Sunday, April 9, 2017

Moses Obeys, and a Correction

Obedience at Last

First that correction

In Exodus 4:18-31, We can read how Moses finally accepted God's call on his life, and stepped out in faith with God. Before I get into that though, I want to post a correction on my last post.  At the end of my last post I made an error, I said that we never see in the Bible where Aaron actually spoke for Moses.  Now, I said this because a teacher I respect very much had made a similar statement in their teaching recently, and rather than fact check, I assumed it to be true.   Well, today's passage shows that it is not true, the Bible does record Aaron actually speaking for Moses.  I went back and took the statement off of yesterday's post, but I also felt it necessary to admit my error and apologize.  I should have checked the information myself, rather than just assume it was correct because of who said it.  I will be more careful in the future.

Now, Moses Obeys

Unclear happenings.

So back to Exodus 4 we read about the beginnings of Moses' official ministry.  Several unclear things take place in this chapter though.

 First in verse 18 we see Moses request permission from his father-in-law.  Why he had to ask permission isn't clearly stated, perhaps it was just a sign of respect, perhaps it was to give his father-in-law notice since he served as shepherd of his flocks.  Perhaps he had previously agreed to serve his father-in-law in order to gain permission to marry his daughter.  Whatever the reason, Moses now asks if he can return to Egypt, but he doesn't really say why he is going.  He doesn't tell Jethro about God's call, he doesn't tell Jethro that God spoke from a burning bush or that He chose Moses to free the children of Israel.  Instead, he says he wants to go see if any of his family is still alive there.  

Why didn't he disclose what he was doing?  

Was he afraid Jethro wouldn't believe him?

Was he still processing for himself what God had asked of him?

The Bible doesn't say his reason, but we do see that in verses 19 and 20 God repeats His call, this time with the assurance that those who wanted to kill Moses are now dead, and that Moses leaves for Egypt with his wife and sons.  Then in verses 21-23 God again instructs Moses as to what he is called to do.  Perhaps Moses really did plan on only going to see if his family still lived.  Perhaps his heart wasn't fully set on obeying yet.  I know we often do the "half obedience" game with God.  God calls us to tell someone the Gospel, but rather than tell them ourselves, we invite them to church so the Pastor can do it.  We half obey and wonder why we get half results.  Here Moses is headed to Egypt, but is he really planning to go to Pharaoh and demand that God's people be set free?  The Bible isn't really clear, but we do see that for some reason, God decided it was necessary to tell Moses AGAIN what he was to do when he arrived in Egypt.

Then in verses 24-26 something happens that seems baffling at first glance.  God comes to Moses and seeks to kill him, Moses' wife intervenes by circumcising their son, and God restrains from harming Moses.  Why did God seek to kill Moses?  Why did circumcision convince God not to do it?

The Bible leaves a lot unclear in this passage, but it isn't hard to infer what was going on.  God had just called Moses to lead His people, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  He had also called him to stand before Pharaoh and tell him that Israel was His first-born son, and that if Pharaoh didn't let Israel go God would kill his firstborn.  Moses though, was not fit to lead the children of Israel because he had not obeyed the command given to Abraham and all of Abraham's descendants generations before.  God had told Abraham that the covenant between God and Abraham's descendants required that every male be circumcised.  This should have been done when Moses' son was 8 days old.  The Bible doesn't say why Moses hadn't done it, perhaps his wife didn't want him to, since it wasn't a custom to the Midianites, perhaps that is why she seemed so angry about doing it, tossing the foreskin at Moses' feet and calling him a "husband of blood", or perhaps she was just angry that she had to do herself, when it really should have been Moses' job.  Again the Bible isn't totally clear, but we do see that once the circumcision is taken care of, God lets Moses go.

In verses 27-31 we see the chapter wrapping up with God sending Aaron to meet Moses, and then we see them go together to Egypt to speak to the elders of Israel and tell them God's plan for deliverance, it is in these verses that we see Aaron speaking for Moses.

Thoughts for Application

The incident where Moses' wife had to circumcise their son to save her husbands life illustrates the importance of obeying what we already know God wants us to do.  Often, we wonder why God doesn't speak to us and tell us what He wants us to do with our lives, but I think we should ask ourselves if we are obeying what He has already revealed of His will through His word.

Moses had no excuse for not circumcising his son.  The Israelites had passed down that symbol of their covenant since Abraham, and even though Moses had been raised in an Egyptian household, he knew he was an Israelite, and had enough contact with Israelites to know about this requirement.  Yet he didn't do it, and finally his wife was forced to do it with a sharp stone, in a rush, on a child much older than the ideal age for a circumcision.  

