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Discovering Moses: Fifth Excuse Of Moses – Session 15

Read  Session 1, Session 2, Session 3, Session 4, Session 5, Session 6, Session 7, Session 8, Session 9, Session 10 Session 11 Session 13 Session 14

Homework Assignment Session 16: download_now_link

The 5th and final excuse of Moses must be viewed in light of his prior excuses. Here is a table of the 4 previous excuses Moses provided God and the LORD’s response to his excuses:

Moses Excuse God’s Response Notes
1st Excuse of Inadequacy Who am I that I should go? (Ex. 3:11) I will be with you, when you come out of Egypt, you will serve me on this mountain. (Ex. 3:12) /discovering-moses-first-excuse-of-moses/  
2nd Excuse of Illiteracy Who are you? (Ex 3:13) I AM WHO I AM, the God of your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. (Ex.3:14-15) Not published yet
3rd Excuse of Unbelief How would the people that you send me to believe me? (Ex. 4:1) 3 Miracles 1. LORD turns Moses’ staff into a serpent and then back into staff (Ex. 4:2-4) 2. LORD makes Moses’ hand leprous, then heals it (Ex. 4:6-7) 3. LORD instructs Moses to turn water from the Nile into blood. (Ex 4:9) /discovering-moses-third-excuse-moses/  
4th Excuse of Inability I cannot speak well. (Ex. 4:10-12) Who has made man’s mouth? (Exodus 4:11) /discovering-moses-fourth-excuse-moses/  

When we gathered this past week and before we began studying the scriptures at hand, we went through the previous excuses of Moses to set up the context for our study. It is crucial for us as believers to know what the Bible says and not what we feel or think about it. The application of the truths can occur once we understand God’s original intent of the Scripture.

5th Excuse: Moses’ Unwillingness

But he said, "Oh, my Lord, please send someone else." (Exodus 4:13)

The more literal interpretation of this verse would be:

And he said: "O my Adonai (אדני), Please send by the hand of him whom You would send?"

This is the 5th and the final objection that Moses provided to God. In a nutshell, this summarizes all of his other excuses up-to-date. Oh Lord, can you send some else because I am not willing to face my past at this time or any other time? Though Moses had a supernatural encounter with God and was given several divine miracles as proof that God is all powerful, the bottom line was he was afraid. Regardless of the miracles he had experienced and the fact that he had been in the very presence of God, Moses’ feelings of fear overpowered him. Remember, God hadn’t yet assured Moses about his past and about how the last time he left Egypt he was considered to be a fugitive on the run and that now he would be returning to that very place. As far as God was concerned, it wasn’t time to deal with the fruits of Moses’ life – his status of being a fugitive. God was more concerned with Moses establishing his roots in the LORD, developing trust in God that he would be able to lean on for the rest of his life. If we stop and think about it, a lot of our fears stem from the fear of death. If we are not believers, death means the end and the danger of the unknown. Moses was doomed to be punished for his capital crime if he went back to Egypt. He was afraid. What fruits of our own poor choices prevent us from serving the Lord fully?

In contrast to Moses’ fears, God had a plan for Moses long before he was even born. God brought forth Moses’ birth at a time when all Hebrew boys were being slaughtered by Egyptians. God raised up Moses’ mother to defy the law of the land for the love of her God as she chose to trust the promises of God that Israel’s deliverer was coming. Moses’ sister was there to observe what would happen to her helpless, baby brother yet she was not afraid to step up and give advice to Pharaoh’s daughter when the opportunity arose. Moses, when he realized his calling, attempted to deliver his people the way he was taught by the world - which was founded in his strength, his might and his power. Now when God is finally sending him back to fulfill his calling on his life with God’s strength, God’s might and power, he is not willing to do so. Fear is a powerful thing. Paul, while he was imprisoned for the Good News, wrote to Timothy the following words:

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the Good News by the power of God (2 Timothy 1:7-8)

We might be asking ourselves: “How can Moses not be assured?” Great question! We are not born leaders, rather we are raised by God to become His leaders. This is what is happening with Moses and this is also what should be happening in our lives as men, as well. Be encouraged. It takes time to grow into this role.

Let us also notice that this is the second time Moses uses the name “Adonai” to refer to God, rather than using the divine name given at the burning bush by God.  Moses appears to be deliberately avoiding the implication of the name “I AM”.  If he used the great “I AM” then it would mean that he acknowledged the power and the purposes of God for his life. But fear is still in the way, blocking him from embracing this truth completely. As believers in Messiah Yeshua, we are encouraged by the Ambassador (Apostle) John:

Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4)

Do we embrace this truth about our current positions in the world in light of God’s kingdom? Or are we like Moses, always finding an excuse for what God has in mind for our lives?

