Wednesday 24th June 2020 – Moses Commissioned
Exodus 4:1 – 17
Then Moses answered, ‘But suppose they do not believe me or listen to me, but say, “The Lord did not appear to you.”’ The Lord said to him, ‘What is that in your hand?’ He said, ‘A staff.’ And he said, ‘Throw it on the ground.’ So he threw the staff on the ground, and it became a snake; and Moses drew back from it. Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Reach out your hand, and seize it by the tail’—so he reached out his hand and grasped it, and it became a staff in his hand— ‘so that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.’
Again, the Lord said to him, ‘Put your hand inside your cloak.’ He put his hand into his cloak; and when he took it out, his hand was leprous, as white as snow. Then God said, ‘Put your hand back into your cloak’—so he put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was restored like the rest of his body— ‘If they will not believe you or heed the first sign, they may believe the second sign. If they will not believe even these two signs or heed you, you shall take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground; and the water that you shall take from the Nile will become blood on the dry ground.’
But Moses said to the Lord, ‘O my Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor even now that you have spoken to your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.’ Then the Lord said to him, ‘Who gives speech to mortals? Who makes them mute or deaf, seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you are to speak.’ But he said, ‘O my Lord, please send someone else.’ Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses and he said, ‘What of your brother Aaron the Levite? I know that he can speak fluently; even now he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you his heart will be glad. You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth; and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth, and will teach you what you shall do. He indeed shall speak for you to the people; he shall serve as a mouth for you, and you shall serve as God for him. Take in your hand this staff, with which you shall perform the signs.’
Often the more significant a Biblical character is, the more that we are told about their ancestry and background. In Moses’s case, we know more about his ‘back story’ than almost anyone else. We also hear more about the story of his call.
Moses took a lot of persuading to do what God was calling him to do. The list of reasons (excuses?) why he was the wrong person for the role goes on and on. I wonder whether Moses really did prevaricate more than anyone else, or if it’s simply that we hear a lot about it, because of his importance.
Either way, the important thing is that, despite the number of ‘buts’ in today’s passage, Moses did answer God’s call. As a result, despite the number of ‘buts’, God led Moses and God’s people out of slavery and through the wilderness to the brink of the Promised Land.
God helped Moses to work through his hesitations. Together, they overcame Moses’ reluctance and his lack of confidence in his abilities. Then God began to do great things in and through Moses. God can and will do the same for each of us and for all of us, if we are willing to turn aside, to listen and to work things through with God.
God forgave Moses his reluctance and used him greatly. So, let’s not worry about our own hesitancy or dwell too much on our lack of skills. Let’s simply turn aside, listen for God and allow God to steer us onto the next step along the way.
God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,
open our hearts and minds to recognise the burning bushes that you light along our way.
Give us the courage to step aside and to meet with you there.
Help us to overcome our hesitancy and lack of confidence.
Give us courage to step out with you on whatever path you show us
for you know us better than we know ourselves.
Thanks be to God.