Rebecca Stark is the author of The Good Portion: God, the second title in The Good Portion series, a series written to encourage women to immerse themselves in the depths of Christian doctrine.

The Good Portion — God explores what Scripture teaches about God in hopes that readers will see his perfection, worth, magnificence, and beauty as they study his triune nature, infinite attributes, and wondrous works. 

Rebecca also blogs at Out of the Ordinary.

                         

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Thursday
May022019

Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant

[C]onsider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’s house. (Hebrews 3:1b-2 ESV)

Who was the greatest leader in Old Testament history? Was it David? After all, he is described as “a man after [God’s] own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14)? Is there a better commendation than this?

Before I studied the passage of scripture from which the above text comes, David would have been my answer. I don’t think I would have even considered Moses.

But Moses is definitely a contender in the great Old Testament leader category. Because he steadfastly served God among his people, God commended him as “my servant Moses,” who is “faithful in all my house” (Numbers 12:7). That’s pretty high praise.

Jesus, according to these verses, was an apostle and a high priest. The author of Hebrews can call Jesus an apostle because Jesus was sent by God to be God’s representative on earth. He was God’s emissary and spokesman. He came from God to reveal God to humanity. Jesus was also a high priest, offering himself as a propitiatory sacrifice for his people and interceding for them before God.

Moses is one of the few Old Testament leaders who, like Jesus, was both an apostle and priest.1 As God’s emissary, Moses was sent to bring God’s people out of Egypt (Exodus 3:10). He served as God’s spokesman when, for instance, God gave him a message to deliver to Pharaoh (Exodus 9:1). Moses represented God to his people by giving God’s law to them (Exodus 19:3ff; Exodus 24:3). In the work God sent him to do, he revealed God to both the children of Israel and the nations around them. As Moses fulfilled the mission God appointed him to do, he served as an apostle.

And yes, Moses’s brother Aaron was Israel’s official High Priest, but who do we see pleading with God on behalf of the people? Who was their best intercessor? It was Moses! Do you remember when Aaron led the people in worship of the golden calf? It was Moses who petitioned God to forgive them for all for their sin (Exodus 32:30-32). When the people of Israel grumbled and rebelled against Moses and Aaron after the spies returned from the land of Canaan with a bad report, once again, it was Moses who interceded for them. He pleaded for God to pardon them, and God did (Numbers 14:19-20). “It was Moses, not Aaron, who was Israel’s true advocate with God,” writes F. F. Bruce.2 As Moses interceded for the people, he served them as a priest (Psalm 99:6).

What’s more, Moses was unique among Old Testament leaders because he had more direct access to God. When we read the story that the author of Hebrews referred back to when he wrote that Moses was faithful in all God’s house, we see that God himself stepped in to defend Moses when Aaron and Miriam challenged his authority. God said to them, 

Hear my words: If there is a prophet among you, I the LORD make myself known to him in a vision; I speak with him in a dream. [7] Not so with my servant Moses. He is faithful in all my house. [8] With him I speak mouth to mouth, clearly, and not in riddles, and he beholds the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?  (Numbers 12:6–8 ESV)

God communicated to other prophets with visions and dreams, but with Moses, he spoke “mouth to mouth” and “not in riddles.” God spoke to him clearly and directly, and Moses actually saw the form of the Lord. Miriam and Aaron should have been scared to bad mouth him, because he was greater than all the other prophets.3 

Let’s not minimize Moses. He’s a bright star in Old Testament history. As God’s good and faithful servant, I’d say he’s a bright star in all of human history.  

Who was the greatest leader in Old Testament history? It may well have been Moses.

This is the first piece in a two-part series. Part two is here.


1 F.F. Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews, page 91.

2 Bruce, page 92.

3 Tom Schreiner, Commentary on Hebrews, page 117.

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