Moses, a Father of Israel
Moses’ fame is not centered around his fatherhood, although he did sire two sons, Gershom and Eliezer, with his wife, Zipporah, the daughter of Jethro, the priest of Midian (Ex 18:1-4). The Bible does not record anything noteworthy concerning the sons other than the bizarre circumstances of Gershom’s circumcision (Ex 4:24-26). The two sons were not priests of Yahweh, although it is likely they performed Levitical duties because of their tribal designation. God did not see fit to bless Moses with a dozen sons as He had with Jacob, or even a quiver full for that matter. Instead, God raised Moses up to be the father of the fledgling nation of Israel, as the weary refugees made their way through the Sinai desert to the Promised Land.
True, it was Abraham to whom God bestowed the honorable title, “Father of a Great Nation,” when He changed the patriarch’s name from Abram, meaning “exalted father,” to Abraham, “father of a multitude”. However, it was Moses whom God used to restore the nation to Himself through the giving of the law on Mount Sinai. For this reason and many others, I view Moses as a father to Israel. The devoted leader remained faithful to his task of “parenting” the rebellious sojourners, while constantly interceding for God’s mercy for them.
Undoubtedly, Moses had a father’s heart for those he led across the desert sand. Consider for a moment the passionate plea Moses made to Yahweh on the people’s behalf following the golden calf incident (Ex 32). The lives of God’s apostate people hung in the balance as Moses, the one who claimed to be slow of speech (Ex 4:10), convinced the Almighty to change His mind (Ex 32)! If anyone ever had the ear of God, it was Moses! The humble law-giver even offered his life to repent for the sins of the nation. In this instance, Moses is revealed as a type of Yeshua, the one who was willing to surrender all for the redemption of His people:
“But now, if you will, forgive their sin—and if not, please blot me out from Your book which You have written!” Ex 32:32
While on Mount Sinai, God gave Moses the blueprint for the wilderness Tabernacle that would be patterned after the heavenly model. The Tent of Meeting, as the portable structure was called, became the earthly habitation for the Most High God. Moses made certain that God’s directives for the construction of the Tabernacle, its numerous furnishings, and sacrificial rituals were followed precisely in order to restrain the wrath of God.
Lest the people make a god of Moses after his death, the Lord Himself buried Moses in an undisclosed place in the valley of Moab opposite Beth-peor. Prior to his death, God allowed Moses to view the Promised Land from the heights of Mount Nebo, all the way to Dan in the north and the Mediterranean Sea in the west. This was the last miracle that Moses experienced in his life. The time had come to leave his beloved “children” in the hands of their heavenly Father, who would take them safely across the Jordan River. For Moses, it was a job well done!
*For an in depth study of Moses’ Tabernacle, see my twelve-part DVD series, “The Gospel According to Moses,” available from bibleinteract.com.The workbook by the same title will be released in June 2014.