This week we are moving from Genesis (book of beginnings) to Exodus which means departure. Just like Genesis Exodus is divided into two parts… The first recounts Israel’s enslavement and exodus from Egypt. The second tells the story of receiving the Law from God. Many have said Exodus is a book about Moses, and they are not completely wrong, but it is a book about God and what He does through Moses. According to Philip Ryken, “The exodus shows that there is a God who saves, who delivers his people from bondage” There is much written about Moses, in fact, four out of the first five books of the Bible (A.K.A. the Pentateuch) are devoted to him, his life, challenges, and death. It would be impossible for me to touch on every detail of his life in the time we have together, so I have chosen to focus on key characteristics of Moses’ ministry as a leader. Today we will briefly skim over Moses’ life and key points in the Book of Exodus and next week we will spend our time looking at receiving the Law.
Exodus 1:6 – 17
Before we begin, it would be good to give a little historical and cultural background to help us better understand what is going on in Exodus. Aside from God, Moses is the key character in Exodus and in the history of the nation of Israel. It is through Him, God establishes the Laws of the nation, the structure for worship, performs miracles, and deliver’s the people of Israel from slavery.
We read at the beginning of Exodus the Hebrew people (Israelites) lived in Egypt. The Hebrews and Egyptians co-existed peacefully in Egypt for nearly three centuries after the death of Joseph. Over time the various Pharaoh’s would come and go and eventually a Pharaoh came into power who felt threatened by the Hebrews. This Pharaoh began to worry that the Israelites were becoming too numerous and if something wasn’t done to control their population then Egypt could potentially be overtaken by the Hebrews.
Thus Pharaoh mandated that all male Hebrew babies be murdered (every female was spared), and he enslaves the Hebrew nation to hard labor.
Exodus 2:1 – 10
We are not told at this time the name of the mother of Moses (later we find out her name is Jochebed), but we do know that “she saw that he was a special baby and kept him hidden for three months.” Somehow, she has the foresight to know her son was special before God, and He had a plan for him. So, she places her infant in a waterproof basket and places him in the Nile so the Pharaoh’s daughter would find the baby down the river. When Pharaoh’s daughter sees the basket and the child inside, she adopts the baby as her own and names him Masha or Moses (which means “drawn out”) since she drew him out of the water. Moses is brought up as the son of the daughter of the Pharaoh and he lives a life of a prince for a good portion of his younger years.
One day Moses sees an Egyptian beating a Hebrew and he ends up murdering the Egyptian. This is a big deal! Moses flees for his life to Midian. Eventually he gets married, lives a shepherd’s life, and has an unlikely encounter with God, through a burning bush, which forever changes his life and calling.
Moses’ life could be broken down into three 40-year clusters. His first forty years could be considered his prince years. He lived in the house of Pharaoh and enjoyed the privileges of the household. His middle forty years were spent as a humble shepherd in Midian at his father-in-law’s home. It was most likely during this time Moses was being trained as a leader for the nation of Israel. His final forty years were spent as a called agent of God. It was during this time that Moses led the nation of Israel out of captivity and into the desert to the Promised Land. Unfortunately, Moses never makes it to the Promised Land, but he used this time to disciple a young man named Joshua to lead the nation as they enter the Promised Land. More on that in a few weeks.
Moses: The Leader
Today I want to spend some time talking about Moses. Moses was an influential man and a leader whom God called and used in great ways to establish his chosen people as a nation. As I spent time reading about Moses in both the Bible and extra-biblical sources, I noticed five specific qualities about Moses’ leadership that I believe can benefit us all today in the Body of Christ. Now, when I am speaking about leaders or leadership I am not just referring to Pastoral ministry, I am really talking about men and women who are in positions where they have individuals following them or authority over.
The Exodus account and the story of Moses’ life is one of the most fascinating stories in the Bible. It gives me encouragement to know that God is not out actively seeking for men and women who “have it together” to accomplish his will. I look at the successes and failures of Moses during his lifespan and I see the hand of God in all aspects of this man’s life. As individuals and as a congregation we can also be encouraged that God’s hand is upon us to accomplish his will. God has done some amazing things in the history of the nation of Israel, and I believe He can and does still have amazing things in store for his Church as well; what they may be, I don’t know, we can only pray, wait, and see.
 Ryken, P. G., & Hughes, R. K. (2005). Exodus: saved for God’s glory (pp. 16–17). Crossway Books.
Jeff has been in ministry for well over two decades. He currently serves as Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Southside Campus in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). Both are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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