Week 4: June 19

Wishing God Would Choose Someone Else (Moses) by Mark Shuey

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When coming up with an answer to the hypothetical question, “Who in history would you like to have dinner with?” I think one of the people near the very top of the list would be Moses. Why? Well, he was simply remarkable and lived an amazing life trusting God through a strong and powerful faith.

Moses was born a Hebrew, and as a baby he was cast adrift in the Nile River, rescued, and raised by Egyptian royalty. From this uncertain beginning, Moses rose to become one of the great leaders in world history. He was specifically chosen by God to deliver the Israelites, a population estimated at 2 million people, from Egyptian bondage.

The secret sauce to the leadership of Moses was his friendship with God. He openly communicated with God, serving as God's mediator to His people: “The Lord would speak to Moses as one would speak to a friend” (Exodus 33:11).

Imagine having this type of personal relationship with the Almighty Creator. We witness this through the faith of Moses as our example. God first got the attention of Moses, by speaking to him through a burning bush and Moses recognized this voice as God's voice for the rest of his life. While Moses' relationship with God and his leadership qualifies him as one of the most remarkable men to ever walk the earth, I think what I find most captivating about Moses is WHO he was, as much as what he did.

Moses was a man of high character and integrity, yet also a flawed man who committed a most grievous act, the sin of murder. Prior to communicating with God at the burning bush, Moses had an unfortunate encounter which shaped his life for the next 40 years. Moses always had a strong sense of justice, but one day he took it too far, which resulted in his killing of a man. One day Moses intervened while witnessing a Roman overseer who was brutally beating a Hebrew slave. Moses murdered the Egyptian. Afterwards, Moses banished himself to the fields and mountains for 40 years, for life as a shepherd. Raised in privilege, Moses was forced into the wilderness of Midian for the next several decades of his life. 40 years alone in the wilderness is a long time. It's most certain that during that time Moses had doubt, uncertainty and humility thrust upon him. There are times in each one of our lives when we wander through our own personal wilderness. Outwardly Moses was in exile yet inwardly God was at work in Moses’ heart, to mold him into the man who would eventually lead his people to freedom. Moses is as relatable as he was remarkable.

Moses also suffered from what many of us suffer from today - a lack of self-confidence and a fear of speaking in public. He felt woefully unqualified for the role God asked him to assume. Moses was a normal man, who harbored flaws and doubts, just like you and me. However, God saw the character and integrity of Moses and chose and empowered him to be a great prophet and leader of the Exodus. I imagine that while tending his flocks and looking at the stars during his time in the wilderness, Moses never dreamed he would be the one leading 2 million of his people out of Egypt. He probably never envisioned being the one to present the Ten Commandments to the world, yet he did. And like Moses, I sat at my desk at work, not imagining that God would actually choose me to lead a small group, or serve the homeless, or travel to Cuba to help build a church. But God does plant His visions within us. And that’s why we look to emulate the character of Moses and develop habits of trust and obedience to hear God’s call as he turns the routine into the remarkable.

“The Lord would speak to Moses as one would speak to a friend” (Exodus 33:11).

Questions to Consider:

  1. How can I cultivate a friendship with God?
  2. Do I trust God to strengthen me when I feel weak?

This week’s reading plan will cover much of the book of Exodus as we look at the life of Moses from birth to Mount Sinai.

TODAY READ: Exodus chapters 1 through 3 on Moses’ birth, his exile,and his conversation with God at the burning bush.


Our lives are not lived in a bland form of monotone sameness; rather they contain ups and downs, twists and turns, times of growth and change. The life of Moses is significant and relevant in that he experienced several different distinct and impactful phases of life. And similar for us, each stage formed the person he would become.

Moses began life as a Hebrew baby, who was a fugitive of sorts. Pharaoh ordered Hebrew baby boys throughout the land to be executed. In desperation, Moses’s mother placed her months-old baby boy in a basket and sent him floating out into the Nile River. There he was rescued by none other than the daughter of the Pharaoh. The rescue of Moses begins another phase of his life, one of privilege and wealth where he is raised in the home of Egyptian royalty. Later a horrific event suddenly ended this phase of life and began another for Moses. When he witnessed an Egyptian severely beating a Hebrew slave, Moses confronted this Egyptian overseer and killed him. After Pharaoh learned that Moses had murdered the Egyptian overseer, he sought to have him killed. This awful incident abruptly ends his life of privilege and he begins a life as an exile.

Much like Moses, we can often see distinct phases in our own lives. Some parts of our lives may be viewed as comfortable and peaceful. While others may be filled with heartache, turmoil, or fear. What’s important to realize is that God uses each stage of our lives, good or bad. Each part plays a significant role in shaping and forming us into the individual God designed us to be.

