MOSES ASSUMES HIS RESPONSIBILITY

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    [Exodus:4:1-23], [Exodus:4:27-31].

    Lesson No.: 
    49
    Class: 
    Senior
    Memory Verse: 

    "Who hath made man's mouth?  or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind?  have not I the LORD?" (Exodus 4:11).

    Cross References: 

    I The Signs to Convince Israel of Moses' Commission and Authority
    1. Moses feels Israel would not believe that the Lord had sent him, [Exodus:4:1]; [Matthew:13:57].
    2. The rod of Moses becomes the rod of God, a sign to convince Israel of the power of God, [Exodus:4:2-5], [Exodus:4:20]; [Exodus:14:16]; [Exodus:17:5-7], [Exodus:4:9-12], [Judges:6:36-40]; [2 Kings:20:8-11].
    3. The second sign demonstrates God's power over humanity as well as over inanimate objects, [Exodus:4:6-8].
    4. The third sign, water turned to blood, demonstrates God's sovereignty over nature, [Exodus:4:9].

    II Moses' Reticence and God's Concession
    1. Moses recounts his physical incapabilities to God, [Exodus:4:10], [Judges:6:15]; [1 Samuel:9:21]; [Jeremiah:1:6-10].
    2. Moses is reminded that God is the Creator of man, and the charge is renewed, [Exodus:4:11-12]; [1 Chronicles:29:12].
    3. Moses shows further reticence, [Exodus:4:13].
    4. God is angry with Moses but gives him Aaron, his brother, to compensate for the deficiency, [Exodus:4:14-17].

    III The Return of Moses to Egypt
    1. Moses accepts the call and obtains release from his temporal obligations, [Exodus:4:18-20]; [1 Kings:19:19-21].
    2. God forewarns Moses of Pharaoh's refusals, [Exodus:4:21]; [Isaiah:46:9-10]; [Isaiah:6:9-10]; [Matthew:13:14-15].
    3. "Israel is my son, . . . my firstborn," [Exodus:4:22-23]; [Genesis:25:23]; [Psalms:33:12]; [1 Chronicles:16:13]; [Deuteronomy:14:2]; [Romans:3:2].
    4. Aaron, in obedience to God's command, meets Moses on the mount of God, [Exodus:4:27-28].
    5. God's message and the signs convince Israel that their groanings and cries have been heard, [Exodus:4:29-31]; [Exodus:2:23-25]; [Exodus:3:7-8].

    Notes: 

    Moses' early life was clearly a preparation for the part he was destined to play in the great plan of God for Israel and the world. He was to be the leader of a great number of comparatively unorganised people, acting as a medium of communication between God and them to show them God's will. God, from the burning bush, gave Moses a quick summary of what He would do to the Egyptians and for the Israelites at the end of the bondage in Egypt, and told Moses to carry out His plans.
    It was natural that Moses could see the difficulties ahead to be surmounted. God told him to tell the Israelites Who had sent him, and Moses requested some evidence that would convince the hundreds of thousands of Israel that his call was bona fide and his authority God-given.

    Perhaps, even in spite of the revelations, Moses had little idea of what outstanding miracles God would perform for Israel's deliverance. He had seen the hand of God manifested in the miracle of the burning bush, from which God had spoken to him. He also saw his own hand turned snowy white with leprosy and then healed. And he saw the rod changed into a serpent, and back again to a rod, at his touch, in obedience to God's command.

    This rod was, no doubt, only a shepherd's staff, such as every herdsman carried with him on the long and lonely hours while tending the flocks -- but what a history awaited it! It was to be stretched out over the Red Sea to point a pathway through the cool, green depths. It was someday to smite the flinty rock and cause the thirst-slaking waters to gush forth to save a multitude from horrible death. It was to be lifted to give victory over Amalek. It was, afterward, to be known as the rod of God!

    When God wants an implement for His service -- be it an inanimate object or a person -- He does not necessarily choose the golden sceptre or the wise and talented individual. Instead, in many instances, He uses the weak and foolish things to confound the wise and mighty, that men might glorify their Creator rather than their own attainments and accomplishments (I Corinthians:1:27-29). God used a rod at this time. At other times He used a ram's horn, a cake of barley meal, a jawbone of an ass, an earthen pitcher, a shepherd's sling, a youthful Gideon, a self-effacing Saul, a shepherd-boy David, a self-condemning Isaiah and Jeremiah, and a humble John the Baptist. A "rod" with God behind it is mightier than the vastest army; and a man with God on his side is better than a thousand without Him (Deuteronomy:32:30; Joshua:23:10).

