Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ex 4 for Jan 27

The commission of Moses can be both seen from "Moses' side," and from God's "side" in these two chapters and the previous chapter. This is an amazing story of the interaction of God with a sinful man in direct confrontation but toward a good end.

Moses has already voiced two questions, in 3:11 and in 3:13. Here in 4:1 is his third. God has answered the other two, and He answers this one. The first two were full of content (3:12; 3:14). This is an answer with actions associated with it, "that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham ... has appeared to you." (4:5).

God speaking: Promises, assurances. God demonstrating, and providing a repeatable demonstration. Followed on Moses' part by ... -- PLEASE GOD I AM WEAK AND ALWAYS HAVE BEEN FOR THAT KIND OF THING.

What kind of thing? Speaking! He wasn't weak in 2:12. He was tough. He was self-confident in 2:13. He was self-confident about himself ... but for representing God as spokesman, no (4:10).

Again, God gives promise and assurance about that (4:11-12). Followed on Moses' part by a "polite" no (4:13). Moses had run out of things to think up as excuses, and had nothing to do but be polite with his no.

This refusal, in spite of what God has already shown and done, is a pattern with human beings. We see it in Romans 1:19-21. In Numbers 14:20-23 there is a very famous example of it that is also carried into the Psalms (95), "today if you hear His voice." We already saw it in the One Year Bible New Testament in the upbraiding of the Cities in Mt 11:20ff.. We also see it in matters of the message of salvation, in Jn 3:16-18. It is the "no" of disbelief / rejection.

And we see the extremity of the Lord's understanding of how a certain weight of responsibility is unbearable for some people. There is no greater unbearable responsibility that a man could feel, than that which makes a person say to God, to His face, "please, please, no, send somebody else, anybody" like Moses did.

So perhaps that is why we know so much of this face to face (cf. Dt 34:10) between God and Moses. God lifts the responsibility in a way, off Moses, and proves that He is capable of it: by calling Aaron (4:27)! Moses had already heard (4:14-17) that in some sense the responsibility could be off him, onto his brother, But God did not get a commitment out of Moses then. He got a Moses who was looking into it. In the narrative Moses wants to go back to Egypt to see if his people "are still alive." (4:18). God works with him, positively (4:19-23), and in a severe negative event that we only see the resolution of (4:25). Moses needed outside help, and God saw to it that he knew that.

Therefore, when God brought Aaron to Moses by directly speaking to Aaron (4:27), perhaps that was what got to Moses; at least, it was the immediately preceding thing. Then Moses divulged everything to his brother (4:28), and the rest of the speaking, and meeting, and displaying of the signs God gave him were completed, with two results: "the people believed; and when they heard that the Lord had visited the sons of Israel and that He had seen their affliction, then they bowed low and worshiped" (4:31). And we are at the beginning of a great story.

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