Key People



Some people can’t stay out of trouble. When conflict breaks out, they always manage to be nearby. Reaction is their favorite action. This was Moses. He seemed draw to what needed to be righted. Throughout his life, he was at his finest and his worst responding to the conflicts around him. Even the burning bush experience was an illustration of his character. Having spotted the fire and seen that the bush did not burn, he had to investigate. Whether jumping into a fight to defend a Hebrew slave or trying to referee a struggle between two kinsmen, when Moses saw conflict, he reacted.

Over the years, however, an amazing thing happened to Moses’ character. He didn’t stop reacting, but rather learned to react correctly. The kaleidoscopic action of each day of leading two million people in the wilderness was more than enough challenge for Moses reacting ability. Much of the time he served as a buffer between God and the people. At one moment he had to respond to God’s anger at the people’s stubbornness and forgetfulness. At another moment he had to react to react to the people’s bickering and complaining. At still another moment he had to react to their unjustified attacks on his character.

Leadership often involves reaction. If we want to react with instincts consistent with God’s will, we must develop habits of obedience to God. Consistent obedience to God is best developed in times of less stress. Then when stress comes, our natural reaction will be to obey God.

In our age of lowering moral standards, we find it almost impossible to believe that God would punish Moses for the one time he outright disobeyed. What we fail to see, however, is that God did not reject Moses; Moses simply disqualified himself to enter the Promised Land. Personal greatness does not make a person immune to error or its consequences.

In Moses we seen an outstanding personality shaped by God. But we must not misunderstand what God did. He did not change who or what Moses was; he did not give Moses new abilities and strengths. Instead, he took Moses’ characteristics and molded them until they were suited to his purposes. Does knowing this make a difference in your understanding of God’s purpose in your life? He is trying to take what he created in the first place and use it for its intended purpose. The next time you talk with God, don’t ask, “What should I change into?” but “How should I use my own abilities and strengths to do your will?”

Strengths and accomplishments

    • Egyptian education; wilderness training

    • Greatest Jewish leader; set the Exodus in motion

    • Prophet and lawgiver; recorder of the Ten Commandments

    • Author of the Pentateuch

Weaknesses and mistakes

    • Failed to enter the Promised Land because of disobedience to God

    • Did not always recognize and use the talents of others

Lessons from his life

    • God prepares, then uses. His timetable is life-sized

    • God does his greatest work through frail people

Vital statistics

    • Where: Egypt, Midian, wilderness of Sinai

    • Occupations: Prince, shepherd, leader of the Israelites

    • Relatives: Sister: Miriam. Brother: Aaron. Wife: Zipporah. Sons: Gershom and Eliezer.

Key verses

    • “It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:24, 25).

Moses’ story is told in the book of Exodus through Deuteronomy. He is also mentioned in Acts 7:20-44; Hebrews 11:23-20.


People such as Jethro and Melchizedek - not Israelites, but nevertheless worshipers of the true God - play an important role in the Old Testament. They remind us to God’s commitment to the world. God chose one nation through which to work, but his love and concern are for all nations!

Jethro’s religious background prepared him for, rather than prevented him from, responding in faith to God. When he saw and heard what God had done for the Israelites, he worshiped God wholeheartedly. We can guess that for 40 years as Moses’ fathers-in-law, Jethro had been watching God at work, molding a leader. Moses’ and Jethro’s relationship must have been close, for Moses readily accepted his fathers-in-law’s advice. Each benefited from knowing the other. Jethro met God through Moses, and Moses received hospitality, his wife, and wisdom from Jethro.

The greatest gift one person can give another is an introduction to God. But that gift is hindered if the believer’s attitude is, “I have the greatest gift to pass on to you, while you have nothing to give me in return.” Real friends give to and receive from each other. The importance of introducing a friend to God does not make the friend’s gifts to us insignificant. Rather the believer is doubly blessed - first by receiving the gifts the friend wishes to give; then by growing in knowledge of the Lord. For we discover that in introducing another person to God, we increase our own awareness of God. As we give God away, he gives himself even more to us.

Ia all you know about God a miscellaneous collection of trivia, or do you have a living relationship with him? Only with a vital relationship can you pass on to others the excitement of allowing God to guide your life. Have you reached the point of saying, with Jethro, “I know now that the Lord is greater than all other gods” (Exodus 18:11)?

Strengths and accomplishments

    • As father-in-law to Moses, he came to recognize the one true God

    • He was a practical troubleshooter and organizar

Lessons from his life

    • Supervision and administration are team efforts

    • God’s plan includes all nations

Vital statistics

    • Where: The Land of Midian and the wilderness of Sinai

    • Occupation: Shepherd, priest

    • Relatives: Daughter: Zipporah. Son-in-law: Moses. Son: Hobab.

Key verse

    • “Jethro was delighted when he heard about all the good things the Lord had done for Israel as he rescued them from the hand of the Egyptian” (Exodus 18:9).

Jethro’s story is told in Exodus 2:15-3:1; 18:1-27. He is also mentioned in Judges 1:16.


Effective teamwork happens when each team member uses his or her special skills. Ideally each member’s strengths will contribute something important to the team effort. In this way, members make up for one another’s weaknesses. Aaron made a good team with Moses. He provided Moses with one skill Moses lacked - effective public speaking. But while Aaron was necessary to Moses, he needed Moses as well. Without a guide, Aaron had little direction of his own. There was never any doubt as to who God’s chosen and trained leaders was. The pliability that made Aaron a good follower made him a weak leader. His major failures were caused by his inability to stand alone. His yielding to public pressure and making an idol was a good example of this weakness.

Most of us have more of the follower than the leader in us. We may even be good followers, following a good leader. But no leader is perfect, and no human deserves por complete allegiance. Only God deserves our complete loyalty and obedience. We need to be effective team members in using the skills and abilities God has given us. But if the team or the leader goes against God’s Word, we must be willing to stand alone.

Strengths and accomplishments

    • First high priest of God in Israel

    • Effective communicator; Moses’ mouthpiece

Weaknesses and mistakes

    • Pliable personality; give in to people’s demands for a gold calf

    • Joined with Moses in disobeying God’s orders about the water giving rock

    • Joined sister Miriam in complaining against Moses

Lessons from his life

    • God gives individuals special abilities, which he weaves together for his use

    • The very skills that make a good team player sometimes also make a poor leader

Vital statistics

    • Where: Egypt, wilderness of Sinai

    • Occupations: Priest, Moses’ second in command

    • Relatives: Brother: Moses. Sister: Miriam. Sons: Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.

Key verses

    • “Then the Lord became angry with Moses. ‘All right,’ he said. “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he speaks well. And look! He is on his way to meet you now. He will be delighted to see you … Aaron will be your spokesman to the people. He will be your mouthpiece, and you will stand in the place of God for him, telling him what to say’” (Exodus 4:14, 16).

Aaron’s story is told in Exodus - Deuteronomy 10:6. He is also mentioned in Hebrews 7:11.