Moses And Jethro: Exodus 2.18-25
In this act of deliverance of these seven sisters, Moses found a wife and she bore his first son. He called him Gershom—which meant, I have become an alien in a foreign land (v. 22). This name gives us some clue as to how Moses viewed himself in his new environment.
The end of this passage tells us that while this was going on in Midian, the Pharaoh in Egypt had died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out for help from God. God heard them in their misery and remembered his covenant with Abraham (2.23-25).
The Burning Bush: Exodus 3.1-22
The call of Moses was the most momentous event in his entire life. While at the mountain of God, he noticed a bush which would not completely burn up. He decided to go and see what this was. When he approached the bush, God called to him and warned him that he was on sacred ground. Moses took off his shoes and hid his face from the presence of God.
Moses got more than he bargained for. God told him about the misery of his people in Egypt. He told Moses that he had heard the crying of Israel because of their slave drivers. God shared with him that he had come down to rescue them from the Egyptians and take them to a land where they would not suffer. What must have startled Moses more than anything else was when God changed gears and told him that he was the chosen tool which was going to Pharaoh to deliver the children of Israel out of Egypt. That was not good news to Moses.
Moses immediately began to make excuses. Wouldn’t you? Here they are: Who am I —in short, I’m a nobody. Suppose I do decide to go and they ask me who you are—what will I tell them, then? You know what they will think—I’m crazy! To each of these feeble excuses God gave a response. Who am I? Nobody! But I am going to be with you and that makes you somebody. What’s your name? God’s answer was I am who I am.
Moses asked God his name and God responded with who he is. When asking for a name, he was not asking for a handle to call God; he was asking to know what relationship God had with the children of Israel in the present arena. In the rest of the chapter we are told that all would go well when Moses returned to Egypt.
The Signs For Moses: Exodus 4.1-31
Moses was still unconvinced. He wanted more clarification in order to believe. Delivering two brothers or seven sisters was one thing; delivering a whole nation was quite another. God gave him three signs: The first was his staff which turned into a snake. This scared Moses and he ran from it. Now what would you feel like if God asked you to reach out your hand and take the tail of a hissing snake? The second was his own hand turning into leprosy. Not a thrilling sight! The third was a future sign which was turning water into blood.
This still did not convince Moses that God had chosen the correct person. So out with another excuse. This time it was that he was not an eloquent speaker. This surely doesn’t sound like Stephen’s account of Moses in Acts. This was not good news to the ear of God. In fact, God took time to tell Moses that he was in control of how Moses spoke. Finally, in desperation Moses asked God to send someone else. None of his excuses had worked, so he changed tactics and told God plainly that he was the wrong person and God should seek out someone else.
God was not happy at this point in the conversation. He told Moses that he would allow his brother to be his spokesman. God would speak to Moses and Moses would speak to Aaron and Aaron would speak to the people. Here is the first occurrence of that model of God speaking to man. As Moses was to Aaron, so God is to man. The conclusion of the chapter shows him making preparation to go on this mission, which was inescapable in his life. <span class=”pullquote”>As Moses was to Aaron, so God is to man</span>
The life of Moses is pictured in Scripture in forty year segments. The first forty years ended with the slaying of the Egyptian and in self-exile in Midian. The second forty years ended with his call by God to go and deliver the children of Israel. The third forty years began with Moses’ return to Egypt to accomplish the task which God had assigned him to remove the Israelites from the bondage of Egypt. This third period of Moses’ life is divided into two parts: 1) The conflict with Pharaoh which ends in the people of Israel being released from bondage. 2) The conflict with Israel which is summarized by Moses in Deut. 9.24: You have been rebellious against the Lord from the day that I knew you.
Questions to Ponder
- What would you feel like if the government put out an order to have your firstborn killed?
- How is that the same or different from the military’s use of America’s firstborn?
- In the amount of time that God has allotted for you, how much have you accomplished of his call on your life?
- Does your “folk theology” get in your way here? How?
- Exodus and Leviticus for Everyone (The Old Testament for Everyone)
- Exodus (The NIV Application Commentary)
- How to Read Exodus
- The Message of Exodus: The Days of Our Pilgrimage (Bible Speaks Today)