A wise friend of mine once told me, “Beware the man who makes himself the hero of his own story.”
Throughout this study on the life of Moses, we are going read about a man who bears all the marks of a hero. He leads an entire nation of people out from under the grip of one of the most powerful rulers in the world. He stands before the mighty Pharaoh and warns the king of Egypt that if he doesn’t let the Israelites go, he’ll reap a world of hurt. And those words prove not to be empty.
Frogs fall from the sky and the Nile River turns to blood. Locusts consume Egypt’s crops and a plague kills her livestock. Moses raises his hands and the Red Sea parts, giving an otherwise trapped nation of refugees a path to freedom. He strikes a rock in the desert and enough water to quench the entire nation’s thirst comes rushing out. He ascends a mountain and meets with the God of all creation. Then he comes down from that meeting bearing two tablets of stone written in God’s own hand—a Holy Law to govern them all.
As all this happens, we may be inclined to cheer for Moses, our brave-hearted gladiator whose weapon is the power of God and whose shield is the Lord’s divine protection. But if we make Moses our hero, we have misplaced our hope. As admirable, inspirational, and fascinating as Moses is (and he certainly is all these things and more), he is not the hero of his own story. God is.
We only need to look at Moses’ failures—his anger at God (Exodus 5:22-23), his occasional disdain for his own people (Exodus 17:1-7), his murderous heart (Exodus 2:11-12), and his reluctance to lead (Exodus 4:10-17)—to see that he is, at best, a deeply flawed hero.
But it isn’t even Moses’ character flaws that show us he isn’t the hero of the story. It is the providential way Moses came to find himself in this position in the first place. The Lord, making good on a promise He made to Abraham 400 years earlier (Genesis 15:13), spared Moses’ life from Egypt’s brutal campaign to exterminate all male Hebrew children under two (Exodus 1:22). Moses’ mother floated him down the currents of the Nile but the Lord guided the baby in the basket straight into the heart of Pharaoh’s own daughter, who raised the slave as her prince.
God is the architect of this story, which means He is the true hero. This is good news for us. It reminds us that God is in the business of using flawed, fearful people as agents of redemption in this world—limits, imperfections, and all. As we dig into the fascinating life of Moses, look for the providence and power of God on display throughout, and remember that this same wisdom and strength is at work in our lives today.
You do not have to be the hero of your own story. You have a Hero. This study tells His story.
written by Russ Ramsey