In a similar way, we have no excuse for not obeying God in the things we know He wants all of us to do, to love one another, to obey His commands, to read His word and spend time in prayer.  We may ask for further guidance, but one must wonder if He isn't looking at us and thinking, "Why should I tell you to do anything more when you aren't even doing what I already told you I wanted?

So I think the application for this passage is to obey, to obey fully (not half obedience), and to obey in a timely manner, rather than wait until we are backed against a wall.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

What Can Change the Plan of God?

What Can Change the Plan of God?

Perhaps the title of this post might seem a little misleading, since I ask what can change God's plan, when I know nothing really can, well nothing except for God Himself that is, and since He is unchanging, His plan isn't likely to change any time soon.   Moses' life, especially the first part, before the plagues of Egypt, before the parting of the Red Sea, and before the Ten Commandments, is a perfect example of this.  Here are some things about Moses' early life that couldn't change the plan of God for him.

Ruthless men can't change God's plan

Looking back into Exodus 1-2, we see that Egypt was ruled by several ruthless and cruel Pharaohs, who turned against the descendants of Joseph and of Jacob (also called Israel), and forced them into slavery, in spite of the fact that Joseph had saved Egypt from ruin, and that the rest of Joseph's family, including his father Jacob (Israel), had all come to Egypt by invitation of an earlier Pharaoh, also despite the fact the descendants of Israel had never taken any action against Egypt in all their time living in the land. Still, there a arose a king over Egypt who did not know Joseph and Israel, and who acted in fear and put their descendants into slavery, not happy with that, he made the decision to start murdering all of the baby boys born to the Israeli mothers.  God protected Moses though, because He had a plan for Moses and nothing was going to change that.

Our past sin can't change God's plan.

Also in Exodus 2, we read about how Moses, knowing that God had chosen him to deliver the Israelites, acted on his own instead of waiting on God, and rose up and murdered a man in cold blood, and then had to run for his own life, a fugitive.  

This didn't change God's plan for Moses though, God just sent Moses to the desert for the next 40 years to do some manual labor and some soul searching, and in that time God was preparing Moses for the task ahead of him.

Our age can't change God's plan.

As I mentioned in my last post, by the time Moses was officially called by God from that burning bush, Moses was 80 years old.  His first 40 years had been spent protected and in luxury, the next 40 years had been spent as a fugitive, and as a lowly shepherd in the the desert, living a life of hard work and harsh conditions, kind of like a 40 year long boot camp to get Moses ready for the job God had for him.  At 80 years old, most people consider their life's work pretty much done, very few expect to be starting new ventures at that time, but Moses' age didn't matter to God, God called him to do the task, and God would sustain him through that task.

Our doubts can't change God's plan.

(This rest of this  post looks at Exodus 3:7-4:17, you can read the passage in its entirety by clicking HERE.)

Moses, the great pillar of faith, was actually pretty full of doubt when God called him.  In Exodus 3:11 Moses responds to God's call by asking, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” 

God responds to Moses with reassurance that He will be with Him every step of the way, but Moses still doubts, and starts to argue with God, bringing up all kinds of questions and doubts. God is patient and answers each one, telling Moses what to say if questioned, and performing several miracles for Moses and promising Moses that these same signs will be repeated in Egypt to convince everyone that God actually sent him.
Moses still doubts, and in fact one of those miraculous signs scares Moses away, when God turns Moses' rod into a snake, rather than being amazed at the work and miraculous hand of God, Moses responds by fleeing from the snake, and only returns to take it up again at God's command.

God continues to show Moses more and more signs, and Moses, the great man of faith, is still arguing with God.  Finally bringing up my next point for this blog post.

Our weaknesses, handicaps, or shortcomings can't change God's plan.

Moses in  Exodus 4:10 points out to God that he, Moses is not eloquent, but is slow of speech and tongue.  Many scholars say that the way this is worded in the original languages seems to imply that when Moses says he is slow of tongue and of speech that he doesn't just mean he isn't a great public speaker, but rather that he suffered some speech impediment, perhaps like stuttering.  

At any rate whether it is just the shortcoming of not being a great orator, or whether Moses is talking about an actual handicap of speech, neither of things matter to God when it comes to His call on Moses' life.

God says to Moses in Exodus 4:11-12, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say."  What God is saying here is that it doesn't matter if Moses has a problem speaking, it wouldn't even matter if Moses was mute or deaf or blind, if God calls him to do something, God will equip him to get it done.

Not even our reluctance can change God's plan.

In Exodus 4:13, Moses stops pointing out problems and instead resorts to pleading with God to just choose someone else, saying,  “O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send.”  But God wasn't looking for "whomever else", God had called Moses to this task.  

At this point, God became angry, but still showed Moses incredible mercy and compassion, in verses 14-17 God tells Moses that he is still going to fulfill God's purpose for him, but since he is so full of doubt and excuses, God is going to send a human helper for him, his brother Aaron can be his "translator" when Moses's slow tongue gets tied up.

