Walking with Moses in the Wilderness: "Being a Servant of God."
By Rev Tan Eng Boo
When I first saw the Judean Wilderness, I was awed by the sight of it (photo above). It had such a rugged beauty. I took a walk close to the steep mountainside. It was a scary experience. The wilderness is hot and dry. Who would be able to live in such a hostile environment? I wondered. Amazingly, I saw some Bedouins (nomadic Arab tribes) there.
The Judean Wilderness is home to a small but visible nomadic Bedouin population, grazing animals in the valley, as well as a number of small towns and villages. This is one place most tourists will not stop by when they visit Israel. The Judean Wilderness is about 95 km long and 21 km wide. The average temperature in winter is a low 21°C and hits a high of over 40°C in summer. As you can see, there is very little vegetation in the wilderness due to a lack of water and poor soil composition.
Picture Moses and the Israelites having to go through such a hostile environment. Now I understand how tough it must have been, especially for Moses to lead two million people for 40 years in the Sinai wilderness.
Moses, the Servant of God
Moses’s story is told in Exodus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. We find his name on the lips of Jesus, Paul and other biblical figures. After the death of Moses, we read of God’s own evaluation of this man:
And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, none like him for all the signs and the wonders that the LORD sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, and for all the mighty power and all the great deeds of terror that Moses did in the sight of all Israel (Deut. 34:10-12).
What a magnificent description of this man, who is most commonly described as "the servant of the LORD," and "Moses My servant"—more often than anyone else in the Old Testament (Ex. 14:31; Num. 12:7; Deut. 34:5; Josh. 1:1, 15; 18:7; 1 Chron. 6:49; 2 Chron. 1:3; 24:6; Neh. 1:7; 10:29). The author of Hebrews describes Moses as a servant in God's house when he writes, "Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant" (Heb. 3:5).
Would you like God to regard you as His servant too?
Who, me a servant? You got to be kidding!
Yes, it takes humility to be one. Stephen says, “And Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was mighty in his words and deeds” (Acts 7:22). But perhaps the most important trait of Moses was his humility. “Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth” (Num. 12:3).
Beloved, to be effective servants of the Lord, we need humility. The world does not talk about servanthood. Jesus reminds us:
And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mk. 10:42-45). (Bold for emphasis)
Servanthood must be the mark of everyone in the church of Jesus Christ. “Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God” (1 Pet. 2:16). (Bold for emphasis).
How to be a servant of God?
Jesus says, “If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honour him” (Jn. 12:26). Jesus called His followers servants. His servants will follow Him. They will be committed to God as Moses was committed to God.
Look at Moses’ example: “By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible” (Heb. 11:27). This was the time when he left Egypt with the children of Israel after the 10 plagues. He persevered, amidst all the trials and difficulties. It was “as if” he saw God. He followed the LORD all the way until he reached Mount Nebo which stood before the Promised Land. One word described the servant of God: FAITHFULNESS.
Two things stand out concerning Moses’ faithfulness:
1. His complete dedication to God.
The servant is completely dedicated to the master. “Who then is the faithful and wise servant... Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes” (Matt. 24: 45, 46).
2. His obedience to God.
Moses called the Israelites to be obedient. “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” (Deut. 30:19, 20) (Bold for emphasis).
It is therefore important to examine ourselves to see if we stand the test of faithfulness. Are you faithful wherever He has placed you, however mundane the task may be? Are you faithful to carry out the tasks He has given you? John Wesley once said: "Give me a hundred men who love nothing but God and hate nothing but sin, and I will shake the whole world for Christ." It doesn’t take many people, but it does take someone who decides to be faithful.
When the Lord returns, I would like to hear Him say these blessed words:
“Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord” (Matt. 25:21 KJV).
May the Lord find us faithful,
May His Word be our banner held high.
May the Lord find us faithful
Every day, though we live, though we die.
(From the hymn, “May the Lord Find Us Faithful” by Mac Lynch)