Moses: The man before the miracles

Why did Moses become such a great leader?

5 min ·
What can we learn from the early life of Moses?

Many have heard the story of how Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, but perhaps not many have reflected upon his life before the Exodus. Similarly, we can long to be a useful instrument for God, without considering what has to go on in our own lives in order for that to happen.

Growing up as a prince among the Egyptians, Moses had always loved his fellow Hebrews. He longed to do something for them. God saw that Moses could be a valuable tool, but first of all there was a lot of his own strength and wisdom that had to be broken down. It was vital that God’s will would be done and God's name would be glorified, and not Moses’ own.

Understanding the worth of mankind

Moses was forced to escape from Egypt at the age of 40. For almost 40 years after that, Moses, who once was a prince of the world’s leading civilization at the time, was a shepherd in a foreign land. All the strength, influence, honor, and knowledge he had attained as a prince of Egypt became worthless. (Acts 7:20-35)

Eventually, he came to understand who he really was. Psalm 90 is a prayer of Moses, which reflects this: "In the morning they [mankind] are like grass which grows up: in the morning it flourishes and grows up; in the evening it is cut down and withers." Psalm 90: 5-6. This was his revelation about the worth of mankind and human knowledge without God’s guidance and wisdom.

He also got insight into the nature of God and His omnipotence: "Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God." Psalm 90:1-2.

Day after day, God imprinted this truth on Moses' heart, and the result was phenomenal. For the rest of Moses’ life, despite the many powerful miracles he performed with God’s strength, he never became great in his own eyes. Instead, Moses started to seek what is most precious on earth: "So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom!" Psalm 90:12.

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Forming an unbreakable bond with God

Alone with God, Moses learned. He learned to watch out for the flock of sheep that were in his care. He led them, bore with them, and sought what was best for them. Following God's promptings in his heart, he protected the sheep from all unsafe paths and dangerous beasts. Although he didn’t know it at the time, this was preparing him for the day that he would no longer be leading sheep, but all of the tribes of the Hebrew people.

Those were the days that Moses formed an unbreakable bond with God, and learned to trust Him without doubting. He learned, as David did when he was a shepherd: "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want!" Psalm 23:1.

Finally, the day came that God saw that Moses was prepared for his destined mission. His own strength had been broken down over the years, and he became the most humble and meek man on the face of this earth (Numbers 12:3). He was now wiser and stronger than any other person alive because he became a servant – a representative – of God.

From then on, God could start speaking to Moses directly about His will. Thus started the epic story that is still considered one of the greatest in human history – the Exodus of the Hebrew people from Egypt. It was because of this strong bond with God that he later stretched out his hand over the Red Sea at God’s command. The sea opened up, allowing the people of Israel to cross safely and escape the pursuing Egyptian army.

God needs workers

There is also a great need in the world around us today. Many people are in bondage to their own sin, and don’t know a way out. God needs people who are willing to go through the same education Moses did so they can be shepherds and examples, leading people to the freedom that is in Christ.

Are you attentive to listen to what God wants to teach you, day after day? Are you willing to humble yourself under God’s guidance and will, at the expense of your own opinions and human understanding? If so, you will also gain an unbreakable bond with God. It is the hidden faithfulness in the daily life; small situations that nobody could see, that prepared Moses to be an instrument in God’s hands. It was because of this state of humility and meekness that allowed him to put aside his own thoughts, ideas, and stubbornness, and God’s will could be done, and He could be glorified.

“That the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:17.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, unless otherwise specified. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.