For Moses, this next chapter of his life, the wilderness phase, has a profound impact upon his future. Moses fled everything he knew. He left home and family and escaped to Midian. After traveling a distance of approximately 300 miles, he settled in a mountainous portion of the Horeb peninsula. Moses truly was a stranger in a foreign land. For the next 40 years, we don’t know a great deal about the life of Moses other than he married and became a shepherd. He lived in a peaceful exile, tending the flocks of his father in law.

So often we feel we are in a prolonged season of life that is somehow tedious or even disappointing. However, God has opportunities for each phase of our lives, no matter how difficult or insignificant we may feel they might be. God certainly used this period of exile in Moses’ life to form him and shape his future. Midian may have looked like harsh and barren terrain, but it was much more than that. For Moses the landscape of Midian became his classroom in the wilderness. During this prolonged period of solitude and life of simplicity as a shepherd, Moses began to learn the lessons that God desired to teach him. Lessons of spiritual formation, that included humility. He was no longer living a life of privilege in a palace; he was living in a desert. Moses was not yet leading a nation; he was tending sheep. God was equipping Moses with spiritual strength and dependence upon Him. After 40 long years of preparation, Moses was ready for the task. The humbling of the great man of Egypt was a vital part of Moses’ training for leadership, and God was behind it all, equipping His man for service.

When Moses tended his flock in the desert and looked into the night time sky, he couldn’t have imagined that he was being molded by God into one of the greatest leaders history has ever known. And these lessons he learned in his wilderness classroom, he would use to bring his people out of slavery. The key was that Moses allowed himself to be re-shaped by God. He was humbled by his time in the wilderness.

There are certainly aspects of our lives that we feel are dull, insignificant, or even broken, unworthy or shameful. Yet these areas are the exact areas of our lives God will use, just as he did with Moses. Above all, God desires to grow us into a person who will be attentive and obedient to Him, wherever he places us in life. Living a life tuned in to God and His will, we, like Moses, will live a life formed by God for significance.

Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth (Numbers 12:3).

Questions to Consider:

  1. How is God molding and preparing you in your current phase of life?
  2. How has God used your past classroom of the wilderness to grow your faith?

TODAY READ: Exodus Chapters 4, 5 and 6:1-12 when God sends Moses to Pharaoh. 


Moses is one of the characters in the Bible that we can easily relate to. He, like many of us, felt ill-equipped for what God was asking of him, especially something big, like, say, leading 2 million of his people out of Egypt. So how did Moses go from a man who lacked self-confidence and was very uncomfortable speaking in front of people, to being the spokesperson for God’s people and going up against one of the most powerful nations during that time period?

We know that God used Moses’ time in the wilderness to transform and shape him. We can see this by his response to God’s invitation and instructions. When God spoke Moses not only heard and paid attention to God, he acted out in trust and obedience. As Moses was out in the field tending a flock, he noticed a highly unusual sight - a bush on fire, yet the fire did not consume the bush. Instead of walking off in fear, Moses took a closer look.

4 When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”

And Moses said, “Here I am.” 5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”

Moses did not ignore or run from God. He knew that he was witnessing something miraculous. God had come to his world. In a sense Moses behavior exemplifies a choice we all have in life. He chose to see how astounding and miraculous God’s presence can be in life. We can live like this as well. When we see a stunning sunrise, or gaze upon a newborn baby, we can choose to see it as a miracle of God. Just because it is relatively common doesn’t make it any less of a miracle.

God had the attention of Moses. And Moses would live with God for the rest of his life, fully aware of His presence. On that day, Moses began the journey from being a lonely shepherd to an adventurous life as the ordained leader of God’s people. Why? Because he recognized God, listened to God, accepted God’s invitation, and responded in obedience.

Moses knew more than anyone that God’s invitation would stretch him beyond his comfort zone. He knew that God’s invitation was calling him to something bigger than himself and he also knew that he needed to trust in God’s greatness and faithfulness. We are no different than Moses. We often feel insufficient to take part in God’s grand design, but God invites us to join Him, just as he did with Moses. The invitations from God are often a quiet mystery that burn inside of us. It probably won’t be a task as daunting as leading 2 million people out of slavery, but it might be inviting a neighbor to church or your Bible study, beginning a ministry to serve the homeless, or going on a mission trip. We can recognize God’s invite by recognizing God’s presence and trusting His ability to do the miraculous.

