Introduction: God called Moses and Aaron to bring the Good News of the Exodus to His suffering people. Though they would at times find it difficult to place their faith in what Moses and his brother declared “because of their discouragement and cruel bondage” (Ex. 6:9), God would nevertheless persevere in speaking to the heart of His people until He wooed them out of Egypt. Let us rejoice this week to see how God’s Word can overcome every kind of resistance, bringing His will to bear on the individual, like Moses, and on the people of God as a whole.
Monday: read Exodus 4:15-17 and Exodus 7:1-2. The message of freedom from Egypt would first be given to Moses, and then Moses was to convey it to his spokesman, Aaron, as verse 16 says: “Aaron will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him.” What authority God gives to His Word! Though it will pass from Moses to Aaron, and then to Israel, it still is God’s undiluted Word of comfort, challenge and promise for His people! Furthermore, even when that Word comes to unbelievers, the same Divine authority applies. When it comes to confronting Pharaoh, Moses will function as God to that Egyptian king also (Ex. 7:1). Pharaoh will be the recipient of the prophetic Word! Yes, Pharaoh will attempt to compromise and reject the authority of this Word because it comes to him from lowly Moses and Aaron, but God will hold him to account for rejecting His direct command to “Let my people go!”
Meditate and Pray: Ask the Lord to guard His Word as it is delivered to His church in our day, even as He guarded it in the days of Moses and Aaron.
Lord, bless the Word as it comes through your ordained servants in our day. Though none of Your ministers are prophets today, they are still to bring God’s Word to your people through the written Scriptures. Help them to do so without innovation; without the influence of their own ideas or opinions. May Your people still hear Your voice speaking to them directly as Your Holy Bible is opened each Lord’s Day. In the Name of the One who is the Living Word, Jesus Christ, Amen.
Tuesday: read Exodus 4:16-23. Notice how bold God’s Word through Moses will be to Pharaoh: “Let my son go, so he may worship me. But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son” (Exodus 4:23). Though beset by many doubts, fears and personal weaknesses, God will embolden Moses to “speak before kings… on account of God’s Name” (Luke 21:22).
Meditate and Pray: Let us thank God for how His Word, progressively revealed to Moses, eventually transformed him from a fearful, unwilling servant into an unashamedly bold prophet, through whom God’s voice “boomed” throughout the whole world. As Moses says so daringly in Deuteronomy 32:1: “Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak; hear, O earth, the words of my mouth!” For Moses, the whole created order was too small to contain the message which he had learned to declare in God’s Name! Ask God to also cause the message of the Gospel in our day to sound boldly throughout the world, so that the whole creation will own the greatness of God’s Word. Use the words of hymn # 125 in our Trinity hymnal:
Let all things now living a song of thanksgiving
To God the Creator triumphantly raise.
Who fashioned and made us, protected and stayed us,
Who guides us and leads to the end of our days.
His banners are o’er us, His light goes before us,
A pillar of fire shining forth in the night.
Till shadows have vanished and darkness is banished
As forward we travel from light into light.
His law he enforces, the stars in their courses
And sun in its orbit obediently shine;
The hills and the mountains, the rivers and fountains,
The deeps of the ocean proclaim him divine.
We too should be voicing our love and rejoicing;
With glad adoration a song let us raise Till all things now living unite in thanksgiving:
“To God in the highest, Hosanna and praise!”
Wednesday: read Exodus 4:18 and Galatians 1:15-16. Given God’s mighty commission of Moses, along with all the necessary Divine promises of success in going back to Egypt, how could Moses be so secretive in announcing to his father-in-law his intention to take his family and return to Egypt? Moses says in verse 18: “Let me go back to my own people in Egypt to see if any of them are still alive.” Is that all you have to say about your mission, Moses? Why hide the real purpose of your calling? But Scripture does not condemn Moses’ secrecy. Perhaps, because it had been so hard for Moses to be persuaded by God to go back, he now feared his father-in-law’s efforts to dissuade him, once the dangerous mission of going to confront Pharaoh was revealed as the real reason for his return. With this interpretation, Moses’ silence is actually noble. Just like the Apostle Paul in his apostolic calling, Moses is determined to obey God and “will not consult with any man” (Gal. 1:16), having gone past the point of no-return.
