The Deliverance from Bondage, cont’d. Exodus 1-18
Exodus 1-4 The Call of Moses, cont’d.
Moses argues with God (cont’d)
Exodus 4:1-9...Authority (no power)...Moses continues with his attempt to dissuade God from sending him to Pharaoh. He complains that no one will believe him because he has no authority, or proof that God has sent him. So, God gives him three miraculous signs "that they may believe that the LORD...has appeared to you" (4:5): 1. the staff that becomes a serpent (:2-5); 2. the hand that becomes leprous (:6-8); 3. the water that becomes blood (:9).
Exodus 4:10-12...Ability (no eloquence)...Despite what he has just seen, Moses still is not convinced. He says that this is all well and good, but the fact is that he is not a good speaker. He would not be able to clearly articulate what he knows about God. If asked questions…he would be slow to respond. How would that look? This excuse is repeated in 6:12,30. God tells him not to worry about what to say…because if He is the one who made men capable of speaking in the first place, then He can certainly make Moses capable of speaking, now.
Exodus 4:13-17...Destiny (no desire)…This verse sounds as if Moses is finally agreeing. But in reality, the phrase actually means, “Send anyone You want to, as long as it’s someone else!” Moses has not yet submitted to God’s providence over his life. He’s arguing with God! God becomes angry with Moses’ refusal to be obedient…despite the fact that He has answered every question and problem that Moses could imagine. God tells Moses that he is bringing his brother, Aaron, to support him in what he has been called to do. The staff would be his constant reminder of this encounter with God and would also remind him that the miracles he will perform are not his own, but from God.
Exodus 4:18-20-Moses returns home and tells his father-in-law, Jethro, that he needs to go back to Egypt to check on his people. Moses leaves with his family and the staff that God had told him to take.
Exodus 4:21-God tells Moses that He is going to "harden" Pharaoh's heart so that he will not let the people go. Exodus says that 10 times Pharaoh hardened his own heart and 10 times God hardened his heart...7 times it says that Pharaoh hardened his own heart before God did it...though the prediction that God would do so preceded it all. Some might question the fairness, or justness of God's judgment of Pharaoh since it was He who hardened Pharaoh's heart. However, (1) the Scripture says that God is patient with those who deny Him, giving them every chance necessary to repent; (2) that God is infinitely wise, knowing every man's heart completely...and knowing if that man would ever, under any circumstance repent...therefore, when God acts to harden a man's heart He knows exactly what He is doing; and, (3) God is God...so who are we, the creation, the pot in the potter’s hand, to argue with what God decides to do? If God decides to harden someone's heart it is His decision to do so and it is the right decision to do so. God doesn't do what is right (that being a standard apart from Himself), but what God does is right (He is the standard). In 7:3-5, God tells Moses that He is going to harden Pharaoh's heart in order to "multiply My signs and My wonders"..." so that the Egyptians will know that He is the LORD (7:5). In other words, God is using what he knows is going to be Pharaoh's refusal to repent...for a greater purpose...to bring glory to Himself and to use the very fact of Pharaoh's obstinacy as a demonstration of His own greatness. Each miracle served two purposes: one, it gave evidence of God and an opportunity for Pharaoh (and all the Egyptians) to repent; and two, each miracle was yet another evidence of the justice of God. He didn't just give Pharaoh one chance, or one proof/evidence on which to make a decision to repent. But, He gave him opportunity time and again. God's righteous and patience is demonstrated over and over through this sequence of miracles. The very things that Pharaoh could have allowed to soften his heart to repentance, Pharaoh instead responded to in stubbornness, a hard heart.
Exodus 4:22-23-God tells Moses to tell Pharaoh that Israel is His first-born son and that He is commanding him to release him. However, God knows that Pharaoh will not comply…so, He is going to kill his first-born son. It will be a warning from the very beginning of the eventual outcome if Pharaoh refuses to comply with God’s demand.
Exodus 4:24-26-Apparently Moses had never circumcised his son...this was an act of disobedience. God was preparing Moses for battle...and there could be nothing in his life, no sin, no disobedience, no hesitation...if he was to be successful against Pharaoh. He needed to understand that despite everything that he was about to face…there is nothing to be more feared than the wrath of God. Just before God was about to kill Moses, Zipporah quickly circumcised their son and saved his life. It is probably at this time that Moses sent his family back to Jethro (cf. 18:2-3).
Exodus 4:27-31-God's timing is perfect. He prepared Moses to go to Egypt...and at the same time he brought Aaron to meet him in the wilderness. Moses told Aaron everything that had happened and what God had told him to do. When they arrived in Egypt they told he people what God had said and they believed what Moses told them (4:5). The people were moved to worship when they learned that God was concerned about them.
Exodus 5-18 The Display of God’s Power
Exodus 5:2-3-Pharaoh's first response is that he knows nothing about a god named "LORD". The Egyptians worshipped numerous gods…and the “LORD” was not among them. Moses tells him that the LORD is the God of the Hebrews.
Exodus 5:4-21-Pharaoh refuses Moses' request and instead intensifies the work load on the Hebrew people. He says that the people are lazy and that if they stay busy they won’t have time for the “false words” they are hearing. The people then become angry at Moses.
Exodus 5:22-23-Moses complains to God that now things are worse than before. The people’s attempt to worship Him has made life more difficult than ever and He has not saved them as He had said.
Could that happen to us? Could it be that life would appear to be much simpler and easier (even though we may be struggling) if we just go with the flow of our society and not try to involve God in it? Are we willing to face difficulties in order to worship God and please Him...or, are we only after the blessings, the good things that God might provide us? Is our worship of God contingent on His doing what we want? Shouldn't God be worshipped, simply because He is God, regardless of the circumstances?
Exodus 6:1-8-God tells Moses to tell the people that He is about to reveal to them exactly Who He is...the very circumstance that they are in will provide that opportunity. Their forefathers knew Him as “God Almighty” (“El Shaddai”, see Genesis 17:1-8). But now, He is going to unmistakably reveal Who He is and forever identify Him with His people. He tells them that His name is “LORD”.
Exodus 6:9-However, their response is not positive. It is probably due to the fact that they are thinking, "We've tried this once and look where it got us."
Exodus 6:10-12-God tells Moses to go to Pharaoh, anyway. But Moses doesn't want to...he uses the people and his own inadequacy as his excuse.
Exodus 6:13-30-Here is a genealogy from the sons of Jacob to Moses and Aaron. It ends with God speaking to Moses in Egypt, telling him to go to Pharaoh…and Moses arguing about his inability to speak well.
Prayer: Lord, help me to always realize that You will give me everything I need in order to do what You have called me to do. Don’t let me focus on myself and my abilities. Help me to find my strength and wisdom in You, and You alone. In that way, You will always receive the glory!