But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: Exodus 3:11-12
Word of caution here- the four temperament types I will be discussing are ancient terms, and should be seen in that light. The concepts are useful, but the terms can be off-putting, so don’t let that get in the way of a good story! Remember too, all these temperaments are strengths, but if we do not manage those strengths, they become our weaknesses. I start with the Melancholy Temperament…
Many years ago, Tim LaHaye wrote a book titled Transformed Temperaments. In that book, he took four characters from the Bible, and studied them in light of the temperament he saw illustrated in them. I liked that approach, and I have, over the years, done my own explanation of those 4 temperaments which I introduced a couple days ago. So, with a tip of the hat to Tim LaHaye, let’s discuss temperaments by looking at some Bible characters.
Moses, the gifted leader of the Israelite nation was not always a leader, at least by his own thinking. As you may know, Moses was an Israelite raised in the palaces of Egypt. By any standards he was bright, gifted, and had a true sense of justice. He had seen a fellow Hebrew mistreated by an Egyptian and ended up killing the offender.
Later, having fled the palace for the solace of the desert, he was called after many years to his life mission at a burning bush where he encountered God. He had been called to lead the Israelites to freedom. Moses did not consider himself worthy or able for such a task, but God finally convinced him of his calling, with the assurance that God would lead him.
As Moses went on leading his people, he selflessly took on every aspect of leadership. So much so that his father-in-law came to his aid before Moses burned out completely. I think Moses was overworked and depressed, and so did Jethro, his father-in-law.
Moses during this journey had amazing intimacy with God, and was even given the task of delivering God’s laws to the Israelites. Moses went down in history as the famous “Law Giver” which later were expanded into myriad laws and customs of the Jewish people over the centuries.
Still later, the Israelites, a very difficult people to lead evidently, had so distressed God by their sinful actions that God said that he would wipe them out and start over. Moses stood in the gap, asking God to strike him down, but not his people.
Moses continued to have self-doubts despite his talents and gifts in leading thousands of people through the desert. Finally, at an advanced age, Moses was told by God that his successor, Joshua, would end up leading the Israelites to the Promised Land.
So, what characteristics do we see in Moses- the example of the Melancholy Temperament?
Moses was keen to injustice; he was talented and detailed in his approaches to leading; he was introspective and analytical to the point that he did not see his gifts like others did, and he had difficulty with self-confidence; he was completely loyal and dedicated, willing to give his own life for his people; he worked himself too much, taking on more than he should, and ended up feeling depressed.
That, in a very brief nutshell, is the Melancholy Temperament. Analytical, Detailed, Introspective, Self-Critical, Loyal, Devoted to the Cause.
The Melancholy Temperament is often very sensitive and attuned to things some others overlook. They are often very creative and detail oriented. So, if these attributes sound familiar, you might be of the Melancholy Temperament.
Prayer: What a gift the temperaments are! Thank you for your plans for us, Amen