25 things you probably didn’t know about Moses 🤓

Moses spent 40 years in the wilderness in the land of Midian before God called him to his life’s mission. What on earth was he doing during all those years? How did he cope with going from being a prince in the most powerful country on earth to living life as a shepherd in the wilderness? What prepared him for this experience and what was God doing in Moses’ life to prepare him for the mission ahead?

Over the past few months, I’ve been studying a Bible guide on being in the crucible with Christ. Last week, I was studying about meekness in the life of Moses and got inspired to study his life a little closer, particularly his life before he received the calling that defined his life on earth and in death. As you might know, I only write when inspired to, and I thought my findings this time around were too interesting not to share. Happy reading!

  1. Since childhood, Moses was very handsome and good looking (Ex 2:2).
  2. He had godly parents who were from the tribe of Levi (Ex 2:1) – a tribe known for producing priests who served in the house of God.
  3. His parents had faith in God and were not afraid of the King’s command – perhaps where Moses got some of his faith and courage from (Hebrews 11:23).
  4. His mother trained him till he was old enough before handing him over to Pharaoh’s daughter (Ex 2:7-10).
  5. While we don’t know how many years she took care of him for, his mother probably taught him the ways of the Lord during those years that she took care of him.
  6. Moses grew up in the house of Pharaoh, the most powerful leader in the world. This implies that he learnt the privileges of power; was trained to be a prince; probably learnt how to fight in battle; trained to be a leader of the people; learnt the ways of the kings; was surrounded by wealth, opulence and excess; knew how to read and was well educated; he may have even aspired to become Pharaoh some day; he was probably well known across the land as the prince, Pharaoh’s grandson.
  7. Moses knew his true tribe were the Hebrews (Ex 2:11) – a fact he probably learnt from his mother during those years that she took care of him. 
  8. Moses was 40 years old when he went out to visit his brethren, the Hebrews, and ended up killing the Egyptian that was beating one of them (Acts 7:23-24). We know that Moses must have been very bold and courageous to have done this. He had a confidence that was built firmly on faith as Hebrews 11:24-25 tells us that “by faith…he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rathe to suffer afflictions with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ’s greater riches than the treasures in Egypt for he looked to the reward”.
  9. Moses had a knowledge that God wanted to use him to deliver his children (Acts 7:25). He may have learnt this from his mother or maybe God placed this in his heart – we don’t know, but we know that he felt that it was his mission to rescue the Hebrews. 
  10. There must have been a conflict raging in Moses’ mind all those years, for him to have left the king’s palace to go fight in defence of his people from the Egyptians. He must have seen these evils daily and couldn’t anymore resist his desperate urges to take action by himself by how he knew and had learnt best – fighting, killing etc.
  11. Moses felt that his position and power in the house of Pharaoh was how God wanted to use him to deliver the Hebrews. This is why he felt that by killing the Egyptian that was beating his brethren, or by showing up to reconcile disputes between his brethren, they would come to see and know that he was on their side. But alas this wasn’t the case. It doesn’t appear that the Israelites respected or viewed him in this manner at this stage because Acts 7:27 says that the Hebrew man who did the other wrong, “pushed him (Moses) away, saying, who has made you ruler and judge over us?”. Moses did not know that “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:27-31.
  12. We know that many years later, Moses still remembered this experience because when God gave him his mission, Moses feared that the people wouldn’t believe him. In fact, Moses’ first expression of reservation to God about the mission indicated this: “who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt”.
  13. Moses was 40 years old when he fled Egypt to Midian, and he spent another 40 years living in that land before God came to give him his life’s mission.
  14. Midian was very very far away from Egypt. Imagine how scared Moses must have been of the anger of Pharaoh who intended to kill him. Moses would have needed to pass through deserts to reach Midian which was south east of Israel, far east of Egypt, south of Sodom & Gomorrah, somewhere in the Arab/gulf region. Following what we know about where Joseph’s buyers were coming from, there must have been a well know/travelled route from the land of Midian to Egypt and this probably made it easy for Moses to escape from Egypt to Midian. 
  15. Moses ran away to Midian and married a Midianite woman (Zipporah) who was the daughter of Jethro (a.k.a. Reuel) the priest of Midian. Jethro was a powerful man, a leader in this region, wise [Exodus 18], wealthy [he had such an abundance of flock that all his children had to tend to it – Exodus 2:16], he had seven daughters initialy and later at least one son (Num 10:29). Moses had two sons from Zipporah – Gershom and Eliezer. While it may be easy to imagine that Jethro may have been an idol worshipping priest considering that he was living in the land of Midian, it appears that he may actually have been a godly man – his name Reuel means ‘friend of God’; he was a model father in-law; wise; looked after his children and grand children in Moses’ absence; and nothing in the text tells us that he was an unbeliever. 
  16. If you want to read more about who the Midianites were, read my blogpost. There’s so much to learn about them but other than these people providing a wife and place of exile for Moses, plus God appearing to Moses and Elijah atop Mt. Sinai which is situated in the land of Midian, the people were mostly a thorn in the side of the Israelites. 
  17. Wow, what a difference 40 years makes! The Moses who was so sure that God wanted to use him to rescue the Hebrews that he went forth to kill a man, after 40 years had passed, he seems to have cast aside every element of self importance, and couldn’t see how in his own strength alone he could fulfill the mission. Basically, we can call the time in Midian a wilderness experience for Moses, one during which God did His best work in the life of Moses – revealing to him the weaknesses in his character, purifying him of them, making Moses understand that his reliance must be fully on God and not self. 