Monday, April 3, 2017

God's Calling....

God's Calling on Moses

In Exodus 3:1-7 we see God's formal calling of Moses to the ministry of delivering his people, read the passage here: Exodus 3:1-7

God's Calling was Irrevocable

While Moses had known earlier in his life that he was chosen to deliver God's people from Egypt, that had been years ago and Moses had failed.  He probably assumed he had disqualified himself, and that God would find someone else, after all, Acts 7:23 tells us that he was 40 years old when he killed the Egyptian and had to flee to Midian, and acts 7:30 tells us that 40 more years had passed while he lived in Midian.  Moses was 80 years and he had been living in the desert caring for sheep and living with his father-in-law for half of his life. After so many years, he probably had given up on ever delivering his people, and had resigned himself to life as a desert shepherd.  What he didn't know is that God doesn't give up on us. When God has a call and a plan for our lives the only one who can rescind that call is God himself, nothing we do can thwart God's will in the end.

God's Calling was Unexpected

Moses had probably had many days that started just like the one told about in Exodus 3.  He was doing his usual job, tending sheep in the desert. Taking them to the places where enough grew for them to forage, bringing them to water when they needed to drink, finding places shade for them in the heat of the day.  Perhaps that is why is why he headed towards Mount Horeb, maybe he thought that he would let them forage in the shade of the mountain.  Whatever his reason, you can safely assume he had brought them there many times before, with 40 years of experience as a shepherd Moses would have known the area and known the best places to bring his flock for whatever they needed.

So Moses what just doing his job, minding his own business, doing something he had done many times before, when suddenly, God showed up.

God's Calling was Unmistakable

When Moses first saw this bush burning, but not being consumed or burnt up by the fire, his curiosity got the better of him and went in for a closer look, not sure yet what it was all about.  However, once God spoke there was no mistaking Who it was.  Moses had no doubt it was God who was speaking to him.  He removed his sandals as God instructed and covered his face, not wanting to look upon the glory of the one who called him.

God's Calling was Purposed

God didn't call Moses just for Moses's benefit.  Although God did have a wonderful plan for Moses and wanted to bless him, even though God knew that one day Moses would be one of the best known men of all time, even though God cared deeply for Moses and the two were to share a very special and unique connection from this point on, those weren't the only reasons God called Moses.  God's calling on Moses was for the purpose of bringing freedom to an entire nation, and then eventually using that nation to bring the chance of freedom and salvation to the entire world.

God had heard the groaning and cries of the people of Israel, He hadn't forgotten them, and His plan hadn't changed, He was going to set His people free and He was going to use Moses to do it.

God's Calling was Perfectly Timed

Those 40 years of caring for sheep were not because God's plans of deliverance had slipped His mind.  God didn't suddenly say, "Oh yeah, I almost forgot to do that!  Good thing it popped into my mind."

No, the 40 years that Moses spent in the desert were being used to prepare Moses and the children of Israel for what God was about to do. 

Moses, who had grown up privileged and living in a palace, got used to a tough life as a poor shepherd in the wilderness.  He learned the meaning of hard manual labor.  He learned to be responsible for other living things, to put their well being ahead of his own.  He also spent large amounts of time in isolation, caring for sheep, away from other people.  No doubt this gave him much time for reflection and prayer. 

Meanwhile the children of Israel had 40 more years of tough bondage, 40 years to get so tired of it that they were turning to God and crying out earnestly for His deliverance.

Of course, something else happened in this time too.  The Pharaoh who wanted Moses dead had passed on, and enough time had passed that Moses could now return to Egypt and not be killed on sight.

God had waited for the perfect time, for His time.

God's Calling was Unsought 

Moses was not longer striving to be used to deliver God's people.  He had been humbled and was living a humble life.  He didn't seek the position of deliver, in fact when God called him, his response was to doubt himself and question God.  Of course God didn't let him off the hook so easily.  We'll see more about that next time, when we examine the conversation between Moses and God.


Saturday, April 1, 2017

Ultimate Blog Challenge

Blogging Each Day for a Month

I am once again taking part in the Ultimate Blog Challenge, which means that for the month of April I will be blogging each day.  However, not all my blog posts will be on this blog.  I have a few different blogs, and I will alternate between them. So you can expect a post on this particular blog every three days. Here are the three blogs I will be posting on during this challenge.

My Art Blog

My art blog can be found at  

My Health and Personal Blog

I have one blog that is primarily about my efforts to lose weight and get healthier, but I also post personal, daily life things there from time to time.  My Health and Personal blog can be found  

My Devotional Blog

I also post devotions and thoughts on Bible readings on my devotional blog, which can be found at