The closing lines of the Pentateuch (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy), inspired by God’s Holy Spirit, speak of Moses’s unmatched greatness. “No prophet has arisen again in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face. He was unparalleled for all the signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do against the land of Egypt—to Pharaoh, to all his officials, and to all his land—and for all the mighty acts of power and terrifying deeds that Moses performed in the sight of all Israel” (Deuteronomy 34:10–12).
As the God-chosen leader of the Hebrews, he led a couple-million (Exodus 12:37) runaway brickmakers from Egyptian slavery to the brink of the promised land. For forty-years, Moses shepherded God’s chosen people through tests and trials, across wastelands and wilderness, and against formidable foes.
At the Burning Bush, Jehovah God, the great “I Am” (Exodus 3:14), commissioned and empowered Moses to lead Jacob’s descendants back home to Canaan. For the next forty years, God performed incredible miracles through Moses. The ten plagues were poured out upon Egypt, the Red Sea was opened as a super-expressway for the Jews and then became the watery grave for the Egyptian army, an artesian well gushed forth from a rock in the dessert, and bread rained from heaven.
At Sinai, the Mountain of the Lord, God invited Moses into a forty-day communion during which God gave His clear directions for holy living, the Law. God said, “You have seen what I did to the Egyptians and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you will carefully listen to me and keep my covenant, you will be my own possession out of all the peoples, although the whole earth is mine, and you will be my kingdom of priests and my holy nation” (Exodus 19:4–6).
While Moses’s heroic life is marked by superior leadership and supernatural power, astonishingly, God’s Word says that “Moses was a very humble man, more so than anyone on the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3). In the elite company of other Old Testament greats like Abraham (Genesis 26:24) and David (2 Samuel 7:8), God gave to Moses the greatest honor and complement. God called Moses, “my servant” (Numbers 12:7, 8; Joshua 1:7; 2 Kings 21:8).
Moses was so exceedingly influential that God directed him to end his earthly pilgrimage atop Mount Nebo, alone on Pisgah’s lofty heights (Deuteronomy 34:1). With only God in his company, one-hundred-twenty-year-old Moses died where his bones would never be discovered, and where his burial site couldn’t become a shrine that would surely have been wrongly worshipped for millennia.
The most outstanding characteristic of Moses’s epic life may be a feature that can be duplicated in ours. Moses had an intimate relationship with God. The Almighty testified, “I speak with him directly, openly, and not in riddles” (Numbers 12:8). Today, with the benefit of God’s Written Word, we can come boldly into His presence where he speaks with clarity by the power of His Ever-Present Spirit.
In the next days, I’ll enjoy writing about the life of Moses, the great Hebrew hero, leader, emancipator, author, lawgiver, and prophet and about his cherished relationship with the Living God. I pray that God’s Word will come alive for us!