Day 20: “Suppose They Say?”
Passage: Exodus 4:1-9
Moses’ first two protests were formal by nature, properly expressing his humility before such a great assignment. But here, Moses presents his third objection with a hint of uncertainty concerning God’s promise: the possibility of being rejected by the Israelite masses. Knowing God’s divine name itself does not validate Moses’ claim to be divinely commissioned, for since the days of Jacob no Israelite had professed to receiving a theophany. In other words, Moses was saying, “Suppose they did not believe or listen to me when I tell them about you?”
God was prepared to reassure him with three distinct signs he could use to overcome the doubting people he was bound to encounter. The first sign was an ordinary shepherd’s crook supernaturally transforming into a serpent, only to be changed back to its original state once Moses took hold of its tail (Ex. 4:3). The second sign was that of Moses’ hand becoming encrusted, or flaky (not necessarily leprous as identified in Lev. 13-14) that supernaturally returned back to normal once he took it out of his cloak the second time (Ex. 4:6). The third sign, which was to be performed only inside Egypt and foreshadowed the first of the ten Egyptian plagues, was the transformation of Nile River from drinkable water to blood (Ex. 4:9). Every sign points towards God’s complete sovereignty over harmless things by supernaturally changing it into something harmful and then changing it back. Moreover, it demonstrated the matchless power the Israelite God would have over the Egyptian gods who supposedly controlled the nature.
All believers are commissioned by God to deliver those who are in bondage to sin, to set people free with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Just as God gave three signs to Moses to overcome his fears, God wants us to overcome three areas we tend to fear in this world:
Satan (Ex. 4:3)
In the first sign, Moses threw down the rod at God’s command and it became a snake. As a shepherd living in the wilderness for forty years, he knew enough to run from the snake. But God told him to stop and grab it by the tail – which required a great amount of faith!
The snake has always been a symbol of the Devil. Moses probably have known the power of Devil was real in Egypt (remember how “powerful” the magicians were in the land of Egypt – they could also do the signs and wonders). Moses needed to know that his God was greater than the gods of Egypt. Later on, the rod-turned-snake would swallow the magicians’ snakes. God used this sign to show Moses that he could provide for all of his “spiritual needs.”
In a similar manner, God promises His people that He would overcome our adversity, the Devil, and meet all our spiritual needs. 1 John 4:4 says that God has already overcome the Devil because He is infinitely greater than our adversity.
Sickness (Ex. 4:6)
Moses was eighty years old when God called him to go into Egypt. He used the second sign to show Moses that he could take care of all his “physical needs.”
People live in constant fear of their health and death. The greatest fear of most people eighty years old is that of “falling down.” Who is going to help me back up if I should fall? The “I AM” will!
Later in his life when he was one hundred and twenty years old, Moses’ natural strength had not abated and vision not dimmed one bit (Deut. 34:7). This is an amazing testimony to how God has provided for all of Moses’ physical needs!
For believers, Jesus assured his disciples in Matthew 6:25,26: “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” Whatever befalls in your lives, God will continue to provide and care for your physical needs.
Sin (Ex. 4:9)
Moses might have been afraid of the failure of past memories and what he had done that forced him out of Egypt. He knew that he was a murderer and thus a “sinner.”
God knew that too; with this sign, God tells Moses that when he pours the water of the Nile River upon the ground, it would become blood. Blood is associated with the forgiveness of sins; for present-day believers, this forgiveness is found in Jesus Christ alone. God used this sign to help Moses overcome his “emotional needs.”
There are many people that would serve Christ, but are afraid to say anything to others because of their fear of being reminded of their past failures. God sent Moses to the Pharaoh to tell him about who God was. The message that believers must give to the world is not about them, but rather about God’s extravagant grace and of His insurmountable power to save to the uttermost. It is because of God’s grace believers are commissioned to serve Him in a ministry and to have the privilege to proclaim the good news to people.
God can change your life, and he wants to use your life for His service. He can help you overcome your greatest fears and unleash your potential to reach the lost world with the gospel message. 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us that our fears have been replaced with spiritual strength, extraordinary love, and a rational mind: “For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” When you are assailed with fear and doubt when he commissions you, do you run to God in your prayers and depend on Him as the source of your strength, or are you prone to run away from and not allow God to use you as he sees fitting?