Questions to Consider:

  1. How does God try to get my attention?
  2. How do I make time to notice and celebrate God’s presence?

TODAY READ: Exodus 6:28-30 and Chapters 7 through 12:41 on The Plagues, Passover, and Israel sent from Egypt


As we have been looking at the story of Moses over the past few days, we see that he lived an undeniably remarkable life. Yet Moses was also a flawed man who harbored some of the same insecurities that we might today. Today, we look at the relevance of the life of Moses and the lessons his life can provide for us - lessons that have been embraced by others over the centuries.

Lesson # 1 – Cultivate a deep personal relationship with God

“So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.” (Exodus 33:11)

There is often a hesitancy to deeply commit to knowing and loving God. We may fear how this relationship might change our life or perhaps we are concerned about what others may think. Moses allowed no barriers to come between himself and his friendship with God. His relationship with God was the basis of his life and formed the leadership, humility, and character of Moses.

Lesson # 2 – God uses the humble and the broken

Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth. (Numbers 12:3)

Moses went from a prominent position in Egyptian society to a lowly shepherd in the land of Midian, where he spent 40 years of his life. During this time of wilderness living he tended sheep and animals, rather than leading people, Moses learned to be loving, trusting, caring and most importantly humble in the sight of God. Perhaps God has given you a time in the wilderness”, a time for you to reflect and listen, to trust and grow, a time to realize God’s greatness and power, as He did with Moses.

Lesson # 3 – Choose the treasures of God’s Kingdom over the world’s treasures

By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. (Hebrews 11:24-27)

One of the vital lessons Moses learned while living as a shepherd for 40 years is that there is much more to life than what we can see. Moses had a taste of a life of wealth and privilege, but once he began a life of pursuing God, his priorities and desires changed. Looking at the life of Moses, forces us to examine our priorities. What drives my life? Is it money, status or work? Or is it something else that is unseen? Is it something bigger than me? A wonderful quote from the children’s book “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry captures the choice we have in life and the choice Moses made as to what was essential in his life.

"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

Questions to Consider:

  1. What might God be teaching me when I dwell in my “wilderness”?
  2. God used the flawed and broken, Moses, how might He use me?

TODAY READ: Exodus Chapters 19, 20 and 24 when God speaks to Moses on Mount Sinai with a covenant for Israel. (We will skip chapters 13-16 because you’ll read them in week 5.)

Day 5

Let’s go back to the hypothetical dinner with Moses mentioned earlier in the week. I’d imagine some of what I’d like to ask this man about would be what it was like to see and experience all that God did before his very eyes: Tell me about encountering God at the Burning Bush. What was it like to watch God part the Red Sea? How did it feel to be on top of Mt Sinai as God gave you the Ten Commandments?

After Moses was done answering my questions, perhaps he would have a question for me. Perhaps Moses would ask: “Now I would like to know, what is it like to have God’s Holy Spirit living in you every minute of every day?” I’m sure I would pause and reflect that far too often, I fail to recognize the enormity of my life with God today. Once we accept Jesus Christ, we have the astounding privilege and power of having Christ’s spirit living within us. Why do I not celebrate and revel in this reality more than I do? God whose creation is a vast wonder, who is the author of love and goodness, sends His spirit to live in me! As Paul writes:

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

As Moses cultivated a deep friendship with God, we too have direct and constant access to the same living God. And here is one of the best parts: to experience “Christ in me,” all we must do is believe. Believe that Jesus Christ is who he says he is - the Son of God. We then embark upon the great adventure of God forming us into his Christ like children. We can exhibit His love and character as He lives through us. A very simple prayer that I like to say as my feet hit the floor first thing in the morning is: “Christ in me – live today.” In his classic book, Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis wrote:

“When Christians say the Christ-life is in them, they do not mean simply something mental or moral. When they speak of being “in Christ or of Christ being “in them” this is not simply a way of saying that they are thinking about Christ or copying Him. They mean Christ is actually operating through them; that we become the organism through which Christ acts.”

The very same spirit that spoke to Moses and inspired him to leave the life of the routine for the life of the remarkable, is speaking to you and me. And God is calling us to a life no less extraordinary than that of Moses. He is calling us to the adventure of discipleship and a life of love, living every moment with “Christ in me.”

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

Questions to Consider:

  1. How often do I consider and celebrate “Christ in me”?
  2. What are the barriers in my life that prevent Christ from living fully in me?

TODAY READ: Exodus Chapters 32, 33, and 34:29-35 when Moses intercedes for the people and asks to see God’s glory

The account of the story of Moses continues through the books of Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Spend some time over the next few months reading through his 40 years of travel in the wilderness leading Israel to the brink of entering and possessing the Promised Land.