Moses: How Not to Respond5 min read
In Deuteronomy 33:1, Moses is described as ‘the man of God,’ because he had such a godly passion for the Most High. However, before he became this man, in Exodus he is portrayed as an incompetent and unwilling servant. In this study of selected portions of Exodus 3-5, we hope to find some examples not to imitate so we can serve the Lord appropriately.
Before examining the servant, we must examine the Lord, for He is the greatest incentive to serve. We see this incentive in four main traits: glory, eternity, holiness, and love. His glory, seen in the fire of the burning bush, presents to us a Lord Who is worthy of all praise and devotion because of His worth. His eternity through the flames of the bush being unquenchable, and it implies to us that His reign is eternal. Because He is infinite, He certainly deserves at the least the absolute devotion of the finite. Holiness is being set apart, and certainly God is seen as set apart in this portion of Scripture. Holiness shows to us that His standard is apart from all sin and that He demands perfection, nothing less. Finally, He is seen as a loving God Who cares for His people and is willing to do whatever it takes to free them. He will not deal unfairly with us. Is there any other Lord in whom we can have such confidence?
Not only was it essential to obey the Master because of Who He is, but it is essential to obey Him because of the solemnity of His call. God’s own people were suffering and dying, while His promises had yet to be fulfilled. It was time for Israel to see those promises carried through.
And how solemn is our call! 155,000 of our own people – God’s own creations whom He loves – die every day, and most enter Hell. Scripture says in 2 Corinthians 6:2b “Behold now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation.” God’s time for His plan of redemption to be carried out is now, just as in the time of Moses’ call. However, our call is all the more solemn, because it means eternity to every soul who passes through death. While we cannot save them, we can at least point to the One Who can. How many have heard the gospel from your lips in the past months? Have you been faithful to share the gospel with every creature? The Lord Himself has called us; God forbid that we respond as Moses did!
We have seen the importance of the Caller and the solemnity of the call. Sadly Moses did not see it. He responded by saying “Who am I?” This was reasonable, considering that he knew his infirmities and didn’t fully know the power of God in salvation. However, even after the Lord declared His completeness and His power, the rod became a serpent, and Moses’ hand turned leprous, he still did not believe. After a while, it was actually the case that Moses seemed to be purposefully rejecting God’s wonders. The Lord was furious with a righteous anger, and rightly so; after all, His people needed salvation from Egypt. How to we respond when we are called to such an important task? Should we not look at it as a privilege to honor Him despite our sinful flesh and reply in humble submission? Sadly, so many in their attitude today say simply “I don’t care,” and they move on as millions die in their sins. Let us not disregard the clear proof of His Lordship and bow in submission.
Because of Moses’ ‘Pharisee attitude’ (rejecting the clear proof), he gave up his place as main spokesman for God to Pharaoh. He missed the opportunity to proclaim the name of the Lord before the heathen and boast that his Lord is God. Instead, he forfeited his place to Aaron and, in reality, placed Aaron in the place of a spokesperson for the spokesperson (Moses) of God.
Perhaps if we reject His call long enough, He will grant our desire to not serve Him in the specific way He desires. This should strike fear into our hearts! We only have a limited time to serve, and it is such a privilege to serve Him right. Will we risk standing before our Saviour being able to look back on nothing accomplished for eternity and missed opportunities? God forbid. We must redeem the time, because the days are evil.
Not only did Moses unwillingly submit (which isn’t true submission), not only did he miss his opportunity to be main spokesman for the Most High, but when Pharaoh afflicted the people even further after he was confronted, Moses reviled God. Chapter 5:22-23 describes Moses saying to God, “Why have you done this evil? Why did you send me? Since I came, you have done nothing to help, even when Pharaoh afflicted the people further!” It is one thing to ask the Lord a question, but it is a great sin to question the Lord. It is then that we make Him out to be a liar. It is especially a great sin to question Him when it has been us who have not carried out our part of the agreement. Thankfully, the Lord in mercy looked, not at Moses’ doubt, but on God’s greatness and power to save. This must be our focus. In our minds must constantly be His omnipotence, as we see in 6:2. Is the Lord a liar? Why, then, would one question Him, especially His own people?
So how do we respond when the Almighty calls? Why would we respond in doubt when Scripture clearly shows us that our power (and very being) comes from the Lord in the first place? “And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD? Now therefore GO!…” (4:11). Paul said in 2 Corinthians 11:10, “As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop me of this boasting…” In verse thirty of that same chapter, he said that he rejoiced in his infirmities, because they glorified God when He used them. Rather than unwillingly submit, miss opportunities, and in the end revile our Lord, let us rejoice in our weakness; for it glorifies Him! What foolishness it is to miss this.