Wednesday, August 18, 2021

2021.08.18 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 4:1–9

Read Exodus 4:1–9

Questions from the Scripture text: After Yahweh told him that the people would heed his voice (cf. Exodus 3:18), what objection does Moses raise anyway (Exodus 4:1)? With what question does Yahweh respond (Exodus 4:2)? What does Moses answer? What does Yahweh tell him to do with it (Exodus 4:3)? What happens to it? What then does Moses do? Then what does Yahweh tell Moses to do (Exodus 4:4)? By what end? Why would this ordinarily be a bad idea? But what happens to it? How does Exodus 4:5 complete the statement about the rod? Now what does Yahweh say to do in Exodus 4:6? What happens to Moses’s hand? And what does He say to do in Exodus 4:7? Now what happens to it? What does Yahweh give as the reason for two signs (Exodus 4:8)? But what must he do if they still don’t believe (Exodus 4:9)? 

God’s interaction with Moses continues to display Him as marvelously gracious. Certainly, He does not tolerate sin; in fact, He’s about to judge Egypt and Canaan for it. But, at the beginnings of His dealings with Moses, He is emphasizing His grace to His chosen prophet.

A glimpse of what we deserveExodus 4:3. Horribly, Moses suggests that God may be mistaken; Exodus 4:1 directly contradicts Exodus 3:18a. So, when the holy God before Whom Moses stands barefoot creates a supernatural serpent, we understand why Moses would be terrified. Of course, if the serpent is judgment from God, fleeing in that terror doesn’t make much sense. How can you escape God’s punishment?

The unsafety of disobedienceExodus 4:4. You don’t have to be a herpetologist to know that the tail is the worst place to grab a venomous snake. But at this point, there is something even more dangerous than grabbing a supernatural, venomous snake by the tail—disobeying Yahweh is far more dangerous! And the Lord affirms this by turning the snake back into a rod as soon as Moses obeys. Like grabbing the snake by the tail, there are many commandments of God that feel counterintuitive to our flesh, but they are the path of safety and blessedness: Sabbath-keeping, generosity, love for enemies, submission to imperfect authorities, preaching the truth about guilt and Hell, etc. But whatever God commands is whatever is wisest and safest, simply because He commands it! He is indeed our merciful, covenant God (Exodus 4:5).

The unsafety of ourselvesExodus 4:6. Just as there’s ordinarily no more dangerous place to put your hand than the tail of a venomous serpent, there’s ordinarily no safer place to put your hand than in your bosom. But now Yahweh shows him that we ourselves are not even safe to ourselves. Moses’s hand becomes leprous in his bosom (verse 6). But again, God Himself is what makes even this safe—not only safe but even restorative, as the same action heals his hand when God commands it in Exodus 4:7

The ultimate power of GodExodus 4:8-9. Yahweh now gives Moses a sign that he doesn’t get to “test drive” like the others. This may be in part because it is very specific to the river of Egypt, the Nile. For good reason, Egyptians (and others) considered that their own lives were given to them by the Nile, but the third sign takes what they thought was the god of their lives and turns it into the blood of death. 

How have you doubted the Lord’s promises or resisted His commands? How do the reminders in this passage help you?

Sample prayer:  Lord, You are the all-glorious God from Whom we receive all our life. In Your Son, our Lord Jesus, all Your promises are “yes” and “amen.” Forgive us for when we have balked at obedience because we did not trust you for the outcome. But You, O God, have not spared Your own Son, but given Him up for us; and, together with Him, You are freely giving us all things! Keep us from trusting in ourselves, or in Your good gifts, instead of in You and Your goodness. Shower that goodness upon us, we pray, in Jesus’s Name, AMEN! 

Suggested songs: ARP2 “Why Do Gentile Nations Rage?” or TPH483 “Loved with Everlasting Love”

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