Jan. 19 Reading: Exodus 4-6 Commentary
“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? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.” (Ex. 4:11)
“And Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, nor will I let Israel go.” (Ex. 5:2)
Exodus 4 – Signs to Reassure Moses
Moses was reluctant to accept the calling on his life. In his mind, there are too many personal flaws. Moses resists his recruitment with questions of God in Exodus 3, and then excuses and flat out desperation in Exodus 4:
- Statement 1: “But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice: suppose they say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you.'” (v. 1)
- God’s Response: God did two miracles for Moses. Recreating these in front of the people would prove that God’s power was working through him (vv. 2-9).
- Statement 2: “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” (v. 10).
- God’s Response: “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say” (v. 11).
- Statement 3: “Oh my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send” (v. 13).
- God’s Response: God provided Moses’ brother Aaron as a helper for him. Aaron would help Moses communicate to the people and to Pharaoh (vv. 14-17).
God will never send you to do something you are not capable of doing. He’ll provide the means for you to succeed, either directly or through somebody. And your deficiencies don’t matter. God can use you anyway.
With reassurances in hand, Moses heads to Egypt with his wife and children. He meets Aaron along the way. And upon coming to Egypt, they gather the elders and perform the signs God had given Moses.
Exodus 5 – Moses Before Pharaoh
Moses’ first encounter with Pharaoh did not go well. In fact, none of them would ever really go well. When Moses tells Pharaoh that the God of Israel says to let His people go to worship, Pharaoh mocks God saying: “Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, nor will I let Israel go” (v. 2).
This statement of defiance would set the stage for an epic battle of wills – Pharaoh’s against God’s. If Pharaoh had conceded, disaster would not have come on his household and his country. Instead, he chose to resist God every step of the way.
For starters, he forced the Hebrews into an even more difficult labor situation. He withheld his officers from providing straw for the slaves to make bricks. Instead, the Hebrews had to go find the straw themselves and then make the same amount of bricks as before (vv. 6-19).
This had the desired outcome Pharaoh wanted. The Hebrews turned on Moses and Aaron and blamed them for angering Pharaoh.
Exodus 6 – One More Assurance
Moses’ first encounter with Pharaoh was discouraging. It had only resulted in more harsh treatment of the people and saw them lash out at Moses and Aaron. So Moses again went to God with questions about his leadership role and mission (Ex. 5:22-23).
God listened and then reassured Moses one more time. In the monologue, He notes these things:
- God identified himself again as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (v. 3).
- He referenced the covenant with each of those men and the promise of occupying land in Canaan (v. 4).
- His eyes and ears were not unaware of the suffering of the people (v. 5).
- With power, He alone would be responsible for bringing the people out (vv. 6-7).
- They would occupy the land that was promised (v. 8).
When Moses tells the people all this, they do not listen (v. 9). So, if his own people won’t listen, Moses clearly thinks Pharaoh won’t listen. But God continues to pound the same message into Moses’ head: speak to Pharaoh and demand the Hebrews be allowed to leave Egypt (vv. 13, 30).
At this point, Moses has no choice but to follow through and do as God says. It would end up being the best decision he ever made. What God was about to do through him, would catapult Moses to perhaps the greatest human leader in the Bible.
Questions to Consider:
Moses didn’t think he was capable enough to be used by God. He made every excuse in the book to resist God’s calling. But God had a plan for Moses that could not be denied. Are you resisting God’s calling today? What’s holding you back? Just like Moses, do you ever have doubts that God could use you? How do you overcome your doubt?
What other points would you want to know about in our Exodus 4-6 commentary? Email us here with questions or comments.