In the last chapter, we saw how Moses endeavored to be excused from the mission that the Lord was sending him on. He objected that he was no match for the proud and haughty Pharaoh, and that there was no way that he could secure the liberation of all the Hebrew slaves. But the Lord met this objection with one sentence: “Certainly I will be with thee!” When God says those words to the frailest and feeblest human being, there is nothing that person cannot do.
But Moses had another difficulty to present. His people would not accept his leadership. He remembered when he wanted to be their leader 40 years before, and they had demanded, “Who made you a prince and a judge over us?” Certainly they would ask him again concerning the authority he would be acting under. What would he say to them? “Tell them,” said the Lord, “I Am hath sent me unto you.” He would tell them he was coming in the name of Jehovah, the God of their forefathers. Then the Lord gave Moses three miraculous signs that he could use as his credentials, which would prove to the people that he was Divinely sent to lead them out of their bondage.
Moses still hesitated. Another element of unfitness presented itself to his mind. “O Lord, I am not eloquent … for I am slow of speech and of a slow tongue.” Perhaps he had some kind of impediment in his speech, or he may have only lacked fluency in public speaking. Whatever the defect was, it seemed to him that it would disqualify him for the mission to which God was calling him. Surely it would be necessary to speak well in order to impress Pharaoh! But the Lord promptly met this excuse or difficulty by saying to him, “Who hath made man’s mouth? … is it not I, Jehovah? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt speak.” God is able to use the weak things of life – even the faults and imperfections of human beings. When He calls a person to a mission, He knows the gifts and talents that will be necessary to fulfill it, and He will always give them.
Thus the difficulties that Moses presented were answered, but he was still unwilling to accept the Divine call. He had no further definite excuses to offer; but he broke out despondently, impatiently, and almost petulantly, with the words, “O Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send.” This was the closest thing to a final and absolute refusal to go. It was as if he was saying, “Send some other person – anyone whom it pleases thee to send – but I cannot go.” God never gets angry in the same way that human beings do. Yet we are told that the anger of Jehovah was kindled against Moses for his continued and persistent refusal to go and perform the great task for which he had been born and trained. The Lord’s reply was, “Is there not Aaron thy brother? I know that he can speak well … thou shalt speak unto him, and put the words into his mouth.” Here we see God’s patience and kindness in meeting the fear and timidity of Moses. Aaron, his eloquent brother, would help him make up his deficiency. Surely this was a grateful relief to the man who felt unequal to the task assigned to him. Nevertheless, it is somewhat painful for us to read this part of his life-story. Truly, he was one of the greatest men who ever lived; but at this particular moment, he appears in a sad light. His hesitation in accepting his call is not something that should be imitated. When God calls us to any task or duty, whether it is small or great, we should accept it without question, fear, or doubt. Whatever we are called to do, we shall be enabled and strengthened to do. God knows what He is doing when He marks out a mission for anyone. He will never give us a task that will be too much for us, nor will He send us on a mission without qualifying us for it. He has given every one of us a plan for our life. The only way to make our life truly happy and blessed is to accept this plan without hesitation, to obey the call of God, and to trust in Him to equip us and prepare us for our special job – whether it is that of a mother, a pastor, or a laborer.
On Moses’ way back to Egypt, God met him in anger because he had neglected to circumcise his son. When God shows us what is amiss in our lives, we must give all diligence to amend it speedily. Anytime that He sends the rod, He does so in love, so that we might return to Him that smites us.
God sent Aaron to meet Moses, and then they went together to meet with the elders of Israel. The elders met them in faith, and were ready to obey them. It often happens that less difficulty is found than what we have expected when we undertake to do the work that the Lord has called us to do for His glory. Let us only arise and try to labor for Him, and He will be with us and cause us to prosper. And as we behold how the children of Israel welcomed the tidings of their deliverance from slavery, and worshiped the Lord; we ought to consider how much we should welcome the glad tidings of our redemption from sin, and adore our gracious and loving Redeemer!
Lord, we bless You for the record in this chapter, which shows us that although Your people are often persecuted, yet we are not forsaken! Although we may be cast down by men, we are not cast off by our God. We are still Your people, who are under Your care. Give us grace to remember this, in the midst of all our dark and trying circumstances. Give us grace, like the children of Israel, to believe that You are looking upon our afflictions. And then, may we follow their example by bowing our heads and worshiping You, in token of submission and thankfulness. Amen.
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