We left Moses listening to the angel of God at the burning bush. God knew what His people were going through and He knew who to send. Moses DID NOT agree with His choice!
Moses stopped and listened when God spoke. He even immediately answered when God called his name. He was quiet and willing until God finished the job description. Then he wanted NO part of it. He was on board when he thought he was just going to the people of Israel but then God said he would have to stand before the king of Egypt too!
“Time out! Wait a minute God. That’s more than I can handle and more than I’m willing to do. Not it! Find someone else. Besides all that, who’s going to believer me?!”
God addressed Moses’s first objection before he even voiced it. “Then Moses answered, ‘But behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice’” (verse 1). God had just said, “And they will listen to your voice” (3:18a) a few minutes earlier. But instead of scolding Moses for not listening or not believing God gave him a signs to share with the people.
I love watching a great magician! The setup is half the trick. I’m NOT calling God a “magician” but His setup is amazing!
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“What is that in your hand?”
“What? You mean my staff?”
“Yes. That will do. I want you to throw it on the ground.”
Moses looks puzzled for a moment but obeys. “AIEEEEEEEE!!!” Screams Moses as he runs from the spot his staff hit the ground. It turned into a SNAKE. (I personally would have done the same thing!) From about 10 feet away Moses watches the snake move on the ground.
“Go pick it up by the tail.”
Moses creeps up on the snake. He puts his hand tentatively towards it then snatches it back.
Taking a deep breath Moses then quickly reaches out and grabs the snake’s tail. He is ready to drop it and run again but it immediately turns back into his staff. A DEEP sigh escapes from his lips.
“Do this and they will believe you, that you spoke with I AM. The God of their fathers.”
Moses nods and wipes the sweat from his brow.
“Put your hand inside your cloak.”
Moses slowly slips his hand inside his cloak. He is a bit nervous because the last time God told him to do something a snake was the result. He is wondering what is going to happen next, but this seems harmless enough; so far.
“Now take your hand out.”
“AIEEEE!!!” Moses yells as he looks at his hand. It looks like he has leprosy. His eyes are huge and his mind starts running away with the fears of what will happen to him next. He will be exiled!
“Put your hand back in your robe.”
Moses doesn’t even hesitate for a second. He sticks his hand back under his robe.
“Now pull it out.”
Moses starts to pull his hand out then stops. “Please don’t let it be something worse” he thinks to himself. He takes a deep breath and pulls it the rest of the way from under his robe. A smile breaks across his face as he sees his hand fully restored!
“Do that if they still don’t believe you that you spoke with Me; I AM. The god of their fathers.”
Moses wipes the sweat from his brow once more and looks closely at his hand, examining even the finger nails, marveling at the transformations that have taken place.
“Now if they still don’t believe you or listen to you…”
Moses’ eyes go wide and dread grips his throat. “What does He have in mind next” wonders Moses.
“…Take some water from the Nile and pour it on the ground in front of them. I will turn it to blood before their eyes. THEN they will know that it was indeed Me, I AM, who spoke with you.”
Moses breaths a deep sigh of relief that he didn’t have to participate in another “pre-test” for the people. But he is still not ready to take on the job God is telling him to do.
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Moses’ next objection is that he was about his own abilities. He claimed he was not “eloquent” and was “slow of speech and of tongue” (verse 10). Looking forward again to Stephen’s testimony in Acts 7, he tells us that “Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was mighty in his words and deeds” (Acts 7:22). Now either Moses was trying to find a way out and thought God would buy this excuse or Stephen’s listing of Moses’ skill set was viewed through the eyes of one who only looked at the Moses from his history classes. Moses’ use of the word ‘eloquent’ speaks for the truth in Stephen’s statement. Either way, God didn’t buy into this excuse.
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“I can’t speak very well. I’ll make a fool of myself and embarrass you along the way. I get tongue tied and can’t think under pressure.”
“I’m the one who made man in the first place. I’m able to make him mute or deaf or seeing or blind. I think I knew what I was doing when I made YOUR mouth. Your speech will do just fine for this job.”
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NOW Moses gets to the heart of the matter; or HIS heart in the matter anyway. He didn’t WANT to be the one to do this job. Now God reminds me of the Parent that He truly is.
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“PLEASE! Send someone else! I don’t want this job.”
“FINE! I’m going to send Aaron, your brother. But you are NOT off the hook. You are going to go with him in everything he does. You are going to speak to him what I give to you. He will then pass that onto the people and to the king of Egypt. I KNOW he speaks well. And guess what; he is on his way to meet you now. I KNEW you were going to pull this.”
Moses bows his head in shame at his attitude and also breaths a sigh of relief at not having to face the people and Pharaoh alone.
“Yes Lord?” Moses says as he lifts his eyes once more to the burning bush in front of him.
“I still love you and you are going to do amazing things in My name.”
Moses nods his head and a small smile graces his face. He watches as the bush extinguishes and there isn’t even a mark on the ground showing where this amazing feat had taken place. He quickly wipes his face clean of the tears of shame he had shed, straightens his robe and heads back to his father in law’s sheep. He can’t wait to get back and tell him about this encounter! There is MUCH work to do and now he knows in what direction that work lies. It’s time to stop hiding in the wilderness.
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Reading, and imagining, Moses’ resistance to God makes me wonder why he was STILL used by God. Moses’ first two arguments were about his ability to do as God had commanded. “What if they don’t believe me” and “I don’t have the ability” were what he started with. I’ve heard it said time and time again that “God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.” This would certainly be exactly what He was trying to get across to Moses. “Don’t worry about if they believe you. I will give you proof to show them. And I made you in the first place. I can give you exactly what to say since opening blind eyes, deaf ears and mute tongues is not a problem for me.”
But why did He persist in the face of Moses’s refusal to be the one He sent? I suppose it is because He NEVER gives up on ANY of us. I don’t believe we get ONE shot at following Him or doing what He calls us to do. I believe He KEEPS calling until we either run out of excuses or find that we are doing what He wants us to do anyway.
It’s amazing how, when we seek to know Him more, we wind up changing our lives to meet His expectations along the way. Sometimes it is little by little and other times it feels like leaps and bounds. But no matter how big or little the steps, He urges us on in taking them. He NEVER gives up on us. He NEVER loses sight of His plan for our lives. And He NEVER stops loving us right into that plan.
But what does it cost us when we resist? Moses had some awesome rewards for his ULTIMATE obedience, but what could God have done with him if he had said “Send Me!” like Isaiah did? What have I missed out on by my own resistance? What have you forfeited with yours?
Father God, forgive me for my reluctance to step out into what You call me to do. Often times it is fear that holds me back. The biggest “fear factor” being that I’m not 100% CERTAIN that it is YOUR voice I hear calling me to do _____. Sometimes I believe it is my own ego instead or Satan speaking to my prideful heart.
Right Now Right HERE with this blog and continuing it is one of those struggles. There has been so much going wrong with it that is beyond my control. I don’t know if it is You telling me it is time to stop or if it is Satan trying to stomp on it. I feel Your hand telling me to write anyway, even if the site never again returns to operation for posting these. At LEAST WE still have our time together! THAT is the most important part of this journey. Keep me faithful Father, whatever else may come.