From Milquetoast to Moses

From Milquetoast to Moses

By faith [Moses] endured, as seeing Him who is unseen. – Hebrews 11:27

Hebrews 11:24-29

 24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter,
 25 choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin,
 26 considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward.

27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen.
 29 By faith they passed through the Red Sea as though they were passing through dry land; and the Egyptians, when they attempted it, were drowned.

Timidity is defined as having a lack of courage or confidence. Those who are timid lack self-assurance, fortitude. They are easily alarmed and go on alert. They are often characterized by self-doubt and the fear of what might happen.

“The timid are afraid before the danger, the cowardly while in danger, and the courageous after danger” (Jean Paul).

“History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid” (Dwight D. Eisenhower).

And yet the Father chose Moses to be one of the greatest leaders of all time.

Numbers 12:3 Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth.

The Hebrew word translated meek or humble is anav. Anav has the basic sense of being stooped low, bent over, needy, with the added notion of a lowly and modest mind, which prefers to bear injuries rather than return them. The Targum Palestine has “bowed down in his mind,” i.e., overwhelmed (pulpit commentary), or “plagued” (Luther).

Moses was Mr. Casper Milquetoast, incarnate, a timid soul, “the man who speaks softly and gets hit with a big stick.” Think Barney Fife (Don Knox) rather than Charlton Heston.

Moses became a man of faith and a great leader. How? At the outset, he rose up and killed an Egyptian and things immediately went from bad to worse. He experienced tremendous humiliation and defeat and wound up in the wilderness.

The wilderness is the Father’s school for testing, preparation, and refinement. Moses undoubtedly experienced great discouragement and disillusionment. What motivated his actions as he faced the challenges of life? He had greater opportunities than most people could ever imagine. His heart was forever captured when he encountered the Father at Sinai. The Father spoke words of assurance, commitment, and purpose into his heart.

Moses lacked confidence and his first words after the Father told him what He wanted him to do were filled with recoiling self-doubt, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11)

Moses offered many excuses as to why he was a poor choice.

Exodus 4:10 Then Moses said to the LORD, “O my Lord, I am not an eloquent man, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant, for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”

The Father used Moses just as he was, filled with doubt and lacking confidence. Does that hit a little close to home? The Father uses folks just like us.

Despite it all, Moses eventually was used by God to free the Israelites from Pharaoh’s control just like the Lord had promised. By faith. . . he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen [he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible (NLT)].

Moses overcame Pharaoh by believing that the Father would keep His promises.

Exodus 4:11-12

 11 Then the LORD asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the LORD?

 12 Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.”

“When we trust God, we get what God can do; but when we trust ourselves, we get only what weak people can do” (Wiersbe).


Whatever the Father asks us to do, He will enable us to do as we keep our eyes on Him and depend upon His strength and guidance.

Isaiah 46:11 I have said what I would do, and I will do it. I have planned it, surely I will do it.

Father I see a lot of the worst of Moses in me. Encourage me to walk by faith and trust You.


Life is fleeting. Wisdom is learning to hear the Father’s voice and make the best choices based upon what He says.

“The Bible acknowledges that there is some pleasure in sin, even though it quickly passes. And there is some affliction in godliness, even though that quickly passes, too. Yet the reward for godliness far outstrips any pleasure in sin” (Stanley).

Of course, it goes without saying that all pleasures are not sin.

1 Timothy 6:17 God who richly provides us with all things for our enjoyment.

But at the same time many impulses and cravings result in sin. Often impulses and cravings are an emotional response to what we see, taste, or otherwise experience. Using the conscious mind we are capable of taking these impulses or random thoughts and desires captive and resist them (2 Corinthians 10:4).

Hebrews 11:25 [Moses] choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.
“Moses chose the imperishable, saw the invisible, and did the impossible” (Havner).

“The decisions we make today will determine the rewards tomorrow. More than this, our decisions should be motivated by the expectation of receiving rewards . . . The emphasis in the Epistle to the Hebrews is: ‘Don’t live for what the world will promise you today! Live for what God has promised you in the future’” (Wiersbe)!

Hebrews 12:2 Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

Safety is not the absence of danger, but the presence of God, the Father.


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