The Life of Moses – Faithful Under Reproach
It has been an encouraging thing to watch Moses grow. He made a decision to rather suffer affliction than the pleasures of sin for a season. He chose God over the court of Pharaoh. God’s ways over the ways of the world. This is the same decision that every person should make.
But that is just the start. When we chose to get saved and therefore become a child of God, we do not have all of our ducks in a row on day one. We have some serious growing to do. We saw that it was no different with Moses. He was mighty in words and deeds and a little full of himself. God had to cure him of that. After 40 years in the wilderness we see a man who no longer thinks mighty of his own strength and ability.
One lesson learned but many to go. He stands at the burning bush and makes excuses. God is longsuffering and works with Moses. Thank God for his patience with us. We don’t have great faith on day two after getting saved. Moses might not have had great faith yet, but give him some credit. He does step out in faith and starts going to Egypt.
And don’t miss that. It is important. If you want your faith to grow, you need to exercise the faith you have, however small it may be, and step out. Moses is not strong in faith yet, but he keeps himself in a position where God can do a work and increase his faith. Each and every one of us needs to do the same thing. Don’t quit, don’t walk away. Keep going forward.
That is what Moses did, but there was just one problem. Moses was not being totally obedient. He was obeying the order to go to Egypt, but he was not obeying the order to circumcise his son. Moses was going to tell the Israelites about God and tell them to follow God. Moses was going to proclaim the truths of God and give them the word of God and instruct them on what God commands, but Moses was not obeying those commands.
There is one word that describes someone who does not practice what they preach. Hypocrite. God had to deal with this issue. Once the son is circumcised, Moses moves forward for God. We need to learn from this also. Say we have some issue in our life where we are not being obedient. Do not let that defeat you. Learn from Moses’ example, get it fixed and then move on.
Listen God can and will still use you after you get the problem fixed. He certainly used Moses after the problem was dealt with.
Then we saw how Moses had doubts after the first visit with Pharaoh. He even asks God why have you even sent me. And that was before any plagues. I love how God did NOT strike him down here. Thank God for His longsuffering and patience with His children.
But even though Moses had doubts and his faith was still weak, Moses did what everyone should do for their faith to grow. Moses did not quit. He kept himself in a position for God to do a work.
And God did. Moses would have Aaron use the rod and proclaim God’s word. Moses would see God keep His Word and he would see God do great things. We can actually see the faith of Moses grow by leaps and bounds. It is not long until Moses is grabbing that rod and wielding it and proclaiming God’s word in great faith.
Some people miss the wonderful example of growth that is recorded for us in the life of Moses. There are people who say God can’t ever use me. I just don’t have enough faith for that. And they use that either as an excuse because they don’t want to ever be used. Or they do want to be used but let a lack of faith defeat them.
They don’t understand. What they need to do is what Moses did. Keep yourself in a position where God can do a work. Exercise the faith you have. Stick it out and watch your faith grow. God wants to show Himself Mighty to His children.
2Ch_16:9 For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.
You can have the faith to put a tract on a door. You can. You absolutely can.
Many people get the process wrong. They think I don’t have that kind of faith to go up to a strange door and put a tract on it and walk away. If God gave me that faith then I would do it. Some will even say, when God gives me that kind of faith, then I will. But not until then.
God does not give stronger faith to one who will not move. We are told to be a witness. So be obedient, exercise a little faith, start moving, and watch God do a work. Watch you faith grow. It can be a wonderful thing.
It is the process we watched work in the life of Moses. He exercised the faith he had, God worked, Faith grew. Moses then stepped out more in faith. God did not fail, God worked, faith grew. We need to do the same thing.
That was a fast recap of what went before last week. Then last week we saw Moses have a bad day and sin.
Today we are going to take a look at what happed after Moses sinned and could no longer go into the land.
