Exodus 4 – part 1
It is so exciting to me to hear your comments about Exodus, I am glad it speaks as loudly to you as it does to me. I still wish that I could have been on the road to Emmaus because I am certain that Jesus would have spent a lot of time talking about Genesis and Exodus – hey, I am sure that He could spend hours pointing out where he is in every book of the Bible for that matter.
Today I was looking at the mountains as I was driving to school to pick up one of my kids and I saw the shadows of clouds on the mountain. The mountains have burst out in all the fall colors, the leaves are beautiful shades of red, yellow, green, brown – a veritable tapestry of color. Where the cloud’s shadow was though was devoid of color, dark. But once the clouds moved the colors were revealed by the light of the sun. Isn’t that just like us when we are in the midst of our troubles, we feel under the shadow, the world seems dark, but enter even the tiniest bit of light and God’s glory is revealed to us. No problem can last under the light of God’s glory. Soon the Israelites are going to see a tiny bit of God’s glory. They will seem to them to be gigantic miracles, but it is only the tiniest bit of God’s power and might. Pharaoh will begin to see who God is, and sadly he will choose to harden his heart.
Seven times Moses is going to argue with God about why he cannot do what God has ordained for Him to do. God will get angry with Moses’ lack of faith, but in the end, God does provide a way for Moses to do what God wants him to do. God does not give up on us, even when we fear to do what God equips us to do. I am slowly learning that God gets the most glory when we are called to do what we could not do in our own power. I just get too caught up in the fear of failure to fully step out in faith. But I also know that God is building my faith and allowing me to take more chances.
Exodus 4:1 Then Moses answered and said, “But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, The LORD has not appeared to you.”
I typed this and started chuckling – how often I run scenarios in my head, if I do this, then they will say that, if I say this, they will …. Moses, wake up – this is the ALMIGHTY GOD, don’t you think He knows what they will do, and God even told Moses in chapter 3 that THEY WILL LISTEN TO YOU. Of course, it is easy to say this from our perspective, but for Moses, he does not have our hindsight, and remember, he did run away to the wilderness because of killing that Egyptian slave master, and for all he knows there is a price on his head. I think that we so often figure God cannot use us for whatever reason, when He tells us that He wants us to do a particular task. But that is a lie from the pit of hell – satan is the one who is vested in us having so much doubt that we are paralyzed and do not do what God wants us to do. If God tells us to do something we can count on the fact that He knows we can do it and He will give us the power to do it.
Exodus 4:2 So the LORD said to him, “What is that in your hand?” He said, “A rod.”
God will equip us for what we have to do. Moses was a shepherd, and he had a shepherd’s rod in his hand. God will use what is in our hands and hearts to serve His purpose. This is the wonderful kindness of God. God knows Moses is worried, so God will now equip him with tools to do God’s will. The first is the Rod. Samson had his jawbone, David a slingshot. For us it may be a keypad, or babysitting, or baking pies, etc. Anything we have, with God’s enabling, will do mighty wonders. He uses what we have at hand. When we struggle to see where our talents lie, it is easy – it is what we are best at doing. Some have talents for helps, others are teachers, others have financial strength, or the gift to carry a tune (definitely not one of my talents, for I have a voice only God can love). What comes easy for us is a good clue to where our talents lie.
Exodus 4:3 And He said, “Cast it on the ground.” So he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it.”
Now this act of casting the rod on the ground will be imitated by Pharaoh. The rod will produce a serpent (remember satan is a serpent). The rod was Moses’ tool of ministry, for he was a shepherd (as Jesus was a shepherd of men), and the rod was used to protect, prod the sheep, give the sheep comfort – think of Psalm 23. In order to be effectively used by God, Moses has to be willing to cast it down at God’s command. Had he held onto the rod and not been willing to obey God, it would not be an effective tool. Any tool of ministry is only as good as our ability to use it in obedience to God. But one thing that I think there is always a danger of is the fine line between ministry and making ministry an idol. I think that anything, even the good things, can become idols if we take our focus off of God and onto the thing.
Exodus 4:4-5 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail” (and he reached out his hand and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand.) that they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob has appeared to you.
Remember, Jesus is the head, not the tail. Satan is under our feet, and his head will be crushed by Jesus. We will see Pharaoh’s magicians replicate this rod turning into a snake. The main difference between Pharaoh’s magicians and Moses is that Moses gains control of the rod through God’s power
Exodus 4:6 Furthermore the LORD said to him, “Now put your hand in your bosom.” And he put his hand in his bosom, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous, like snow.”
