the art of being called
Throughout the entire Bible, we see God’s chosen people. This term typically refers to the Nation of Israel as a whole. While God's chosen people were unique in their own light, there is a more important group.
This group includes particular Jews hand-picked to play significant roles in the Lord's master plan. These men and women are what I refer to as God's chosen persons. Moses is arguably the most important of them all.
If you've been around me recently, you'll likely know that Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, David and Moses are just a handful of characters I've studied recently.
While there is a multitude of others in the latter part of the Old Testament and New Testament as well, a select group of men take the cake when it comes to being chosen by God.
What is it about these characters that separate them from the rest? I think the answer to this question is shrouded in the story of Moses.
According to an article by The Ancient History Encyclopedia, "Moses is claimed by the religions of Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Bahai as an important prophet of God and the founder of monotheistic belief.
The story of Moses is told in the biblical books of Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, and Numbers, but he continues to be referenced throughout the Bible and is the prophet most often cited in the New Testament."
Moses is commonly believed to date back to around 1400 B.C. and is the author of the Pentateuch, or the first five books of the Holy Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.)
Between dodging death as a baby, to being raised in Pharaoh's palace, to representing the Jews before Pharaoh during the plagues, to leading his people out of Egypt, to parting and crossing the Red Sea on dry land, to meeting with and seeing the face of the Almighty God on Mount Sinai, I'd say Moses had a pretty interesting life.
One notable point to be made about Moses is that he is one of the very few characters in the Bible whom the reader knows from birth until death. What is significant about this?
We also know another man from birth to death as well. His name is Jesus Christ.
While I'll leave you to read the account of Moses's life on your own (Ref. Exodus 1), I believe God uses Moses to show us six main characteristics about His chosen persons.
These individuals are chosen by God before they are born.
These individuals come from very unlikely places with the odds stacked against them.
These individuals are willing to suffer for the people who cause their suffering.
God listens to their cries and intercessions and takes them into account.
With the exception of Jesus’s death on the cross for our sins, God never forsakes his chosen individuals. And most importantly,
These individuals fully understand that God is using them for a greater good. And they let him.
Take a second to think: Moses’s story should have ended before it began. But, it didn’t.
Moses should have kept quiet and lived the suite life of undeserved royalty in Pharaoh's palace. But he couldn’t.
Moses should have been killed for killing the Egyptian who beat the Jew. But he wasn’t.
Moses should have convinced Pharoah to soften his heart. But he wouldn’t.
Moses should have turned around when the crowds longed to return to slavery. But he didn’t.
Moses should have given up on the Israelites after their idolatry. But he hadn’t.
Moses shouldn’t have struck the rock, but he did.
Moses should have been the one to lead his people into the promised land. But he wasn’t because of this one act of disobedience.
Moses walked with God 99.99% of his journey. Took to the plate, called his pitch, swung, made contact with the ball, carried to the fence, but didn't make it over because he decided not to follow through completely. Does this mean he isn't in Heaven? Absolutely not, but it does mean that Moses didn't receive what God conditionally promised to him because he broke the contract. God's commands are literal. Moses is an example of that.
There are four covenants, or promises made by God, in the Bible.
Abrahamic Covenant (Unconditional)
Mosaic Covenant (Conditional)
Davidic Covenant (Uncondintional)
New Covenant (Unconditional)
Three covenants were unconditional meaning God would keep his end of the deal regardless of how many times humanity failed him. One covenant was conditional meaning God would keep his end of the bargain only as much as the people would.
The covenant given to Moses is known commonly by Christians as the "10 Commandments" but is, in reality, 613 laws to which the people were instructed to follow. Moses received God's only conditional covenant, and his disobedience of simply striking the rock instead of speaking to it was the reason why God allowed Joshua to lead the Israelites into the promised land instead of Moses; a foreshadowing of many of God's reactions to Israel's disobedience to come later in the Old Testament.
However, instead of harping on the anticlimactic ending of Moses' story or overall disobedience of the Nation of Israel, I find two important themes in Moses’ leadership throughout his life:
God’s favor is much stronger than his blessing. God’s blessings come and go, but his favor does not depart from his chosen individuals.
There are two wills in this world: The will of God and the will of the people. Only twice have the two wills ever fully aligned. Once in the Garden of Eden before the fall of man, and the second when Christ was crucified. The first being a positive alignment until sin entered the picture and the second being a necessary alignment until sin was defeated for all time.
As much as it hurt God, it was just as much His will for Christ’s death to atone for our sin as it was the will of the people to nail Jesus to a cross to be crucified without cause.
Every single second of history other than these two instances, God has required a leader like Moses to be his messenger to the people.
What sets Moses apart is that although he begged God to find someone else to take his place, he ultimately surrendered to God's will and the Lord made something extraordinary out of the ordinary. Art out of the void.
Imagine what would have happened to the Israelites had God relieved Moses of his massive responsibility in Egypt. Imagine what would have happened to us had God relieved Christ of his massive responsibility on our cross.
Both would have led to significantly longer and harsher periods of suffering, bondage, and ultimately death.
Thank God that He doesn't always give us what we want, but rather He makes us what He needs.