Moses the Humble

DAILY DEVOTIONAL: DAY 214

“Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3).

In Moses’ time there were a lot of people in the world. That the Bible describes Moses as more humble than anyone on earth is, therefore, a high praise and a testament to the man’s character. Of all the things which could have been said in praise of Moses, it is interesting that the Bible chose to highlight his humility. The Bible inserted this comment after Aaron and Miriam had criticized Moses over his Ethiopian (Cushite) wife. In the face of this criticism, Moses maintained his composure. Being meek, he would rather be wronged than wrong others.

If anyone had reason to boast in life, Moses was the one. In the period around the Israelites’ departure from Egypt, you could say that Moses was probably the most influential person in the world. He had been raised by Pharaoh’s daughter in the palace. Naturally, therefore, he would have made friends in the highest levels of Egyptian royalty; he would have been well versed in Egyptian language, law, science, culture, diplomacy and politics. He had everything he needed for success.

But, as the Word of God testifies, “By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt . . .” (Hebrews 11:24-26).

Under the direction of JEHOVAH, Moses performed breathtaking miracles in the presence of Pharaoh. He was the man who led tens of thousands of Israelites through the Red Sea. When Aaron and Miriam disrespected Moses, God rebuked them and reminded them of Moses’ exalted status in His sight (cf. Numbers 12:4-8). God spoke face to face with Moses, and even granted him the honor of seeing His form. With such an impressive resumé, Moses could have succumbed to pride. But in all of this, the Bible says he was more humble than anyone on the surface of the earth. A shining example of godliness!

Let us resist pride. Let us clothe ourselves with humility. Let us learn from Moses the Humble.

May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you today! Amen.

For further study: Numbers 12:1-14

When the Egyptians Are Pursuing

Daily Devotional: Day 188

“And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them. So they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the LORD” (Exodus 14:10, NKJV).

You probably can relate to the experience of being caught up in a dilemma of bad options. If you’re faced with impossible choices, it leaves you in a tight corner. Navigating your way out comes down to a painful choice between Scylla and Charybdis.  One day, the Israelites found themselves in a similar dilemma.

After a long and tedious negotiation for the release of his people, Moses finally led the Israelites out of Egypt. Little did they know that the battle wasn’t over, yet. Shortly after the Israelites departed, they lifted their eyes; and behold, the Egyptians were pursuing them. If you were an Israelite that day, you wished you had never escaped in the first place. In fact, the people did remind Moses that the whole idea of leaving Egypt was a big mistake: “Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, ‘Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness’” (Exodus 14:12, emphasis added).

With the Egyptians pursuing, the Israelites were trapped between the Egyptians and the Red Sea. They had come too far to turn back to Egypt. They had, moreover, no chance of defeating the pursuing army even if they decided to fight. So, going back was not an option. They could only move forward. But, moving forward meant heading into the Red Sea. Think about that. They had no ships, no life boat and no life jackets. Choosing this option meant accepting the high probability of drowning. In a nutshell, the choice was to either die at the hands of the Egyptians or perish in the Red Sea. Classic case of “Pick your poison.” In the midst of this crisis, the God of Israel made a way in the sea and the Israelites crossed safely on dry land. When the Egyptians followed them, they drowned.

Every story in the Bible is for our instruction and edification (cf. Romans 15: 4). Therefore, this story was written to encourage you. It’s no accident that you’re reading this. At times in life you can feel trapped in a dilemma of bad options. You know you can’t go back, but you don’t see much hope either going forward. You can feel ‘pursued’ by evil forces or by one crisis after another. And you wish there was a magical paradise where you could flee for reprieve. It’s a painful place to be.

Today, the Lord wants you to be encouraged by the story of the Israelites’ escape. He wants you to know that no matter how big your problem is, it is not bigger than the Red Sea. No matter who or what is pursuing you, the Lord wants you to keep moving forward; because your deliverance is before you, not behind you.

May the Lord remember you and make a way for you when you need it. And may He disarm the enemies who pursue you. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

For further study: 2 Corinthians 1:3-11

When to Obey God, Instead of Man

Daily Devotional: Day 121

“Then the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives . . . “When you do the duties of a midwife for the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstools, if it is a son, then you shall kill him; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live.” But the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the male children alive” (Exodus 1:15-17, NKJV).

The Israelites lived peacefully with the Egyptians for about 400 years. But all of this changed when a certain Egyptian king ascended the throne, who felt threatened by the increasing number of the Israelites. He, therefore, adopted a policy of hostility and enslavement to subdue God’s people. This is the background for our Scripture reading today. The king of Egypt ordered the Hebrew (Israelite) midwives to kill all Hebrew sons whose birth they assisted. But the midwives disobeyed the king. As I often like to stress, pay attention to the detail. The midwives did not disobey just for the sake of disobeying.  They did not disobey because they were arrogant and rebellious. Notice this: The midwives disobeyed the king, because they feared God.

On several occasions the Bible admonishes us to honor and submit to civil/political authorities (cf. Mark 12:13-17Romans 13:1-71 Peter 2:13-17). When, however, you are ordered to commit evil, deny your God, or violate your Christian conscience, then you must object, and if necessary, disobey that human authority. In other words, whenever you are put in a situation where you must choose between obedience to God’s Word and obedience to men, God wants you to obey Him rather than man. God alone must be feared. I have said this in one of my Daily Devotionals, and I’d like to repeat: You cannot fear God and fear man at the same time. You must choose whom to fear.

God rewards those who fear Him and respect His commandments (See Exodus 1:20 for the blessings God bestowed on the midwives for their bold stance). When the Hebrew midwives disobeyed the king of Egypt, they were putting their profession and even their life on the line. But because they feared God, they did not fear what the king could do to them. They’d rather die than disobey God. This is the meaning of fearing GodBeing willing to rather die than sin against God. If you are a ‘people-pleaser,’ you can’t be a ‘God-pleaser,’ or vice-versa. Likewise, you cannot be a ‘God-fearer,’ if you are a ‘people-fearer.’

I’ll share a personal story with you. About 15 years ago, I was a senior at a seminary in Ghana where I was training to become a Catholic priest. As president of the student council, I had several responsibilities, and often I had to make important judgment calls. I’ll spare you the details, but one day there was a shortage of food at lunch time. Three professors (who were my superiors) ordered me to break into the food storage room to make food available to the students. But in good conscience, I disobeyed the order. I was fully aware that these professors were taking advantage of the temporary crisis to use me as their pawn to further their political agenda against the Rector of the seminary. I refused to play along. At the end of the day, God vindicated me. 

The point is this: You have a God-given right under the Bible to disobey a human law that commands you to violate the law of God or your Christian religious conscience. Whom or what you fear says a lot about you. Do not compromise your loyalty to God’s law because of your fear of human power. Your sole desire as a Christian is to do what pleases the Father, following your Bible-trained conscience, regardless of what people think about you or threaten to do to you.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you today. Amen.

Pray to the Father about what you’ve heard today.

For further study: Daniel 3:1-30