Why did God speak directly to Moses i.e. face to face and not through dreams; plainly and not in dark sayings? Numbers 12:6-9 tells us that this is because Moses was “faithful in all His house.” Sounds deep right? But what does this mean?
When we go to Hebrews 3:1-15, the writer expatiates further. We learn that just as Jesus Christ was faithful to God who appointed Him, so was Moses also faithful as a servant in God’s house. So, there is Christ who built the house. Then there is Moses who as a servant in the house, is said to have been faithful in all His house; and because of this faithfulness, God spoke directly to him.
The question follows again: how was Moses faithful in all His house, so that we can learn this dimension of what God requires of us for Him to speak directly to us?
Hebrews 3:6 tells us that similar to Moses, we can also be His house…”if we hold fast to the confidence and the rejoicing of hope firm to the end.” Basically, if we are “faithful”, like Moses! The writer in verses 7 to 15 (quoting Psalms 95:7-11) finally explains what it means to be faithful and the condition for hearing God’s voice:
7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you will hear His voice, 8 Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness, 9 Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, And saw My works forty years. 10 Therefore I was angry with that generation, And said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, And they have not known My ways.’ 11 So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’ ”
12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, 15 while it is said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”Hebrews 3:7-15 NKJV
The writer is saying that if you want to hear God’s voice directly, like Moses, be faithful all the way to the end i.e. do not be like the Israelites who kept on complaining as God took them through the wilderness and ended up spending 40 years to reach the promised land instead of two years.
- They kept complaining, desiring the former luxuries of their sinful life. They had no rememberance of the mighty acts of God’s saving grace in their lives, as He had led them out of Egypt, parted the Red Sea, and destroyed the Egyptians.
- They ignored His mighty earth shaking appearace on Mount Sinai to give them the Ten Commandments, ignored His provision of water in the desert from a mountain, His provision of manna from heaven for them to eat, His destruction of their enemies along the way etc.
- They just kept on complaining, wanting to stone Moses and the other leaders, wanting to appoint other leaders who would lead them in the way their hearts wanted to go i.e. back to Egypt. They disregarded what God said was good for them, and God said that they “rejected Him”.
- God even showed them the promised land but because they had neither developed an attitude of thanksgiving nor worked to develop their faith, so all they could see in the promised land were problems.
- God said they had wearied Him. They tested Him by going astray in their heart and not acknowledging that the God who had done so many a miracle in the past could save them again and again, despite what they saw in the physical.
- More frustrating was that they expressed all this unfaithfulness despite God visibly leading them by the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night.
- In fact, God had been counting their foolish transgressions and in His final declaration that they would not enter His rest, God said in Numbers 14:22-23 that they “…have put Me to test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice, they shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, not shall any of those who rejected Me see it”. Wow!
God spoke to Moses directly because He was faithful. He did not have an evil heart of unbelief hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (i.e. by faith, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, considering the reproach of Christ greater than passing pleasures of sin…the allurements of the luxurious life of a leader in Egypt – Heb 11:24-27). Moses held the beginning of His confidence in God steadfast to the end. He remembered and counted God’s blessings and held firmly onto His promises even when things didn’t go how He expected.
Moses went through his own personal wilderness journey for 40 years. By holding onto God’s promises daily, never giving up on the vision from God that he (Moses) would one day save the Israelites, God deemed Moses so faithful that He came down from heaven to speak to His servant “face to face” and instruct him on the next phase of his life – the saving of the Israelites. This is it! This is what it means to be faithful in all God’s house. This is why God spoke directly to Moses, including at the bush of fire.
Contrast Moses’ faithfulness in his wilderness season to the constant unfaithfulness of the Israelites. Don’t start complaining when your prayers are not answered when or how you expect. Don’t start murmuring against God when your life hits a rough patch. Find your way back to God. Humble yourself, remember His blessings and favour from the past and even in the present. Search your heart and confess your sins. Ask Him for perspective to understand the reason for the season.
We are all called to learn from the mistakes of the Israelites because all that happened to them and was written before, were for our learning that we, through patience and comfort of the scriptures, might have hope – Romans 15:4. Hold fast the confession of your hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful – Hebrews 10:23.