Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Aug 8 2011 - E100.17c – Exodus 4:1-17, A most reluctant leader

Moses' mind is racing ahead. He can see all the difficulties in the task before him. Firstly, the Israelites may simply not believe that God had appeared to him and commissioned him to rescue them from Egypt.

No difficulty is too great for God. Moses is given three signs to demonstrate not only that God has sent him, but that God is with him in all that he has sent him to do. In the first, Moses is told to throw his staff on the ground and it becomes a snake. Moses runs from it in terror, but the Lord tells his to grasp it by the tail. It immediately turns back into his staff. Perhaps the Lord is teaching him not to run from that which frightens him but to take hold of it in God's name.

Secondly, Moses' hand is made white and leprous and then restored again. Lastly, he is told that he will have power to turn water from the Nile into blood. The last of these signs anticipates the plagues God will send upon the Egyptians; it is therefore a sign that God has come to make life difficult for the Egyptians until they let the Israelites go. By these signs the Israelites will believe that God has sent Moses.

Now Moses comes up with another problem. He who was raised in the court of Pharaoh, raised to be a prince in Egypt, now claims that he is not the right person to go and talk to Pharaoh. For a man who claims to be slow in speech and ill-equipped to talk to Pharaoh he seems very free in speaking up before almighty God.

God is wonderfully patient in his response to Moses; "Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say" (4:11-12). God is the one who created Moses and raised him up for the very purpose of being his spokesman before Pharaoh. Moreover, he will be with Moses and will give him the words to say when he needs to say them.

Moses has run out of objections. He has no more excuses to bring before God so he simply blurts out, "O Lord, please send someone else to do it" (4:13).

God is angry with Moses. Yet even in his anger he is full of grace. He has already put it in the heart of Moses' brother Aaron to slip out of Egypt to look for Moses. He will return to Egypt with Moses and will act as the front-man for what God is about to do through Moses.

How like Moses we often are. We know that God purposes to build his kingdom in this world and to use us in his work, but we have eyes only for the difficulties. When all other excuses run out we fall back on the plea, "Let someone else do it." We need to recapture the vision that God can do great things through broken people; to be like Isaiah who saw the holiness of the Lord and his own unworthiness but who responded to God's call with the words, "Here am I! Send me" (Isaiah 6:8).

Creator God, you know all about me. You formed me when I was in my mother's womb. You are the one who has shaped my character and abilities. Thank you that you have also prepared work for me to do for the building of your kingdom. Show me your glory and your power. Help me to follow faithfully in the footsteps of your Son, whose meat and drink it was to do your will, knowing that he is with me, to the very end of the age.

Peter Misselbrook