God’s Response:  Help is Coming

Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses and he said, "Is there not Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. Behold, he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart.  (Exodus 4:14)

Adonai, though slow to anger by His very nature (Ex. 34:6), in this verse became very angry with Moses because of his reluctance to obey God’s command. God’s anger is righteous.

“The Anger of the LORD was kindled” when literally translated reads: “The nostrils of Adonai burned.”  In Genesis 30: 2 this phrase is used for Jacob in conjunction with his wife Rachael’s demand for him to give her children. In general, God’s anger is usually followed by some kind of punishment when this phrase is used. In Jewish tradition, the question that God raised here about Aaron the Levite is an indirect indication that the role of priesthood was passed onto Aaron and his descendants rather than to Moses as a direct consequence of Moses’ disobedience. There are always consequences for our actions, or in this case his inactions. Later, this fact is recorded in 1 Chronicles 23:13-14:

The sons of Amram: Aaron and Moses. Aaron was set apart to dedicate the most holy things, that he and his sons forever should make offerings before the LORD and minister to him and pronounce blessings in his name forever. But the sons of Moses the man of God were named among the tribe of Levi.

It is also notable that Aaron is mentioned for the first time here and introduced as Moses’ oldest (Ex. 7:7) brother in this verse. His brother hadn’t been raised in Pharaoh’s palace yet God stated that He knew that Aaron spoke well. It is amazing to see how God is in control of everything even before Moses voiced his last excuse.  God had already sent Moses’ brother on a journey to meet him.

There is also another important principle seen here.  Adonai is never unjust as our Master and He always tasks us with what we can handle in life if we choose to rely on Him for strength and wisdom for our life.

Aaron’s Role as Spokesman

You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth, and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth and will teach you both what to do. (Exodus 4:15)

In ancient Egypt, there was a chain of command in existence.  Because Pharaoh was considered to be a god the average, everyday person could not approach his presence.  Pharaoh’s degrees were carried out by high Egyptian officials declaring that they were directly from “the mouth of the king”. This official job was to speak to the people Pharaoh’s exact words. So now we see the God of Israel is establishing His order of command: God would speak to Moses, Moses would speak to Aaron, and Aaron would speak to Pharaoh. Moses was never to speak directly to Pharaoh.

Moses’ Role as God

He shall speak for you to the people, and he shall be your mouth, and you shall be as God to him. (Exodus 4:16)

The implication of this verse is mind boggling. Take a look at the original word for God in this verse. The Hebrew word used here is exactly the same one that is used in Genesis 1:1 H430 אֱלֹהִים 'ĕlôhı̂ym. This is the first time in history that God is bestowing His characteristics on a man, allowing Moses to speak on His behalf and perform miracles in His name.  In Genesis 20:17, Abraham prayed for king Abimelech and he and his household was restored to health. Abraham was then considered to be a prophet. Moses’ role goes beyond being a prophet. Moses becomes God’s representative of Him to the people. He is therefore not just another character from the Bible. In light of all of the complaining Moses did, God’s perfect revelation of His plans are not changed at all. On the contrary, Moses becomes exactly what Yeshua represented when He walked this earth: the final mediator between man and God (Hebrews 9:15,12:24).

Yeshua became our mediator and a perfect sacrifice which is why we can boldly enter into God’s presence. Moses foreshowed what Yeshua has fulfilled so beautifully for us. But the seeds of God’s greater plan can be found here in this verse.

God’s Presence – God’s Staff

And take in your hand this staff, with which you shall do the signs."  (Exodus 4:17)

Moses staff is to become his emblem of authority. He was fully prepared and consecrated to do the work of God with God’s power and enablement. The ordinary staff that Moses used for his daily work was transformed into God’s staff.

The staff was also a symbol of Moses’ life in the hands of God. The power was not in the staff, but in God. Of course, we know this. But do we apply this in our lives is the real question? Where does our enablement come from to be the husbands, the fathers the men God has called us to be? And just as that staff would become powerfully active only when it was taken into Moses’ hand, so Moses would be able to do nothing until Moses became like a staff in God’s hand.

