Doubt and Disobedience

Posted: September 27, 2018 in Exodus, Uncategorized

Exodus 4, “Doubt and Disobedience”

One of the unique aspects of the Bible is its inclusion of disobedient people of faith. We expect it to list off people like the Babylonians, the Pharisees, or the heretics of the Old and New Testaments; we don’t expect it to include the disobedience of people we generally deem faithful to God. Peter was shown not only denying Jesus three times, but had to be personally confronted by Paul on his ethnic snobbery (thankfully temporary). David was a man after God’s own heart, but fell into the terrible sins of adultery and murder, and on top of all of that, he often failed as a father to his children. Jonah is perhaps the most infamous of disobedient prophets, having been specifically called by God, but who ran away from his calling, literally in the opposite direction. We’ve already seen it with Abraham and Isaac, as they lied about their marriage to their wives, and of course Jacob was famous for his scheming. 

But as important as those people are, what about the one man in the Old Testament who is perhaps the singular most influential man on the religion of the Hebrews? What about Moses? Surely this man, to whom God spoke as to a friend (Exo 33:11), lived a life of exemplary obedience and faith. Yes, Moses messed up the time he struck the rock rather than speaking to it, and was thus forbidden from entering the Promised Land, but that was the only time, right? Wrong. Moses’ ministry started out not from a position of faith, but from a position of doubt. When Moses was first called by God, he didn’t initially walk in faith; he walked in unbelief.

Thankfully, it didn’t last. God showed Moses mercy and grace, and Moses eventually did walk in humble faith, providing a wonderful example for the rest of us. But how wonderful is it that we not only have an example of Moses’ faith, but Moses’ doubt? After all, if Moses’ heart can change, so can ours. All of us have moments when we doubt the Lord. All of us have instances where we question whether or not we want to be obedient, and sometimes we outrightly refuse to do what God gives us to do. Does it mean we’re finished? Does it mean we have no more future with the Lord? Thankfully, no. If Moses’ disobedience can change to obedience by the grace of God, so can ours.

God’s people are to trust Him. Yet even when we don’t, the mercies of God never fail. Praise God that His mercies are more than our doubts!

The chapter break at Exodus 4 is somewhat artificial, as it continues the encounter Moses had with God on Mount Sinai. Remember that the Hebrew people were enslaved in Egypt. Although they had willingly gone down into Egypt during the time of a terrible famine, over the course of 400 years the attitudes of the Egyptians had changed towards them, and the Hebrews went from being the national shepherds to the national slaves. They cried out to God for help, and God heard their cries. 

God’s plan was seen in the life of Moses. Moses was miraculously prepared for his future ministry, and his life miraculously preserved, despite the attacks of Pharaoh upon the Hebrews in general, as well as the foolishness of young Moses himself. At 40 years old, Moses was as a fugitive from Egypt, but found refuge with the priest of Midian, whose daughter he married. Over the next 40 years, Moses served as a shepherd in the house of the priest, and eventually made his way to Mount Sinai, where he encountered the Angel of the Lord in a burning bush that was not consumed. God spoke with Moses, telling him His plan to deliver the Hebrews, and promising to fulfill the covenant made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob by bringing the people back to their land. The Lord revealed His divine name to Moses (I AM), saying how HE IS with His people, and would always be with them, providing for them every step of the way.

That was no doubt a lot for Moses to take in, and by this point some questions have popped up in his mind. He’s heard of God’s plan, but he isn’t so sure that he’s the right choice as God’s person. It’s with this that his objections begin…

Exodus 4

  • Doubting the call (4:1-17). Objection #1: No proof (1-9)

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.’ ”

