By Sandy Shaw
How would you like to coach this man? Even Almighty God had a difficult job coping with him at the beginning!
When God calls Moses to do a most remarkable and specific job, Moses reacts and responds in a way in which any of us might react and respond. Five times he tries to get out of it. At 40 he had been too hasty - too eager - using the wrong methods at the wrong time.
He asks, "Who am I?" having been given such words of assurance and reassurance. Pick up your Bible and read the detailed account we have of this in Exodus Chapter 3.
When I was a prince in Egypt I could have done this work, but now, well Lord, I think you have the wrong man!
It is good to feel this insignificant - especially when God has drawn this close to you - but wrong if it drives you away from the work God has called you to.
"Lord, I couldn't do that - and the Lord has to say - O I know that - I know you can't do it - and won't do it - I'll do it - but through you.
"Moses, I am not insignificant - I can do it - and I will do it - but I need you!"
Moses begins to argue with God, and we see something of the sheer patience of God, and Almighty God begins to reason with Moses.
Never argue back. That is weakness and rebellion and sheer stupidity.
When we come to verse 12 we see something of how Almighty God was reassuring and encouraging His chosen man - I will be with you - I will be with you like a daddy with a frightened child. Here we see the sovereignty of God at its most glorious and most reassuring.
In a world of change and decay - when men are so fickle - here we see something of the reliability and steadfastness and faithfulness of God.
Our God is so personal. He is always there with His people. He is unique.
He is I AM - and you can put in there whatever you require - I am your peace - your Healer - your Saviour - Your Encourager - Provider - Comforter - challenger - the One Who baptises with the Holy Spirit - the One Who forgives and shows mercy and love.
What all this means is - "I am truly present with you and ready to come to your aid".
Our God is I AM - the light of the world - the bread of life - with you always - the way the truth and the life - the vine - the door - the king of kings and lord of lords - the resurrection and the life. There was nothing approaching that among all the false gods of Egypt!
Moses is told to go to Egypt and assemble all the elders of the people and explain to them what I have promised to do.
Verse 18 - and the elders will listen to you. Then you have to go to the king of Egypt - but Moses, that will be a little bit more difficult - nevertheless - I will work on him. And Moses - when you do leave Egypt, you will not leave empty handed - you will be laden with silver and gold and sufficient clothing.
After all that Moses says - What if whey do not believe me? What if they do not listen to me? Here we see man's unbelieving heart, and again we see how patient and reasonable God is up to a point. We are in Chapter 4 now.
Moses - what is in your hand? A staff or rod - throw it on the ground - and it became a snake - and he ran from it! You couldn't see Moses for dust! God had to get him to return and take it up by the tail, and he reached out to lift it up by the very tip - that is what the Hebrew suggests - and it became a rod again.
Moses, will you take up the task I am calling you to do? Moses, stop wriggling. In My Hands you will be as strong and powerful as your rod.
Put your hand into your cloak - when he took it out it was leprous. Put it back in and when he took it out it was restored healed and whole.
The link with obedience and blessing is so clear. Obedience and reward are related.
It is possible to have a burning bush experience - it is possible to have a Pentecost experience - and still argue!
God - knowing just what kind of man he was dealing with gives him a third sign. Take some water - pour it on the ground - and it will become blood.
God gives Moses three signs of reassurance - three tokens - three very physical and visible signs - and you can almost wonder if God is preparing to say "NEXT!"
Moses will not take a telling. He argues that he cannot speak. Well he has been doing pretty well up till now.
When God calls a man there is tremendous potential for good or evil. Life can either be terrific or terrifying.
There is no room in the service of Jesus Christ for boasting or rank or too much self-confidence, but there is also no room for unwillingness and arguing - or worse - verse 13 - trying to pass the job on to someone else. Send someone else. That cost Moses a lot later on.
When Moses questioned God's choice and ability to use him he was doubting God's authority.
What are we to do with the task that lies ahead of us? Take it up - even it appears a wriggling serpent. Leave that matter to the risen and living Lord Jesus Christ.
Our response is to rise up and take up the work - in the love and power and strength of Jesus Christ the King of Kings.
Consent - yield - accept - comply. That is the type of response God looks for!
Sandy Shaw is Pastor of Nairn Christian Fellowship, Chaplain at Inverness Prison, and Nairn Academy, and serves on The Children's Panel in Scotland, and has travelled extensively over these past years teaching, speaking, in America, Canada, South Africa, Australia, making 12 visits to Israel conducting Tours and Pilgrimages, and most recently in Uganda and Kenya, ministering at Pastors and Leaders Seminars, in the poor areas surrounding Kampala, Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu.
He broadcasts regularly on WSHO radio out of New Orleans, and writes a weekly commentary at http://www.studylight.org entitled "Word from Scotland" on various biblical themes, as well as a weekly newspaper column.
His M.A. and B.D. degrees are from The University of Edinburgh, and he continues to run and exercise regularly to maintain a level of physical fitness.