Exodus 4: Here I Am

Chapter four is a continuation of Moses’ conversation with God. Take note of the doubt in Moses’ heart and watch him grow as we study this book.

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.’”

Moses is referring to the Jewish elders here. Clearly, he was concerned with what they would think of him as he told them of God’s plan for the Hebrew people. We can get ourselves into serious trouble when we begin to place more emphasis on what others think of us v. what God thinks of us. It breeds doubt in our lives. After Christ had risen in Matthew 28, it states that when the eleven disciples saw Him, they worshipped Him; but some doubted. Pray now that when God reveals to you His far-fetched, can’t-wrap-your-mind-around-it plan that you will truly believe in what He can do.

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. 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.”

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. 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. 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.”

The Lord gave Moses three signs to perform. Interestingly enough, each of these signs dealt with transformation – one thing turning into another. God is in the transformation business! Paul confirms this in 2 Corinthians 3:18, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” If you wish your life was something other than what it is, then maybe it’s time to allow God to do the changing instead of trying to do it yourself in the flesh.

The Jewish people required signs to confirm who God was. Jesus recognized this and that’s why He said to them in John 4:48, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe.” Needing to see signs in order to trust God shows only a lack of faith. Maybe we don’t require rods be turned into serpents in order to believe – but instead we barter with God. “Lord, do X and Y in my life and I’ll know this is what you want.”  What “signs” are you requiring of God in order to trust Him?

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.”

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.”

For those of us uncomfortable with public speaking, this verse should be underlined, circled, and highlighted in our Bibles. Go ahead, I’ll wait while you go get your Bible. We find, again, Moses dragging his feet when it comes to God’s call. Even though Moses played the tongue-twister card, God had the perfect response: Who has made man’s mouth? Sometimes we fail to remember that God already knows our past, present, and future failures, shortcomings, and mishaps – yet He calls us anyways. Moses needed a dose of Isaiah’s heart (who wasn’t even born yet). Isaiah was called to be a prophet and when he heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” He replies, “Here am I, send me.”

There is one hymn I absolutely love and it was written in the 80’s by Daniel O’Donnell called Here I Am. I remember I was in church on Sunday and for once, I didn’t just sing the words, I meant them. Let this hymn by your prayer to the Lord today. Don’t just read the words – let them be an outcry of your heart:

I, the Lord of sea and sky
I have heard my people cry
All who dwell in dark and sin
My hand will save.

I who made the stars and night
I will make the darkness bright
Who will bear my light to them
Whom shall I send?

Here I am Lord
Is it I Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night
I will go Lord
If you lead me
I will hold your people in my heart.

I the Lord of snow and rain
I have borne my people's pain
I have wept for love of them
They turn away.

I will break their hearts of stone
Fill their hearts with love alone
I will speak my word to them
Whom shall I send?

Here I am Lord
Is it I Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night
I will go Lord
If you lead me
I will hold your people in my heart.
I will hold your people in my heart.

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

14 So the anger of the Lord was kindled against 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. 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.”

Moses just doesn’t know when to quit! Even after the Lord spoke words of encouragement and reminded him who made man’s mouth, he was still reluctant. Wiersbe sums it up here: “Moses calls Him “Lord” and yet refuses to obey His orders (Luke 6:46; Acts 10:14). Most of us understand that attitude because we’ve made the same mistake. If God isn’t Lord of all, He isn’t Lord at all.”

As I’ve been recently reminded of – God’s will is an expression of His love for me. When I fight that will, I am fighting the love of God and His perfect goodness and joy in my life. Moses was doing the same thing here. It’s funny that he was claiming, “O my Lord…” – yet wasn’t bowing to Him as Lord. What area of your life are you claiming Him as Lord, yet not allowing Him to work?

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.”

One thought based on Moses’ plea to Jethro: When the Lord beckons us to move, why do we go ask the world for permission?

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.

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. 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.”’”

Sometimes I feel like life would be easier if God “audibly” spoke to me like He did in the Old Testament. But as I thought about that idea, God [inaudibly] spoke to my heart: When there is doubt/unbelief rooted in someone’s heart, it doesn’t matter whether it’s My audible voice or the quiet prodding of the Holy Spirit; they will still question Me.

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.

When I read this at first I thought, “What just happened?!” It sounded like Zipporah, Moses’ wife, went into some sort of crazy rage! This is a bit of a mystical event, but it appears that God is confronting Moses for not circumcising his son. Many commentators think Zipporah disapproved of circumcision and therefore wouldn’t allow the second son to go through what the first one did. However, once the Lord confronted Moses and nearly took his life, she yielded. It sounds a bit extreme but we must remember one thing: if we are not pure and obedient in our own lives, then how can we be an example to others? 1 Timothy 4:12 tells us that we are to “…be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” And that was exactly what God was calling Moses to be – an example worthy of being followed by millions of people.

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

This chapter ends perfectly because the people believed and then they bowed. Remember the two “b’s” as you walk through your day today. Believe and bow to Him. Funny thing, the posture of bowing was exactly the position they needed to be in because a storm was soon coming that would test them to the core. Being on our faces before the Lord is the best way for Him to protect us from the harsh winds and waves. Amen.