Introduction: We begin where we left off last time in Exodus 4, bowing before God’s sovereignty over all forms of human communication. It is God alone who, according to Exodus 4:11, makes men able to speak and hear, or unable to form speech and understand its meaning. It is God alone who “… made man’s mouth, and who makes him dumb or deaf, seeing or blind.” Why does He do this? The answer in this week’s Bible notes is that which Jesus gave His disciples in John 9:3: “This happened so that the work of God might be displayed ….” May we come away rejoicing that even those born deaf, blind or, like Moses, unable to speak as he ought, can, in the end, serve for God’s glory, even bringing untold blessing to God’s people!

Monday: read Exodus 4:10-13 and Exodus 3:3-5. Our focus is on Moses’ refusal to obey God’s call, using words written in a 1996 sermon on Exodus 4:13:

Moses is a picture of the believer who desperately clutches at inability and weakness as a justification for grievous disobedience, all the while unable to admit the real problem – that they are dreadfully afraid of trusting God’s purposes for them…Meanwhile the children of Israel suffer in far away Egypt, waiting for the Word of God which no one will bring: “Send someone else,” says the believer preoccupied with his/her own inabilities and unable to live for anything more than their own comfort and safety. “Send someone else,” says the believer burdened with guilt that they will not bring to God. “Let me indulge my own weakness, all the while selfishly keeping this burning bush and the blessing which proceeds from it to myself.” But be warned! The burning bush of God’s presence (Ex. 3:3-5) was not a wonder which Moses was to keep to himself. It was not a revelation for Moses’ own private faith. This is why the wrath of God burns against him: Because of Moses’ arrogant and selfish refusal to serve for the blessing of others in Exodus 4:13-14.

Meditate and Pray: “Lord, do not let us become self-absorbed and heedless to the plight of others because of our own selfish sense of weakness and fear. Please use the words of hymn # 452 in our Trinity hymnals to awaken our concern for others who suffer and to whom we are called to go with words of comfort and hope. Amen.”

The vision of a dying world is vast before our eyes;
We feel the heartbeat of its need, we hear its feeble cries:
Lord Jesus Christ, revive Your Church in this, her crucial hour!
Lord Jesus Christ, awake Your Church with Spirit given power.

The savage hugs a god of stone and fears descent of night;
The city dweller cringes lone amid the garish light:
Lord Jesus Christ,
arouse Your Church to see their mute distress!
Lord Jesus Christ, equip Your Church with love and tenderness.

Tuesday: read Exodus 4:13-17 and 2 Corinthians 3:5. Some scholars view God’s sending of Aaron to be Moses’ spokesman in Ex. 4:14 as a punishment, since Aaron is needed only because Moses stubbornly refuses to go to Egypt on his own. Other points in favor of this argument are: “Look at how Aaron was sent only after God’s wrath was aroused in verse 14. And look at what a liability Aaron would become when in weakness he bowed to rebellious Israel’s demand for a golden calf in Exodus 32:22-24! And wasn’t it Aaron who sided with Miriam against Moses in Numbers 12:1-2, repenting only after his sister was struck with leprosy in Numbers 12:10-11?”

In this way, we could argue that God’s honor suffered from Aaron being Moses’ spokesman! What a weak ally Aaron proved to be, with so many besetting weaknesses! But who could say anything different about Moses? Moses knew his own disqualifying tendencies, and pleaded in Ex. 4:13 not to be sent. Aaron could have pleaded in the same way. Who, after all, among any of the sons of Adam is truly qualified to lead? Yet it was God who called not only Moses, but Aaron too.

Meditate and Pray: Let us thank God that He is able to use us in all our weaknesses – even for Kingdom work! What a privilege! But what a daunting prospect! No wonder Paul says about all chosen to serve God in any capacity, “Our competency comes from God” (2 Cor. 3:5). It is God who equips otherwise weak and useless vessels for service in His Kingdom. So Moses and Aaron would learn – and so must we. Sing of this in hymn # 449 from our Trinity hymnal:

We rest on Thee, our Shield and our Defender!
We go not forth alone against the foe;
Strong in Thy strength, safe in Thy keeping tender,
We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.
Strong in Thy strength, safe in Thy keeping tender,
We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.

We go in faith, our own great weakness feeling,
And needing more each day Thy grace to know:
Yet from our hearts a song of triumph pealing,
“We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.”
Yet from our hearts a song of triumph pealing,
“We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.”