    A miracle is an effect produced by the power of God, independent of what we call the laws of nature, for the purpose of attesting the authority of some person or the truth of some doctrine. The burning bush was a miracle, since the fire that did not consume was contrary to the laws of our earthly realm. So was the turning of the rod into a serpent and the afflicting of the hand with leprosy, with the restoration and healing. These were impossible of accomplishment by human means, as the governing power was outside the realm of our natural laws, but possible through an operation of the laws of a spiritual realm.

    It took what might be called a simple; obeying faith to cause Moses to cast his rod to the ground not knowing what God's purpose was; but it took infinitely greater faith and confidence in God for Moses to take hold of the serpent from which he had just fled in terror. Again simple faith and trust prompted him to obey God and put his hand into his bosom to see it brought out diseased and loathsome; and desperate faith to return it and feel the healing virtue cleanse and make it like his other flesh again.

    Even the obedience of Moses was tried, for the more his mission was revealed and made clear to him the more he staggered at its greatness. He felt the importance of God’s charge, his own insufficiency, and the awful responsibility under which he would be placed if he accepted it. Who, from the natural viewpoint, can blame him for hesitating?

    God reminded Moses that he was to trust his Creator in times of great need, and Moses' further reticence brought God's anger, which shows that it was not meekness and humility alone on Moses' part that caused him to draw back. The immensity of the task, and Pharaoh's almost sure refusal of the requests Moses was told to make, made him somewhat unwilling to assume the responsibility. But again God shows His patience and mercy in dealing with men. He told Moses that Aaron would go with him and be the mouthpiece.

    This new arrangement answered Moses' objection that he was not physically capable of standing before a royal court and effectually pleading the cause of the oppressed Israelites, but it did not relieve him of the responsibility. Aaron was to be the mouthpiece, but Moses was still to be the agency between God and Israel -- the one who would have the responsibility of obtaining God's will in each crisis. A study of this faithful man's life reveals how effectively he carried out his mission. So great was he, and so endeared to the hearts of the people, that the Israelites wept for 30 days at his death, and the inspired writer tells us that there had arisen no greater prophet up to his day than Moses "whom the LORD knew face to face" (Deuteronomy:34:10-12).

    Moses' life is a demonstration of what God can do with a man who will surrender. Moses claimed he was not eloquent; yet, in Deuteronomy:32:1, he called the heavens and earth to hear him! Even a casual reading of the written accounts of his discourses to the Israelites will show any person that he was not held back at those times by a stammering, hesitant tongue. The secret of it is easily understood. Even though he was naturally slow of speech, yet when acting as the messenger of God and under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he was found to be a man "mighty in words and in deeds" (Acts:7:22).

    As soon as he received the instructions from God, Moses left at once for Egypt, without giving Jethro any intimation of the greatness of the errand upon which he was being sent. It is a mark of wise prudence on his part that he kept his own counsel in this matter. Perhaps it was during his Journey to Egypt that he sent his wife and sons back to Jethro, her father, as it is doubtful that they were with him in Egypt since we see them being reunited after the exodus ([Exodus:18:2-6]).

    How wonderfully God worked everything out! He spoke to Aaron, who was in Egypt, and told him to go to meet Moses. Their meeting was at the mount of God -- the site of God's conversation with Moses -- and there the two brothers talked with each other, Moses repeating to Aaron the commands and instructions of and, already fulfilling the word of the Lord that Moses was to be to Aaron instead of God.

    They journeyed to Egypt and met the Israelite elders and performed the miracles in the sight of all the Children of Israel. "The people believed" and worshiped God because He had heard their cries and groanings, sending this deliverance for them in their hour of dire need.

    Questions: 

    1. What three signs did God give Moses to show the Children of Israel?
    2. Tell some of the instances when the rod of Moses was used.
    3. Why did Moses hesitate to assume the leadership of Israel?
    4. What effect did Moses' reticence have upon God?
    5. What concession did God make to Moses?
    6.What did God tell Moses to expect of Pharaoh?
    7. What did God call Israel at this time?
    8. How did Aaron know where to go to meet Moses?
    9. What part was Aaron to take in the appearances before Pharaoh?
    10. When the Children of Israel saw the signs what effect did it have upon them?