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Life lessons from Moses

Author: Ryan Anderson, 19 January 2023

When we think of Moses in the Old Testament, it can be difficult to relate to his life if we focus on burning bushes, plagues and parted seas. However, when we remember that he was an imperfect person – just like us – who needed God’s guidance and strength, it becomes easier to see the principles and lessons that we can learn from him and apply to our lives.

With that in mind, here are five lessons we can learn from Moses’ life:

1. Embrace your calling – Exodus 3.4–10

When God called Moses to lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, Moses was initially hesitant, pushing back with ‘buts’ and ‘what ifs’. Eventually, though, he embraced his calling and trusted God. This is a reminder that no matter how difficult it may seem, if God has called us to do something, he will equip us to get it done.

2. Have faith – Exodus 14.13–26

When the Israelites were seemingly trapped between the Red Sea and the pursuing Egyptian army, Moses had faith and told them to stand firm and watch God save them. Can you imagine being in their sandals? As we face struggles – our own ‘Red Sea’ moments – let our faith in God bring assurance that he will deliver us.

3. Stay humble – Numbers 12.3

While Moses initially got off to a bad start – killing an Egyptian and fleeing the consequences, which resulted in a 40-year wait before he was ready to lead the enslaved Israelites out of Egypt – God chose him as the leader of the Israelite people. For the most part, he remained humble and obedient to God. This can serve as a reminder to us to stay humble before God, and each other, even when we are in positions of power and influence.

4. Don't try to do it all on your own – Exodus 18.13–26 

If it weren’t for the wisdom of Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, Moses would probably have burnt out. Instead, when Jethro observed how Moses was sitting alone as judge for the people, dealing with all their disputes, he strongly recommended delegating responsibility. We are told that Moses ‘listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said’ (verse 24, NIV). Let us also consider Jethro’s advice, wisely trusting in others to help us when we need it.

5. Seek God’s will – Numbers 21.6–9

When the people acknowledged that they had ‘sinned when we spoke against the LORD and against you’ (referring to Moses), Moses sought God’s will in prayer. Afterwards, we read that ‘Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived’ (verse 9, NIV). It’s not always obvious what we should do in challenging circumstances. Let’s remember to seek God’s will for a solution, knowing that, sometimes, the instructions might not make much sense to us.

Moses’ life is a wonderful example of how to seek God’s will and live according to it. He showed that it is possible – and wise – to trust God and to follow his leading, even when we don’t completely understand. May we learn from Moses as we pursue a life that honours God.

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