  1. Out of all of the objections Moses raises, this is one of the more reasonable/understandable ones. After all, it’s one thing to claim to have received a revelation of God; it’s another to back it up with proof. Mental hospitals are full of people who claim to have seen Jesus (or to be Jesus). How can we sift between legitimate visions and outright delusions? How could the people of Israel? 40 years earlier, it would have seemed as if Moses had visions of personal grandeur – perhaps his return would be seen as more of the same. What would be the proof?
  2. BTW – Many people today have claimed visions of Christ, including scores of people in the Muslim world who have since placed their faith in Jesus. How can we tell who’s telling the truth & who isn’t? Sometimes we can’t…sometimes we have to simply take someone at their word. Even so, we have a gold standard: the written word of God. Whatever testimony we hear from someone, we need to match it up with what is written in the Bible. If a person claims to have a vision or revelation from the Lord, we need to ask if what they claim matches up with what is already revealed in the Scripture. Does it match up with what God has already said? If not, then it isn’t true.
  3. Moses asked for proof, and God graciously gave him three different signs.

2 So the LORD said to him, “What is that in your hand?” He said, “A rod.” 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.

  1. Interestingly, God used what Moses had: “a rod.” Moses didn’t have to go on a quest to find something sacred or special from the past – he didn’t have to go get something blessed by a priest – he didn’t have to do anything except use what God already gave him. A shepherd’s rod was in his hand, and that was enough to be used by the Lord. If God can create man from the dust of the earth, surely He can turn something ordinary (a stick) into something special (a sign from God).
    1. God did that with the staff, and He does it with His people. We may be ordinary, but God can use us for His extraordinary work!
  2. What happened? Moses threw his staff on the ground, and it became a snake. Why a serpent? All kinds of theories have been suggested, some suggesting it goes back to the serpent in the Garden of Eden, God having victory over the serpent. Others suggest it was because snakes were viewed as sacred in Egypt, and thus God had victory over the spiritual powers of Egypt. Ultimately, the Scripture doesn’t tell us. All that is clear is that it was a shocking transformation showcasing the power of the true God over His creation. If He could turn a stick into a snake, just imagine what He could do to Pharaoh & Egypt!
  3. Some have wondered: was it real? Undoubtedly…Moses ran! Moses didn’t doubt if there was an actual serpent on the ground. Like most of us, he ran the opposite direction! Of course, that’s when God called him back and commanded him to get far closer than his comfort level.

4 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), 5 “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.”

  1. Commanding something that sounds like it came right off the “Animal Planet” channel, God tells Moses to take the snake by the tail, and suddenly the animal once again became a staff. (And Moses’ heart probably started beating a bit slower again!) Although it was one sign, it was really a double-miracle. After all, it was one thing for the stick to change into a snake; it was another for it to turn back again. That sort of thing would be difficult (if not impossible) to fake as an illusion, and it would demonstrate to Pharaoh & the Hebrews that this wasn’t a trick up Moses’ sleeve; it was the power of the true God at work.
  2. And God emphasizes this as He gives the reason for the sign: “that they may believe…” Remember that Moses had asked for an authenticating sign to show to the Hebrews. Although this would take place in front of Pharaoh, it would first happen among God’s people, and the reason was so that they would believe. The people had prayed that God would hear them; the miracle would be proof that God had heard. Once they saw the sign, they were to believe. They had to take a step of faith, believing that this truly was a sign from God.
    1. We can hear testimonies and have the gospel clearly presented to us, but at some point we need to take a step of faith and believe. 
  3. The snake was an amazing sign, but it wasn’t the only one.

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.

  1. After the snake, there was a 2nd sign: leprosy. Moses placed his hand inside his clothes, as if someone today might take something from an inside jacket pocket, and when he took it out, it was covered with an obvious and horrible skin disease. What the Bible often calls “leprosy” is often thought of today as Hansen’s disease. The Biblical version of leprosy actually encompassed a whole host of skin diseases, not unlike how we use the term “cancer” to refer to any number of types of cancer (skin, liver, lung, etc.). Whatever it was that covered Moses’ hand, no doubt he was shocked when he saw it. On it was a disease the culture considered to be a death sentence – another demonstration of the immense power of Almighty God.

