Moses had the great task of bringing God’s people out of Egypt. He had to deal with the hard-hearted Pharaoh and the stiff-necked Israelites. The first meeting with Pharaoh caused the Israelites more burden and they were not happy with Moses—they actually wanted God to judge him for making them a stench. Moses responds by turning to God at this point and he asks why—“Why did you ever send me?”
How many times in life have you asked God why? How many moments in your life did things not make sense? When was the last time you thought God was doing a certain something, but the situation was very different? What about when you believe God wants you to respond to a particular calling or command, yet after you pour your energy into obediently following in faith, you find yourself making someone a stench—or even becoming the stench yourself?
Life is not easy, and we do not always understand what God is doing. We cannot see the big picture. We cannot think or imagine like God. We are commanded to act in faithful obedience. We are often quick to ask God why, perhaps because we are upset with the results. Yet God is not finished yet with us. There is a bigger picture. We miss out when we focus on the quick results we can see with our human eyes. We miss out when we forget that the true fruit of obedience, the true blessing, is having a relationship with God. Walking side-by-side with the Lord was our purpose from the very beginning. Though sinners, through the blood of Christ, we can again walk side-by-side with the Lord. Today, rejoice in His presence and enjoy this great blessing. Remember it is never in the why… the answer is always the Who.
“Then Moses turned to the LORD and said, “O Lord, why have you done evil to this people? Why did you ever send me?” – Exodus 5:22 [ESV]
When Moses was given a special mission by God, the doubts seeped in and he didn’t have the confidence to move forward. God provided a staff. When tossed down, the staff became a serpent. If that wasn’t strange enough, God told Moses to stretch out his hand, to reach, to grab the serpent by the tail. Talk about a scary moment. Yet when God said, “Stretch out your hand,” the Bible says, “so he stretched out his hand.” Moses did as God commanded and was able to experience something awesome.
If Moses did not stretch out his hand, if he let fear dictate his actions, Moses would not have enjoyed the moment of watching God move in this amazing way. If Moses would have planted his feet firmly and made the decision not to listen or not to trust, he would have missed the crucial part of the sign God was providing. He would have also lost the opportunity to bring this all before Pharaoh and live out his destiny.
Today, ask yourself what you need to stretch out your hand toward and what God wants you to grasp. What is God leading you toward? What is before you, and are you ready for the next step? If you cannot think of anything, open the Word and let His Truth seep beneath the surface. Often if you believe there is no movement on the forefront, the true need is to draw near to God.
“But the Lord said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand and grasp it by its tail’—so he stretched out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand—‘that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.’” – Exodus 4:4-5 [NASB]
We can glean a lot from the leadership of Moses. This picture we get of him standing in the breach is one that exemplifies what it means to be a leader. Don’t stop reading with the excuse that you are not a leader. Everyone is leading someone. The question is—do you stand in the breach?
First, you have to know what it means that Moses stood before God in the breach. When you consider a breach, picture a wall. You have a wall for protection. This wall works great so long as it remains intact. However, there are moments when there is a breach in the wall—a breakdown of the wall at some point that makes the wall ineffective. Now whatever you are trying to keep out is now coming through this break in the wall. When soldiers are protecting an area and there is a breach, the soldiers will use their own bodies to stand at the breach to continue to ensure the area is protected.
When we look at Moses and this picture of him standing before God in the breach, we see a leader who is concerned for the Israelites, the people he was leading. Despite their sin, their shortcomings and failures, he cared for the people. He sought for their best interest. He stood between them and God and made his plea of intercession. He recognized their weakness. He recognized their sin, but he did not let that change the way He cared for them. He sought the mercy of God. He prayed for the people.
As a leader, the most important thing is to care for the people you are leading—to love them. Love them like Jesus loves them. Love them with all that you are and love them despite their shortcomings and failures. Look at them as God sees them. Do all you can to stand in the breach. Pray for them. Give them your very best as you pour into their lives. Treat your time with them as precious. Don’t sell them short. Don’t treat them as a number or a task. Seek their best interest always. Love them. Love them like Jesus.
