For some time Moses has been one of my main go-to characters in terms of biblical material on leaders. I’ve been particularly interested in the way his story functions as a paradigm of a leadership journey – in fact I’ve spent quite a bit of time over the past twelve months doing some writing about it all.
So I have had a special interest in Terry Virgo’s most recent book which is fairly hot off the presses. God’s Treasured Possession (IVP) is Terry’s exposition of the story of Moses, from his origin story, with its inherent identity conflict, to the end of his life, falling short of getting into the Promised Land, and further, to his appearance with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration.
It’s a wonderful read, combining careful attention to the details of the story as we have it in the text of Exodus and Numbers with insights from Terry’s years as a pastor and leader.
The book opens with the claim that the story is ‘a story written for us’ and actually begins on the Emmaus Road with the two disciples whose hearts burned as the risen Jesus opened up the Scriptures in a way that they had never known. The ancient events of the Old Testament have been handed down to us to teach us: God has revealed himself through stories.
We are taken through Moses’ abortive attempts at leading (‘running ahead of God’), through his reluctance to respond to God’s commission and on to the early challenges of leadership (‘Pharaoh proved to be a formidable opponent, certainly no pushover’): we learn that ‘apparent setbacks and even heartbreaks can work God’s purpose in you as you learn patience and begin to understand that it’s ultimately His story not yours.’
We are reminded of Moses’ role as a frequent mediator and intercessor, we learn about guidance, about faith and fear, about the importance of God’s call and commission, about sharing leadership, and about the need for secure leaders. One of the strengths of the book is the way it takes specific episodes in the story, like the Passover, or the establishment of the Tabernacle and ties them to the wider picture of biblical theology.
I’m delighted that Terry has agreed to chat to me on my Leadership Journey podcast this week (it will actually be his second appearance on the podcast) when we will spend time discussing some of the book’s themes. I will post the link when the podcast is available.