This tutorial will teach you the events, character attributes and actions that portray Moses as a leader in the history and religion of Israel. You will learn much about notable leadership qualities exhibited by Moses such as courage, endurance, humility, patriotism and empathy.
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Are you a high school Christian Religious Studies student or teacher looking for study notes on Moses as a leader? Maybe you are a devout Christian who wants to learn more about the role Moses played as a leader in the Bible.
Well, you have come to the right place. I’m about to show you how Moses played the role of a lawgiver, covenant maker, nation builder, military leader, spiritual leader, judge and astute administrator in the history of the Israelites.
Here is a quick look at the topics we will cover in this bible lesson on Moses as a leader.
- How Moses came to live in the court of the Pharaohs in Egypt
- Events that led to Moses’s escape
- How God called and commissioned Moses to lead and deliver the Israelites from Egyptian bondage
- The significance of the call and commissioning of Moses
- Moses’s return to Egypt and his encounter with Pharaoh
- Deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt
- The Role of Moses in the History of Israel
- Leadership qualities Moses exhibited during his tenure
- Challenges that confronted Moses as a leader
- Moral lessons from each episode
- Likely and past exam questions on Moses
How Moses Came To Live In The Court Of Pharaoh (Exod 1,2)
We shall begin our lesson on Moses as a leader with the story of the birth of Moses and how he came to live in the house of Pharaoh.
The Egyptians oppressed the Israelites.
After the death of Joseph, the new Pharaoh who took over did not know Joseph. The Hebrews continued to multiply in number.
‘Hebrew’ (literally meaning ‘cross over’, ‘pass through’ or ‘traverse’) was a term used for the Israelites and other groups who had no land of their own.
This situation became a threat to the Egyptian Pharaoh. Pharaoh thought that the Hebrews could join forces with an invading army to fight them.
In fact, Egypt had already suffered a similar fate under the Hyksos. The Hyksos invaded Egypt and overthrew Timaeus the Egyptian king around 1720 BC and ruled for a while.
Thus, Egypt saw the increasing population of the Hebrews as a security threat. Pharaoh decided that drastic measures needed to be taken.
Measures to Contain the Israelite Threat
- The first of the measures was to use the Hebrews for labour for construction work. The Israelites had to build the cities of Python and Ramses.
However, the more the Hebrews were oppressed the more they multiplied.
- When Pharaoh noticed that all those oppressive measures had no effect on the Israelites, he secretly told the midwives (Shiphrah and Puah) who delivered the Hebrew babies to kill all male-born children. The midwives however feared God and did not do as Pharaoh advised.
- Pharaoh then ordered his own people to drown every son born to the Hebrews in the River Nile but allow the girls to live. These measures taken by Pharaoh were aimed at breaking the spirit of the Israelites.
The Birth of Moses
It was during this time that Moses was born to a Hebrew couple Amram and Jochebed from the tribe of Levi. Thus Moses’s father was Amram and his mother was Jochebed.
When Moses was born, they wove a basket and placed him in it, and placed the basket very close to where Pharaoh’s daughter, Hatshepsut, used to take her bath. This was after the mother had been in hiding for about three months.
Pharaoh’s daughter saw the basket when she came to take her bath and took the baby home.
It was Hatsheput, Pharaoh’s daughter, who named the boy Moses. The name Moses means “drawn out of water”.
Fortunately, Moses’s mother was contracted to nurse him. Thus Moses grew up in the house of the daughter of Pharaoh who took him as her own child.
Events That Led To Moses’s Escape
One day Moses saw an Egyptian supervisor beating a Hebrew worker. He came to the defence of the Hebrew worker. Moses killed the Egyptian and hid the body in the sand.
The next day Moses saw two Hebrews fighting He tried to mediate but the guilty person challenged his authority. He asked Moses whether he wanted to kill him as he did to the Egyptian the previous day.
Moses got terrified at the knowledge that he had been found out. Fearing that Pharaoh could hear of it, Moses fled to the land of Midian.
