Daily Thought for: 21st February


Exodus 33. 5-7; Psalm 106. 7-29

Moses’ great perseverance was evidenced mainly in his dealings with the Pharaoh of Egypt and with the people of Israel. 

With Pharaoh. Moses first audience with Pharaoh was an unmitigated disaster, serving only to make matters far worse. He then faced the sharp criticism of his brethren, who understandably blamed him for their increased troubles. Yet, in spite of such a disheartening start, Moses went back time after time. No less than nine times, he issued the Lord’s demand, ‘Let my people go’. He consistently refused to lower the standard—all must go, children and cattle included. He persevered, and won. 

With Israel. Towards the end of his life, Moses summarized his experience of Israel, ‘Ye have been rebellious against the Lord from the first day that I knew you’, Deut. 9. 24; cf. v. 7. They murmured so quickly and so frequently. After only three days journey from the Red Sea, their singing was turned to sighing, their music to murmuring, Exod. 15. 22-24; ‘They sang his praise. They soon forgat his works’, Ps. 106. 12-13. The people were forever murmuring, chiding, complaining, weeping, lusting, or crying and speaking against the Lord and Moses. Miriam, Aaron and Korah’s company murmured at God’s appointment, while the people murmured at His provision (by way both of food and drink), His command (to conquer the land) and His judgment on the rebels among them, Num. 16. 41. Moses took the full brunt of all Israel’s frustrations and complaints, and yet, with but one sad exception, he bore it with incredible patience. No doubt, the 40 years previously spent keeping his father-in-law’s sheep proved a valuable training ground for his unenviable task. He became ‘the shepherd of his (God’s) flock’, Isa. 63. 11. 

Moses’ discernment. Exodus 2 illustrates Moses’ ability to distinguish between actions appropriate to different situations: for the cruel Egyptian it was a deadly blow, for the blameworthy Hebrew it was a gentle protest, and for the rude shepherds it was firm resistance. Again, Moses’ acquaintance with God and His holy character enabled him to discern how to fully restore relations between Him and His people, Exod. 33. 4-17. 

Lord, teach me patience and make me wise. 


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