Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
By Chris WittsWednesday 9 Mar 2022Morning Devotions with Chris WittsDevotionsReading Time: 3 minutes
If you’ve seen the movie Sully, you will know what I’m talking about today. I found it to be a fascinating and thrilling movie, re-creating what happened on 15 January 2009. On that day, Captain Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger tries to make an emergency landing in New York’s Hudson River after US Airways Flight 1549 strikes a flock of geese.
Miraculously, all of the 155 passengers and crew survive the harrowing ordeal, and Sullenberger becomes a national hero. It was an amazing act of brilliant landing on the Hudson river. In one scene I remember, a female passenger runs and hugs Sully telling him he is her hero. He really was a national hero. Our society is always searching for heroes and role models, but we often miss the mark.
This movie shows our pilot hero as incredibly humble, spreading credit to those around him for the safe landing. He’s unselfish, making sure each person is off the plane before he climbs out—and then not resting until he’s told that every person survived. He’s also devoted to his wife, and their tight bond and devotion to one another forms one of the film’s major themes.
The memorable story has been called Miracle on the Hudson River. The National Transportation Safety Board spokesperson declared the day after the accident: “It has to go down as the most successful ditching in aviation history.” Sully himself is a Methodist and devout Christian, and was asked on the American 60 Minutes TV show, “Did you at any point pray?” And he said, “I would imagine someone in the back was taking care of that for me while I was flying the airplane.”
Heroes in the Bible
I’m sure we admire the heroes of life—often ordinary, everyday people who act in an amazing and courageous way. As kids we probably envied heroes like Superman who could do amazing things. But in thinking of the Bible, I see quite a few heroes, Hebrews 11 in the New Testament lists the names—heroes of the faith, remarkable people.
And Moses is one hero. Back in December 1998 DreamWorks Pictures released the popular movie The Prince of Egypt, all about remarkable Moses. A reluctant hero. Moses spent his first 40 years as a prince of Egypt. During the second 40-year period, Moses was a fugitive and a shepherd in the desert. And, the final third period of 40 years was a time when God transformed Moses into one of the great personalities of all history.
His life story is remarkable. Only God could have ordained all this to happen. Moses met God that day at the burning bush, and his life changed forever. God had a plan for Moses. Moses felt that the job description God had in mind for him—miracle worker, deliverer and saviour of his people—was beyond his capabilities. He began to make excuses. In spite of Moses’ arguments, God did not let him off the hook.
Moses did not want to go back to a place where his ‘wanted’ poster hung on every bulletin board. Moses had no desire to be a mighty man of God. He just wanted to be left alone. But God did not leave Moses alone. One Jewish tradition speculates that God observed how Moses carefully and lovingly tended sheep for 40 years. God, according to this tradition, decided that Moses the shepherd was exactly the kind of servant he needed to take Israel out of slavery. He was the Jewish people’s hero!
The Bible says Moses had problems speaking—he may have stuttered. Moses contended with physical handicaps, character flaws and the limitations imposed on him by old age. He is no superhero, simply an imperfect human who went from riches to rags, and was redeemed by God to liberate and rescue Israel.
Larger than life, Moses was a political and religious leader, lawmaker, judge, prophet, priest, poet, prince, shepherd, miracle worker—and the founder of a nation. Moses was the prophet without peer in the Old Testament, living and experiencing the covenant between God and his people. Perhaps faith is the best one word that describes Moses—but hero he still is.