At Midian, Moses sat at a well. Seven daughters of Jethro also went to the well to water their father’s flock.
Some shepherds came and drove the young women away but, here too, Moses intervened and helped them to water their flock.
When the daughters of Jethro got home, they told their father how an Egyptian had shown kindness to them. Moses was thus invited to the house of Jethro.
Moses later married one of the daughters of Jethro called Zipporah. They bore a son and named him Gershon
The meaning of Gershon is “I have been a sojourner in a foreign land”.
The Call And Commissioning Of Moses( Exod 3,4:1 – 17, 5:1 – 5, 22 – 23, 6:28 – 30)
God’s call and commissioning of Moses marked a significant stage in his life as a leader of the Israelites. It all began when something strange happened in the presence of Moses.
God Called Moses – The Burning Bush Incident at Mount Horeb
Moses used to keep the flock of his father-in-law. One day, Moses led the flocks towards Mount Horeb. He saw a bush burning but the fire did not consume the bush.
Moses drew nearer to have a closer look at the seemingly burning bush. Then he heard the voice of God telling him not to come near but to put off his sandals for the place where he was standing was a holy place.
God Commissioned Moses to Lead and Deliver Israel
God then told Moses to go and deliver the Israelites from Egyptian bondage. For he had seen their affliction.
Moses protested that he was not qualified for the task. God, however, assured Moses of his protection. God went further to also make Aaron, his brother, his spokesman.
Moses finally agreed. But he wanted to know which was the God that had sent him. God answered that his name was “I am who I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob”.
The Hebrews would let their elders join Moses to go to the king of Egypt. They would then ask for permission to go and sacrifice in the wilderness for three days.
God cautioned Moses that the king of Egypt would not let the people of Israel go but Yahweh would perform wonders to break Pharaoh’s spirit.
God added that the Hebrews would come and serve him at Mount Horeb after Moses had accepted God’s call.
Signs to Prove Moses as God’s Messenger and Chosen Leader
God showed Moses the following three signs to repeat before the elders of the Hebrews so that they would believe him.
- The first sign was that Moses’s rod was turned into a serpent but it was restored when he picked it up.
- The second sign was that he was asked to put his hands into his bosom and when he removed it the hand turned leprous. Then he put it back and it was restored. Moses was told that if the Israelites still did not believe him he was to perform the third sign.
- The third sign was taking some water from the river Nile to pour on the ground and it would turn into blood.
Moses then sought permission from Jethro, his father-in-law, to leave the land of Median for Egypt. When he got to Egypt, Aaron, his brother, was also led to the wilderness where he met Moses.
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Moses told Aaron about the revelation from God and his call to return to Egypt to lead the people of Israel out of bondage.
When Moses and Aaron got back to the city, they summoned all the elders of Israel. Aaron narrated the whole story and did the signs before them and they believed him and worshipped God.
The Significance Of The Call Of Moses
So what is the significance of God’s call to Moses in the burning bush incident? I have the answer for you below. Remember that each gesture, expression or episode in the story was of great importance.
Let’s have them.
- First, Moses wanted to know God’s name so that he could give his fellow countrymen the proper identity of the God who sent him.
- Secondly, in the olden days, one’s name was believed to indicate the person’s character and personality e.g. “I am” may refer to the God who causes things to happen.
- Also, the burning bush symbolizes Yahweh’s holy presence.
- God’s demand that Moses removes his sandals also shows that sacred places ought to be revered.
- The incident shows that in God’s presence, one has to remove one’s footwear as a sign of respect.
- God’s name meant that he is a personal God who shows his saving act of grace through concrete historical events.
Moses’s Return to Egypt and His Encounter With Pharaoh (Exod 7: 1 – 7)
Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and delivered God’s message to him. They said that God wanted the Israelites to hold a three-day feast for him in the desert.
There and then, Pharaoh showed contempt to the God Israel by saying “who is the Lord that I should heed his voice?‘
Pharaoh was so angry at the request that he instructed the taskmasters to increase the quota of bricks the Hebrews were expected to produce. When they were unable to meet their quotas, the Hebrew foremen were severely beaten.
