Useful Bible Studies > Hebrews Commentary > chapter 3

Moses, God’s servant

Hebrews 3:5

Moses was a loyal ‘servant’ of God. A ‘servant’ may not seem important, but the original language has different words for different types of servants. Here, the word describes someone who has freely chosen to serve the master. Perhaps this servant does this work because of his love for the master. Such servants received great honour. Their masters considered them to be almost part of the family.

One such servant was Eliezer, who was Abraham’s chief servant (Genesis 15:2-3). We know that Abraham had more than 300 male servants (Genesis 14:14). But Eliezer was responsible for everything that Abraham owned (Genesis 24:2). Clearly, Abraham trusted him completely. Abraham did not yet have a son. So Abraham had arranged for Eliezer to become the head of the house after his (Abraham’s) death. On Abraham’s death, Eliezer would have become the owner of everything.

Moses was a servant like that – but Moses’ master was God. The words in Hebrews 3:5 come from Numbers 12:7. They are words that God himself spoke to Moses’ brother and sister, Aaron and Miriam.

In Numbers chapter 12, we read that Aaron and Miriam became jealous of Moses. They began to speak against him. They too had spoken messages from God, they said. This was true – but they were not respecting Moses’ importance as God’s principal servant.

Moses was a very humble man. He did not try to defend himself. But the things that they were saying offended God. God became angry with them. And so, God himself, as Moses’ master, spoke to defend his servant Moses.

God explained that his relationship with Moses was not like his relationship with other prophets (holy men and women). God may speak to his prophets in dreams. He may show them something by means of a puzzle. But God did not speak to Moses like that. He spoke direct to Moses. He spoke to Moses in a manner that was clear. God even allowed Moses to see him (Exodus 33:18 to Exodus 34:7).

God had made Moses responsible for all his house – that is, for all the Israelites (God’s people). He gave them his law by means of Moses. He led them through the desert by means of Moses. He taught them how they should live by means of Moses. He showed them how to worship (to give honour to God) by means of Moses.

But Moses did these things as evidence of the things that God would do in the future. Moses did them so that the people could learn about Christ.

For example, Moses taught the people about the Passover (the sacred holiday when people killed a young sheep) – Exodus 12:1-11. But the real meaning is Christ – John 1:29. Moses taught the people how to build God’s house – Deuteronomy 12:5-14. But the real meaning is Christ – John 2:19-21. God cured the people when Moses lifted a metal model of a snake among them – Numbers 21:6-9. But the real meaning is Christ – John 3:14.

Next part: Christ, God’s Son (Hebrews 3:6)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.