Moses as an Example of a Shepherd of God’s People

Some simple thoughts on Moses as an example of how a shepherd cares for God’s people.

Moses shepherded God’s flock by speaking God’s Word, rebuking and comforting, suffering with and for his flock, and leading them not only in their direction but also in worship and righteousness.

Moses spoke God’s Word to the people not only by revealing God’s name and telling them what to do, but also by revealing God’s character such as what was revealed to him on the mountain.

Moses both comforted and rebuked the people. He rebuked them for their sin and faithlessness and even told them that they would wander in the wilderness, but he also comforted them such as when he reminded them before the crossing of the Red Sea that God would fight for them and be victorious.

Moses suffered with his flock (he wandered in the wilderness as well) and he comforted them by reminding them of God’s promises and reminded them of God’s great power and that his promises would be fulfilled in their descendants.

Moses also led them, specifically in three ways: direction, worship, and righteousness.

Moses led them in direction by telling them what they should do and where they should go. He gave them the instructions for the Passover and told them to borrow the gold from their Egyptian neighbors.

He led them in worship when he sang the hymn in Exodus 15 praising Yahweh for the victory of the Red Sea and by instituting the worship of the tabernacle according to the pattern God had revealed on the mountain.

He led them in righteousness by demonstrating great faith and by submitting to the Word of the Lord (and, perhaps by demonstrating the cost of sin by being barred from the Promsied Land; if Moses is held accountable for his sin, where does that leave everybody else?). He also gave them the law and then served as a judge to interpret the law when there were questions about how the law was to be kept.

Some things to meditate on:

Moses had to be taught to be a shepherd and was taken from Pharaoh’s palace out into the wilderness. What kind of leader would he have been if he had led them straight from Pharaoh’s palace?

I think Moses would probably have been a manager rather than a shepherd.

This is an important question today when the pastoral office is often modeled after the CEO rather than the shepherd. (Some contend that we can’t know what a shepherd is because we are removed from the agrarian culture. That argument just doesn’t wash; Moses had no more idea what a shepherd was than we do until the Lord taught him. The Lord is faithful to his people and to his servants and this means he prepares his servants to do his work.

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About Michael R. Jones

Pastor and PhD candidate writing on Paul's theology of suffering.
This entry was posted in Moses, Pastoral Ministry, Shepherd. Bookmark the permalink.

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