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Wednesday in the Word

Second Baptist Church

March 22, 2017

Exodus  3:16-4:17

  1. Verses 16-22. Recapping last week’s lesson. We know that Moses is having a divine encounter with God and God has told him that he will be used to set the Hebrews free. Moses has given excuse after excuse about how he might not be the best one for the job. God ignores his excuses and begins to lay out the plan. The task which Moses has been commissioned to accomplish is outlined, along with an outline of the events which will take place due to Moses’ ministry. Essentially, there are three general categories covered in these verses:

    1. Moses was commanded to assemble the elders of Israel to reassure them of God’s covenant promises, and to convey God’s plan for delivering His people from their bondage, and to bring them into the land of Canaan (Exod. 3:16-17). In effect, Moses was to repeat the words which God had spoken to him from the burning bush.

    2. Moses was told to go to Pharaoh with the elders of Israel and to request a three-day “leave” to worship God in the desert (Exod. 3:18-20). This request would be denied, and only by compulsion (the plagues) would the king of Egypt release the Israelites. It is important to observe that the resistance of Pharaoh was foretold, thus preparing Moses for the hard times ahead. The release from Egypt would not come quickly or easily, but it would come.

    3. Finally, God instructed Moses to “collect,” as it were, the wages the Israelites had earned in Egypt (Exod. 3:21-22). This was to be accomplished by asking the Egyptian women for articles of silver and gold and putting them on their children.

    These commands summarized the task which God had given Moses and the response of the Egyptians to Moses’ request. Here, in a nutshell, is an outline of “things to come” for Egypt. These commands clarify the task which Moses has been given. They are all based upon the promise and the prophecy which God had previously given Abraham in Genesis 15: 12-20. Moses now knew who God was, and the task He had given him to do. The real struggle here is between Moses and God, and whether he will do it. From last week’s lesson, we already know that Moses had a few excuses about how he might not be able to do the work that God was asking him to do. God is not accepting any excuses concerning this plan. God is not giving Moses a choice.

  2. Chapter 4:1. “What if they do not believe me or listen to me?” Moses is asking the same question of God for the third time. This time, the question is almost sinful. In the past, Moses doubted his calling; now he is doubting the Word of God, for the Lord has just told him, “The elders of Israel will listen to you” (Exod. 3:18). Moses couldn’t understand that God has the ability to work on the leaders even before he spoke to the leaders. God was moving on Moses’ behalf before he even spoke to the leaders. God is very patient with Moses, but this patience is wearing thin. Sometimes too many questions is not being sure, it is being disobedient.

  3. Verses 2-9. With Moses offering up excuse after excuse, God responds by showing Moses three signs that he can show to the people/leaders to prove that he has indeed met with God. Sometimes people are not quick to just take your word, they need some evidence of a call on your life. God gives Moses the sign of his staff turning into a snake and back into a staff, his arm turning leprous and back to whole, and the water of the Nile turning to blood. The first two signs Moses sees right then, but the third would have to wait for an audience with the Hebrew leaders. Either way, the signs were to convince Moses more than the people. Moses needed the signs due to his unbelief and fear.

  4. Verses 10-12. Moses offers up another excuse. He can’t speak well. Moses is still hung up about his inability. Rather than acting on the basis of who the God is who commissioned him, Moses is now retreating on the pretext that he is not a gifted communicator. This is indeed a piece of false humility. Look at what Stephen has to say about Moses’ abilities in Acts 7:20-22. Moses did not have a speech problem, as some might suppose. Neither was he ungifted in speech. According to Stephen, Moses was eloquent. Moses is not only doing a disservice to God (by refusing to believe Him and obey in faith), but to himself. Moses should not trust in his own abilities, but neither should he deny the abilities which God has given him. God responds by stating that HE is the one who gives people the ability to speak or not speak. Surely God could judge whether a person could speak, and if they couldn’t HE could give them that ability in an instant. God either sends the gifted or gifts the one He sends. Either way, by the time you are at your assignment, you will have all the tools you need.

  5. Verses 13-17. Here is the bottom line. Moses does not want to go. It is not that he lacks the assurance or the authority; he simply lacks the courage to act. No reason is stated here as to why God should send someone else, because Moses is all out of excuses. And so Moses pleads with God for someone else to go. God is longsuffering and patient, but now He is angry. God then tells Moses that his brother is already on his way to see him and that Aaron will be the mouthpiece for Moses. God will speak to Moses and Moses will give Aaron the words. Basically God says, that “You are going to go, if you have to have Aaron tag along so be it, but you are going regardless.” We know that later in chapter 8 Moses would just speak like he was told and not use Aaron. God makes a concession because he had a plan for Aaron in leadership anyway. Aaron will not replace Moses, he will just be by his side. God eliminates all of Moses excuses. What excuse are you making that is keeping you from moving forward in God? God is ready to eliminate all of your excuses.

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