Few people in history elicit as much respect as Moses. Hollywood has paid homage to him in movies and full-length animated features. Historians have credited him with the creation of a nation. Lawyers and politicians say he is the architect of the modern legal system. Theologians acknowledge his contributions to three of the world’s major religions. As if that were not enough, God’s word says this about Moses:
“The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.” Exodus 33:11
To be called God’s “friend” … now there is something to put on a resume! That verse alone should inspire believers to study the life of Moses. What about Moses made him such an influential figure in God’s redemptive story? Well, there are a few things we know it was NOT. We know it wasn’t his skill as a preacher or great orator. Moses himself confessed:
“I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” Exodus 4:10
We also know it was not his confidence and keen leadership abilities (see Exodus 4:1). It certainly wasn’t his spotless moral record. After all, Moses was a murderer who had spent forty years as a fugitive in the desert (Exodus 2:11-25). What was the secret to Moses’ success?
Moses was willing to surrender everything to God for His divine purpose. He surrendered his past, his failures, possessions, reputation and future to God. Simply stated, he placed himself in God’s hands to be used as an instrument of purpose.
Planted within Moses’ story is a symbolic reminder of his function as God’s instrument. Throughout the Bible we read that Moses carried a staff. God used it to convince Moses that he would not be alone throughout the journey (Ex. 4:2-5). The staff was again used to prove to the Hebrews as well as the Egyptians that Moses was indeed God’s messenger (Ex. 4:30 and 7:9-10). It was used by Moses during five of the ten plagues (see Ex. 7-10), to part the Red Sea (Ex. 14:16), to wage war (Ex. 17:19), to bring healing (Numbers 21:9), and was probably useful for the 80-year-old man’s forty-year walk in the desert! Just as the staff was an instrument in Moses’ hands, so too was Moses an instrument in the hands of God. That’s what we are called to be -- instruments of purpose.
What is it you hold in your hands? Guilt, regret, shame over past failures -- God can use it. A speech impediment – He’ll take that, too. A life wasted in the desert – give it to Him. Whatever you’ve got, God can use. But you must be willing to surrender it to Him for His purpose.