At age 40, Moses was no longer satisfied with sitting in the palace and observing what was going on. Day after day he must have struggled with himself, trying to cope with his double identity. He was considered the child of Pharaoh’s daughter, having been adopted after being rescued from the river Nile. However he knew that he was born of Hebrew parents and desired so much to be part of them.
The first flaw we see in Moses is that of presumption. On one of the days when he went out to watch his people working, he saw an Egyptian maltreating a Hebrew. Indignation at this injustice rose within Moses and he came to the defence of the Hebrew slave, killing the Egyptian in the process. We read in Acts 7:25, ‘Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not’. He was to realize this the next day when he went out and saw two Hebrew slaves fighting. Trying to make peace between them, he asked the oppressor, ‘Why are you hitting your fellow Hebrew?’ (Exodus2:13)
The response of the man made Moses realize that there were other witnesses to what happened the day before and that even his own people were afraid of him. The consequence of his action dawned on him when Pharaoh heard what happened and attempted to have Moses killed. Moses had to escape for dear life and thus ended his royal lifestyle. He became a wanted man, an outlaw.
Moses experience before he left Egypt must have affected his psyche because when the Lord was ready to commission him to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt, Moses balked. He did not want to have anything to do with it. He made excuses, looking for a way out. First he asked God, ‘Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh to bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?’ (Exodus 3:11) He had lost the fervor and passion he once had when he was in Egypt. Doesn’t that sound familiar? Many of us come to the Lord with a fire burning in our hearts. We are so eager to please God and do everything we can to serve Him. When trials and life’s challenges hit us, we begin to lose that fire and gradually settle into some kind of lethargy. Some of us would have coped well with attacks from the outside but when we are attacked from within the church, the hurt run deep. All we want to do is come to church quietly and leave quietly, no commitment, no problem.
Excuse after excuse came and God patiently answered Moses concerns. God even had to perform two miracles to prove to him that this was the real thing. Moses was still not willing to take up the commission and kept making excuses until God grew angry. At that point, Moses must have known that he had gone too far. Is the Lord calling you to do something and you are resisting because of some experience you’ve had before, especially where you were hurt and disappointed by God’s people? It is time for you to accept his calling and put the past behind you. The truth is, God did not disappoint you, man did and that is not unexpected because we all have areas of weaknesses that we are struggling with. Until we come into perfection in Christ Jesus, there will still be misunderstandings, disappointments and hurts in the body of Christ because we are not all growing at the same rate spiritually.
Another of Moses’ recorded weakness was neglet. His delay to perform the circumcision of his son to almost led to his own death. Many commentators have written about the account of Exodus 4:24 – ‘At a lodging place on the way, the Lord met Moses and was about to kill him’. This would have been the end of Moses’ life and calling. His wife Zipporah was quick to come to his rescue by taking a stone and performing the required rite before Moses had life snuffed out of him.
It is not clear why Moses delayed this all important commandment. Some writers claim that Moses delayed because his wife Zipporah, being a Midianite abhorred the practice of shedding the blood of children through circumcision and Moses allowed his affection for his wife to cause him to live in disobedience to God’s instruction. We do it all the time don’t we? How many times have we satisfied other people at the expense of our devotion to God? Some of us compromise our faith just to ‘give peace a chance’. Many times I have heard people quote the scripture, “Give unto Ceaser that which is Ceaser’s and to God that which is God’s” when they want to give excuses for compromising God’s standards.
Lastly, we look at the one weakness which denied Moses the privilege of entering the promised land. Anger. It is easy for us, with the benefit of hindsight to say that Moses should have been more controlled but what would you have done in Moses place? I do not think that I would have led those people out of Egypt in the first instance. I mean, there was a time they just refused to talk to Moses anymore because they blamed him for Pharaoh increasing their tasks without supplying them with more materials. Time and time again when they faced challenges and difficulties, they blamed Moses and God for bringing them out of Egypt.
I believe that God took the decision to deny Moses entry into the promised land for us to realize that He takes his glory seriously. The anger of Moses was not the problem, it was not the reason why he did not enter the promised land, it was what anger made him do. That was not the first time he acted in anger. The first time was when he went to into the mountains to be with God for forty days and forty nights. By the time he came back, the people were engrossed in idolatry. In anger, Moses threw down the tablets of the ten commandments, written by the hand of God and they broke into pieces. This was a serious matter but God did not pronounce any judgment on Moses then.
We learn a great lesson here. Anger is dangerous. It can kill and it can destroy a dream. So many bad things we hear in the news today emanate from an angry mind. At the time of writing this story, I read on the internet about a man in the United States, who entered a church in Tennessee while service was going on and started shooting at people, injuring seven and killing two. No reason for his action has been given though he is already in police custody. Uncontrolled anger is deadly, let us pray for grace to help us put our anger in check. Let us keep in mind the golden advice in the word of God, ‘Be angry but sin not’ (Eph 4:26)
In spite of these weaknesses however, God has this testimony about Moses, ‘Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the surface of the earth’ Exodus 12:3
What is His testimony about you?