The life of Moses contains lessons for us today. How did this prince turned shepherd become an example of humility for generations to come (Numbers 12:3)?
While Moses' mother, Jochebed, was pregnant with Moses as a slave in Egypt, Pharaoh issued a decree that all male babies were to be killed. For three months—with total faith in God—Jochebed and her husband, Amram, kept the baby Moses a secret.
The Jewish historian Josephus relates Amram prayed to God about this, and an angel appeared to him and revealed the child would deliver the Israelites from slavery. The angel also said his name would last as long as the world (Antiquities of the Jews, Book II, 9:3).
At age 3 Moses was adopted by Pharaoh's daughter and received a royal education. As an adult, he apparently became a general in the Egyptian army (Antiquities II, 10:1). He was also a great orator and performed many great deeds (Acts 7:22).
We are told in Acts 7:23 God eventually brought Moses back into remembrance of his prophesied purpose, and Moses visited his people, the enslaved Israelites. When he saw a taskmaster beating a Hebrew, he killed the Egyptian (Exodus 2:11-12).
Moses mistakenly thought his people would understand God was working through him to rescue them (Acts 7:25). But Moses had taken things into his own hands and acted rashly, giving Pharaoh the reason he needed to get rid of him. So Moses fled from Pharaoh, leaving his family and people and became a shepherd, a profession the Egyptians despised (see Genesis 46:31-34).
Eventually he married and raised a family and forgot about Egypt and the prophecies concerning him. But God was using the circumstances—brought about by Moses' choices—to humble him and teach valuable lessons.
The humility Moses learned from these experiences was apparent at the burning bush (Exodus 4:10). He really felt inadequate and knew he needed God. This was not the same Moses who left Egypt 40 years earlier. Moses knew God was the leader of the Israelites, not him: “...for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6)."
On two separate occasions God was so aggravated with the Israelites He offered to destroy them all and start over with Moses, but Moses changed God's mind. Even when Moses' authority was challenged on several occasions, he never lashed out, but rather prostrated himself and let God work it out. At times Moses even interceded for his accusers (Numbers 12:1, 13; 16:1-4, 20-22).
A lot of Moses' humility came by hindsight. The opportunities given him during his first 40 years, the additional 40 years of final training in the wilderness and his incredible 40-year journey leading Israel to the Promised Land was guided by a long-suffering God.
Moses understood it was by God's grace that he became the person he was, and like Moses, we can look back and see God's hand in our lives even before we knew God.