“So he said he would have destroyed them–if Moses his chosen one had not stood before him in the breach to turn his wrath away from destroying them.” – Psalm 106:23 [CSB]
God selected Moses and Aaron for special roles in leading His people. He also set apart the whole community of Israel. They were God’s chosen people, His special people. In Numbers 16, we read about the rebellion of Korah. The people united against Moses and Aaron. They stood up and claimed two things. The first was true- that all of the people of Israel are set apart. The second part was about greatness. Korah asked why Moses and Aaron acted like they were greater than the rest of the LORD’s people.
We don’t read a bunch of text talking about Moses and Aaron having pride issues. But Korah took the faithfulness of these brothers and made it seem as if they were acting as if they were above the people. The truth was that God placed them in a position above them. Korah was also in a special position. Verse 9 speaks about how they had this great position that allowed them to be near the Lord. However, that wasn’t enough for them. Moses and Aaron had a larger role in their eyes. As a result, they incited a rebellion.
Moses and Aaron allowed the Lord to intercede. Moses understood that it was God Who selected those who enter the presence of the Lord. Moses was a mere man. He also spoke about his calling and recalled “all these things that I have done—for I have not done them on my own.” He pointed to God as the One. God was behind everything. God allowed everything. It was Korah who had “gone too far.” Today, remember that God places each person in a position. Wherever He places you, rejoice in that position. Be thankful that He wants to use you. May you be a faithful, humble servant of the Lord!
“They united against Moses and Aaron and said, ‘You have gone too far! The whole community of Israel has been set apart by the LORD, and He is with all of us. What right do you have to act as though you are greater than the rest of the LORD’s people?’ Then he said to Korah and his followers, ‘Tomorrow morning the LORD will show us who belongs to him and who is holy. The LORD will allow only those whom he selects to enter his own presence.” And Moses said, ‘This is how you will know that the LORD has sent me to do all these things that I have done–for I have not done them on my own.’” – Numbers 16:3, 5, 28 [NLT]
After the scouts returned and ten men gave a bad report, the Israelites were not eager to press forward. Actually, they were considering the idea of selecting another leader to lead them back to Egypt. Yes, the people wanted to go back to their slavery in Egypt instead of the Promised Land. Talk about trust issues.
Joshua and Caleb, the two spies who were confident in the promises of God, tore their robes and fell to the ground. They spoke to the congregation only to have the people desire to stone them. Then God spoke. Moses pleaded with the Lord on the people’s behalf. God promised that none of the people would enter the Promised Land, but Joshua and Caleb. The people were to turn around and head back by way of the Red Sea. Punishment was poured out. Moses shared with the people what the Lord said. The people mourned. The next morning, they decided they were ready to enter the Promised Land, so rather than turn around as the Lord commanded, they pressed forward into disobedience and were defeated.
God’s timing is the timing that matters. He has everything beautifully orchestrated. There are moments He commands us to do something, and time passes before we obey. It is not supposed to be like that—when we hear the command of God, we should respond accordingly. Dragging feet is not permitted. But this was worse than dragging feet. When God commanded the people to turn around, they willfully disobeyed. When we are ready, we should be ready for whatever God has placed before us. The option of what we receive and when we receive it is always is in the hands of God. We shouldn’t answer, “Now we are ready” after His commands. Instead, our response should always be, “We are ready now” the moment of His command.
“Then they got up early the next morning and went to the top of the range of hills. ‘Let’s go,’ they said. ‘We realize that we have sinned, but now we are ready to enter the land the LORD has promised us.’” – Numbers 14:40 [NLT]
Aaron and Miriam appear green with envy in Numbers 12, when they begin to criticize Moses, and speak about how the Lord speaks to them also. What was so great about Moses?!? The Lord commanded the three siblings to meet at the Tabernacle. Then He spoke to them about Moses. “He is the one I trust,” He said. “I speak to him face to face,” He said. “He sees the LORD as He is,” He said.
The Bible tells us that Moses was humble. He was “very humble—more humble than any other person on earth.” Now that’s humility! If we’d look up humility in the dictionary, perhaps we’d find Moses picture. God tells the siblings that it is Moses He trusts, Moses He speaks to face to face. Then He said that Moses sees Him as He is. Imagine that. Moses saw the LORD as He is. He saw Him. How did this happen? Moses was humble. In his humility, he desired to know the LORD deeply. He realized he was nothing without God, and he lived a life devoted to Him. God rewarded his humility. God revealed Himself to Moses in an intimate way.
