Back again with Moses and Aaron.
In chapter 4
Moses again hesitates about God’s calling. God says, “Alright, check it out. Here are three awesome signs and wonders I’ll do through you in front of Pharaoh. Now are you convinced?”
Moses says, “Ehhh…really? Really really?”
God’s starting to get frustrated now. And every time someone questions God’s purposes to the extent that he starts to get angry, God responds with questions about His power: “Oh yeah? Who made man’s mouth? Boy!” (Further example: Job 32).
Moses now doesn’t just hesitate, but resists, “Can’t you get someone else to do it?”
God – quite angry – says, “Fine! You don’t wanna do it? Then I’ll just use your brother instead!” (For speaking – Moses is still the miracle man).
When they arrive in Egypt, they gather together the Israelite leaders, and it goes like this:
- Aaron speaks (he’s the preacher).
- Moses does signs (he’s the miracle man – God working through him).
- The people worship (they respond).
That’s completely the opposite of what Moses did earlier to God himself in chapters 3-4:
- God spoke.
- God did miraculous signs.
- Moses hesitated and resisted (non-responsive).
So, how should we then live?
If God calls, answer. If God speaks, listen. If God does miracles, rejoice. When God moves, he requires a response. If we resist or hesitate or ignore or are ignorant of God, he will do as he did with Moses – choose someone else, use someone else, work through someone else. Is that really what we want? No! So, when God ________ (does anything), we should respond (appropriately).
In chapter 5
Moses and Aaron approach Pharaoh for the first time. They say, “OK, we really gotta go out in the desert for a couple of days to worship our God – or else God might send a pestilence on us.”
Pharaoh: “God? Who’s that? Get back to work! Lazy!” Then he makes them make bricks with no stray and no stopping. Awesome.
Moses complains to God: “See? I knew this would be a problem. Everything just got worse now! Why did you pick me?”
So, how should we then live?
As Christians, we need to be aware that not everyone else on Earth sees things from our perspective. In fact, most people in the world sees things as Pharaoh did (“God? Ha! Who’s that?”). Therefore, we can’t argue religion with people who aren’t religious. We can’t appeal to people’s sense of spirituality if they think we don’t have one. We can’t argue, “God says…” to people who will reply, “God who?” (Prime example: atheists, practical atheists (non church-goers)).
We need to be as Paul was: all things to all people (1 Corinthians 9:19-23). Specifically, he says: “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22b). We need to speak to non-Christians in a way that makes them comfortable and is understandable (no Christianese). We need to speak to children from a child’s point of view. We need to speak to men as men, women as women, marrieds as married, singles as single, atheists from a scientific point of view, and so on. Basically, we can’t approach all people the same way we approach church people – they just won’t accept that. We want to evangelize, we want to witness, we want to share God’s Word, but we must do so in a way that is meaningful to those we approach.
For a great sermon addressing this topic, check out Mark Driscoll’s sermon: All Things to All People.
In chapter 6
God reveals his name – his OFFICIAL name, “YHWH” – to Moses. Previously, he’d not used his name when speaking the Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob. Moses is the first to hear this revelation. When Moses complains to him in the previous chapter, God replies with, “This is my name, and I said this, and this, and this, and this…” (He’s listing off His promises) “…And furthermore…” (He’s obviously NOT forgotten his promises).
God says, “Go.” Moses again says, “No.” Rinse, repeat (after the listing of his genealogy).
So, how should we then live?
I think this is an interesting look at Moses. As we know, Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible. And in this book in particular, he doesn’t paint a very flattering picture of himself. Most people would do more to sugar-coat the fact that they resisted God’s call on their lives. Most people would say, “Resisted God’s call? Hahaha, of course not! I was merely waiting to be SURE of it!” But here, Moses writes about himself in a very non-flattering way about resisting God’s call.
Jonah is a book that is written in a very similar way. It’s written in the third person by an unknown author. But, some people believe that Jonah himself may have been the author, because there are some facts reported within the book that could not have been known by someone without direct contact with Jonah himself. Additionally, Jonah is a very non-flattering portrayal of the prophet. Mark Driscoll says that this is a sign of Jonah’s repentance of his multiple sins within the book. After all, there is no real sign of Jonah’s repentance within the book of Jonah, and the Bible is more concerned about repentance than wonderful stories of human-eating fish. So, Driscoll thinks that the entire book of Jonah, depicting the prophets many sins in a very non-flattering way, is a perfect picture of his repentance of those things. No one would confess things to such an extent unless they were repenting.
Therefore, this non-flattering portrayal of Moses’ resistance against God (written by Moses himself) may well be the same thing. Perhaps Moses is writing about himself in such a way as to make his repentant confession.
When we sin
We also need to recognize when we sin, admit it, speak the sin (not just saying, “I did a bad thing” but actually saying “I stole an apple from the corner market”), say we’re sorry, ask forgiveness, and repent of it (repentance is not merely saying, “I’m sorry,” but also turning and walking away from that sin).
When we question God
And when we question God, as Moses did here (“Why did you send me? Things only got worse!”), we need to do as God did for Moses. When Moses was distressed and questioned God, God reminded him of his promises and his purposes. We also need reminding. It’s easy to forget God’s goodness in the middle of our trauma and stress, so we must be reminded of it. When stressed and questioning God, we need to remind ourselves of God’s fulfilled promises, and his loving purposes as demonstrated throughout the Bible. Then, we take the focus off of ourselves and our problems, and place the focus back where it belongs – on God and his love.