God called a man who thought himself ineloquent and of impeded speech to speak before a king. In fact, he wasn’t called just to speak but demand the release of all the slaves. He was called to walk into a nation and upturn their society. One man with what scholars believe to be a stutter who worked for his father in law out in the fields was presented with this grand destiny. And he said no.
Exodus 3 tells the story of God appearing to Moses through a burning bush. “Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt,” God says to Moses in Exodus 3:10. Moses, like many of us are prone to do, began to question God. He begins to play out the conversation in his head and weigh out each scenario. He wasn’t looking for a way, he was looking for a way out. Moses saw a task in front of him so big, he knew it was beyond his ability to accomplish. From Exodus 3:11 through Exodus 4:12 Moses continues to ask questions and God, in His mercy, continues to provide assurance and physical evidence of His supernatural backing.
The Bible doesn’t say this, but I imagine Moses thought his standoff with the Pharaoh would result in imprisonment, enslavement, or death. I can presume that this was his thought because it is often my immediate response when God asks me to pursue a task that is beyond my strength. I could give up my pet sin, but the result might be bondage to my anxiety and depression. I could use the giftings He has given me, but I might be a slave to expectations and a level of accountability I don’t want. I could surrender unhealthy habits in my life, but my pride might have to die. Thus the response that I have is many times the same exclamation that Moses had in Exodus 4:12, “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.” The Bible isn’t a choose your own adventure book, so I can’t presume to tell you how a Moses and Pharaoh showdown would have gone down. I can tell you what the Bible says happened. God was angry with Moses, but had compassion for the Israelites and amended the plan. He sent Moses and his brother Aaron before the Pharaoh.
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. 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. He shall speak for you to the people, and he shall be your mouth, and you shall be as God to him.And take in your hand this staff, with which you shall do the signs.” ~Exodus 4:14-17
They went, they spoke the words God had given them, God’s miraculous power was shown, and the Israelites were released. You might read this a little differently than I do, but my initial thought is one of confirmation. It appears to be scriptural evidence of God changing His plans to suit man and everything being accomplished without repercussion. While the situation seemed to go exactly how it should have gone in Egypt and the slaves were released, that was not the end of the story. In Exodus 32 after Moses had been with God on the mountaintop for over a month, the Israelites were getting restless and went to Aaron for a solution.
So Aaron said to them, “Take off the rings of gold that are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” So all the people took off the rings of gold that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the Lord.” And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play. ~Exodus 32:2-6
As I said, the Bible isn’t a choose your own adventure story. I can’t flip to page 403 and reveal that with Moses’ quick obedience to God’s plan the Israelites wouldn’t have been led astray. I can’t say that without Aaron in the picture a golden calf wouldn’t have been built, and the Israelites would have worshipped the one and only “I AM” with steadfast faith. I do know that God is omniscient. In Isaiah 46:10 he says “declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.” God knew exactly how things would play out. Exodus 32:25 says, “Moses saw that the people had broken loose (for Aaron had let them break loose to the derision of their enemies).” This revelation Moses had was already foreseen by God. As Exodus 32 continued to play out 3,000 men died as a result. I can only wonder if the anger kindled against Moses in Exodus 4 was due to the knowledge that those 3,000 lives that would be lost because of Moses’ unwillingness to accept his weaknesses and allow God to be seen despite them.
In thinking about the things God has placed on your heart, what is your response? I see my wonderful friends who write so beautifully, speak so eloquently, and have so many blessings bestowed upon them by God. Sometimes I say, “Lord, just send them”. They know and love the Lord, their words are encouraging, and they are charismatic; in fact, I have linked their pages in the footer and I encourage everyone to follow them. But the urge frequently arises in me to step back and remain silent. I want to take my typos and mistakes and sit in a corner watching them and others pursue their destinies while neglecting my own. Who am I to write about scripture? What will I say if someone asks who has given me the authority or credentials to speak about the Word of God? If I say God has spoken to me, will I be mocked or ridiculed? If you are like me, and like Moses, you may question your destiny. Know that you are chosen by God, not by your choice. You didn’t get a survey in utero nor did you make specific choices in your life through which God has crafted your destiny. Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” While this is directed at Jeremiah, the truth of our divine formation remains. The God of all creation, who made and formed every part of our beings, handcrafted our destiny. The answer to our insecurities is simple. We are called by God. We have been given talents and skills by Him and are equipped with His power and authority to fulfill the calling He chose for our lives. If we fall, His grace covers us. If we are ridiculed, it is not us that is mocked; it is Christ in us and God can surely handle those who scorn Him. Keep your head up and press toward your destiny. There are people who need what God has put inside you. You are chosen.