It was a forty-year-old Moses who left Egypt and became a shepherd at the foot of Mt. Sinai. For the next forty years, he herded sheep for Jethro, the Midianite priest who became his father-in-law. (By the way, Midian was a son of Abraham and Keturah, the woman that Abraham married after Sarah died! Amazing!)
For forty years he lived on the back side of the desert. Did he ever think of his exotic life in the Egyptian palace as the son of Pharaoh? He was an educated man, a man accustomed to wealth and ease, a conquering hero…and a broken man. Life crashed in around him when he discovered his true identity and tried to put life into a new box—a box in which he did not fit! His life was now simple, perhaps even complete: He had a wife and two sons and a job where he could be successful.
Then came the call of God. As you read Exodus three and follow the conversation between God and Moses, it becomes clear that Moses has not yet understood this God—the God of the Hebrew slaves which he left. At the burning bush God outlines His plan, taking four verses to do so, and Moses humbly replies, “Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?” (Exodus 4:11) The next verse is amazing! God says:
Certainly I will be with thee;and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee:When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.
God has just told Moses that he would be successful in this venture; he would return to this mountain and serve God there! It was a done deal, but that’s not what Moses heard. His ears were tuned into all the past fears that he had brought with him out of the land of Egypt!
When Moses once again questions God as to His name, and God calls himself I AM THAT I AM, God once again outlines His plan, this time taking eight verses to do so! He tells Moses exactly what will happen:
- Go to the elders and tell them I will visit them and have seen their affliction
- I will bring them out to the Promised Land
- They WILL listen to you
- The king of Egypt will NOT listen
- I WILL smite Egypt
- He WILL let you go
- The people will spoil Egypt
Can you imagine if the Lord laid some venture on your heart, and as you prayed about it, God spoke to you and told you exactly what was going to happen? Yes, there would be some bumpy spots, but in the end you would be successful. That’s exactly what God did for Moses and yet he continues to plead incompetence, even after his rod became a snake and his hand was eaten away with leprosy.
Where is the turning point? In verse fourteen, God is angry with Moses! But He doesn’t’ dismiss Moses; instead, he tells him that Aaron will be his voice.
We’ve all been there—faithless. Moses does not have faith in God because he is crippled with fear:
- Lord, they won’t believe me: the fear of man is probably the most crippling fear that stops us from being all that God KNOWS that we can be! There are one hundred forty-five Bible verses that contain the words fear not! Moses didn’t have those words, but he went on to write twenty-five of them! We have them all, written by our heroes: Joshua, Samuel, David, Nehemiah, Job, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel Joel, Amos, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, Matthew, Luke, John, Paul, Peter and John! Perhaps a study on the phrase fear not would refocus our view.
- But I can’t _____ : You fill in the blank. In Moses’ case, he felt he couldn’t speak well. God then reminds him that He is the One who makes the dumb, deaf, seeing and blind. God gives us all that we need to do the job that He expects us to do. It may have been a fact that Moses had these difficulties, and isn’t that just like God to give us a job that requires our greatest inadequacies, to strengthen our trust in Him as well as bring Him all the glory?
But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise;
and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
And base things of the world, and things which are despised,
hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
1 Corinthians 1:27,28
- Send someone else: Moses feels so incompetent that he cannot hear all the promises of God. He finally asks God to send someone else. We have no idea what Moses faced in Egypt. We do know that Pharaoh wanted to kill him—that’s pretty serious! Not many of us need to run for our lives! To put it into today’s terms, Moses was suffering from a major victim mentality!
Perhaps the greatest blessing from this passage is this: Even though God knew that Moses would be successful, he gave Moses the comfort which he needed to get the job done—his brother! God promises to never leave us or forsake us, even when we have run from Him. He promises to equip us with His own power and strength; and like Moses, He often sends us exactly what we need to do the job. Maybe it’s a friend or mentor; perhaps it’s the finances we need or the equipment necessary to finish the job. Often those “packages of blessings” come in ways or forms that we don’t recognize or expect. They come wrapped in faith, and God’s fingerprints are all over them!
Remember, no matter the situation, God ALREADY KNOWS THE CIRCUMSTANCES AND THE OUTCOME! Praise His Name!
And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. Isaiah 65:24