Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 6, 1960

Moses --- The Overcomer

Gordon Wilson, Sacramento, California

It seems to me that many characteristics of Moses, the great lawgiver, entitle him to a place in the gallery of God's great men. But outstanding among all of his traits was his power to overcome whatever barriers were thrown across the road to success by his follow men, nature, and fate. Let me list a few of the things which Moses overcame on his journey to the towering heights of Pisgah.

I. Moses overcame an Egyptian name and made it a name of honor. Remember that the name of Moses was given to him by Pharaoh's daughter when she drew him from the Nile and was Egyptian with an Egyptian meaning. It might seem somewhat strange that after Moses grew to manhood and cast his lot with the people of God he did not change his name and wear one more distinctively Hebrew. We know that many hundreds of individuals have realized the stigma of the wrong kind of name and have assumed new ones. But Moses triumphed in the name that could not fail to remind him of his past, and which could not fail to be a reproach in the eyes of the children of Israel. Perhaps there is a lesson we can learn from this?

2. Moses overcame an Egyptian upbringing and used it to plead Israel's cause. It would seem likely that he would have a certain amount of natural affection for the royal family that nurtured and reared him and would be loathe to turn his hand against them when he came to years. I am sure that there is a great deal of poignancy in the statement that Moses "chose to suffer affliction with the people of God." He was not only giving up much in the way of wealth and riches, but he was overcoming forty years of education and training in the philosophies and idolatries of Egypt. Is it not a mark of greatness to put away all that one has learned and loved for the sake of righteousness?

3. Moses overcame the temptation of the Egyptian reward and assumed the rags of poverty. The glitter and gold of Pharaoh's court surely must have caused a lesser man than Moses to ignore the call of duty and accept the treasures of Egypt. As the nephew of one Pharaoh and the foster brother of another, the terrible Pharaoh of the exodus, Moses could well have been entitled to "all the treasures of Egypt." I believe he would have been more than human not to have been tempted by all of this. Yes, he was tempted, but his fineness lies in the fact that he overcame the temptation.

4. Moses overcame his own reticence and obeyed the voice of God. When Jehovah commissioned him to go to Pharaoh and demand the release of the captive nation, Moses pleaded his lack of eloquence. Yet, forty years later (in Deut. 32:1), we find him calling upon heaven and earth to hear him and there follows a vivid description of his power of oratory. Much that Moses said by way of excusing himself from the Divine mission was due to his own fear and feeling of inadequacy. What the world would have lost if the Lord had not overpowered Moses' objections and aided him to overcome his reticence!

5. Moses overcame a rebellious people and led them to the shores of the promised land. Though he could have been regarded as the saviour of the children of Israel, it is a fact that he received from them only the very smallest amount of cooperation and discipleship. When things went well, they would follow Moses anywhere, but when difficulties arose, the grumbling and murmuring began. A lack of faith in God, and a lack of regard for Moses as the servant of God manifested itself in many ways, from idolatry to theft, fornication, and open rebellion. Still, little did Moses waver as he moved under the guiding pillar of the Lord toward the land promised unto Abraham and his seed. There are many who can lead when the people will follow, but what must we feel for one who led a rebellious multitude to the set goal?

6. Moses overcame an anonymous grave and still lives in the word of God and in the hearts of millions of people 3,500 years later. No marker rises over the grave of Moses, no shrine adorns the entrance to his tomb, yet he is not forgotten. The life of devotion and consecration to God which he lived is sufficient monument and the law he read to the people at Horeb's feet led them to the Son of God and the law of the Spirit of life. Yes, he is remembered; he shall never be forgotten, nor should he be. For who of us has overcome so much? Let Moses stand for a symbol of success in the face of distress and difficulty, and let his life of overcoming signalize to us our duty and make clear to us our path.