Meditate and Pray: Let us reckon seriously with the calling of God on our lives. There is no turning back. May God give us the determination and persistence to follow Him, even if our own family seeks to dissuade us! As hymn # 580 in our Trinity hymnal puts it:
|Lead on, O King eternal,
The day of march has come;
Henceforth in fields of conquest
Thy tents shall be our home.
Through days of preparation
Thy grace has made us strong;
And now, O King eternal,
We lift our battle song.
|Lead on, O King eternal,
We follow, not with fears,
For gladness breaks like morning
Where’er Thy face appears.
Thy cross is lifted over us,
We journey in its light;
The crown awaits the conquest;
Lead on, O God of might.
Thursday: read Exodus 4:18-24. Though we rightly celebrate the triumph of God’s mighty Word in the life of Moses as he eventually goes back to Egypt to challenge the whole world to give ear to God’s Word, we are still quite a ways from such a courageous step in Ex. 4:18-24. Sadly, God’s covenant of circumcision has been neglected by Moses. We are not sure why Moses did not circumcise his son, but God’s death-penalty for such a transgression is clear in Gen. 17:14: “Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.” So, Moses’ son’s life is forfeit due to this sin. Why then does God go after Moses the father? Perhaps Moses’ son is so young as not to bear the guilt which would devolve upon him in later years. But we must also say that part of the answer must surely have to do with Moses’ high office as prophet of God’s people, increasing his culpability for the sin of neglecting his son’s circumcision. To put it in terms of the greater guilt ascribed to leaders in the New Testament:
- “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account” (Heb. 13:17).
- “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly” (James 3:1).
- “An elder must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)” (1 Timothy 3:4-5).
Meditate and Pray: If judgment “begins with the family of God” (1 Peter 4:17), that is, the church, how we must pray for our leaders, that God would purge the inconsistencies out of their lives, in order that their leadership might bear the exemplary mark of God’s approval and blessing. Moses was not going to be able to lead Israel out of Egypt while his own house was in such disarray!
Friday: read Exodus 4:18-24. We are considering God’s challenge to Moses’ inconsistent leadership of his home in Exodus 4. Though we are not sure why circumcision was neglected, we clearly see God’s wrath against Moses for his compromised leadership. This is a verdict, alas, that applies to many church leaders in our day. As A.W. Tozer put it in his book, The Warfare of the Spirit:
The church is languishing not for (the lack of) leaders but for the right kind of leaders… History will show that the church has prospered most when blessed with strong leaders and suffered the greatest decline when her leaders were weak. The sheep rarely go much farther than the shepherds.
Well, this is a severe verdict of “guilty” for Moses to bear, isn’t it? But the great mystery must be, “Since Moses was guilty of such compromise, and clearly deserving of death (otherwise the Lord would not have met him for the purpose of taking his life in Ex. 4:24), why indeed does Moses (or his son) survive? Could not God have easily taken his life for his guilt? We will have more to say about God’s sparing of Moses in future Bible notes. For today, let us simply acknowledge the Grace of God in sparing Moses’ life. How many times does God spare us in the same way every day?
Meditate and Pray: Let us thank God for His fatherly compassion, sparing us each day for what our sins deserve, with the words of hymn # 76, taken from Psalm 103:
|Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven;
To His feet thy tribute bring.
Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
Evermore His praises sing:
Praise the everlasting King.Praise Him for His grace and favor
To our fathers in distress.
Praise Him still the same as ever,
Slow to chide, and swift to bless.
Glorious in His faithfulness.
|Fatherlike He tends and spares us;
Well our feeble frame He knows.
In His hands He gently bears us,
Rescues us from all our foes.
Widely yet His mercy flows.