Lesson 11 – Moses is faithful under reproach
In some ways it is easier to keep going, to keep serving the people, when they are rebellious and when they mess up than it is when you mess up. When they make mistakes, even mistakes that hurt you, you can take it to the Lord and find the grace to keep going. As long as it is just their sin being dealt with you can take the high road. Be above it.
If we are not careful, there can even be a bit of pride involved. They are messing up but not me. I am sticking by the stuff. Some might even get so bold to say, I would never… That is always a dangerous thing to say.
There is not a person who ever walked the face of the earth, except Jesus, who is exempt from messing up. Last week we saw Moses mess up. We have watched this man grow into a spiritual rock. A man of selfless dedication to do the work of his God. But we need to remember that no matter how much you grow, no one arrives, as they say. There is always the danger of the flesh manifesting itself, making a mistake, of messing things up.
And it is bad enough to mess up in private. But Moses’ error and disobedience is on display for everyone to see. Now comes the embarrassment. I have sinned before God and before everyone. Everyone in the camp knows it. How am I going to hold my head up in front of them ever again? And the consequences of my sin will remain for all to see.
At times like these it would be easy to quit. To go hide in a hole somewhere. Thoughts can come upon you like I am not worthy, or I am not good enough, or no one is going to listen to me anymore. God will never use me again. And on it can go. There are some who are not in church today because they messed up and are too embarrassed to go on.
This is a real issue. One that does defeat many a Christian. No Christian is perfect. Sooner or later every one of us will botch it. I doubt that there is a pastor alive today, who has not at one time said a doozy from the pulpit. Or mishandled some situation.
And the issue of what to do after messing up is not just an issue for Pastors. Every Christian is to be a witness, every one of us are to serve the Lord. Every one of us are to be obedient to His commands. And every one of us will blow it.
Since everyone will mess up sooner or later. It is important to understand how to handle it.
Moses gives us a great example of what to do after messing up.
Moses sinned in Numbers 20 verse 10 and 11.
Num 20:10 And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?
Num 20:11 And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also.
God rebukes Moses and Aaron in verses 12.
Num 20:12 And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.
Look what Moses does in verse 14.
Num 20:14 And Moses sent messengers from Kadesh unto the king of Edom, Thus saith thy brother Israel, Thou knowest all the travail that hath befallen us:
The next thing we find Moses doing after messing up and being rebuked by God is sending a message to the king of Edom.
Moses keeps on leading because the job still needs done.
The job of leading God’s people still needed to be done. The need there had not changed. God did give Moses consequences for his sin, but God did not remove Moses from leadership. So Moses continued to do his job. He continued to serve. Moses sent a message asking passage thru Edom for God’s people.
Num 20:17 Let us pass, I pray thee, through thy country: we will not pass through the fields, or through the vineyards, neither will we drink of the water of the wells: we will go by the king’s high way, we will not turn to the right hand nor to the left, until we have passed thy borders.
Moses still cared about the people. They still needed to get to the Promised Land. Even though Moses messed up, they still needed him. So instead of sulking or pouting or sinking into a quagmire of depression after messing up, Moses got busy and kept on going.
God has something for every Christian to do for Him. And when we make a mistake it does not change the fact that the job still needs to be done. We need to keep working for the sake of others.
Moses keeps serving even when there is lack of results.
Num 20:20 And he said, Thou shalt not go through. And Edom came out against him with much people, and with a strong hand.
Num 20:21 Thus Edom refused to give Israel passage through his border: wherefore Israel turned away from him.
Num 20:22 And the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, journeyed from Kadesh, and came unto mount Hor.
The first thing that Moses does after being rebuked by God does not get results. Edom will not let them thru their land. They denied the request of Moses. Some people would then throw up their hands and quit saying something like, I guess I just can’t be used by God anymore.
But you can’t connect the results you want to see with God’s will. Some make this mistake. They will quit if they do not see the blessings or results that they expect. Moses does what is right and keeps going anyway.
Moses keeps serving when it is hard.
After they are told they cannot go thru Edom, they travel to mount Hor.
