This Sunday at CBC, we observed in the life of Moses several lessons on our significance in Christ. In that vein, here is an excerpt from Pastor Frank Damazio’s book, The Making of a Leader, discussing the call of Moses. He provides a treasure trove of principles from Moses’ calling related to our identity in Christ. Pastor Frank’s focus, of course, is leadership; however, all believers will be encouraged by this message.
THE CALL OF MOSES
Moses is one of the most interesting men of the Old Testament. Deuteronomy 34:10 states, “And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto the man Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face.” Moses was obviously a man with unique relationship with the Lord.
Hebrews 11:23 states, “By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months by his parents, because they saw he was a proper child, and they were not afraid of the king’s commandments.” Moses was born of faith. His parents had a living faith in the God of their fathers. We have the Old Testament account of this in Exodus 2:1-10. The verses immediately following do not tell us what transpired during the early years of the life of Moses. But with the help of Scripture and history, we can begin to understand a portion of what happened.
The Youth of Moses
Moses was adopted and raised in the house of the daughter of Pharaoh, which meant he lived in the royal household. Acts 7:22 states, “And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds.” From this verse we see that Moses had all the education of the known world available while in the royal house of Pharaoh. Any university or tutoring scholar, as it were, would have deemed it a privilege to tutor the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.
Egypt was, at that time, one of the most productive and progressive countries of the known world, with educational achievements far above any other land. Their economic and social life, too, was highly developed. Even today, Egypt’s colossal pyramids, with their mathematical precision, confound the understanding of the most educated builders in the world. This was the environment in which Moses was raised from his youth.
The ancient Jewish historian Josephus gives one account of Moses which provides an insight into his power and ability. Josephus says that Ethiopian armies attacked, and were on the verge of inflicting a terrible defeat on Egypt. Moses, apparently, was appointed to go forth and command the armies of the Egyptians in an attempt to save the country from a disastrous downfall. Moses, reportedly lead the armies into battle and brought a great victory. If true, this account gives us a good glimpse at the man that Stephen described as “the man which was mighty in words and in deeds” (Acts 7:22).
As we look at the scriptures concerning Moses, it is evident that the Lord must have spoken to him something during the early years of his life. Hebrews 11:24-26 states, “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.”
This reference makes it very clear that Moses faced a very difficult decision in life. He had to choose between royalty and peasantry. Moses had to choose between all of the wealth, power, influence and glory of Egypt and the slavery of his own people Israel. Would he identify with the royalty of Egypt or the bondage of his own people?
Hebrews 11:27 tells us that “By faith Moses forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king, for he endured, as seeing Him who is invisible.” Moses was at the age of forty when he made this life-changing decision. Moses’ decision challenged and changed his life, to say the least. In saving a Hebrew from a cruel beating, he slew the Egyptian who was beating him. This led Moses directly into a personal forty-year period of wilderness wanderings. Why would God use a wilderness to prepare a leader of His people? God’s ways are always different and sometimes opposite to man’s ways, especially when it comes to dealing with His servants.
The Stripping Process
A transition from the royal courts of Pharaoh to the backside of the desert would have been a drastic change for anyone. But God had a purpose in it for Moses’ development; God was going to put Moses through some years of divine stripping. Moses had been a long forty years in the courts of Pharaoh learning all of the wisdom, ways, power and tools of men. He had, in a sense, all of the academic degrees that Egypt could offer him. But the Lord God of Israel was not going to use these Egyptian methods to free His people from their bondage. God was going to strip Moses of all his Egyptian wisdom, and begin to mold him for a task that only God’s wisdom could accomplish through him.
For forty years, Moses was on the backside of the desert, where he shepherded his father-in-law’s sheep. He could not claim to possess so much as his own sheep. He was just a common herdsman of another man’s flock. In addition, Moses’ wife was just an ordinary woman of the desert. She was a far contrast from the royal young maidens that he could have married in Egypt. The question naturally arises at this point, “What was God’s purpose in all of this?” God was totally stripping the man whom he was going to use greatly.
The effectiveness of all of God’s strippings was very evident in the way that we see Moses respond to God’s call at a later time. As we shall soon see, Moses was stripped of self-confidence and Egyptian pride. These attitudes would have made it impossible for him to accomplish what God had called him to do. In the great task that Moses was going to face, he would need to know that God, not man, was the source of his strength. As with Moses, God has a desert for all of His servants that He is going to use in a mighty way. The stripping process is part of the plan of God for all who will respond to the call of the Lord. A leader dare not challenge God’s process of calling and preparation.
The Burning Bush
In Exodus 3:1-11, we read about the call of Moses. When he was called, Moses was on the backside of the desert. Moses was tending sheep in the dry desert, as any other day’s work would normally have required him to do. Exodus 3:2 states, “And the Angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of the bush: and behold the bush burned with fire and the bush was not consumed.”
The fact that the bush was not consumed was the fascinating attraction that caused Moses to turn aside to see what this strange thing was. Exodus 3:4 states, “And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush and said, ‘Moses, Moses.’ And Moses said, ‘Here am I.’ ” When God revealed himself to Moses out of the burning bush, He told Moses to draw near so that He might speak to him.
The Lord told Moses His plan to deliver the children of Israel out of their Egyptian bondage. God told Moses how the children of Israel were in great distress, affliction and mourning because of their Egyptian taskmasters. Because Moses already understood the sad plight of the children of Israel, he did not hesitate to agree with the Lord that Israel greatly needed help. Moses’ agreement with the Lord showed that he had a definite burden for his people. Read More