By the end of Deuteronomy, Moses is a real hero. He is remembered as one of the greatest prophets of all time. He joins Jesus and Elijah on the mount of transfiguration. While we know, by Elisha’s testimony, that Elijah was taken to heaven in a chariot, we sometimes assume (although there are no witnesses) that something similar happened to Moses, because no one ever found his body. The LORD worked powerfully through Moses and he grew to be an incredible man.
Now is when we remember his humble beginnings. A murderer, hiding in the desert, is called to do something Great for the LORD and he is sure he is the wrong person for the job. I’m going to see if I can list all his reservations.
- “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the songs of Israel out of Egypt?” (3:11) To which the LORD responds, “Certainly, I will be with you.”
- “What if they do not believe me or listen to what I say?” (4:1) The LORD gives Moses three powerful signs.
- “I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” (4:10) The LORD reminds Moses who made his mouth.
- “Please, LORD, now send the message by whomever You will.” (4:13) And the LORD gets angry, then agrees to have Aaron help.
I wonder which direction this story would have gone if the LORD had just killed Moses and found someone else. So much back talk! Then I remember, Moses didn’t just not know himself, He didn’t know God. This was their first meeting. He was very familiar with the power of Pharaoh and Egypt’s gods, but the LORD was an unknown, though I assume he had heard a story or two about how the Hebrews ended up in Egypt in the first place?
Still, the Exodus story is how the LORD introduces Himself to His people and the nations. While I want to call Moses an idiot for resisting, I need to remember, he didn’t know the end of the story like I do.
Furthermore, as one who has studied Scripture and the Exodus story numerous times, do I still hesitate when I feel the LORD prompting me to do something? Do I still make excuses or suggest He use someone else? Why YES! I’ve done that! I’ve had plenty of arguments with the LORD throughout my life, protesting the way He made me, complaining about the tasks He’s given me to do, and always suggesting there is someone else He could be using (hello, a man, probably?). What is my excuse?
What is your excuse? Is the LORD prompting you do follow Him in obedience about something? If He was calling you to do something, what would be your reasons not to follow?
He asks Moses what is in his hand (4:2) and it seems insignificant–a staff–a normal thing for a shepherd to be holding. This very thing is what the LORD uses as His first sign to Pharaoh. What is in your hand?