Moses must leave behind his personal self-interests of private peace and prosperity, and we will see him being a humble, selfless leader and shepherd who cares deeply for this nation, no matter how rebellious, and putting their welfare and God’s honor and glory first.
Likewise God calls us sometimes to leave our comfort zones, to do something other than what we had planned to, and like Moses, we often make excuses, and seek to refuse this new direction. In the midst of such an overall challenge, God may give us acute challenges to further test us. As when God commanded Moses to throw down his staff…It seems to have become a large writhing serpent, and in great mortal fear, Moses fled from the viper. So God may allow us to flee in fear for a time—acute fear, fear of change, fear of personal danger, fear of losing our peaceful, comfortable, routine way of life, or fear of losing life itself. Fear of having to do what we do not want to do, not getting our own way. So we may flee in fear, fear for various reasons, until God commands us to take it by the tail, and we see it was God testing us; bringing us to realize that our fears stem from our sins. We fear, only when we do not trust in God and his promises and commands. When he calls us to do a thing, he makes a way for us, he protects us and guides us—He goes before us. When we flee in fear, we are consumed by our own selfish wants as opposed to serving God and others selflessly.
Again Moses was acutely challenged within the midst of this greater, overarching challenge and command…God says, “Put your hand inside your cloak”, and when Moses obeyed, I am sure he did not know what to expect when he was commanded to draw it out again. Can you imagine the immediate horror and panic that came upon Moses when he drew out his hand, and found it consumed with leprosy, possibly even accompanied by physical pain and discomfort? He would have been, one can only imagine, horrified, frightened, perhaps worried that God was punishing him for trying to run away from God’s command. “Will I always henceforth have this useless, painful hand?!”
But again, God is only challenging Moses, not bringing him death by a viper or punishing him with a debilitating disease. God is challenging him again to look beyond the present instant. God is preparing Moses, impressing Moses with God’s own all powerful Sovereignty, His grace, mercy, loving-kindness, pity, and provision upon and for weak and sinful mankind.
But still Moses seeks a way out: “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.” On the one hand, Moses denies his own logic, by trying to use that which he denies he has (rhetorical skill) to get out of doing what he is called to do. Moses is trying to win the argument, trying to “reason with God”, trying to use rhetorical skill to win the argument while claiming he is not fit for the duty he is called to because he has no rhetorical skill. Do you see how his logic contradicts himself? Moses seems to be saying, “I am not trained for such a position, and in the short time since you have told me to go, you have not supernaturally transformed me in such a way to equip me for this job.” (“I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant…”) He seems to be saying, “I am not equipped, you have not equipped me, therefore you cannot send me.”
How often do we in times of challenge and discomfort argue with God in the selfsame manner? We do not see the whole picture, we do not know the means and people God will bring along to train, equip, and help us along the way as we walk the course He has called us to. We do not know but that God may not be calling us to do this all alone, we do not know but that the Aaron of our life is already on his way to meet us, to help us and support us as a companion, a brother, and friend. We do not know but that there will be a Joshua in our life who will become our invaluable right hand man, councilor, friend and successor. We do not know what God has planned, and we, unlike Moses do not receive an expounded explanation (Exodus 3:14-17 and the previous and latter conversation in the chapter). But we nonetheless must obey the command of God.
Still, our final word of argument is: “Oh, LORD, please send someone else”!
Through challenges and fears, God shows us our pride and selfishness. He strengthens us in faith and trust of Him. He takes us to the point where we can do no other but simply trust Him. We must believe that God has all the details “worked out,” that despite our blindness as to what is going on, God works all things together for the good of those who love Him.
We cannot see, only follow.
“Now therefore go,” God commands, and not unlike our forefather Abraham, we must rise and go, to where we may wit not. That brings us to a place empty of self, to a place where you must simply have faith and reliance on God your Father.
God is Almighty, Eternal Creator. God is Good, All-Powerful, and All-Wise; He is God and He is our Father. And yet, we dare argue? We dare doubt His eternal wisdom by claiming He has picked the wrong servant for the mission? Yes, we do. We doubt, we dicker, we fear…we are human. Fallen, sinful humans, and praise God that He exercises such great and long suffering patience and mercy towards us!
May God grant us greater faith, trust, and devotion to Him. Even if it comes through the fear of death by a fiery viper, or horror and anguish over a foul disease; even if it comes through our removal from our safe, comfortable, and peaceful “zone”, the removal from all that we know as familiar. May there be more of Christ, may I die more and more unto sin and live more and more unto righteousness.
Realize, though, the greatness and sobriety of what you ask for, realize the consequences of your request when granted. When you ask for more of Christ, or greater faith, or greater sanctification, you might not think about it as coming through a strange call to go where you do not wish to go, or through the presence and fear of a pursuing serpent, or through the ghastly mutilation, lasting or not, or your own flesh.
Sometimes the workings of God are strange to us; His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). But He is right, He is always right. He is God, He is our Savior, and He is our Father.
“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgements and how inscrutable his ways!” (Romans 11:33)
Follow where He leads in trusting assurance. You may be walking blind for a very long time, but He is with you.
“I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous….Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law…Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (Excerpts from Joshua 1:5-9)