7 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. 8 “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.

  1. Healed! God conquers death, having complete power over it. Likewise, as leprosy is often a picture of sin in the Bible, God conquers sin. There is nothing He cannot cure, no sin He cannot forgive! What seems insurmountable in the eyes of men and women is nothing in the eyes of God.
    1. The key is to trust God according to His terms; not ours. God had commanded us to go through Jesus Christ alone.
  2. Note the progression in difficulty. If the 1st sign was somehow believed to be an illusion or some form of sleight-of-hand, the 2nd sign was undeniable. God was at work! 

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.”

  1. God gives a 3rd He mercifully gives abundant proof to stubborn people. If the Hebrews talked themselves out of the first two miracles, they would have a third presented to them, once again showcasing the infinite power of the Creator God.
    1. BTW – God has given abundant proof to us: the resurrection of Christ! How is anyone to know beyond a doubt that the claims of Christianity are true? Because Jesus historically rose from the dead. His resurrection is the declaration of His deity, and it is the authentication that He is the way, the truth, and the life.
  2. What was the last sign given to Moses? River water would turn to blood. It wouldn’t become “like” blood – it would just be reddish as if it had rust deposits or certain kinds of algae in it; it would “become blood on the dry land.” There would be a physical change that was undeniable. This would strike at the heart of Egypt, in that it was a direct attack on the Nile river itself. It would be impossible to ignore. And for the Hebrew slaves, it would be a clear sign of promised victory over Pharaoh!
    1. Interestingly, this sign is duplicated by Moses as the first of the plagues. What was done on a small scale to the Hebrews was later done on a national scale in front of Pharaoh & all Egypt.
    2. Looking forward in time, it perhaps prefigures the later miracle of Jesus of turning water into wine. If God can turn water in to a symbol of judgment, He can also turn it into a symbol of joy and blessing. There again, it was done as a special sign, to get people to place their faith in Jesus as God.
  • Objection #2: No skill (10-12)

10 Then Moses said to the LORD, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”

  1. In Moses’ 2nd objection, he said he had difficulty speaking. Literally, he said he was “heavy” of speech & tongue, implying that it didn’t work right. Question: how would that be possible for a former general in the army of Egypt? Centuries later, when the deacon Stephen defended himself before the Sanhedrin, he said that Moses was mighty in words and deeds among the Egyptians (Acts 7:22). Was Stephen wrong – did he refer to tradition, without knowing the Scripture? The very fact that Moses wrote the Pentateuch (1st 5 books of the Bible) demonstrates that Moses was extremely literate. So was Moses lying? Probably not…he just lacked confidence. Some have suggested that Moses was referring to difficulty with foreign languages. He was undoubtedly familiar with Hebrew, but not necessarily fluent in it at the time (though he grew in his knowledge while in the wilderness). Remember he was primarily raised around Egyptians, and then spent the next 40 years in Midian with his father-in-law, who perhaps spoke some kind of Akkadian (either Assyrian or some other Semitic dialect). For him to speak on behalf of the Hebrew people, going back and forth between the Hebrews and Egyptians, was probably an intimidating thought to Moses.
  2. Even so, if the first excuse was reasonable, this one was not. Moses’ calling was not dependent upon his ability. It was only dependent upon the Lord, whom Moses clearly doubted at the moment.

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? 12 Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.”

