In Moses, Adam Hamilton retraces the footsteps of Moses, whom Hamilton argues is the “single most influential person in the Hebrew Bible.” While he blends historical facts and reflections on visiting sites, Hamilton steadies the course that there is much to learn from this reluctant prophet.
Moses is equal parts history, theology, and commentary. Taking a serious look at Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, the reader is invited to consider what he or she can learn from the Moses narrative. I am careful here because it is not just Moses’ life that offers implications for our own. It is the also the people around him.
“What does the story teach us about God, about humanity, and about ourselves?” (Adam Hamilton)
For example, when discussing the birth of Moses in the first chapter, Hamilton reminds us of the pivotal role of the midwives. As he discusses the two women, he invites us to ponder civil disobedience. Shiphrah and Puah had a choice to make – follow the mandate of the government or follow the will of God. We are invited to put ourselves in the shoes of these women. What will we do?
Throughout the book, Hamilton pauses to highlight the implications of the Moses narrative for the modern Christian. I especially appreciated the nods to what we can learn about our own leadership styles.
Acknowledging that “leadership is hard,” Hamilton highlights the advice that Jethro gives to Moses as key lessons in leadership. Among them is raising up, training, and sharing leadership. The question asked is, “How are you sharing leadership.” A question every leader should ponder.
Leadership comes with criticism. Criticism leads to frustration. And frustration sometimes leads to giving up. Yet, Hamilton reminds, “leaders who have an enduring impact don’t give up.” He goes on to say, “They listen to and learn from their critics, but they also keep marching forward toward their visions of the Promised Land.”
Pass It On
One of the lessons from the Exodus narrative is the importance of passing on the faith. As Hamilton notes, one of the main themes in Moses’ farewell speech in Deuteronomy is “that the Israelites pass on the faith to their children.”
This includes telling the story of how God delivered them from slavery to the Promised Land. But also passing on leadership as well. The concern is grounded in the worry about those who reached the Promise Land forgetting or losing the faith.
It’s a challenge that every generation faces. When we get comfortable in the spaces we live in for a long period of time, we forget all that God has done for us to lead us to the Promised Land we find ourselves in. This is one reason why knowing your church’s history can be a helpful tool. The history recalls how the church came into being and the struggles it had to overcome. Just as the Hebrew people wandering through the wilderness had to reach the Promised Land.
Overall, this is a good read. I’ve also been leading the study and it has prompted some fruitful conversations about church, society, and individual’s journies.
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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a digital review copy.