Even though Moses is the hero of the Old Testament, we know little about his early life. We glimpse him floating down the Nile River. Then he is adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter.
And then he is an adolescent leaving Pharaoh’s palace. We know nothing about what he was taught or how he lived during his childhood.
It is only after he leaves the Palace that we begin to see his character. We begin to see what led God to choose him to lead the Israelites to freedom. One quality, in particular, stands out. Moses is passionate about justice. He is passionate about justice in all its forms:
1. Defending the oppressed: Moses’s first act as an adult is defending an Israelite slave. He leaves the palace and sees an Egyptian task master beating a helpless slave. Moses intervenes and stops the beating.
For Moses justice does not differentiate between slave and master. Even if the master has a legal right to beat the slave, he does not have a moral one.
2. Doing what’s right, even if it means criticizing your own people: The next time we see Moses is when he encounters two Hebrew slaves fighting with one another. He does not turn away and ignore it because they are his people.
He intervenes and chastises the one who instigated the right, showing he is not afraid of criticism and making enemies. He will do what is right in every circumstance.
3. Remaining faithful wherever you are: After Moses is forced to flee Egypt, he arrives in the land of Midian. His first stop is a well. There he encounters a gang of shepherds harassing a group of seven sisters seeking to water their flock. Moses intervenes, defending the sisters. He is a stranger in a strange land, yet he does not shy away from seeking justice.
According to the great Jewish scholar Ahad Ha-am, Moses’s three acts of justice are what lead God to choose him to lead the people from slavery to freedom. God could have chosen someone else. But God knew this impassioned fighter for justice would not give up until His people were free.