  1. What God told Moses is what the Scripture declares of all of God’s people: God equips the called. It’s been often said that God does not need our ability; He only requires our availability. Skills can be given, either naturally or supernaturally. Moses certainly didn’t need any skills to part the Red Sea; that was something God miraculously equipped Him to do. The ability to speak is no different. It didn’t matter what Moses thought he was able to do; it only mattered what God is able to do. God created the heavens and earth by His word…words are no problem for God! What was a problem was Moses’ lack of faith and trust.
  2. How did God deal with this objection? He promised His power and His presence: “I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.” God wasn’t about to abandon Moses when Moses needed Him most. God wouldn’t hang him out to dry with the Hebrews, or with Pharaoh. God called Moses to the task, and God would give Moses everything needed for the task. And what needed most was His presence! God Himself would be with Moses. Remember, that is part of the promise of God’s name “I AM.” God IS, and always will BE, and part of that was the promise that “I will certainly be with you,” (Exo 3:12). Moses was not called to do this alone…not by a long shot! God would be with him.
    1. Why do we so often make the same mistake as Moses? Why do we believe God is going to hang us out to dry when we need Him? Think about your fear when you know you’re supposed to share the gospel with someone. Do you get that feeling in the pit of your stomach, thinking, “I don’t know how this person is going to respond… I don’t know if I’ll have the answers… I’m afraid I’m going to mess it up…”? Not so! Christian, there is zero doubt that God has called us to the task of evangelism, because that is the stated command of Jesus in the Great Commission as we make disciples of the nation. We have been called; we will be equipped! We have been called; Jesus is with us! He will not leave us nor forsake us when we need Him. Step out in faith, and see how God provides for you in the moment!
  3. Question: Does God really make the disabled people of the world, “the mute, the deaf,…the blind”? The Scripture is clear that God knits us together in our mothers’ wombs (Ps 139:13) – it is clear that God is sovereign over all things and all people (Pro 16:4) – it is clear that God knows us intimately, even before we ever knew ourselves (Eph 1:4). If this is the case, we cannot help but conclude that God makes all people as they are…including those with so-called “disabilities.” Granted, the existence of disabilities is due to the Fall, but God’s sovereignty over these things is not diminished by the Fall. God is still God, even with all of the consequences in this world that have been allowed in by the sin of mankind. With that in mind, what does this tell us about people with disabilities? They are beloved and made by Almighty God. They are just as valuable in His sight, as is any other man or woman made in His image. There is no difference between the seeing and the blind, the hearing and the deaf, or the person with normal chromosomes and the one with Down Syndrome. Each is loved by God, and each has been purchased by the blood of Jesus.
    1. Along these lines, abortion is evil for all kinds of reasons, not the least is when a baby is aborted due to potential mental or physical disabilities. Parents often worry that the child will be a burden, or has been “mis-made” by God. God doesn’t make mistakes – He makes those children exactly as they are, and when seen rightly, those children are blessings; not burdens.
  • Objection #3: Not me (13-17)

13 But he said, “O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send.”

  1. Note the italicized “else” in the NKJV. This is an indication that the word was supplied by the translators to bring out the sense. The literal reading (at first glance) might sound a bit better: “Send, I beg you, by the hand [of whom] you will send,” (Kaiser, Expositor’s). To Western ears, that might sound like Moses’ submission unto God, as in “Thy will be done.” Yet Moses’ intent was plainly as the English translation is rendered. When Moses asked God to send someone, he meant “any someone but me.” (Notice Moses called Him “Master,” but not by God’s revealed name…shows his hesitancy)
  2. Moses’ previous two objections could have been arguable (the first more than the second), but this final objection was flat-out disobedience. He simply refused to go. God called him, and Moses said “no.”
  3. How different than Isaiah! Centuries later, when Isaiah had his own supernatural revelation of God, Isaiah had a far different response to God’s call. Having seen God’s glory, the reality of his own sin, and the cleansing power of God’s forgiveness, Isaiah was ready to be used by the Lord. Isaiah 6:8, “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”” Thankfully, Moses did not always resist the Lord, but how much better it is to have the response of Isaiah than Moses to the call of God! 

