The Moses Portfolio
Jan 07, 2019
We remember Moses as a deliverer and a law-giver. What God called Moses to do – all the tasks and assignments involved in his extraordinary role – turn out to be a rich reservoir of work functions and careers. Because Moses exemplifies so many (see picture for mind map) we will note each with bold letters. The account is contained in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers & Deuteronomy. Let’s dig in.
Moses was a prophet – “an inspired teacher or proclaimer of the will of God.” He spoke prophetically to Pharaoh and Egypt, and then extensively to the Israelites.
He was a leader. This role encompassed a lot: ambassador, negotiator, deliverer, guide, supply officer, security director, judge, attorney general, census director, and military commander.
He stood between God and Israel as an intermediary. To the leaders of Israel, God periodically communicated as a voice. But to Moses he communicated frequently, “face to face” in the tent of meeting. God spoke of Moses as “the humblest man on the face of the earth”. He is referred to as “the man of God”. In that role he was an intercessor and shepherd for God’s people. Twice he was called to forty days of fasting.
The more specific God became in the guidance, the more important it became for Moses to function as a scribe. The Ten Commandments were written by God on stone tablets (twice, as it turned out), but after that Moses had to transcribe.
As an author, Moses penned history (Genesis), the story of the release from Egypt (Exodus), the law (Leviticus), two censuses and instructions for the entire tribe of Levi (Numbers). The final book authored by Moses (Deuteronomy) was his extended recap and sermon to the nation on the eve of his own burial and Israel’s entry into the promised land. These five books constitute one fifth of the entire Bible.
Amazing, isn’t it, that Moses could preach to the whole nation for a day? When he was first called, he was so reluctant to speak publicly that God appointed his brother Aaron to be Moses’ spokesman. It is quite an illustration of how a career can grow into new and unimagined capabilities. To the entry of preacher, let’s add teacher and law-giver to his portfolio.
The law given by God and transcribed by Moses included not just the core spiritual standards of the Ten Commandments, but also moral, civil and ceremonial instructions. As a result, Moses became a master delegator. He appointed (with guidance from his father-in-law, the world’s first business coach) thousands of judges and magistrates to help administer and adjudicate the nation.
In addition, he delegated:
The priestly instructions and assignments to Aaron, his sons and his family
The construction and creation of the tabernacle, the altar, the courtyard and the equipment & vestments required in the prescribed rites of purification, sacrifice & obedience
The ceremonial work to the 22,273 Levites
The conquest and allotment of the promised land to Joshua, his understudy
We will continue to examine Moses for the next several posts. Next week we will look at what was accomplished through his calling. The following week we will observe how his example extrapolates to our work today.
We have room for one simple take-away: Make it a point to read the five books of Moses soon. You may be acquainted with them - that’s a start. But did you know that for centuries, Hebrew youths aspiring to leadership were required to memorize the entirety? Surely you and I can give them an observant reading.