Useful to God
Lesson 8

Lesson Eight

Moses: The Disgusted Leader

Text: Numbers 11

It took a lot to convince Moses to accept God's mission to return to Egypt and become Israel's leader! The questions Moses raised are not seen as excuses, but as genuine issues in Moses' mind. To Moses, these were legitimate concerns.

Before we acknowledge Moses' questions, remember the circumstances that led to his encounter with God. Read Exodus 2:11-25. Moses, as an adult who grew up in Pharaoh's (the king's) palace, tried to protect a Hebrew slave from an Egyptian. His defense of the Hebrew resulted in the death of the Egyptian. While Moses thought his act was not common knowledge, he learned the next day from two who were Hebrews fighting that his act was common knowledge among the Hebrews. The result: Moses was afraid. Though he seemingly knew his Hebrew origin, the Hebrews rejected him and were a source of danger to him.

Moses was not wrong about Pharaoh's reaction when he learned of Moses' act. To survive, Moses fled to a remote region far from the Egyptian influence. There he lived a solitary life as a shepherd in the wilderness. He literally abandoned life in Egyptian society's highest level to become a shepherd in a remote wilderness. Attempting to help the Hebrews cost Moses a lot! To Moses, it was obvious the Hebrews wanted nothing to do with him. To Moses, he would not merely show up, say, "I am your leader," and the Israelites say, "Hurrah! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!"

Consider Moses' hesitation questions. "Who am I to go back and be Israel's leader" (verse 11)? Had not he already demonstrated he had no influence with the royal family and no influence in Israel? "Who will I say You are" (verse 13)? Israel had been around Egypt's gods for generations and knew their names. They surely would ask, "What is the Name of the God you represent? How can I hope to have any credibility if I cannot tell them Your name?" Moses then asked, "What if they do not believe You sent me" (4:1)? God gave Moses miraculous acts. Moses responded, "Please send someone else--I am not eloquent!" He certainly did not have a good past record! He also had been alone for quite a while! Can you see why he had no self-confidence?

Finally Moses returned and became an exceptional leader. Though Pharaoh was hesitant and the Israelites distrustful, through God Moses achieved Israel's release and a successful crossing of the sea. God spoke to Moses face to face as one spoke to his friend (Exodus 33:11) -- unlike God spoke to any other prophet (Deuteronomy 34:10; Numbers 12:7, 8).

Once Israel depressed Moses. Moses reached the point that enough was enough! He listened to all Israel crying because they were homesick for Egypt. (What an awful sound must have been produced by a whole nation crying!) Moses said to God, "You are being too hard on me! Why do You burden me with these people? I did not conceive them! I did not bring them here! I cannot feed them the meat they want! I cannot do this anymore! If this is the way You are going to treat me, kill me so I do not have to look at what a failure I am!"

Instead of God reacting against Moses, He gave Moses help. He understood, and He responded with understanding. He did not make Moses suffer because of Israel's lack of faith.

God is not your enemy because you have moments of struggle! God is not your enemy because you take your difficulties to Him. Take Hebrews 4:14-16 to heart.

"Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."

Please note:

  1. Jesus Christ is our high priest because we are weak.

  2. Jesus Christ understands what we endure.

  3. In our weakness, we should have confidence in God's concern.

  4. We do not go to God because we are strong, but because we are in need.

  5. When we go to God, we expect to receive mercy and find grace.

This is not an encouragement to develop a "do nothing" attitude, but to cultivate the attitude of confidently going to God in moments of distress. Go to God assured of God's concern for us! God always has been a source of help to those who dare to be His people.

For Thought and Discussion

  1. Moses did not consider his questions as excuses, but as what?

  2. What circumstances led to Moses' questions and encounter with God?

  3. To escape the Egyptian Pharaoh (king), what price did Moses pay?

  4. List and discuss Moses' hesitation questions.

  5. What indicated Moses' special relationship with God?

  6. Discuss how Israel discouraged Moses in Numbers 11.

  7. Discuss Moses' reaction to Israel's discouragement.

  8. How did God react to Moses' remarks?

  9. God is not what because you have times of struggle?

  10. Give five (5) points we should note in Hebrews 4:14-16.

Link to Teacher's Guide Lesson 8

Copyright © 2008
David Chadwell & West-Ark Church of Christ

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