Wednesday, August 25, 2021

2021.08.25 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 4:10–17

Read Exodus 4:10–17

Questions from the Scripture text: What new objection does Moses raise in Exodus 4:10? What does he say hasn’t made a difference(!)? With what question does Yahweh challenge him in response (Exodus 4:11)? What does He say will make the difference (Exodus 4:12)? Instead of raising objections, what tactic does Moses try in Exodus 4:13? Now what is Yahweh’s disposition toward him (Exodus 4:14a)? Whom does Yahweh say is already on the way to help (verse 14b)? What difference will there be between Moses’s current attitude and Aaron’s? How will each relate to the other in the speaking process (Exodus 4:15-16)? What does Yahweh command him to take (Exodus 4:17)? 

Accusing God. I hope that when you and I have complained about our circumstances or abilities, we have not realized that we were accusing God. Frighteningly, Moses cannot make that claim. In Exodus 4:10, he says “neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant.” His point is jarring: Your Word hasn’t done anything to improve the situation.

Yahweh’s answer is that He Himself is the solution. Moses’s inabilities are in the Lord’s intentional providence (Exodus 4:11) so that the Lord Himself will be Moses’s ability (Exodus 4:12). This is a principle that holds for each of us: His grace is made perfect in weakness (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:9), so that we will boast in Him alone (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:26–31). 

Refusing God. With his claim to having “an ability problem” shot down, Moses now exposes a much more sinister one in Exodus 4:13: a willingness problem. He now pleads that the Lord send literally anyone else. It turns out that he has not been unable so much as he has been unwilling.

Angering God. One of God’s perfections is that, for the sake of the elect Whom He is saving, He is slow to anger; but, His wrath is a perfection, and He wills to display it (cf. Romans 9:22–24). While God’s patience with Moses throughout this passage is very encouraging to those who turn to Him in repentance and faith, His anger in Exodus 4:14 is a warning to Moses, Egypt, Israel, even all of us.

This is the end of the conversation. The Lord tells Moses how it’s going to go, even revealing that Aaron is already on his way out to meet him (Exodus 4:14). Not only Moses’s weakness (which God would overcome) comes in the providence of God, but even Moses’s wickedness (which God would overlook and atone for, cf. Romans 3:25–26) is accounted for in the marvelous providence of God. 

God isn’t asking Moses to be anything more than a mouth (just as Aaron is going to be his mouth, Exodus 4:15-16) and a stick (like the one in Moses’s own hand, Exodus 4:17). The words are not from the mouth but from the person. The power for the signs is not in the stick. Just so, God Himself is all of the wisdom and the power, and Moses is none of it. 

In the end, the fact that this isn’t really a negotiation is marvelous grace, isn’t it? It seems that if it were up to Moses, he would not be saved at all, not be used at all. But it’s not up to him. Comparatively, in the Exodus, Moses is a mouth and a stick. God alone is the Savior.

How have you been accusing God in your situations? How have you been refusing God in not carrying out your calling? How has God been marvelously gracious in saving you, or in using you, despite your unwillingness?

Sample prayer:  Lord, Yours is all of the glory. Yours is all of the wisdom and the power. To us belongs shame and confusion of face, for we use our weakness as an excuse rather than an opportunity to boast that You are strong. And we groan against what You have called us to do. But to You belongs marvelous grace. Save us by Your grace through the atoning blood of Christ. Sanctify us by Your grace in cleansing us from it. And use us by Your grace for Your merciful, wise, and powerful work in this world, which we ask through Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH435 “Not What My Hands Have Done”

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