  18. The power of time in this wilderness (40 years) – I mean, driven by intense fear having gone from being a prince in the most powerful country in the world to living in a strange land, and not to even have returned to Egypt in all that period, I believe Moses’ fear for his life likely ran very deep and that fear probably drew him closer to God. He already had a knowledge of God from his childhood so he likely drew even closer to God during those years. In fact, because he spent so much time in that wilderness, much of it in solitude catering to animals and doing menial tasks, I believe Moses probably drew so close to God that we can’t even begin to imagine how deep his fear, love and understanding of God was. 
  19. The transformation in Moses’ life was such that he went from being driven by self importance, anger, pride, reliance on worldy power and wealth, to becoming the meekest man in the world (Numbers 12:3). What does it mean to be meek? In the context of Numbers 12 where we learnt this fact about Moses, meekness has to be interpreted as “enduring injury with patience and without resentment”. This is a character trait that we see godly men that were going through trials/wilderness experiences possessed – Moses, Joseph, David, Job, Ezekiel (24:15-27), Jesus Christ, the apostles etc. Meekness may manifest in showing grace when people least deserve it. God may also want to give an example to the world through us in how we respond to trials/challenges, or love those who have hurt us (Proverbs 25:21-22).
  20. In this 40-year wilderness, Moses was not idle. He may have been sad and maybe cherished the pleasures of his former life in Egypt for some time, but we know that he got married, had two sons, worked for his father in-law by tending to his flock. Through 40 years, day in day out, thinking about his former life in Egypt, he must have felt some sadness having come from such a high flying life to living in a strange land tending to animals. But also remember that there was already a conflict raging in his heart such that he yearned to save his brethren, so perhaps before he fled Egypt, he may already have begun casting aside the pleasures of the palatial life that he lived. But it’s one thing to cast it aside when you can easily return to it, compared to when those pleasures are permanently taken away. Anyways, He also had a lot of time to reflect on his life and ponder the things of God. His father in-law was also a priest, a godly and wise man, so he may also have helped Moses with his faith and understanding of God’s word. Moses must have also learnt how to live in the wilderness, learnt how to patiently manage an unruly group of people from his experience tending to flock, learnt how to survive with the changing climate, terrors and wild beasts of the wilderness, probably learnt how to make money as the Midianites were well known traders. He may also have been getting some feedback on the developments in Egypt from the traders who often traveled to and from Egypt. Moses was in a wilderness experience but he was not idle. He was busy getting closer to God, doing his best work with what was closest at hand to do.
  21. While in the wilderness, Moses was so attentive to God’s workings that when God finally moved by showing him a bush on fire that wasn’t getting consumed, Moses swiftly recognized that the supernatural was at work. In fact the text tells us that it was as Moses recognized the supernatural at work and he turned aside to look (instead of ignoring it), that was when God spoke to him (Ex 3:3-4). Wow! Imagine if he had missed his life’s mission because he didn’t recognize when God had moved. This is why it is so important to consistently study the word of God daily as it is a lamp to our feet and light to our path (Psalms 119:105). Read my blogposts on:
  22. Moses started the writing of the Bible. In Exodus 17:14 and Exodus 24:4, we find the first mentions of a writing of the book being mentioned. Ellen White, in Patriachs and Prophets chapter 24, writes that inspired by the Holy Spirit, Moses wrote the book of Genesis while in this wilderness. 
  23. In this wilderness, God was preparing Moses for his life’s mission. Moses may even have thought that the vision he had in Egypt (i.e. to rescue his brethren, the Hebrews, from captivity) was dead. I mean, he spent 40 years in Midian! But God tells us in Habakkuk 2:3 that “the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.”  Basically, God is never late. He may give us a glimpse of our future but then that vision takes so long to materialize (think Moses, Joseph, Daniel, Ezekiel, the Israelites, David etc.) When that happens, remember that God is in charge of the time of our life and He will cause all things to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. We may feel that things are taking too long or that we have gone so off track that there’s no hope for us, but we are called to find our feet in Christ and He will bring His purpose concerning us to pass. It is never too late for God and there is nothing too hard for Him to do (Jeremiah 32:27).
  24. For some reason, Moses had not circumcised at least one of his sons. We don’t know why but on his way to Egypt to fulfill the mission, God was ready to kill him. It was Zipporah who figured out that the problem was the circumcision and she promptly performed the act. Is this something they had argued about before? Why did she circumcise only one son? Why didn’t Moses perform the circumcision act previously or even at this moment? If Zipporah had known about circumcision all along, why didn’t she perform the act before? So many questions. I don’t have all the answers but I have some thoughts in this blogpost.
  25. When God gave Moses instructions for the mission ahead, Moses found different reasons to excuse himself from the task. Initially it sounded like humility but eventually he started sounding like he distrusted God’s ability to ready him for the task, which got God angry. In his behavior here, Moses wasn’t like Abraham who obeyed God instantly when he was told to sacrifice his long awaited son Isaac. Here, we see a Moses who after 40 years in the wilderness had forgotten who he really was and had shed so many behaviours but God knew his capacity and wanted to bring it back to life. He had gone from being self-confident, powerful in speech and action (Acts 7:22) to a man who was timid, humble and fearful. Basically, Moses questioned God five times and each time God re-assured him that He would be with him and make him ready for the task ahead. God wasn’t calling Moses to go on a mission for which He would desert him. If God calls us, we can be sure that He will make a way for us to fulfill the mission – all He’s looking for is a willing mind.

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