Conclusion

Although we observed Moses’ reluctance to obey, this fact didn’t deter God’s perfect plan to be fulfilled. He not only provided Moses with a chain of command to represent Him before Pharaoh and Israel, He also raised Aaron his brother to be his spokesperson. Thus God addressed Moses’ complaints of inability. But it didn’t stop just there.  Moses foreshowed prophetically what Yeshua the Messiah of Israel would become as our mediator of a better covenant (Hebrew 8:6) for all of us.

It is easy for us to judge Moses for his excuses and his un-wiliness to do God’s work, but if we look deep down into our own heart of hearts we will realize that we would have acted no differently. Instead, we should be encouraged and strengthened by God’s revealed power both then and now. It is never about what we can do but what our God can accomplish with everyday, ordinary men like us.

At God’s command, Moses left the burning bush and we might have originally thought that he was mature, eager and ready for the tasks required of him, but throughout our study our original assumptions have had to be adjusted to the truths we are uncovering.  Let us wait and see what our hero is going to do next. Meanwhile, let us be diligent in our continued study of God’s word, in our daily prayer for each other and in our fellowship one with another.  

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Fourth Excuse Of Moses – Session 14

Read  Session 1, Session 2, Session 3, Session 4, Session 5, Session 6, Session 7, Session 8, Session 9, Session 10 Session 11 Session 13

Homework Assignment Session 15: download_now_link

Each day, as I force myself to look over the news headlines I feel more and more disturbed with the state of this nation and the world as a whole. Yet, I know that as believers we have a greater calling on our lives and that the God of this Universe has everything under control. We might not always think this way but we know it to be true from His Word. I am so privileged to be a part of our men’s group because we have men of all ages who desire to study God’s Word and apply the principles gleaned into their own lives. This kind of fellowship is hard to find.

During our last gathering we rallied around one of our brothers who lost his son. We mourned together but know that his son has been saved and is now in a much better place. One of the members of our group shared how he had asked God when he lost his beloved wife: "Why me, Lord?"As he wrestled with this question, the Lord was able to help him to rephrase the original question to: "Why not me, Lord?" He concluded that if this happens to other people, why do we think that we are any different? Death is very much a part of our lives. Praise the Lord that we can mourn as ones who have a greater hope, and that what might seem like the end is only the beginning of our eternal life.

As a father myself, I was touched by the wiliness of our grieving brother to be a part of our fellowship instead of any other place he could have chosen to be that night. It spoke highly of him as a fellow partaker in the promises of God and that he understands that the true comfort to his heart can only come from our God.

As men, we might not think that our fellowship with each other is important yet I observed firsthand how special it was to be there for our brother in such a difficult time of his life. Our goal during our study that night was to finish several verses from the text but as always we found ourselves discovering many simple truths from just two verses in Exodus 4. As a result of this study, we were greatly edified and encouraged. Let’s us recap what we learned.

4th Excuse: The Inability of Moses

But Moses said to the LORD, "Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue."  (Exodus 4:10)

We find Moses complaining to God that he wasn’t able to speak both before and after the burning bush experience. We can restate it like this: "What have you done for me lately?" How many times do we find ourselves of a similar mindset? We expect God to do something for us rather than us trusting Him to enable as we make that first step. What are we holding ourselves back from accomplishing in and for the Lord? It is challenging to think that Moses would pose his fourth excuse in such a way as this.

Another striking word in Moses’ response is the usage of the word "Lord" - as you can see the English is in lower case. The Hebrew is Adonai, which is different from the covenant name that God revealed to Moses in previous verses and is written in all caps, "LORD", and we pronounce it as Jehovah or Yahweh. He is acknowledging that God is his Lord and Master by using this spelling of it in his excuse.

"I am not a man of words" would be the literal translation of the word "eloquent" in our English Bibles. According to the Webster Dictionary, the word "eloquent" means - having the power of oratory; speaking with fluency, propriety, elegance and animation; as an eloquent orator; an eloquent preacher. We find ourselves, at times, like Moses.  Trusting the Author of the Good News message and understanding that to share it with others doesn’t necessarily require many words is key to grasping the lesson Moses struggled with here. God is simply looking at us to be His available messengers.

When we speak God’s Word are they eternal words? If so, than we can rest in the knowledge that God can enable through His Holy Spirit the conviction of people’s hearts to response to His Word.