Remember that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Our heart is our history – it shows where we are and where God has brought us. When Moses brings out his leprous hand we need to remember that we will see that leprosy is a symbol of sin. It eats away at you, destroying your being – in that day there was no cure for leprosy and until Jesus came only one person received a healing from leprosy, even though there are several chapters in Leviticus that detail restoration when leprosy is healed. It takes Jesus to fully free us from sin. When we reach out to other people, the best tool to reach them is our story – our testimony. For it shows what God has done in our lives and gives them hope that He will do in their lives as well.
Exodus 4:7-8 And He said, “Put your hand in your bosom again.” So he put his hand in his bosom again, and drew it out of his bosom, and behold, it was restored like his other flesh. Then it will be, if they do not believe you, nor heed the message of the first sign, that they may believe the message of the latter sign.
The only cure for sin is through the shed blood of Jesus, through God. We are going to see that much of what Moses does requires trust and dependence on God. What God is desiring is a relationship with us. It isn’t the signs and wonders that matters the most, but our ongoing walk with God.
Exodus 4:9 And it shall be if they do not believe even these two signs, or listen to your voice, that you shall take water from the river and pour it on the dry land. The water which you take from the river will become blood on the dry land.
When Jesus’s side was pierced water and blood came out and poured out onto the land. The Egyptians felt that life came from the water – and God will be showing them that what they trusted for life, really led to death. Sin leads to death and it is only when the blood is shed by Jesus that we have hope for life. By the way, waters turning to blood will also occur in Revelation during the period of tribulation – where those on earth will see this occur, because God is still hoping that they will come to Him and be saved.
We are going to see that Pharaoh did not become impressed with the signs that Moses does at God’s command. Moses has been given powerful signs, but still doubts that he is the one God should use.
Exodus 4:10 Then Moses said to the LORD, “O my LORD, I am not eloquent, neither before not since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”
Oh Moses, God loves to use the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, stuttering or slowness of tongue is no obstacle to God, who created all that there is. So often we limit God and what God can do through us by our unbelief and selfhood. I do it far too much. I need to continue to remember who I am in Christ – it is far greater than my limited perception of myself.
Exodus 4:11 So the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the LORD? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.”
God points out that He can do what is necessary to help Moses with His problem, but Moses will not accept that.
Exodus 4:12-13 “Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.” But he said, “O my LORD, please send by the hand of whomever else, You may send.”
Moses is telling God to send someone else. Sometimes I want to do that when God is having me do a particularly difficult task, use someone else. The trouble is that God knows who is the best for a particular situation. Moses has a love for the people and is a powerful intercessor. He mostly (except in one important instance) follows God’s directions totally, and is very obedient and humble. This is what God needed to do the tasks at hand. It could be very dangerous to be given the power to perform signs and wonders if the person has a bent toward pride, for pride could have led to his downfall. Moses keeps his focus on God, and at one point mentions that he would rather stay were he is if God was there, than to move someplace that God was not. That is the kind of love and devotion that God needed to get this task done. God is bigger than any limitation we may think we have to doing God’s will.
Exodus 4:14-16 So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and He said, “Is not Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that he can speak well. And look, he is also coming out to meet you. When he sees you he will be glad in his heart.. Now you shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth. And I will be with your mouth and with his mouth, and I will teach you what you shall do. So he shall be your spokesman to the people. And he himself shall be as a mouth for you, and you shall be to him as God.
I wonder what Aaron was doing during the time Moses was in the wilderness. Don’t forget, Moses not only has a brother, but a sister. God must have known that Moses would have fear regarding his ability to speak clearly and arranged this meeting with Moses and Aaron. But God has given the hierarchy. Moses would hear directly from God and relay the messages to Aaron, who will then tell the people. What surprises me is that when Moses breaks out into prayer and talks with the people in future chapters, he has no problem speaking. This problem that Moses feared did not occur. Yet, Aaron will be a high priest.
Exodus 4:17 And you shall take this rod in your hand, with which you shall do the signs.
So Moses and Aaron have received their commission from God. Armed with rod and the Words God will put in their mouths, they will begin the process of freeing the Israelites. It seems an impossible task, but don’t forget that Moses was singularly equipped to intercede for the Israelites, and would also know all the rules and customs of the Pharaoh’s court for he grew up in that court. But he was raised by his Hebrew mother, so also knows the ways of the Israelites. The adventure will begin, if Moses is not killed first by God’s anger for a moment of noncompliance with God’s covenant. When we set out to serve God, we need to be so careful to obey God. Disobedience can take us to places we don’t want to go, and can interfere with our ability to really do God’s will.
Sometimes when God begins to move in a situation of bondage in our lives, things seem to get worse before they get better. We are going to see that this happens in the lives of the Israelites when Pharaoh makes their situation even tougher. It is good to know that when our situations get more challenging it is most probably because God is in there getting ready to make a major change.
Have a blessed night!
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