…for Moses gives us the better example of the sort of leader who might take us home.
Moses was reluctant for his post. His previous peccadilloes demonstrated, for him at least, his unfitness for the divine call. Moses had succeeded as a community organizer, as one could deduce from the his ready identification among both Egyptian and Hebrew camps around the capitol. His impulsive acts, including murder, indicated the lengths to which he would go for Hebrew liberties.
His mistake cost him forty years. He left the capitol, sensibly, and entered the private sector in the business of his wife's family. There he succeeded at least as well as any other son-in-law, well dowried and comfortable.
When God issued a vocation to Moses, religious/civil service was the farthest thing from his mind. He remembered enough of his heritage to recognize greatness. He could obey simple, direct commands, like removing his shoes for worship. However, his recognition and willingness to let God order his worship could not hide one central truth: Moses was settled in the private sector and had no great interest in public service.
His disinterest made him invaluable as a public servant. The tax rolls are a good source of income for the government, while, historically, far too much a temptation for the governors. We should hurry to say, disinterest is not a good electoral platform. The man who does not want the job, however, is superior in vital attributes to the career seeker.
In short, better is the servant who must step down into office. We sadly lack them much today, in secular and sacred politics. In his place we have the self-approving, the self-promoting, the self-aggrandizing. Great opportunities never materialize for the many when the self is the sole object of the leadership. The iron gate of history soon slams shut on the empire led by the lunatic. There is no greater psychosis than the egomaniac.
Moses seemingly had no plan for personal gain. Ambition is not so evil as previous generations thought, but it is not so worthy as to be put in place of the greater good of many.
Moses could not have thought he would get caught up in this Exodus thing for the rest of his life. He was the Accidental Deliverer, at least as much as he might have seen it. Moses constantly had to grow in faith among a people whose own faith was less than stellar.
Moses got the same kind of tent as the rest of Israel. He had no aversion to power. He simply did not seem to understand power as heavy-handedness. He was no more or less wealthy at his death than at the first plague. Wealth always accrues to power. If a person in power for eight decades does not amass riches, it must be for one of two reasons; there is no wealth to amass (unlikely) or this power person actively abstains from its taint.
Since he sought no personal gain, Moses could plow a steady course. He faltered, to be sure, but Moses never fell to the depths where he confounded his followers and succored his enemies. I once worked for a convention apparatus so poorly led, it came to pass that most believed it was safer to be the enemy of the state than its friend. The buffoonish "leadership" placated its declared foes, for no apparent reason and to no noticeable end. Their friends were consigned another, lesser fate, and friends soon became hard to find.
They have gone, these friends, gone for good and all. No amount of "fresh breath" will bring them back to the fetid hole they left.
Moses found ways to communicate. He was armed only with his (equally frightened) brother. He had a calling card because God had told him to say, "I Am sent me.," but there is no reliably recorded incident in which Moses used his calling card. In fact, his calling card would not have counted much in the courts of Egypt, anyway. To the "I Am," Pharoah could have just answered, "We Are."
Somehow, Moses managed to communicate to Pharaoh this truth; the permanent presence of an underclass in the midst of an otherwise (mostly) free (and so privileged) culture will not work out well for either group. Civil unrest is where protest starts. Revolution may follow. Moses manages to convince Pharaoh he is bargaining the lives of Egypt's sons if he keeps the Habiru among them.
Was it one night of painted door jams? Or was it so many sons dying so many unexplained deaths that even Pharaoh could not deny the disease? After all, they were called Plagues and the tenth was the worst.
Moses managed to communicate to the immigrant class this truth; their future was not in Egypt. They never belonged there in the first place. Egypt was their ER, not their intended home.
Moses got the immigrant underclass to become a nation of refugees, headed toward something rather than settled in permanent servitude. Aaron followed Moses into Egypt. Perhaps as many as a million, of various races, followed him out, to a journey none of them would ever successfully complete. Moses held them together for decades and, in fact, gave up his life to them long before he died.
Did Moses think, as he looked over into Canaan, his life was a failure? In Egypt a Pharaoh still reigned. In the Wilderness, the thriving, surging masses who left Egypt with Moses lay, bleached bones. Moses could see the Promised Land but not enter it.
He would have to settle for a life full spent in service. Never elected by the people he led, Moses spent eight decades in power. When he died, the demons and the angels contended over his body. What did the demons want with Moses' carcass? One supposes, to decide what the demons wanted, you have to see what the angels did with him, taking him to bury in a place where men could not find him. Perhaps the demons wanted Israel to do what men tend to do; worship more in the absence than in the presence.
Opinions expressed here are my own, not those of the church I serve or any other person.