused to let the people go. When Pharaoh hardened his heart, God brought ten plagues upon the land of Egypt, the tenth being the death of the firstborn of all Egypt; the firstborn of Israel being spared through the sprinkling of the blood of the Passover lamb. Pharaoh finally agreed to let the people go, but when they departed, he and his forces pursued them to the Red Sea. God again displayed His power by parting the Red Sea to allow Israel to pass over, but when the Egyptians attempted to follow, the waters closed over them and they were drowned.

(To be continued)