The Hebrew word for servant is based on the root word H5647 עָבַד  aw-bad' which  means to work or toil and is first mentioned in Genesis 2:5(b) "For the LORD God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground".  So in the 1st mention of the word work we see it is a very positive reference and God expands on His design for man in Genesis 2:15 "The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it." So work in itself is not bad. We are created for good works. We are created to fulfill His calling for our work. Sin made it harder to fulfill the same design for our lives and we can see that the word for "Servant" is 1st mentioned after the fall.  It is a curse that God pronounced on Cain in Genesis 9:25 "He (God) said, "Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers." Moses rightly identifies with Lord as "His servant" but at this point this is just a mental ascent for him because we see he is not willing to heed to the Master’s plan. We are no different with our daily walk with our Master. We wake up each day and are ready to fight our battles, do our business, filling our hours with "things" to do where in fact it is all His. How do we reorient our hearts to make sure that we are being good servants to our Heavenly Master, Father God?

In short, Moses down played his ability as a speaker in his 4th excuse. We know this because of what was known about Moses in the Jewish tradition. Stephen stated the truths about Moses in his speech before the Jewish council:

And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds. (Acts 7:22)

Moses wasn’t being humble by downplaying his giftings. He was being disobedient. True humility will always say "yes" to God.

God’s Response to Moses’ Inability

Then the LORD said to him, "Who has made man's mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?."  (Exodus 4:11)

God poses a question to Moses to refocus him on what is important. Who gave us breath? Life? Who is in charge of our lives? Does Moses realize how silly it sounded to complain to the Creator about His creation? Like Moses, complaining can be second nature to us without even realizing it. But, God is sovereign over mankind, whether a person sees or not, hears or not, or even speaks or not. If God is able to make man from dirt and can enable him to represent the Creator how much more power does God have over His creation? It wasn’t Moses’ speaking ability that God was interested in but in his realization of where his strength was coming from.

The disciple John recorded an instance where Yeshua healed a blind man that was born blind:

And his disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. (John 9:2-3)

As we can see, Yeshua addressed the human reasoning. Who sinned? We always attempt to understand God’s ways and He is always a step ahead of us. Can you imagine being born blind only to find out that it was done in order for God to bring glory to His name?  The Word of God encourages us to be a sweet smelling aroma to the Lord. (2 Corinthian 2:15)

God revealed to Moses the very characteristics of Messiah – power over all creation! Matthew described how Yeshua was asked by John’s disciples if He was the Messiah, to which Yeshua responded by saying:

"Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. (Matthew 11:4-5)

The qualifications for the Messiah wasn’t military leadership as the Jewish authorities desired the Messiah to be during their Roman occupation. It was the demonstration of God’s love for all of humanity and the "Good news" that we can be set free from the sin that so easily entangles us and ultimately become God’s children. What marvelous Good News we have to share with others!

But, God wasn’t done just yet with Moses. In addition, He affirmed him with the following:

Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak." (Exodus 4:12)

The Hebrew literally reads: "I, even I, will be with your mouth".

The Hebrew word for teach is H3384 יָרָא    יָרָה yârâh    yârâ' and it has many other meanings: a primitive root; properly to flow as water (that is, to rain); transitively to lay or throw (especially an arrow, that is, to shoot); figuratively to point out (as if by aiming the finger), to teach: -  (+) archer, cast, direct, inform, instruct, lay, shew, shoot, teach (-er, -ing), through.

The Hebrew word for speak is H1696 דָּבַר dâbar and it is a primitive root; perhaps properly to arrange; but used figuratively (of words) to speak; rarely (in a destructive sense) to subdue: - answer, appoint, bid, command, commune, declare, destroy, give, name, promise, pronounce, rehearse, say, speak, be spokesman, subdue, talk, teach, tell, think, use [entreaties], utter, X well, X work.

God was promising to be with Moses’ mouth and to teach him what to say to the Elders and to Pharaoh. The bottom line here is that Moses wasn’t supposed to rely on his own ability but rather on God’s power and sovereignty. One might think that this assurance from the Creator of all would be enough for Moses but Moses still had a 5th and final excuse.

Conclusion

As we learned in this session, Moses was self-focused in his 4th excuse. He was looking at the whole matter through the perspective of him being in center. We find our focus tends to be on our own limitations, our own inabilities or disabilities and not on God’s grace - which is sufficient. Do we believe that?

We observed that in God’s response to Moses He takes responsibility for His universe; God takes responsibility for our lives because He knows His grace is to prove sufficient. The whole purpose of our existence is to relate to Him that we might represent Him and show that His grace is sufficient—that God is able to make a difference in our lives.

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Messiah may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

So as men, let us live our lives in such a way that we show where our sufficiency comes from. Baruch HaShem! (Praise His Name!)