The Hebrew foremen realized that Moses and Aaron had gone to seek three days of rest from Pharaoh so they cursed Moses and Aaron for making their difficult task worse.
Consequently, Moses got disheartened. He was sad that by his action God had caused the Hebrews more hardship.
After the number of plagues on the Egyptians culminating in the Passover, Pharaoh allowed the Israelites to go for fear of another calamity.
Important Points to Note about the Encounter Between Moses and Pharaoh
- “Who is the lord that I should heed his voice” In Egypt every Pharaoh was regarded as a God. It was therefore obvious that hearing the name of a different God would annoy King Pharaoh.
This should explain why Pharaoh did not want to give in to the demand of a strange God.
- The Israelites were a source of cheap labour. For that matter, to allow them to go would come at a great cost to Egypt.
- Pharaoh’s stubbornness was the result of God intentionally hardening his heart to let the Israelites go.
Deliverance Of The Israelites From Egypt. (Exod 14)
After a series of plagues, Pharaoh’s resolve finally caved in. He allowed the Israelites to go into the wilderness to worship their God.
But as soon as it became known that the Israelites had fled for good, Pharaoh and his servants changed their minds.
Pharaoh and his men pursued the Israelites with the hope of bringing them back so that they would continue serving them. He took all the chariots and pursued the Israelites.
When the Egyptians drew nearer, the Israelites became afraid. They began to accuse Moses for bringing them into the wilderness to die, instead of leaving them to serve the Egyptians.
Moses asked the Israelites not to fear but to stand firm and see the salvation of the Lord. For, what the Israelites saw they would no more see because the Lord would fight for them; and they should only be calm.
God Answered Moses’s Call for Help
As a leader, Moses cried to the Lord on behalf of his followers. God responded and assured him of deliverance. God then gave specific instructions.
The angel of the Lord who moved before them went behind and the pillar of cloud moved between the Israelites and the Egyptians.
There was darkness and the night passed without the Egyptians coming near the Israelites.
The Israelites Crossed the Red Sea
Moses stretched out his hands over the sea and God sent a great wind which divided the sea into two with dry land across.
Sea and water formed walls on both sides and the Israelites went through dry land.
The Egyptians pursued the Israelites into the midst of the sea. When they were in the middle of the sea, God told Moses to stretch out his hands over the sea.
Moses obeyed and the water of the Red Sea covered the Egyptians up. The Israelites saw the great works of God and feared the Lord. They once again put their trust in him and in Moses.
Important Points to Note About the Israelites’ Deliverance from Egypt
- The direction of Israel from Egypt was through the Yam Suph which means ‘Red Sea’. It was a marshy lake in the Northern extension of the Nile River.
The association of this ‘red sea’ with the sea made later writers change it to the Red Sea.
- The destruction of the Egyptians can also be attributed to a natural phenomenon – the wind returning the water on the Egyptians.
- The main purpose of the episode at the red sea is to show the sovereignty of God.
Moral Lessons for Christians, Leaders and the Oppressed
The deliverance of the Israelites portrays Moses as a leader with sterling leadership qualities.
See below the key lessons that Christians, people in leadership positions and the oppressed can derive from the story of the deliverance of Israel from Egyptian oppression.
- God provides a way of escape for the oppressed.
- God knows how to stop the oppressor.
- Man should never lose hope in times of trouble.
- God is faithful to his promise.
Additional Lessons on Moses as a Leader
The Story of the Golden Calf
The Role Of Moses as a Leader
Moses played an important role in the history and religion of Israel. You can now have the major points on the role of Moses as a political, military and religious leader of the Israelites.
Moses was a liberator.
God called him and charged him to go to Pharaoh and deliver his people from Egyptian bondage.
He was an astute judge or administrator.
Moses chose 70 elders from all the tribes to help him administer justice to the people. He also provided for their material needs. For example, when the Israelites lacked water and food, he was able to provide them.
Moses was a great military strategist.
