Throughout history there have been many individuals who could be consideredleaders, but some stand out among the others. An example of a superb leader isMoses in the Bible. Moses is viewed as a righteous man in God”s eyes and ischosen to lead the Hebrews out of oppression in Egypt.
Contained in the story ofExodus are many examples of Moses’ sacrifices and the hardships he enduredwhile freeing the Hebrews. The faith of Moses was tested numerous timesthroughout the story, and, in some instances, it seemed that Moses had lostfaith, however, being the “righteous” man that he was, he stuck it outuntil the end. When compared to Noah and Abraham, Moses is a “pillar offaith” for surviving his tests and for being the perfect tool forGod”s plans. In the Old Testament stories, God seems to want his earth tobe peaceful and without sin and when he sees that the world is corrupt, hedecides to conduct a purge. In the first two books of the Bible, there are twodistinct covenants made, one with Noah and the other many generations later withAbraham. God talked to Noah and he was chosen to be the father of a renewedcivilization after an enormous purge would wipe out the evil in the world.
Noahhad to undergo many trials and tribulations. He had to experience embarrassmentand ridicule because of the nature of God’s requests. His neighbors andfriends thought he was nuts because it is not every day that a man constructs ahuge boat made of gopher wood and claims that a flood will come to rid the worldof evil. After Noah obeyed all Gods commands, he was rewarded. Noah became likeAdam, in that he would be responsible for starting life on earth over.
Noah wasrewarded because of his faith in God and his ability to obey. God’s covenantwith Noah laid the groundwork for his promise to Abraham many generations downthe road. Here God”s bidding was not exactly the same, but, in essence, itdemanded the same degree of commitment and dedication from Abraham. Abraham wasold and his wife Sarah was barren. God promised Abraham that he would be thefather of a great nation.
Given Sarah’s condition, Abraham had many inquiriesand doubts about the feasibility of this, yet he had faith. God asked of Abrahamthat he give up all he knew, and all he had to wander in the desert in search ofthis nation, which God promised. Abraham also endured many hard times. Hewandered in the desert for years on blind faith, and, when he finally got towhere he was going, he was asked by God to sacrifice his most prized possession,his son Isaac. When God observed the faith and obedience of Abraham, he sparedIsaac and allowed Abraham’s nation to flourish. The Old Testament, model of agreat patriarch, is one who possesses faith coupled with voluntary obedience toGod’s wishes and gratitude.
These things combine to make up God’s standardof moral goodness. If the person obeys God’s laws and meets His standards,happiness may be attained by the individual. The ultimate model of a greatpatriarch is Moses. The second book of The Bible, the book of Exodus, beginswith the Egyptian’s decision to oppress the Hebrews who lived in the land ofEgypt for 400 years.
(The descendants of Joseph and his brothers) Although Moseswas born a Hebrew, Moses grew up in the Pharaoh’s court and the Hebrews werejealous of him. The Egyptians didn’t trust him as well. This is one of themain reasons why Moses was such a great leader. He didn’t really have anystrong ties to either the Hebrews of the Egyptians. This is why he can be harshand use force to make the people understand what God wants. He has the guts toorder his own people to their death for freedom.
Moses was willing to risk hislife for his people and one day Moses saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew in thework-yard, and hastily killed the Egyptian with his bare hands. He then fledfrom Egypt to Midian, and found a wife with whom he had a son. Yet, Moses knewhe would not settle down until he returned to Egypt to fulfill A God”sprophecy. Important to Moses’ development into a great leader was the time hewas tending his father-in-law”s flock up on the mountain of Horeb. Here, atthe mountain of God, he came across a burning bush. Moses was amazed by thephenomenon and God spoke to him through this medium.
Moses was commanded to goto the Pharaoh and request that the Hebrews be set free to worship their God. Now, Moses was not well liked by either the Egyptians or the Hebrews at thetime, so he was in no position to tell anyone what to do. When Moses, throughAaron, proposes to the Pharaoh to let the Hebrews go free, the Pharaoh gets madand just makes the workload for the Hebrews more demanding than it ever wasbefore. This made the Pharaoh furious and the Hebrew labor force despised Mosesfor burdening them with more work.
Moses was discouraged because the people hewas commanded to free did not want to be freed, and, even if they did, Moses isthe last person that they wanted to be freed by. As slaves, the Hebrews acceptthemselves to be powerless. At this point Moses had to be rather confused. Hehas no friends to turn to, all he has is a burning bush up on a mountain, andfaith. On his conscience are the hardships of an entire people and a huge senseof failure.
Moses returns to the bush and says to God, “O Lord, why did Youbring harm upon this people? Why did You send me? Ever since I came to Pharaohto speak in Your name, he has dealt worse with this people, and still You havenot delivered Your people (Exodus 5:22). ” This is an example of Moses’doubt and confusion about his mission. God supplies Moses with many different”tricks,” and supernatural powers, yet the first few times Moses wentback to Pharaoh, his magicians could match Moses’ “illusions. ” As aresult, the Pharaoh thought nothing of it and kept the Hebrews working. Then Godcommanded Moses to order gnats to swarm Egyptians and the Pharaoh’s magicianscould not match the power of Moses.
Pharaoh’s heart remained cold and he wouldnot let the people go, so Moses ordered progressively crueler plagues on theEgyptians. God hardens Pharaoh’s heart many times to test the faith andcommitment of Moses. Moses didn’t know God was doing this and was absolutelyfrustrated. He gives up everything he knows to perform this task and he keepsgetting rejected. The last plague was what made the Pharaoh change his mindabout the Hebrew’s freedom. The Angel of Death took the first born of everyliving thing in Egypt, including the son of Pharaoh.
Moses suffered greatfrustration because of his continual confrontations with Pharaoh, but finallyGod’s bidding was reality. Moses gained some respect from the Hebrew people,but they didn’t want to change the ways of the past. The Hebrews bore witnessto the acts of violence Moses performed on the Egyptians, so naturally, theHebrews would fear the power of Moses. Moses had an incredibly hard task in thathe had to lead an incoherent mass of people out of oppression. His faith, andtrust in God, is why Moses succeeded and that which made him the ultimate modelof a patriarch. Moses did everything that God told him to do and he did it withall his might.
He firmly believed that God would see him through the hard times. God wants the people to know that he is the one Lord (Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh), andthat there are no humans that compare. This is why he goes through all thetrials with Pharaoh. Moses” faith delivered him through all the questionsand doubts of the Hebrew people as they proceeded on the forty-year journey tothe “Promised Land of milk and honey. ” Faith and trust in God, helpedhim to be a leader for the people. However, Moses was not the perfect, sin-freeprophet, in the sense he murdered a man directly and was the cause of the deathof thousands of Egyptians.
To top it off, he ordered all the people who builtthe golden calf to worship on the bottom of Mount Sinai to be killed. AsMachiavelli once said, “The ends justify the means,” and that is whatthe freeing of the Hebrews is about. What God wanted done was done throughMoses. I believe that Moses was justified in what he did at Mount Sinai, butI”m sure that, if I were one of the Hebrews, I wouldn’t be able to fathomwhat was going through Moses” head. I respect the character of Moses and Ifeel that his shrewdness was one of the key elements in the success of theExodus. In the end, with God on his side, Moses led his people with greatstrength and courage, and delivered them safely into the awaited Holy Land.
BibliographyHarris, Stephen L. Understanding the Bible. London: Mayfield Publishing,1997. Tanakh.
Jerusalem: Jewish Publications Society, 1985.