14 So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, …

  1. Does God ever get angry with His people? Yes! God was angry with Moses, and rightly so. Moses had flat-out refused a direct command from Almighty God. His rebellion may have been stated in polite terms, but it was rebellion, none the less. At this moment, Moses deserved death…thankfully, God did not give it. He is a merciful God! 
  2. What Moses did with God at this point was little different than what the nation of Israel did when they refused to enter the Promised Land at Kadesh Barnea. Likewise, God’s anger was kindled against them, too. God was fully prepared to judge the entire nation, and start over again with Moses (Num 14:11-12). Thankfully, God turned from His anger at the intercession of Moses on the peoples’ behalf, and He allowed them to go into the Promised Land (after a 40 year death march).
    1. Perhaps this was one reason Moses interceded for them so passionately. He understood their fear from a first-hand perspective!
  3. God is God, and He is to be obeyed…period. Any refusal on our parts is criminal rebellion. On the battlefield, it would be called treason – it’s no wonder why God responds with righteous anger! Yet His mercies are abundant! He gives us the opportunity to be forgiven and cleansed through Jesus. He so often extends to us another chance to be obedient, just like He extended to 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.

  1. God gave mercy when God sent Aaron. How much mercy is seen in this act? Apparently, Aaron was already on his way from Egypt. God foreknew Moses’ disobedience, though God gave Moses the chance to freely walk by faith. But because He knew what Moses would choose, God mercifully set another plan in motion before the choice was made. God’s will was going to be done, no matter what, and He graciously still gave Moses a huge part to play.
  2. Even so, there is perhaps a bit of judgment here. After all, Moses had been personally and specifically called by God. Moses had been given the opportunity to do this just on his own, with God – now Moses had to share that position with someone else.
  3. Question: Why mention that Aaron was a “Levite”? The Levitical priesthood was not yet established, and Moses surely knew his own heritage, especially if he was familiar with his older brother. The priesthood was not yet given to the tribe of Levi, but it seems likely God foreshadows it a bit, which is perhaps another part of the consequences to Moses. Moses would be used by God in wonderful ways (by God’s mercy), but Moses would not be included in the future priesthood. Did God give Moses mercy? Yes! But Moses still missed out on what could have been.
    1. God’s mercy & forgiveness doesn’t mean that there are no consequences for our choices.

15 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. 16 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. 17 And you shall take this rod in your hand, with which you shall do the signs.”

  1. Aaron was to be like the prophet, and Moses was to be like God. The prophet speaks, yet God acts. This would be apparent to both the Hebrews and the Egyptians, which is why Moses is consistently credited with the speech and actions throughout the rest of the book of Exodus.

By this point, Moses is fully resigned to the work given him by God (hopefully with joy, although the Scripture doesn’t record Moses’ reaction to all of this). The meeting at the burning bush is done, and now it’s time to get to work.

  • Doubting the covenant (18-31). Initial semi-obedience (18-23)

18 So Moses went and returned to Jethro his father-in-law, and said to him, “Please let me go and return to my brethren who are in Egypt, and see whether they are still alive.” And Jethro said to Moses, “Go in peace.”

  1. There’s a bit of obedience here, in that Moses asks to return to Egypt. This was what God called him to do, so he asked to go do it. That he asked permission of his father-in-law was the culturally acceptable practice at the time, and it would have been wrong for Moses to simply pack up & leave.
  2. There’s a bit of disobedience as well, in that Moses didn’t give the full story. Nothing is said here about his encounter with God, and his holy commissioning. Besides, Moses knew full & well that his countrymen were alive in Egypt, as those were the very people God sent him to deliver. Even if “my brethren” is taken to mean immediate family, Moses knew Aaron was alive, for God had specifically told him so.
    1. We don’t know why Moses was hesitant to tell the full truth, but many of us can understand his hesitancy. We’ve been in positions when we know we’re supposed to walk by faith, but we weren’t sure how to tell other people about it. The right response: just tell the truth. Moses had been called by God, and that would have been a witness to his father-in-law, whether Jethro believed him or not. All we can do is trust God & walk by faith…what others think is of no consequence.

19 Now the LORD said to Moses in Midian, “Go, return to Egypt; for all the men who sought your life are dead.” 20 Then Moses took his wife and his sons and set them on a donkey, and he returned to the land of Egypt. And Moses took the rod of God in his hand.