If you find yourself not knowing much about God, not knowing God intimately, maybe you are not approaching with a humble heart—a heart that longs for God. Jesus gave us the perfect example of the humble servant. When we are able to empty ourselves, rid ourselves of self, we can focus on Him. We can listen more closely to Him. Our hearts are more open to Him. Today, ask God to help you to rid yourself of yourself. Ask for Him to help you become more humble so you desire and seek after Him.
“(Now Moses was very humble–more humble than any other person on earth.) But not with my servant Moses. Of all my house, he is the one I trust. I speak to him face to face, clearly, and not in riddles! He sees the LORD as He is. So why were you not afraid to criticize my servant Moses?” – Numbers 12:3, 7-8 [NLT]
Moses appointed seventy leaders and they were recognized as elders and leaders of Israel. These people were going to receive the Spirit of the Lord, and they would help to bear the burden. Later we read of Eldad and Medad prophesying. After it was witnessed, word was brought to Moses. Joshua even told Moses to “make them stop.” People seemed bothered by these others doing something Moses did.
When Moses was approached, I love his response. He said, “I wish that all the LORD’s people were prophets and that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them all.” Though the people were upset that others would share this gift, Moses had hoped all of God’s people had this gift. He understood that God could work in mighty ways through these people, that it wasn’t the Moses show, but rather, all about God.
What’s really awesome is that the wish of Moses is true! It became a reality when the Holy Spirit was poured out to all believers. Jesus asked the Father to give us the Advocate (see John 14:16). Today, anyone who invites Jesus Christ into their heart will receive the Spirit of God. There should never be a reason to be upset that another has received the Spirit. We, too, should have the same desire of Moses – that all would have His Spirit. Heaven rejoices at each soul saved. We should as well.
“But Moses replied, ‘Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the LORD’s people were prophets and that the LORD would put his Spirit upon them all!’” – Numbers 11:29 [NLT]
In Numbers 8, we read about the instructions God gives Moses to share with Aaron regarding the lighting of the seven lamps. The light is a symbol of the presence of God among His people. The lampstand was within the Tabernacle; the lampstand was in the first section which was the Holy Place. Aaron and his sons were in charge of keeping the lamps forever lit. This points to Jesus Who is the true Light that will forever shine.
We read in this passage that Aaron was to place the lamps in the lampstand in such a way that their light would shine forward in front of the lampstand. If Aaron followed God’s command, the lamps would reflect their light forward. This is a great reminder of how the Light, the Truth of God which we find in His Word, can shine a light in this dark world.
Today, embrace the Light. Spend time in the Word of God. Spend time with Jesus Who is the Light, the true Light who gives light to everyone (John 1:9). Ask for the Light to shine forward in your life today. Ask that God use you to shine forth the Light wherever you are led.
“’Give Aaron the following instructions: When you set up the seven lamps in the lampstand, place them so their light shines forward in front of the lampstand.’ So Aaron did this. He set up the seven lamps so they reflected their light forward, just as the LORD had commanded Moses. – Numbers 8:2-3 [NLT]
Remember how Aaron led the people to sin, while his brother Moses was up on the mountain with the Lord? Remember how Moses came down from the mountain and in anger, he smashed the tablets—“These tables were God’s work; the words on them were written by God Himself” (Exodus 32:16 NLT) God had called Moses to come on the mountain and remain so He could give him “the tablets of stone on which… inscribed the instruction and commands so (Moses could) teach the people” (Exodus 24:12).
When you read about the tablets, you will note that God provided the tablets. “When the LORD finished speaking with Moses on Mount Sinai, He gave him the two stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant, written by the finger of God” (Exodus 31:18 NLT). Something changes. The people sin. The people surround Aaron and he asks for their gold to make a golden calf to worship.
Moses found out and broke the tablets and things are different. God tells Moses to chisel out the tablets. No longer does He provide the tablets. The Bible doesn’t say why God had Moses chisel out the tablets instead of providing the tablets like the first time. Many scholars believe it has something to do with repentance. Last time Moses was handed the tablets; this time the people would need to repent to receive tablets from the Lord. Today, consider what God is calling you to chisel out, how God is calling you to repentance.
“Then the LORD told Moses, ‘Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones. I will write on them the same words that were on the tablets you smashed.’” – Exodus 34:1 [NLT]