July 17, 2020 – Friday
Exodus 4:1 NIV
1 Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?
Here we have moved into Exodus 4 where Moses is asking the Lord a question What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’? What is it the Lord has asked Moses to present to the people that has Moses so concerned about their believing him? Turning back to chapter 3 we find
16 “Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—appeared to me and said: I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt. 17 And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—a land flowing with milk and honey.’
18 “The elders of Israel will listen to you. Then you and the elders are to go to the king of Egypt and say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God.’ 19 But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him. 20 So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. After that, he will let you go.
21 “And I will make the Egyptians favorably disposed toward this people, so that when you leave you will not go empty-handed. 22 Every woman is to ask her neighbor and any woman living in her house for articles of silver and gold and for clothing, which you will put on your sons and daughters. And so you will plunder the Egyptians.”
Frankly that was a great deal God was asking of Moses to tell the people of Israel, but in verse 18 says unequivocally The elders of Israel will listen to you. It was after this Moses asked his question. The Lord was prepared for this question and replied
2 Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?”
“A staff,” he replied.
3 The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.”
Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. 4 Then the Lord said to him, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.” So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand. 5 “This,” said the Lord, “is so that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has appeared to you.”
And He knew they might be difficult to convince so He also provided the following evidence for Moses
6 Then the Lord said, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” So Moses put his hand into his cloak, and when he took it out, the skin was leprous—it had become as white as snow. 7 “Now put it back into your cloak,” he said. So Moses put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was restored, like the rest of his flesh. 8 Then the Lord said, “If they do not believe you or pay attention to the first sign, they may believe the second. 9 But if they do not believe these two signs or listen to you, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground. The water you take from the river will become blood on the ground.”
Moses was now convinced himself, but did not believe he was the man for the job even though God had chosen him. So in the very next verse said 10 Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue. And then 13 Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.
As you might imagine the Lord was not happy with Moses’ answer 14 Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses and He said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and he will be glad to see you. 15 You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do. 16 He 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. 17 But take this staff in your hand so you can perform the signs with it.”
A number of events followed, but key for us is that Moses met with his brother Aaron in the wilderness. There he told Aaron everything the Lord had instructed him to say and the miracles he was to perform. That’s when 29 Moses and Aaron brought together all the elders of the Israelites, 30 and Aaron told them everything the Lord had said to Moses. He also performed the signs before the people, 31 and they believed. And when they heard that the Lord was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped.
They believed. They believed. Yes I know I wrote that twice. I did that because that is so crucial to the everything that follows. If they had not believed there would have been no exodus from Egypt. There would have been no ten plagues brought down upon Egypt. There would have been no Passover celebration that continues to this day. They believed.
In our verse for today Moses asked What if they do not believe me or listen to me? They listened and believed. It was their belief that saw them as a people released from slavery. Some 1500 years later people would begin to believe the Son of God, Jesus, died on the cross for their sins and was resurrected on the third day. That is when their belief began to free them from slavery to their sins. Jesus would be the last required Passover sacrifice used by the Lord to purchase our freedom from condemnation.
We believe. Yes we believe in what Jesus has done for us and that changed and changes everything. We were dead in our sins and are now alive in our belief. We are no longer slaves to sin. It changes us so that there is the fruit of our repentance. We begin to forgive as we have been forgiven. Everything changes. Everything.
It is my hope and prayer as you go to church this weekend you will think on how important your belief is to your eternal future and give thanks in prayer in song in worship and in study of God’s Word. Let your belief be strengthened while in church and carry this new strengthening with you throughout the days ahead as well.