Essay, Research Paper: Moses A Leader

Religion

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Throughout history there have been many individuals who could be considered
leaders, but some stand out among the others. An example of a superb leader is
Moses in the Bible. Moses is viewed as a righteous man in God’’s eyes and is
chosen to lead the Hebrews out of oppression in Egypt. Contained in the story of
Exodus are many examples of Moses’ sacrifices and the hardships he endured
while freeing the Hebrews. The faith of Moses was tested numerous times
throughout the story, and, in some instances, it seemed that Moses had lost
faith, however, being the "righteous" man that he was, he stuck it out
until the end. When compared to Noah and Abraham, Moses is a "pillar of
faith" for surviving his tests and for being the perfect tool for
God’’s plans. In the Old Testament stories, God seems to want his earth to
be peaceful and without sin and when he sees that the world is corrupt, he
decides to conduct a purge. In the first two books of the Bible, there are two
distinct covenants made, one with Noah and the other many generations later with
Abraham. God talked to Noah and he was chosen to be the father of a renewed
civilization after an enormous purge would wipe out the evil in the world. Noah
had to undergo many trials and tribulations. He had to experience embarrassment
and ridicule because of the nature of God’s requests. His neighbors and
friends thought he was nuts because it is not every day that a man constructs a
huge boat made of gopher wood and claims that a flood will come to rid the world
of evil. After Noah obeyed all Gods commands, he was rewarded. Noah became like
Adam, in that he would be responsible for starting life on earth over. Noah was
rewarded because of his faith in God and his ability to obey. God’s covenant
with Noah laid the groundwork for his promise to Abraham many generations down
the road. Here God’’s bidding was not exactly the same, but, in essence, it
demanded the same degree of commitment and dedication from Abraham. Abraham was
old and his wife Sarah was barren. God promised Abraham that he would be the
father of a great nation. Given Sarah’s condition, Abraham had many inquiries
and doubts about the feasibility of this, yet he had faith. God asked of Abraham
that he give up all he knew, and all he had to wander in the desert in search of
this nation, which God promised. Abraham also endured many hard times. He
wandered in the desert for years on blind faith, and, when he finally got to
where he was going, he was asked by God to sacrifice his most prized possession,
his son Isaac. When God observed the faith and obedience of Abraham, he spared
Isaac and allowed Abraham’s nation to flourish. The Old Testament, model of a
great patriarch, is one who possesses faith coupled with voluntary obedience to
God’s wishes and gratitude. These things combine to make up God’s standard
of moral goodness. If the person obeys God’s laws and meets His standards,
happiness may be attained by the individual. The ultimate model of a great
patriarch is Moses. The second book of The Bible, the book of Exodus, begins
with the Egyptian’s decision to oppress the Hebrews who lived in the land of
Egypt for 400 years. (The descendants of Joseph and his brothers) Although Moses
was born a Hebrew, Moses grew up in the Pharaoh’s court and the Hebrews were
jealous of him. The Egyptians didn’t trust him as well. This is one of the
main reasons why Moses was such a great leader. He didn’t really have any
strong ties to either the Hebrews of the Egyptians. This is why he can be harsh
and use force to make the people understand what God wants. He has the guts to
order his own people to their death for freedom. Moses was willing to risk his
life for his people and one day Moses saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew in the
work-yard, and hastily killed the Egyptian with his bare hands. He then fled
from Egypt to Midian, and found a wife with whom he had a son. Yet, Moses knew
he would not settle down until he returned to Egypt to fulfill A God’’s
prophecy. Important to Moses’ development into a great leader was the time he
was tending his father-in-law’’s flock up on the mountain of Horeb. Here, at
the mountain of God, he came across a burning bush. Moses was amazed by the
phenomenon and God spoke to him through this medium. Moses was commanded to go
to the Pharaoh and request that the Hebrews be set free to worship their God.
Now, Moses was not well liked by either the Egyptians or the Hebrews at the
time, so he was in no position to tell anyone what to do. When Moses, through
Aaron, proposes to the Pharaoh to let the Hebrews go free, the Pharaoh gets mad
and just makes the workload for the Hebrews more demanding than it ever was
before. This made the Pharaoh furious and the Hebrew labor force despised Moses
for burdening them with more work. Moses was discouraged because the people he
was commanded to free did not want to be freed, and, even if they did, Moses is
the last person that they wanted to be freed by. As slaves, the Hebrews accept
themselves to be powerless. At this point Moses had to be rather confused. He
has no friends to turn to, all he has is a burning bush up on a mountain, and
faith. On his conscience are the hardships of an entire people and a huge sense
of failure. Moses returns to the bush and says to God, "O Lord, why did You
bring harm upon this people? Why did You send me? Ever since I came to Pharaoh
to speak in Your name, he has dealt worse with this people, and still You have
not delivered Your people (Exodus 5:22)." This is an example of Moses’
doubt and confusion about his mission. God supplies Moses with many different
"tricks," and supernatural powers, yet the first few times Moses went
back to Pharaoh, his magicians could match Moses’ "illusions." As a
result, the Pharaoh thought nothing of it and kept the Hebrews working. Then God
commanded Moses to order gnats to swarm Egyptians and the Pharaoh’s magicians
could not match the power of Moses. Pharaoh’s heart remained cold and he would
not let the people go, so Moses ordered progressively crueler plagues on the
Egyptians. God hardens Pharaoh’s heart many times to test the faith and
commitment of Moses. Moses didn’t know God was doing this and was absolutely
frustrated. He gives up everything he knows to perform this task and he keeps
getting rejected. The last plague was what made the Pharaoh change his mind
about the Hebrew’s freedom. The Angel of Death took the first born of every
living thing in Egypt, including the son of Pharaoh. Moses suffered great
frustration because of his continual confrontations with Pharaoh, but finally
God’s bidding was reality. Moses gained some respect from the Hebrew people,
but they didn’t want to change the ways of the past. The Hebrews bore witness
to the acts of violence Moses performed on the Egyptians, so naturally, the
Hebrews would fear the power of Moses. Moses had an incredibly hard task in that
he had to lead an incoherent mass of people out of oppression. His faith, and
trust in God, is why Moses succeeded and that which made him the ultimate model
of a patriarch. Moses did everything that God told him to do and he did it with
all his might. He firmly believed that God would see him through the hard times.
God wants the people to know that he is the one Lord (Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh), and
that there are no humans that compare. This is why he goes through all the
trials with Pharaoh. Moses’’ faith delivered him through all the questions
and doubts of the Hebrew people as they proceeded on the forty-year journey to
the "Promised Land of milk and honey." Faith and trust in God, helped
him to be a leader for the people. However, Moses was not the perfect, sin-free
prophet, in the sense he murdered a man directly and was the cause of the death
of thousands of Egyptians. To top it off, he ordered all the people who built
the golden calf to worship on the bottom of Mount Sinai to be killed. As
Machiavelli once said, "The ends justify the means," and that is what
the freeing of the Hebrews is about. What God wanted done was done through
Moses. I believe that Moses was justified in what he did at Mount Sinai, but
I’’m sure that, if I were one of the Hebrews, I wouldn’t be able to fathom
what was going through Moses’’ head. I respect the character of Moses and I
feel that his shrewdness was one of the key elements in the success of the
Exodus. In the end, with God on his side, Moses led his people with great
strength and courage, and delivered them safely into the awaited Holy Land.

BibliographyHarris, Stephen L. Understanding the Bible. London: Mayfield Publishing,
1997. Tanakh. Jerusalem: Jewish Publications Society, 1985.
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