Bible Biographies: Moses and the Prize

Moses’ name appears about 790 times in the Bible. It appears in many books; he occupies a place of great importance. Moses’ life is divided into three stages, each different from the others. During the first forty years of his life, he was cared for by his parents until they handed him over to Pharaoh’s daughter. With her, he received the kind of education befitting one who belonged to the first family of the nation. During the second stage, he lived a solitary life as a shepherd, far from Egypt. The last forty years he wandered in the desert at the head of a rebellious people until he brought them to the banks of the River Jordan. There Joshua took over the leadership and led the people across the river to take possession of the land of Canaan.

Before he died, Jehovah took Moses to view the land of Canaan. He saw a vast area from the north to the south and even as far west as the Mediterranean Sea. This was the land Jehovah had promised to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their descendants. Due to a mistake he made, Moses was not able to enter the land in person, but God said, “I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither. So Moses the servant of the Lord died in the land of Moab” (Deu 34:4-6).

Exodus chapter 2 relates a critical event in the life of Moses which ended the first stage of his life and led him to leave Egypt. It is described as an act of faith in Hebrews 11:24-25: “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.” In spite of the opulence of Moses’ life in Egypt, he never forgot his nation, and when he was grown, “he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens.” What he learned in the years his mother cared for him was not lost and now, more than thirty years later, he goes out to see “his brethren.” His comfortable life had not erased from his memory that he belonged to God’s people. They had received great promises from God but lived groaning day and night due to their suffering at the hands of the Egyptians. When he came to his brethren, “he spied an Egyptian smiting a Hebrew, one of his brethren. And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand” (Exo 2:11-12). It was a crucial moment. He could not deny that Pharaoh’s daughter called him Moses, which means “taken from the water,” and he could not refuse the education and the kind of preparation they gave him to serve in Egypt. However, now mature, he can choose. He makes a visit to see his brethren who are suffering. He defends a Hebrew, killing the Egyptian who was beating him. No longer was it important for him to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter with all the privileges associated with it. He wanted to be identified with the people of God, preferring to be a privileged Hebrew according to the promises of God rather than making use of his prerogatives as an Egyptian. By faith Moses saw the reward that represented something far greater than the riches of Egypt. Riches are for use in this life only, divine recompense is for ever. On what object is your eye focused?