Num 20:23 And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in mount Hor, by the coast of the land of Edom, saying,
Num 20:24 Aaron shall be gathered unto his people: for he shall not enter into the land which I have given unto the children of Israel, because ye rebelled against my word at the water of Meribah.
Num 20:25 Take Aaron and Eleazar his son, and bring them up unto mount Hor:
Num 20:26 And strip Aaron of his garments, and put them upon Eleazar his son: and Aaron shall be gathered unto his people, and shall die there.
Moses is told that it is time for Aaron to receive the consequences of their sin. Aaron cannot go into the land and instead must go home to be with the Lord.
Num 20:27 And Moses did as the LORD commanded: and they went up into mount Hor in the sight of all the congregation.
Num 20:28 And Moses stripped Aaron of his garments, and put them upon Eleazar his son; and Aaron died there in the top of the mount: and Moses and Eleazar came down from the mount.
Num 20:29 And when all the congregation saw that Aaron was dead, they mourned for Aaron thirty days, even all the house of Israel.
Moses keeps serving God. He climbs that mountain, strips Aaron of his priestly garments and puts them upon Eleazar. And then watches Aaron die. Most likely Moses and Eleazar then bury Aaron and come down the mountain.
The people all mourned for Aaron for 30 days. Moses and Aaron sinned at the Rock. If Moses would have withheld his hand, things would have been different now. And now Moses has to watch all the congregation mourn because of it.
This could not have been easy. Think about this situation. Your sister is dead, and now your brother is dead, you have never been so alone. No doubt it was hard, but Moses kept serving. He kept doing what God had for him to do.
Moses keeps faithfully serving under attack
Num 21:4 And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way.
Num 21:5 And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.
Once again those whom Moses is serving attack. And it is not very nice. They hold no punches as the saying goes. When you watch Moses’ life it seems like it never stops coming.
Num 21:6 And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.
Num 21:7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.
Moses does what he did so many times before. He does not talk back, he does not rebuke, he does not delay. Moses lets God use him in prayer. Moses intercedes for the people. He still cares for the people. He continues to serve them by praying.
Moses is used once again.
If you remember, Moses sinned by not speaking to the rock, and instead he struck the rock. God was wanting to use Moses to show forth a picture. A picture of how Jesus was only to be smitten once and after that the life flowing water comes just by the asking. Not too many men have been used to show forth a picture of this type.
Some people think that once I mess up in a certain area that God will not use me in that same way again. That is not a biblical thought. Look at what God tells Moses to do.
Num 21:8 And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.
Num 21:9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.
God gives Moses a chance to be used once again in the same way. To show forth a very important picture of Jesus and salvation.
The people have been bitten by serpents. A picture of how we all have been bitten by the poison of sin. And without a remedy it will kill us all for all eternity.
In the Bible brass speaks of judgment. The serpent speaks of sin. The sin is put on a pole and judged there. A picture of Jesus going to the cross and taking our sin upon him and taking our judgment for us.
And all the people had to do, all they could do, was to look and live. When they looked in faith upon that pole they were healed. When we look to the cross in faith and accept what Jesus did, we live. It is that simple.
We are shown the connection between the serpent in the wilderness and the cross in the two verses before John 3:16.
Joh 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
Joh 3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Moses was used, after he sinned, to show forth one of the most beautiful pictures there is. Moses was used once again in the same area in which he failed.
This should be a great encouragement to us when we mess up. God can and does use people after they mess up.
And if we had time to read the rest of the life of Moses today, you would see the same thing. Moses never quit, he never stopped serving. No matter how difficult it was or how the people behaved.
Near the end God told Moses get ready. I am about to have you walk up a mountain and die. Can you imagine it. None of us ever know when our time is up. God told Moses.
Num 27:12 And the LORD said unto Moses, Get thee up into this mount Abarim, and see the land which I have given unto the children of Israel.
Num 27:13 And when thou hast seen it, thou also shalt be gathered unto thy people, as Aaron thy brother was gathered.
