Sometimes I tend to gloss over Moses. Do you? I mean compared to other “heroes” of the Old Testament, his story seems pretty tame—at least once he parts the Red Sea. Not just tame, boring actually. Besides lots of commandments and ordinances for the God’s people, he is in constant conflict with the people. But I ran across a verse the other day that made me rethink Moses.
Numbers 12:3 is a parenthetical. It reads: (Now the man Moses was very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth.)
Humility. Definitely something God prizes, since he also commends Jesus for this very thing. So I started to pay attention as I kept reading through Numbers and Deuteronomy, and here are some things I discovered:
- When the Israelites grumbled against Moses, he didn’t defend himself. He let God come to his defense.
- He cared more about the fame of God’s name than his own.
- He knew who he was in relation to God’s holiness.
- He didn’t tout his face-to-face relationship with God as something that made him “better than” the others.
- He didn’t see his position as leader something to be “grasped.” When God poured out His spirit of prophecy on the elders, Joshua got upset. “But Moses said to him [Joshua], ‘Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them!’”
- When God told him that he wouldn’t see the Promised Land, not only didn’t he argue the point, he didn’t “quit.” He did what God asked, namely preparing Joshua to do the very thing Moses longed to do. And he continued with that task and with faithful leading God’s people until the Lord called him home.
At the end of my week of pondering, God saw fit to have Lance Shumake preach at church on the importance of the Old Testament. I nodded along, because I love studying the Old Testament. I find such life-changing truth on every page. But one of Lance’s statements made me pause. He said we tend to see ourselves—or what we should be—in the Old Testament heroes. But we need to remember that God is the main character of the story, not us. And every Old Testament “hero” whispers the name of Jesus.
And then it became crystal clear. Moses’s humility as a foreshadowing of Jesus, who didn’t “grasp” at His position in heaven or His special relationship with the Father. (Phil. 2:5-8) Moses’s intercession for the people of God who grumbled as a picture of Jesus who intercedes for us with the Father. Jesus, who like Moses, explains to us the way God desires for us to live.
Suddenly Moses in the wilderness doesn’t seem as lackluster as before.