This is shown in the way he sent spies to spy on the land of Canaan. He also led the Israelites through wars.
He undertook prophetic and priestly duties.
As a religious leader, Moses acted as a prophet who received messages from God and delivered them to the people.
Similarly, he often took the people’s grievances and requests to God.
Furthermore, Moses performed sacrifices on behalf of the people e.g. At mount Sinai, he officiated during a covenant ceremony between God and the Israelites.
Moses was a covenant maker and a lawgiver.
Another major role played by Moses is that he helped bring constitutional rule to Israel.
He received and administered the ten commandments (Decalogue) to the people. He then led Israel to enter into a covenant with God.
Thus, Moses contributed to the creation of a constitution that would become the foundation of the nation of Israel as a theocracy.
He was a mediator and peacemaker.
Moses interceded on behalf of the Israelites on two occasions when God threatened to wipe them out. These were during the golden calf episode and the mission of the twelve spies.
Moses was a nation builder.
He was, indeed, the founder of the nation of Israel. It was Moses who lay the foundation of Israel as a nation.
During their forty-year journey in the wilderness, Moses welded the Israelites and the non-Israelites into a great nation bound by a covenant relationship with God.
Israel had God as its king and Moses as God’s representative. This gave rise to Israel becoming a theocracy.
He was the originator of true worship of God.
Moses lay the basis for the formation of the Israelite religion (Worship of Yahweh) and its institutions.
Qualities That Helped Moses As A Leader
What helped Moses to acquit himself before God so honourably as a leader were his remarkable leadership qualities.
Let’s quickly go through the notable leadership qualities that Moses exhibited.
He was humble.
Moses’s humility helped him to manage the crises that faced him whenever the Israelites complained or rebelled against him.
Defender of the defenceless
Moses knew how to empathize with the vulnerable and the disadvantaged.
On at least two occasions, Moses proved that he had this admirable leadership quality even before God called him to his service.
First, Moses defended a fellow Hebrew killing the aggressor in the process. This was what sent him into a self-imposed 40-year exile in the land of Midian.
Later, he defended the seven daughters of Jethro at a well in the land of Midian.
Courage and Endurance
Moses’s other leadership quality was courage. This was backed by the spirit of endurance. For instance, Moses courageously faced and endured the challengesPharaoh and his people placed in his way.
Moses was a patriot.
He felt the suffering of his people in Egypt and committed his entire life to make sure that they were liberated.
Challenges Moses Encountered As a Leader
What major challenges did Moses face as a leader? We shall devote the rest of this CRS lesson for SHS 1 to identifying the problems Moses had to overcome.
Here are the personal challenges that Moses faced during his leadership tenure among the Israelites.
- Moses was a stammerer. That was one reason why he initially thought he was not qualified enough to answer God’s call and become a leader of an entire nation.
- Moses also had a hard time dealing with his people’s lack of faith.
- He had to live with the suffering of his people.
- Moses had to continually face the impatience of his people.
- His encounter with Pharaoh and his court was fraught with serious challenges that nearly made him give up.
- Moses faced opposition from other tribes on the way to Canaan, The Promised Land.
Likely and Past Exam Questions on Moses
Find below a collection of likely WAEC/WASSCE CRS questions, specifically on Moses as a leader. Practice your answers in anticipation of any of these CRS essay questions in the coming examination.
- Give a detailed account of the birth of Moses.
- Describe the call of Moses and show its significance.
- Describe how Moses came to live in the court of Pharaoh. What event led to his escape?
- Describe Moses’s encounter with Pharaoh. What is the significance of this incident?
- Describe how the Israelites were delivered from the pursuit of the Egyptians when they encountered the Red Sea. What three qualities of Moses can be recommended for leaders of today?
- In what ways was the hand of God responsible for the escape of the Israelites from Egypt? What moral lessons can we learn from the escape?
- What role did Moses play in the history and religion of Israel?
- Highlight the leadership quality exhibited by Moses on the Israelites.
- What three challenges did Moses face as a leader?
- How did God prepare Moses for the task of delivering his people from Egypt?
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