We’re continuing our blog series of looking at men and women of the Bible that we consider as “heroes”. We first looked at Abraham, then considered Gideon and now looking at Moses. The purpose of this series is to look at the lives of people commonly referred to as “heroes” in the Bible and examine that as heroic as they may seem, they actually have a number of flaws and point us to the real hero, Jesus Christ.
Moses is no different in this. He started off his life growing in Pharaoh’s palace while his Hebrew people were slaves out in the desert. The Bible says that one day, Moses went out to watch his people work and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew worker. Moses was enraged by what he saw, and making sure no one was looking, went over and murdered the Egyptian. He then hid his body in the sand. The next day, Moses tried to break up a fight between two Hebrews and they asked if he would murder them just like the Egyptian. Moses realized they knew what he did so he high tailed it out of there to a place called Midian.
If we’re honest, this act alone should disqualify him as a hero. I don’t think any of us would call someone who murdered someone else a hero. Sadly, even before Moses begins his ministry, he has already made a colossal mistake.
After a considerable amount of time in the desert, God meets with Moses in a burning bush and calls him to rescue the Hebrews from Egypt. Moses then goes through a list of questions to God regarding how this will all work and why God has chosen him to do it. After God has sufficiently answered all of Moses’s questions, Moses finally says, “O Lord, please send someone else to do it.”
Now granted, what God called him to go do was an impossible task in his own strength. Yet, Moses’s questions the whole time speak of his doubt and fear and lack of trust in God. He eventually gives up and just asks God to pick someone else for the job. Although we can laugh on one hand because we ourselves, when asked by God to do something difficult, have asked God to send someone else, we also know it shows a lack of trust and confidence. And the result of Moses’s fear was that his brother Aaron, became the mouthpiece for God, something God never intended.
And lastly, this issue of trusting God came up again for Moses towards the end of his time with the Israelites when he hit a rock with his staff rather than speaking to it. God had told him to speak to it to bring out water, but in Moses anger, he hit the rock twice with this staff. God told him later that because he didn’t trust Him, he would not enter the promise land. Later, God referred to his behavior as “rebellion”.
As we’ve looked at Moses’s life, what sticks out to me is how we define the word “hero” in the Bible. I think unintentionally, we define it as someone who does good things or is a good model of moral and ethical behavior. But as with all things, we must interpret our understanding through the lens of the gospel. The gospel tells us that Jesus didn’t save us because we were heroes or examples of godly behavior. Ephesians 2:1 says that we are dead on the inside before Christ saves us, meaning we are not good people who should be called heroes. We are bad people who need a savior.
We have already established in some of the earlier blogs that Jesus is our ultimate hero. But from a human perspective, I think the Bible defines a real hero not as someone who lives a great moral and respectable life, but someone who acknowledges their shortcomings, their need for Christ and then seeks to follow Jesus as best they know how. Perhaps we could call this person an “authentic hero”. Someone who’s life reflects and magnifies the name of Jesus and points people to the real hero who can save them.
Once again, Moses life reminds me of my own. Times when I knew I was doing something wrong, but did it anyways. Times when God asked me to do something courageous, meaningful and risky, and instead of obeying, I shrunk back in fear. Times, when in anger, I said and did things I now regret. It’s hard to admit it, but I’m just like Moses. And thankfully, just like Moses, I can reach out to a hero who loves me, died for me and will always be with me.