By Titus Chu
Thanks to his interaction with God in his vision on Mount Horeb, Moses learned valuable lessons concerning God’s desire and himself. These lessons are timeless and have not changed for us today. The teaching of the New Testament clearly matches what God taught Moses.
The Vision Concerning
Concerning God’s desire, Moses learned that God treasured His people above all others, and His desire for them would never change. God’s love is forever. Neither the environment nor man’s condition could ever cause Him to waver. Moses would have agreed with the Apostle Paul, who wrote:
I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
– Romans 8:38-39
Today, we as His church are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that [we] may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called [us] out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:9). God loves each of us individually and He loves the church corporately (Eph. 5:2, 25). This will never change.
Moses learned that God wanted to give his people the good land to live in, a land flowing with milk and honey. The Lord would withhold nothing good from those He loves. Paul says much the same when he prayed for us:
That [God] would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God”
– Ephesians 3:16-19
The Good Land for us is Christ, with all His breadth, length, height, and depth. It will take us all of eternity to explore and enjoy Him, and there will still be more.
Moses learned that God wanted His people to be freed from the slavery of Egypt. Pharaoh would have no choice but to let God’s people go. Paul wrote of the New Testament believers that “He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Col. 1:13). God “has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them [we] may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust” (2 Pet. 1:4). Based on what Christ has done, our Pharaoh, the devil, has no choice but to let us go. Praise the Lord, we are free!
Moses learned that God wanted His people to serve Him. This was the reason for bringing them all to the mountain of God. Paul said:
But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.
– Romans 7:6
John begins the last book of the New Testament saying:
He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
– Revelation 1:6
Our destiny is to serve God our Father as priests forever.
In every way our experience matches the vision given to Moses.
The Vision Concerning Himself
Moses had also become very clear about himself. He realized that the staff of authority he had received from God could easily become a serpent that would turn on him and bite him.
Likewise, Paul warns us of “those who take pride in appearance and not in heart” (2 Cor. 5:12). Our pride should make us very careful. What we are proud of are the things that will catch us, even if they are the very gifts we have received from God. God had given Paul great revelations that opened up all of the mysteries of God hidden from ages past (Col 1:26). There was a serpent hiding in this great gift. Paul could easily have become proud. Therefore he wrote:
Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself!”
– 2 Corinthians 12:7
This danger is very real. We must learn to humbly take the serpent by its tail so that it can properly be used in service to God.
Moses also learned that his hand could be either healthy or leprous. He was a complicated man with two natures just like us. Many times we are very messy. We don’t even know which is our leprous side and which is our divine side. We easily confuse the two and substitute what is natural or religious for what is of God. Paul warns us to lay aside the old man and put on the new man (Col. 3:9-10). He encourages us to “not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Rom. 8:4). We cannot fear our leprous nature to the place that we are paralyzed, but we must be very careful lest we hurt others.
Finally, Moses learned to not trust the water of the world. Nothing in the world is as it seems. The Apostle John warns us:
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world
– 1 John 2:16
Paul said of one of his coworkers:
Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica
– 2 Timothy 4:10
This is a trap laying in wait for each of us. Even the religious world is the world. What Moses learned, we must also learn.
But God was not done. There was still one more lesson for Moses to learn. God said:
“Is there not your brother Aaron the Levite? I know that he speaks fluently. And moreover, behold, he is coming out to meet you; when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. You are to speak to him and put the words in his mouth; and I, even I, will be with your mouth and his mouth, and I will teach you what you are to do. Moreover, he shall speak for you to the people; and he will be as a mouth for you and you will be as God to him.”
– Exodus 4:14-16
This is a crucial point. No matter how good we are, God says we are not adequate. He will always give us an Aaron as a spiritual companion.
We should never do things by ourselves. We always need our Aaron. I am very happy that there are specific brothers I can name whom God has given me for this purpose. It doesn’t matter what they can do. That’s irrelevant. God’s word to Moses was very clear—Aaron will be your mouth. He will speak for you. In fact, Aaron said almost nothing. He only acted as a middle man to bring Moses to the leaders of the Israelites. Almost everything was spoken by Moses, but without Aaron, Moses couldn’t speak a thing.
We must each acknowledge that we are not adequate by ourselves and we must each be able to name our Aarons. It is good to meet together, to do things together, and to be friends with one another, but that is not enough. We need genuine spiritual companions. We may have good fellowship with many brothers and sisters, but not have many Aarons, many companions. We are companions only if we strengthen one another to attain what God is after. That is why Aaron took Moses to see the leaders of the Israelites when they returned to Egypt (v. 29). They worked together to advance God’s purpose. No one else could work with Moses in this way.
May the Lord give each of us genuine spiritual companions to read the Bible together, to pursue together, to encourage one another, and to fight for the Lord’s testimony together.
Finally Moses was ready to go to Egypt and lead God’s people to the Good Land. At this point, the Bible says something surprising:
Now it came about at the lodging place on the way that the Lord met [Moses] and sought to put him to death.
– Exodus 4:24
This does not seem to even make sense. After spending 80 years preparing Moses to serve Him, the Lord sought to kill him. Fortunately Moses had a capable wife. The Bible says:
Then Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son’s foreskin and threw it at Moses’ feet, and she said: “You are indeed a bridegroom of blood to me.”
– Exodus 4:25
When we consider Moses’ history, we see that because of the environment he was born into in Egypt, he should have been killed immediately; that was Pharaoh’s command. In his parent’s desperate hurry to save him, it is possible that Moses was never circumcised. Perhaps this is why he was able to be received into Pharaoh’s household and live among the Egyptians. They surely would have killed him had he been circumcised, for that was a sign of being an Israelite. If in fact Moses was uncircumcised, then it follows that he may not have seen the need to circumcise his son. This was the cause of God’s great anger. Zipporah quickly realized what was wrong and corrected it. Because of her quick action, God let them go.
In the New Testament, we are “circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ” (Col. 2:11). We are told that our “circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God” (Rom. 2:29). Our spiritual circumcision is real; we are cut off from the flesh. But there is real danger that we will not live in the reality of our circumcision but instead, try to serve in our flesh. God will never accept this. We may not experience physical death, but we may experience spiritual death until, like Zipporah, we deal with our heart and acknowledge our spiritual circumcision.
To serve God is a fearful thing. Never serve Him with your flesh. Never serve Him according to what you think is right. Serve God only according to God. Except for Zipporah’s quick action, the Lord would have killed Moses. Never play around with God. After 80 years, God was almost willing to pick someone else and start all over again.
God will not let any of us serve him in a fleshly way. All service must be in spirit and truth. May the Lord have mercy on us that we can learn all these lessons.