He’s tired. Worn out. Worn down. He’s had it. After everything he’s been through, he just can’t take it anymore. And who blames him? Oh, someone will blame him for everything. Then they’ll all join in. Whining. Complaining. Nagging.
Blaming is one thing, but being pecked to death by sharp, relentless tongues is quite another. The blows from tongue lashings can be the hardest of all.
But that’s how it works when you’re the leader. He just wanted to stay home with his family and tend to his flocks. But he’s called.
In fact, God has his eye on him his whole life. He could have been murdered with all the other little Hebrew babies, but his mother placed him in a basket and put him in the water. A surrogate mom rescued him and raised him as her own. He grew up in a palace until he found out the truth and tried to help one of his people. In anger, he killed another and had to flee. That’s how he met his wife and lived another life for 40 years. A good life.
But God calls him.
Does he doubt the calling? You bet. He even tries to change God’s mind. “Uh, Lord. You know I don’t speak so good. Maybe you need to send someone else.”
It doesn’t work. He just sends along his brother, Aaron. At times Aaron’s a great help. Aaron and Hur hold up Moses’ arms during battle. As long as his arms are in the air, they’re winning the fight with the Amalekites (Exodus 17:12-14). But as soon as Moses’ arms fall down at his sides from exhaustion, the Israelites start losing.
Moses knows that he can’t keep his arms in the air without help. At times we all need help. We shouldn’t be ashamed to ask for it. It goes against our self-reliant nature, but as Moses finds out over and over, everything we have comes from the Lord, including our strength and our very lives.
God hears the cries of his people enslaved in Egypt. That’s why he calls Moses to deliver them.
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my people go so they can worship me’” (Exodus 9:1).
We know the story. Plague after plague is sent to Egypt, but the Pharaoh won’t let give in until the final plague. The firstborn child dies unless the home’s doorpost is smeared with lamb’s blood. Pharaoh lets the people go, but then changes his mind.
On the road to freedom, the Hebrew people come face to face with the Red Sea as the Egyptian army comes from behind. God instructs Moses to put his staff in the water. The water separates and God’s people walk across the sea bottom as if on dry land. They don’t even get muddy!
God continues to use Moses to lead his people through the wilderness to the Promised Land. Many miracles occur, including the daily manna from Heaven the people eat. That’s where the complaining comes in. In Numbers 11, the people miss the meat they ate in Egypt. It gets so bad, they seem ungrateful for their deliverance. They’d rather eat the meat of slavery than the manna from heaven.
God’s displeased and so is Moses. Those arms that Aaron and Hur once held up so that Joshua could lead them in victory are now thrown up in disbelief and disgust. Moses is sick of the whining and complaining. The Lord tells Moses to pick out 70 elders. Then the Lord says, “I will take the same spirit that is upon you and put the same spirit upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, that you may not bear it yourself alone” (Numbers 11:17).
The Lord also sends meat.
Moses has to let go of how he sees himself and let God take control of his life. God calls him to take his shepherd’s staff to defeat Pharaoh. To part the Red Sea. To find water in the wilderness. To lead his people to the Promised Land.
When Aaron and Miriam speak against Moses, the Lord speaks to them. He says of Moses, “…he is faithful in all my house. I speak with him face to face. Even plainly and not in dark sayings; and he sees the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?”
The Lord strikes Miriam with leprosy. Aaron and Moses plead for her. After seven days, the Lord cures her.
Words are powerful. What we say and think show who we are. May all that we think, say and do be pleasing to the Lord. May we all raise our thankful arms up to him in praise and worship. Moses’ staff represents God’s power. We have access to that same power through the Word and the Holy Spirit.
Kathy Yoder is a devotional writer. She may be reached at email@example.com.