Wednesday: read Exodus 4:13-17, 1 Chronicles 23:13. How merciful of God to separate Aaron for special service, even though it was Moses’ sinful unwillingness which was the initial reason for Aaron’s call. Keep in mind: it is the priesthood of Aaron, described in 1 Chr. 23:13, which God has in mind in sending Aaron out to meet Moses his younger brother in Ex. 4:14. We know this because He refers to him in that verse as “Aaron The Levite,” as if he were already set apart to be the official head of the house of Levi. The lesson for us? Behold the marvelous wisdom of God, to turn Moses’ stubborn refusal to speak for God into the great blessing of the Aaronic Priesthood, as now Aaron would be called to “consecrate the most holy things, to offer sacrifices before the Lord, to minister before Him and to pronounce blessings in God’s name forever” (1 Chr. 23:13). Talk about using Moses’ handicap to display the work of God!

Meditate and Pray: Thank God for the multitude of gifts which He gives His church. Moses was “slow in mouth and speech,” and so God raises up Aaron, who, according to Ex. 4:14, could “speak well.” Now the blessing of God would sound forth from the house of Levi, overcoming Moses’ refusal! How we should rejoice that God is so determined to bless us as to send us an Aaron when a Moses just will not do. And beyond Aaron, have you noticed that in the New Testament, all the blessings are given to us through our Priest, Jesus Christ? A far more glorious Priest than Aaron: He never fails, even for a moment, to know what to say to His Father in order to procure God’s blessing on our lives! Hallelujah!

Thursday: read Exodus 4:14-17, Numbers 6:22-27 and Revelation 22:3-4. How we should treasure the Aaronic blessing of Numbers 6:22-27, by which the very name of God was “placed” upon God’s people. To think that Moses was willing to let that Word of God die on his lips, refusing to go to Egypt with the words of blessing for Israel in slavery! But how our hopes are rekindled as God provides Aaron to speak the words of blessing, since Aaron possessed the eloquence which Moses lacked, and since such facility with words was something required for the Priesthood. According to Hebrew tradition, any inability to speak clearly (in teaching as well as blessing) was a disqualification for any Levite from the priesthood. How wonderful that God raised up Aaron to meet just this need. Of course, in the New Testament, the Priesthood of Aaron is done away with, as imperfect and temporary. Yet still the “Name of God” is placed upon God’s people, but now through the eloquence and powerful blessing of the Risen Lamb of God, Jesus. As Revelation 22:4-5 puts it, describing the blessing which comes to us from God through the Lord Jesus Christ:

They will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign forever and ever.

Meditate and Pray: We ought to rejoice that our High Priest, Jesus, never fails in compassionate and eloquent intercession. He is always able to place His blessing upon our heads. His words are always fitting, effective and prevailing. Just as Jesus effectively prayed for Peter, saying, “I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail” (Luke 22:32), so He prays for us.

Friday/Saturday/Sunday: read Exodus 4:14, Numbers 6:22-27 and Psalm 13:1-5. Each day we may face times of spiritual desertion when we think God has forgotten us (Ps. 13:1), when we wrestle with painful emotions as they seek to dominate our entire thought-life (Ps. 13:2), or when our eyes cannot see any light at the end of the tunnel (Ps. 13:3). How precious, at such times, is the eloquent ministry of God’s Priesthood, to perform what David asks for in verse 3: “Look on me; Answer me; Give light to my eyes.”

As Dr. Sinclair Ferguson points out in his book, Deserted by God , this urgent three-fold prayer from Ps. 13:3 is answered by Aaron’s blessing in Numbers 6:24-26: “The LORD bless you and keep you; The LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; The LORD turn His face toward you and give you peace.” David knows that, if God will but look upon him again, “making His face shine” in the restoring grace of Divine blessing, then his life will again have the answers and the light David needs.

Meditate and Pray: Let us thank God for how practical the ancient blessing of Aaron can be for our lives. In Psalm 13, David is simply asking God to give the blessings He had promised to give way back in Numbers 6. David is, in Ferguson’s words, simply “urging God to be faithful to His own word, to do what He had said.” May we learn this lesson to boldly remind God of His promises for our lives, certain that God, in Christ, can “speak well” and for our good by virtue of the Office of Priest and Intercessor which Christ Jesus has taken up in Heaven on our behalf! How does Charles Wesley’s hymn # 305 in our Trinity hymnal put it?

Arise, my soul, arise; shake off thy guilty fears;
The bleeding sacrifice in my behalf appears:
Before the throne my surety stands,
Before the throne my surety stands,
My name is written on His hands.

Five bleeding wounds He bears; received on Calvary;
They pour effectual prayers; they strongly plead for me:

‘Forgive him, O forgive,’ they cry,
‘Forgive him, O forgive,’ they cry,
‘Nor let that ransomed sinner die!’

My God is reconciled; His pardoning voice I hear;
He owns me for His child; I can no longer fear:
With confidence I now draw nigh,
With confidence I now draw nigh,
And ‘Father, Abba, Father,’ cry.