So Moses calls an assembly and anoints Joshua as their leader.
Num 27:18 And the LORD said unto Moses, Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay thine hand upon him;
Num 27:19 And set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation; and give him a charge in their sight.
Num 27:20 And thou shalt put some of thine honour upon him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient.
Num 27:21 And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask counsel for him after the judgment of Urim before the LORD: at his word shall they go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he, and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation.
Num 27:22 And Moses did as the LORD commanded him: and he took Joshua, and set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation:
Num 27:23 And he laid his hands upon him, and gave him a charge, as the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses.
So Joshua was publically anointed leader. Moses is told to get ready to die. Think about the list of things that you would have to take care of. Unfinished business if you will. Think of the things you might want to go say, so they do not remain unsaid.
Fast forward just a little bit and an issue comes up. Who is the publically anointed leader now? Joshua. And who do you think the people go to with the problem? Moses.
The children of Gad and Reuben want to stay and not move into the land. Moses does not say, not my problem now. Joshua is the leader. I have to prepare to climb that mountain and die. No Moses serves. He deals with the problem.
Fast forward a little more. The day is now really close. Another issue comes up with the daughters of Zelophehad and who do they go to, Moses.
Moses patiently deals with the problem. A short while later gives his final farewell sermon. Walks up that mountain alone gets shown the land and dies.
We see a dedicated servant of God until the very end.
Moses did not let the time he messed up stop him. He kept going. He kept serving no matter how hard or difficult it was. Moses knew how to handle himself after he messed up.
What we need to do when we mess up.
When we mess up there are three main things we need to do.
- Repent and ask for forgiveness
1Jn 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
1Jn 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
1Jn 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
We need to understand that our sin does have consequences. One of them being a disruption of our close fellowship with God. And that will remain until we repent and confess.
1Jn 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
When we mess up, the first thing we must do is own up to it. Pray and admit it to God. And ask for forgiveness.
- Since God forgives us, we need to also forgive ourselves
If we confess our sins to Him, we have His promise that he is faithful and just to forgive us, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
In God’s eyes it is over. Fellowship is restored. And we can be used by Him once again. Depending upon what we did there might be a consequence that God in his wisdom decides to leave. Sometimes that is for our good, so that we will not so easily fall next time.
But do not confuse a left over consequence with not being forgiven. If you confess your sins, God forgives you.
The second thing you need to do is forgive yourself. There are people who sin, get down on their knees and pray for forgiveness. God forgives them right then. But they do not forgive themselves. They get up off their knees, and pick that burden back up and carry it with them.
Carrying that does not give honor to God. Caring that does not help you keep serving Him like He should be served. Instead carrying it can greatly hamper your service. You must pray and confess, give it to God and then leave it there.
Do like Moses did and just keep serving.
The third thing we need to do is just keep going. Keep being faithful. Keep loving. Keep serving.
Be like Moses. Keep serving even when you don’t see immediate result. Keep going when others do not appreciate it.
When you come right down to the bottom line of it all.
You keep serving because He is Worthy. And the ability to keep serving is there for the asking. He has the grace to give you the power to keep going for Him.
No matter the pain. No matter how hard it is. In the end you will find out that it is worth it all when you see Jesus.
My kids got saved the summer of 1998. They went to church on the van route. I got nervous when they came and talked to me about my kids getting saved and asked to baptize them.
I told them no. Then I figured I had better go check this place out and see what they are teaching my kids. The kids loved to go so much I could not bring myself to tell them they could not go anymore. I also had noticed a difference in them after they got saved.
Me and my wife started going, we got saved early fall 1998. All four of us got baptized the same night.
Since that time I cannot begin to even count the huge number of people that I have seen quit. Fall out of church. Quit serving God.
We need to take to heart the great example of the life of Moses.
Keep serving when it is hard.
Keep serving when you are attacked.
Keep serving when done wrong.
Keep serving even after you mess up.
The bottom line is God is worthy of a life of service.