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THE CHILDHOOD OF MOSES
II. QUAR., LESSON VIII., MAY 20, EXOD. 2:1-10
Golden Text—”I will deliver him and honor him.”—Psa. 91:15
This lesson presents several features of divine interposition worthy of very special consideration. (1) It calls to mind the promise of God to Jacob hundreds of years previous (Gen. 46:4)—to bring his posterity back to the land of promise, his purposes in sending them down into Egypt having been accomplished; and now he is preparing to fulfil that promise.
(2) It is another illustration (See also Rom. 9:11) of God’s elections of certain individuals for special services in the present life, and the shaping of their course in view of that purpose. Like the Apostle Paul (Gal. 1:15) Moses seems to have been chosen, even before he was born. These elections were not unto everlasting life, but to a place of service in the present life. Though Paul was “a chosen vessel” to preach Christ to the Gentiles, he might have become “a castaway” (1 Cor. 9:27) so far as future honors are concerned.
(3) It affords another illustration of special divine providence in the protection, preservation and training of the chosen instruments of service. Born under the cruel edict of death, that very circumstance was divinely overruled for Moses’ advantage, and through him for that of all Israel: and so the wrath of opposing men was made to advance the divine plan, instead of to retard it, as intended. It was due to this circumstance that Moses was brought up in all the learning of the Egyptians, and thus fitted for his future work as a great leader and statesman.
(4) It shows how God, while working out his grand designs on a large scale, is not unmindful of the faith and devotion of humble individuals who put their trust in him. By faith Moses’ parents hid him three months, and then took him to the river’s brink and left him alone in the hands of God; and confidently trusting him, “they were not afraid of the king’s commandment.”—Heb. 11:23.
(5) It shows how God has respect both to the character and to the natural qualifications of his chosen instruments. Thus, for instance, for the leadership of Israel he chose a good man, a godly man, one who preferred to suffer affliction with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of an Egyptian court, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt. (Heb. 11:24-27.) But for the throne of Egypt at that particular time he chose one of very opposite character (Rom. 9:17), and thus his purpose was wrought out in the fullest exercise of the free moral agency of both.
It is notable also that in choosing Moses for his great work as a deliverer and statesman, God did not choose a novice, but, on the contrary, he chose one of great natural ability and gave to him just the kind of education he needed for his work—his earliest years under the training of godly parents, whose instilling of the principles of truth and righteousness and whose instructions in the hope of Israel, were not without their desired effect in all the subsequent years of life; then the remainder of forty years under the most favorable circumstances for learning what the most enlightened nation of that day afforded; and then forty years in the retirement of domestic life, well suited for the mellowing and refining of his character and the deepening, and enriching of experience.
And yet in choosing this man of learning and ability God, as in the case of the Apostle Paul, permitted a thorn in the flesh, lest
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he should be exalted above measure by the honors of his high position. He was slow of speech—a diffident, retiring man and not at all gifted as an orator. The office, however, did not require oratory, and so the charms of eloquence were not given—his meekness coupled with great executive ability especially fitted him for it. A similar course of previous training is also very noticeable in the case of the Apostle Paul. (See Gal. 1:15; Acts 22:3; 26:24.) And the same Apostle urges all who would be used of the Lord to study to show themselves workmen approved unto God.—2 Tim. 2:15.
(6) It is also noticeable that for special leadership God chooses the few and not the many, and more frequently only one at a time. There was only one Lord Jesus to redeem and restore our lost and ruined race. There was only one Paul to lead on in declaring the unsearchable riches of Christ to the Gentiles, and to leave his rich legacy of inspired love to the Gentile Christians of all subsequent generations. There was only one Moses to lead the hosts of Israel out of bondage and to be a father unto them and a judge, though there was a host of honored co-workers with him—Aaron, Hur, Joshua, Caleb, et al. So also in later days God has from time to time raised up special instruments, amply fitted to serve in special emergencies, and to lead in reforms, etc.; e.g., Martin Luther, John Knox, John Wesley, etc. But in every such case the present reward has been persecution. And so severe have been the trials and so perilous the positions of such men, that nothing but their zeal and devotion to the cause and its future recompenses could be a sufficient incentive to induce them to fulfil their mission.
In view of these facts, it becomes the people of God at all times to carefully observe such remarkable evidences of God’s appointment, and to co-operate with God in whatever way he may be pleased to use their talents. If any man would be more abundantly used of the Lord in his blessed service, let him seek first to be fitted for it more and more. Let him imitate that beloved and honored servant, Moses, in meekness, humility, energy and untiring zeal and self-sacrificing service of the Lord. But the wise steward will seek always to cultivate along the lines of his natural abilities, and not expect the Lord to work a miracle for his advancement, and so waste valuable time seeking to develop that which he does not by nature possess. True, the Lord could work a miracle if he desired to do so; but that is not his usual method. Miracles are his reserve forces, and are only brought forward when the natural means are insufficient to accomplish the divine purpose.
— May 1&15, 1894 —