  1. Whatever reasons Moses gave for leaving, God gave him reassurances for his journey. Moses wouldn’t be walking into Egypt as a fugitive, with an APB on him or a bounty on his head. He would be safe in the country (although he wouldn’t be very welcome for long).
  2. In the end, Moses left for Egypt. (Good!) Notice the plural “sons.” Exodus 2:22 spoke of one son, Gershom, but we read of no other births. Yet we know of a second son, Eliezer (Exo 18:4, “My God is help”), although we don’t know of the time of his birth. It’s possible Eliezer was born around the time of Moses’ calling on Mount Sinai, and he was named in response to that initial encounter. Whatever the case, Moses loaded up his family, took the rod appointed by God, and took the road to Egypt.

21 And the LORD said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do all those wonders before Pharaoh which I have put in your hand. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go.

  1. Moses would do the wonders, but who would give them to Moses? As was said on Mt. Sinai, God empowers His people for what He’s called them to do. God had “put” these wonders in Moses’ hand, and God would ensure they would come to pass.
  2. Yet Moses’ work would not stop with the three wonders. God made it clear from the very beginning that Pharaoh would not let the Hebrews go, even in view of the many miracles (Exo 3:19). Here, God says why: “I will harden his heart.” Pharaoh would stubbornly refuse to free the Hebrews, partly of his own choice, and partly of God’s. Out of the nine initial plagues, the first five declare how Pharaoh hardened his own heart; starting in the sixth, the Scripture says that God hardened the heart of Pharaoh. God gave him over to his own devices. The more Pharaoh said “no” to God, the more God let him, to the point that God simply confirmed what it was Pharaoh had already determined. Does it mean that God was to blame? Certainly not! Pharaoh was fully responsible for his own sin, and had chosen to harden his heart many times over. God simply (and sovereignly) agreed.
    1. Can people get to a point today that they no longer get the opportunity to decide for themselves? Best not to find out! God does give people over to their sin, and it seems apparent in the lives of many. What that point is for each individual, we cannot know. What you can know is that as long as your heart is not yet completely hardened to the gospel, and you sense a calling to be saved, then you still have that opportunity. Don’t waste it! Don’t let your heart grow heart to the gospel of Jesus!

22 Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the LORD: “Israel is My son, My firstborn. 23 So I say to you, let My son go that he may serve Me. But if you refuse to let him go, indeed I will kill your son, your firstborn.” ’ ”

  1. What was the message? “Let My people go.” But more than that, the message was that Israel was God’s son, and even the son of privilege, “My firstborn.” Contrast this imagery with Pharaoh, who believed he was the most valued man on earth, being the embodiment of a god. This sort of command would have gone against everything Pharaoh believed…and that was the point! It was meant to get Pharaoh’s attention, which it did.
  2. With Pharaoh’s disobedience, there would be dire consequences. God loves His people, and God punishes those who persecute them. In this case, it would be the death of Pharaoh’s own firstborn, a foreshadowing of the future Passover.

So Moses is prepared, and he’s on his way. All is well, right? Maybe not. There comes an event in the middle of all of this that threatens to derail the entire plan of Israel’s deliverance…

  • Covenantal disobedience (24-26)

24 And it came to pass on the way, at the encampment, that the LORD met him and sought to kill him. 25 Then Zipporah took a sharp stone and cut off the foreskin of her son and cast it at Moses’ feet, and said, “Surely you are a husband of blood to me!” 26 So He let him go. Then she said, “You are a husband of blood!”—because of the circumcision.

