Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students


The Education of Moses

The education received by Moses, as the king's grandson, was very thorough. Nothing was neglected that would make him a wise man, as the Egyptians understood wisdom. But the most valuable part of Moses’ fitting for his lifework was that which he received as a shepherd. As he led his flocks through the wilds of the mountains and into the green pastures of the valleys, the God of nature taught him the highest wisdom. In the school of nature, with Christ as his teacher, he learned lessons of humility, meekness, faith, and trust, all of which bound his soul closer to God. In the solitude of the mountains he learned that which all his instruction in the king's palace was unable to impart to him—simple, unwavering faith and a constant trust in the Lord. CT 406.2

Moses had supposed that his education in the wisdom of Egypt fully qualified him to lead Israel from bondage. Was he not learned in all those things necessary for a general of armies? Had he not had the advantages of the best schools in the land? Yes, he felt that he was able to deliver his people. He set about his work by trying to gain their favor by redressing their wrongs. He killed an Egyptian who was imposing upon one of the Israelites. In this he manifested the spirit of him who was a murderer from the beginning, and proved himself unfit to represent the God of mercy, love, and tenderness. CT 407.1

Moses made a miserable failure of his first attempt; and, like many another, he immediately lost confidence in God and turned his back on his appointed work. He fled from the wrath of Pharaoh. He concluded that because of his great sin in taking the life of the Egyptian, God would not permit him to have any part in the work of delivering his people from their cruel bondage. But the Lord allowed these things that He might teach Moses the gentleness, goodness, and long-suffering that it is necessary for every laborer for the Master to possess in order to be a successful worker in His cause.... CT 407.2

Moses had been taught to expect flattery and praise because of his superior abilities; now he was to learn a different lesson. As a shepherd of sheep, Moses learned to care for the afflicted, to nurse the sick, to seek patiently after the straying, to bear long with the unruly, to supply with loving solicitude the wants of the young lambs and the necessities of the old and feeble. In this experience he was drawn nearer to the Chief Shepherd. He became united to, submerged in, the Holy One of Israel. He believed in the great God. He held communion with the Father through humble prayer. He looked to the Highest for an education in spiritual things and for a knowledge of his duty as a faithful shepherd. His life became so closely linked with heaven that God talked with him face to face, “as a man speaketh unto his friend.” Exodus 33:11. CT 407.3

Thus educated, Moses was prepared to heed the call of God to exchange his shepherd's crook for the rod of authority; to leave his flock of sheep to take the leadership of an idolatrous, rebellious people. But he was still to depend on the invisible Leader. As the rod was an instrument in his hand, so he was to be a willing instrument in the hand of Christ. He was to be the shepherd of God's people; and through his firm faith and abiding trust in the Lord, many blessings were to come to the children of Israel.... CT 408.1

It was implicit faith in God that made Moses what he was. According to all that the Lord commanded him, so he did. All the learning of the wise men could not make Moses a channel through which the Lord could work, until he lost his self-confidence, realized his own helplessness, and put his trust in God; until he was willing to obey God's commands, whether they seemed to his human reason to be right or not.... CT 408.2

It was not the teaching of the schools of Egypt that enabled Moses to triumph over his enemies, but an ever-abiding, unflinching faith, a faith that did not fail under the most trying circumstances. At the command of God, Moses advanced, although apparently there was nothing ahead for his feet to tread upon. More than a million people were depending on him, and he led them forward step by step, day by day. God permitted these lonely travels through the wilderness that His people might obtain an experience in enduring hardship, and that when they were in peril they might know that there was relief and deliverance in God alone. Thus they might learn to know and to trust God, and to serve Him with a living faith. CT 408.3