Written By Immanuel Oh, Singapore
Have you ever been asked to do something you didn’t want to do? Was it because you were afraid and felt it was beyond your capabilities, or because there were too many restrictions?
Now, let’s say you decided to take up the responsibility. You put all your effort into doing it well, but made one wrong move just when you were about to finish, and lost a chance to enjoy the reward. But here’s the catch: you still have to complete the job. How would you feel?
The above scenario could very well be the summary of Moses’ life after God chose him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt to the Promised Land. I recently attended a Bible study on the life of Moses and learned three “life hacks” from him:
- Let go and let God take over.
The first 40 years of Moses’ life was spent in the comfort and luxury of the palace. But his princely life came to an end when he killed an Egyptian. Forced to flee, Moses settled in a foreign place for the next 40 years before he was called by God to lead the Israelites out of Egypt.
At the age of 80, Moses must have felt incapable of taking on such a great task. He said, “Who am I, that I should go to the Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11). But God promised to be with him (Exodus 3:12), revealed himself to Moses (Exodus 3:14), and equipped Moses with signs to show the Israelites that God was with him (Exodus 4:1-12).
There have been times when I felt insufficiently competent to take on a task or role for a ministry in church. The first time I was approached, I turned it down without putting much thought into it or even praying about it. But subsequently, God led me to pray and serve alongside others. Through courses and training, He equipped me with the necessary skills and knowledge.
God knows what is best for us and will prepare us well before we face the task ahead. Will we let go of our insecurities and let God work wonders through us?
- Trust and obey God wholeheartedly.
Even though God specifically commanded Moses to speak to a rock for water (Numbers 20:7-12), Moses struck the rock twice instead. Why did this man of God—who had served Him so faithfully for many years—commit such an unwise act just before entering Canaan?
We may think that God was rather harsh to disqualify Moses from entering the Promised Land over this small mistake. After all, didn’t Moses strike the rock many years ago and water flowed out from it (Exodus 17:5-6)? It wasn’t the nature of the act that God was concerned with, however, but the intent behind it. God demands full obedience from us, regardless of how simple His instruction may seem.
Moses, through his action and response, not only showed disobedience, but possibly also arrogance. His words—“Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” (Numbers 20:10)—seem to suggest that he was taking credit for the miracle.
I’ve been equally guilty of doing the same thing. Although I know very well what He demands of me, I sometimes do things my own way—or should I say, against His way because I think I know better. In the face of difficulties, we may try to figure out problems on our own instead of waiting or trusting in God to pull us through. But our plans are nothing without Him.
God has called us as His chosen people to honor Him and serve Him. We are to trust Him wholeheartedly and to follow His every command—not just the easy ones.
- Focus on God’s glory.
What encourages me most is Moses’ commitment to serve God to the end of his life. Even when he knew there was no more physical reward—he would not be able to enter Canaan because of his disobedience—Moses chose to complete the task God had given him.
It can be hard to do something without gain or reward, especially when you’re “sacrificing” your time and effort to do so. When I placed myself in Moses’ position, I wondered how he could carry on serving and helping the Israelites after all the trouble they caused him. But as I delved deeper into Moses’ life, I realized that Moses could because he was serving God.
Moses’ faithfulness challenges me to focus not just on earthly rewards and satisfaction, but on the glory of God. The motivation for us to serve God should be to glorify Him, to love Him and His people.