Exodus 3-4 – Don’t pick me

Moses_bas-relief_in_the_U.S._House_of_Representatives_chamber
Sculpture in the U.S. House of Representatives.

One of the things that jumped straight out at me in this passage was that Moses was very reluctant to be called by God:

‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?’(3:11).

Moses thinks he is to insignificant a person to be called by God to save God’s people.  God reassures Moses in the next verse but Moses’ response is:

‘Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?’ (3:14)

Moses is worried that the people might ask him difficult questions that he cannot answer.  God tells Moses what to say in the next few verses and sets out what will happen and then Moses responds:

‘What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?’ (4:1)

Moses is now worried that they won’t listen to him or even believe him.  So again God helps by giving Moses signs he can perform so that they will believe (staff into snake etc).  Moses responds:

‘Pardon your servant, Lord.  I have never been eloquent, neither in the pas tnor since you have spoken to your servant.  I am slow of speech and tongue’ (4:10).

Now Moses moves onto what I think is his real concern, his own ability.  His previous concerns are about this as well, he is worried that he is not a good enough public speaker to answer questions or persuade people.  God answers him saying that he will help him with speaking and teach him what to say. Moses responds:

‘Pardon your servant, Lord.  Please send someone else.’ (4:13)

Moses is still not convinced!  God has responded to all his problems and Moses tells God to send someone else!  Moses is either so unconvinced of his own ability or daunted by the task which he thinks is too big for even God to do, or both.  We are told that God’s anger rises here but his response is to get someone (Moses’ brother) to help by doing the speaking part.

I find Moses’ responses here to being called fascinating and comforting in a way!  ‘God’s call of Moses is a vivid reminder of how we are all called to serve the living God.  ‘Moses’ hesitant response has a familiar ring to it!’ (Alexander). I think we all worry sometimes when God is calling us to do something that we don’t think we can do and it helps to know that even the ‘greats’ of the Bible like Moses worried and had doubts.  The message is God works in and through our weaknesses.

 

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