We’re trying a new segment at This Small Group this month, as a tie-in to our relaunched Instagram! Over on Instagram, each week you’ll find a #mancrushmonday post, a couple verses, and a bit of a new look. Here on the blog, we’ll be focusing on the first #mancrushmonday of each month and pulling out short bios, lessons, and modern applications throughout the month. And to start it all off, we’ve chosen Moses!
Christianity gets a reputation for only including “good people,” those who have their lives together and do no wrong. For a great example, look at Moses, a forefather in the Jewish and Christian faiths. On the surface, Moses has an incredible resume:
- Wrote the first five books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy)
- Protected strangers in a new land (Exodus 2:17)
- Witnessed and communicated with God personally (Exodus 3, 19)
- Performed miracles (Exodus 4)
- Respected by Egyptian officials and citizens (Exodus 11:3)
- Led the Israelites out of Egyptian slavery (Exodus 12)
- Received the 10 commandments directly from God (Exodus 20:1-17)
However, he also has quite the rap sheet:
- Slave (Exodus 1:11)
- Unwanted (Exodus 1:22)
- Oppressor (Exodus 2:10)
- Murderer (Exodus 2:12)
- Fugitive (Exodus 2:15)
- Doubter (Exodus 4:10)
Moses was an unwanted child. Not by his family, no — but unwanted by his country. He was born into slavery, at a time when newborn sons were killed by the pharaoh’s command. But Moses’s family smuggled him away, placed him in a basket, and sent him down a river. His survival was against the law, even as he was adopted into the royal family and raised in the ruling class. One day, he grew angry and killed an Egyptian overseer, then fled into the desert to avoid his consequences. On the lam, he came across seven sisters who were being harassed, and he stepped in to their rescue, leading to an eventual marriage when one of the women. Moses stayed in hiding for years, until God approached him in the desert and tasked him with freeing the Israelites from their slavery. Moses doubted his own ability to speak and lead his people, especially in defiance of his former family, and so he doubted God’s power too — a lesson he would soon learn.
Moses returned to Egypt with his family (his wife, his children, and his older brother). He debated a new pharaoh, knowing that he would lose each round. The Israelites grew angry with him as they suffered under the pharaoh’s bitterness. Moses performed miracles and spoke for God, but was disproved constantly by the Egyptians’ black magic. Eventually, after much suffering and death, Pharaoh finally released the Israelites from their slavery, and Moses led his people toward freedom. The pharaoh did change his mind again, and chased after the Israelites with chariots and armies, but God also moved again to save His people.
Over the next 40 years, Moses led the Israelites into the desert, where they encountered hunger, battles, and idolatry as they sought a land God had promised them. Throughout all that time, Moses continued to meet with God, bringing Him the complaints of the Israelites and relaying God’s messages to the people. This is how the Jewish faith began, as God established traditions, festivals, and commandments through the mouthpiece of Moses. Moses wrote all of these down, as well as a record of their journey and a genealogy of the Israelite tribes, which became the first five books of the Bible. Yet even while the Israelites were so near to God, they still complained and still sinned, worshiping false gods that seemed even closer. As a consequence, none of the formerly-enslaved Israelites were allowed to enter the Promised Land, which caused the 40-year exile. Honored by God, Moses was the only Israelite of his generation to see their land before he died.
Moses was a man with many short-comings, as we can see. Despite all that, or maybe because of it, he became known as one of the forefathers of the faith, an example for current believers to look to when we are derailed from our intended path, when we doubt our abilities, or when those around us bring discouragement. Moses endured the same, yet he was still a man whom God chose to do remarkable things.