How to Teach with the Authority of Moses — Exodus 35
As we know, they did not always obey the LORD, or Moses, and they complained about Moses and God. A whole generation of them had to die before a new generation could enter the Promised Land after forty years of wilderness wandering.
Still, Moses spoke and taught about God with authority, and when the people were in their right minds, they listened, believed, and obeyed the LORD. What was Moses’ secret? How can we teach with the authority of Moses?
Moses’ secret was simple.
First, Moses taught the people about the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and He told them that the LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had good news for them. The LORD was going to free them after 400 years of slavery in Egypt; and with signs and wonders, God kept His promises through Moses. As Bible teachers, we also have good news for others.
But, most Bible teachers do not teach with signs and wonders; so, how can we teach with the authority of Moses? We need to remember that signs and wonders alone can give a false impression about someone’s authority and truthfulness. In Matthew 24:24, Jesus warned: “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” We can avoid this problem, if we teach as Moses taught, and teach our students not to believe everyone who can perform signs and wonders: there is an authority greater than signs and wonders.
Second, Moses taught from the Bible he had — the authority greater than signs and wonders. The small Bible he had gave him some of his authority. Moses had the verbal and perhaps the written traditions and words of God that we find substantially in the Book of Genesis. Joseph could read and write (or had scribes that could), and his writings and words could have been preserved as well as his body or along with his body that the Hebrews took with them when they left Egypt. In Exodus 13:19, we read: “Moses took the bones of Joseph with him because Joseph had made the Israelites swear an oath. He had said, ‘God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up with you from this place.’” Surely, they would have preserved and taken with them any of Joseph’s writings (if there were any preserved). Having been raised in Egypt as a son of Pharaoh, Moses could also read and write. If they had no writings similar to the Book of Genesis, they certainly knew the traditions we find in the Book of Genesis, and they could evaluate Moses’ words and judge his authority using their “Bible.” Eventually, during forty years of wandering, Moses would make the Bible substantially larger.
From the “Bible,” the traditions of God’s people, Moses also learned from experience that the God of the Bible, the LORD, was the One who was speaking to him from the burning bush; then, he passed on to the Hebrews what the LORD wanted them to learn and do when the LORD spoke to him again from Mount Sinai. Finally, the LORD stood behind His words to Moses and did what He promised in Moses’ life and the life of the Hebrews.
We can teach with the authority of Moses if we teach as Moses taught. We can teach about the LORD as revealed in the Old Testament. We can teach about Jesus, the Son of God, and the Church and the future as revealed in the New Testament.
We can and do teach with authority when we teach the truth from the Bible as Moses did. From what we have read and studied in the whole Bible, we have more evidence that the Bible is true and God keeps His promises than Moses, the Hebrews, and the Old Testament prophets had with all their miracles. From our own experience as Christians, we know the Bible is true and God keeps His promises.
Even as Moses had good news for God’s people in Egypt, we have good news for all Bible students and anyone else who might hear or read our Bible lessons. That good news is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to make the forgiveness of our sins possible, the cleansing from our sins possible, freedom from slavery to sin possible, eternal blessedness possible by God’s pure and loving grace through faith in Jesus.
Of course, we do not mean “by authority” that we want people to obey us and our teaching, we want people to obey Jesus and His teaching in the Bible. In John 14:21, we read these words of Jesus: “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
With the Bible, with much prayer, much love, and much work of the Holy Spirit, we can teach with the authority of Moses.
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