  1. It seems like a completely strange event, almost antithetical to everything else that had happened. On one hand, God called Moses on Mt. Sinai, even becoming angry with him when Moses initially refused to go. On top of this, God promised Moses safety in Egypt, telling him that the current Pharaoh would not attempt to kill him. Yet at the point that Moses is finally en-route to Egypt in obedience, God Himself almost kills him!
  2. What did it look like? We don’t know. Some suggest that Moses became violently and supernaturally sick, unable to do anything for himself. The text leaves open the possibility for another appearance of the Angel of the Lord who might have personally threatened Moses with death.
  3. Of course the bigger question is: why kill Moses? What did Moses do that deserved such a response? Look at the context of what his wife Zipporah did: she circumcised her son (either Gershom and/or Eliezer). Moses, as the appointed deliverer of God’s people, sent by God to lead the people into the promised land – the land specifically appointed to them by God because of the Abrahamic covenant – this Moses had ignored the very sign of the covenant for his own family. He had been disobedient to the fundamental tenets of the Hebrew faith. How could he be a leader among the Hebrews, if he hadn’t even followed through on the basics? How could he extol the covenant promises of God, if he himself hadn’t been faithful to the covenant? At this point, Moses was an unworthy representative of Almighty God, thus he would face the judgment of God.
  4. That’s when his wife took bloody action. Zipporah did what Moses ought to have done in the first place, circumcising her son and casting the proof down at her husband’s feet. Graphic? Yes – but it got the point across. Moses had not only rebelled against God by himself on Mount Sinai, but he had rebelled against God within his own family.
    1. Husbands & fathers, we have a solid warning in Moses. Don’t neglect your first ministry field: your family. 
  5. Thankfully, Moses’ failure wasn’t forever disqualifying. Once more, God showed mercy and reaffirmed his calling.
  • Finally, faith (27-31)

27 And the LORD said to Aaron, “Go into the wilderness to meet Moses.” So he went and met him on the mountain of God, and kissed him.

  1. Gets back to what God told Moses on the mountain, showing how God had called Aaron to leave Egypt.
  2. Like Moses, Aaron had his own revelation from the Lord, and also had to walk by faith.
  3. Met at Mt Sinai, with a joyful greeting after 40 years of separation.

28 So Moses told Aaron all the words of the LORD who had sent him, and all the signs which He had commanded him.

  1. Despite all his earlier objections, Moses was faithful with what God had given him.
  2. Notice that Moses was, in essence, a messenger. He passed on to Aaron what had been told him by God. This is evangelism. This is discipleship.
  3. What he did with Aaron, Aaron did with the elders of Israel. 

29 Then Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel. 30 And Aaron spoke all the words which the LORD had spoken to Moses. Then he did the signs in the sight of the people.

  1. Again, we are called to be faithful messengers.
  2. Moses didn’t have to invent the message, nor did he have to make up the signs. All he had to do was be faithful to God’s call. If he trusted the calling and equipping of God, then he could be sure God would do the rest. And God did!

31 So the people believed; and when they heard that the LORD had visited the children of Israel and that He had looked on their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshiped.

  1. The result? People believed & they worshiped! Notice why they worshiped: Because of answered prayer. They had groaned out to God, praying that God would see them, hear them, and visit them…and He did!
  2. Why do we worship? For many reasons (one of which is simply because God is God & worthy of worship), but specifically because God has seen us, heard us, and visited us in the Person of Jesus Christ!


The remainder of Moses’ life is a wonderful testimony of what it looks like to walk in humble faith with God. Moses wasn’t perfect, but he provides an excellent example of how a man or woman of God ought to live. He didn’t exactly start out that way! At his beginning, he was a lot like the rest of us: scared sinners hesitant to trust God.

Beloved, we can trust our God! He is the Almighty King, and He never fails. What He calls you to do, He equips you for. Maybe it’s sharing the gospel with a co-worker or family member – maybe it’s extending forgiveness to someone who did something unforgiveable – maybe it’s loving someone with the same love Christ gave us, by laying down your life for him/her. Whatever it is, if God called you to it (and He calls us to all of those things!), then be certain God will equip you for it.

Let us stop with our doubts and our objections! Let us stop letting our fears get in the way of our faith! Instead of saying “Send someone else,” may we say “Send me!”


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