Passage: Exodus 4:1-31
Speaker: Steve Hands
Series: Coming Home – A Journey Through Exodus
“God loves you and he has a wonderful plan for your life”. While this is true, God’s plan for each of us doesn’t usually center on our short-term comfort, ease, pleasure, or even our happiness. It is “wonderful” in the sense that God leads us into lives focused on eternal significance, often at great personal cost, but with the incomparable gain of the living God’s presence in our lives. At first, Moses didn’t want the call of God in his life, and he didn’t want to live in a covenant relationship with God, but the presence and grace of God toward Moses eventually led him to worship. So for us too, God’s powerful presence overcomes our objections (Exod 4:1-17); God’s gracious covenant invites us to intimacy with him (4:18-26); and God’s rescuing power leads us to faith and worship (4:27-31).
First, God’s powerful presence overcomes our objections (4:1-17), so we should follow his calling with courage. As we move from chapter 3 to chapter 4, Moses turns from questioning God to objecting to his plan. Moses feels he lacks credibility, he speaks falteringly, and he just plain doesn’t want to do what God asks. Despite Moses’s whining, God graciously provides for each objection with powerful signs to prove he is sent by God, with the promise of God’s presence with Moses’s mouth specifically, and even providing Aaron to speak for Moses and accompany him (though God doesn’t let Moses off the hook of the calling). As members of God’s people today, we too have been given a calling to proclaim God’s rescue (Acts1:8). And like Moses we may not feel like participating. But the promises God gave to Moses have carried on to his church in various forms, with the Holy Spirit’s power living in us (Acts 1:8), His words being promised to us just when we need them (Matt. 10:19-20), and his church working together as one body with every member having a vital role (Eph.4:4-7). May we learn from Moses’s mistakes and God’s faithful provision to participate in God’s calling with courage.
But how could Moses and the Israelites stand to receive God’s rescuing presence with them? Isn’t God so holy that they can’t even approach him (Exod 3:5)? But God’s gracious covenant invites us to intimacy with him(4:18-26). As Moses takes up his staff to obey God’s calling, we see two stories of impending judgment from God. First, God tells Moses that he will destroy all the firstborn sons of Egypt for failing to obey his command to let God’s firstborn son Israel go (Exod 4:21-23). Then, startlingly, Moses himself nearly falls victim to the judgment of God for failing to circumcise his son (Exod 4:24-26). But Zipporah intervenes by quickly obeying the covenant requirements for God’s people (Gen. 17:10-14). The implication is that even though Moses was called by God, he was still subject to the covenant requirements in order to remain in relationship with God. Likewise Israel, who God calls his “firstborn son”, are not God’s family by virtue of some innate superiority to other human beings, but only on the basis of the covenant God freely chose to form with them. So too today there exists a coming judgment (John 3:18; Rev. 20:11-15), and yet rescue, life, and intimate relationship with God are freely available to us by the covenant God established at great cost to himself (John 1:12-13, 3:16-17; Matt. 26:26-29). May we respond quickly in faith and obedience like Zipporah and not with a hard heart like Pharaoh as we see the grace of God available to us in Christ.
As we receive God’s powerful presence and gracious covenant the only right response is faith and worship(Exod. 4:27-31). When Aaron and Moses show the elders of Israel God’s signs and tell them of their upcoming rescue, they believed and worshiped. It is amazing that their sovereign, holy God would lovingly and freely choose to rescue them and adopt them as his children by a covenant promise. So may we too, in light of the greater covenant of grace through faith in Christ, ever respond to God’s power in us, and his rescue of us, with faith and worship.
God’s calling may be harder than we anticipated, but his powerful presence can overcome our objections. By all rights, God’s holiness should end in our destruction, and yet his gracious covenant provision leads us to intimate relationship with him. So let us believe and worship God, following him in his calling, celebrating his goodness to us.