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In the Sight of God’s People – Exodus 4:10-16, 27-31

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In the Sight of God’s People

June 14, 2009

Lesson: Exodus 4:10-16, 27-31

Key Verse: Exodus 4:30

Introduction

The Bible is not a book of hidden mysteries of which we must continually search to find meanings, but a book of revealed mysteries whereby the Lord has and is revealing himself, his Creation, and the purposes thereof in the very presence of those whom he has redeemed, whose eyes are opened by the Spirit. Matthew Henry compared Genesis with Exodus, “Moses (the servant of the Lord in writing for him as well as in acting for him – with the pen of God as well as with the rod of God in his hand) having, in the first book of his history, preserved and transmitted the records of the church, while it existed in private families, comes, in this second book, to give us an account of its growth into a great nation; and, as the former furnishes us with the best economics, so this with the best politics. The beginning of the former book shows us how God formed the world for himself; the beginning of this shows us how he formed Israel for himself, and both show forth his praise, (Isa. 43:21). There we have the creation of the world in history, here the redemption of the world in type.” God owns all of his Creation as Creator. He also has fashioned for himself a unique people called Israel.

We are also called God’s people, God’s Israel, those for whom Christ died and delivered from darkness to be his chosen people. We come to Christ our Savior, to praise him, knowing him to be precious: “Behold I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect, precious;” and that we are precious, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:6-9).

A Man of Words –Exodus 4:10-16

Moses had received authority from the Lord to lead his people from bondage to freedom, a Deliverance from darkness to light. He was to gather the elders of Israel together and say, “The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared unto me saying, I have surely visited you, and sent that which is done to you in Egypt: And I have said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt unto the land of Canaanites … And they shall hearken to thy voice: and thou shalt come, and thou shalt come, thou and the elders of Israel, unto the king of Egypt, and ye shall say unto him, The Lord God of the Hebrews hath met with us: and now let us go” (Ex. 3:16-18). The Lord also told Moses that the king would not, at first, let his people go; however, the Lord’s promise was firm: “And I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in the midst thereof: and after that he will let you go” (3:20). It is in the presence of the Lord and his words that Moses said he was not a man of words: “I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech and of a slow tongue.”

It would be more perilous for Moses to stand up and say ‘send me Lord I am most eloquent in speech.’ For then he would find himself on sinking sand. A preacher, who thinks of himself as well prepared, finds himself ill-prepared to glorify God. We are all slow of tongue when we stand before our Lord. Then we will hear our Master saying, as did Moses, “And the Lord said unto him, Who made man’s tongue? Or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? Have not I the Lord?” He who has created man has made him and all his parts, and is therefore the supervisor of all his Creation. As servants of the Lord we place all of ourselves in his hand. The Lord speaks thus to his servant, “Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.” Moses received the same promise that the Disciples of Christ received, and from the same Lord: “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. God ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Matt. 28:18-20).

Moses, having not yet understanding the presence and power of the Lord, cries out, “O my Lord, send I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou will send.” Matthew Henry clears the meaning for us: “When this plea was overruled, and all his excuses were answered, he begged that God would send somebody else on this errand and leave him to keep sheep in Midian: “Send by any hand but mine; thou canst certainly find one much more fit.” Note, An unwilling mind will take up with a sorry excuse rather than none, and is willing to devolve those services upon others that have anything of difficulty or danger in them.” This is, at times, illustrated in our prayers, asking for blessings but not willing to be the instrument of blessing; i.e. send others with the word of the Gospel, or, help someone with financial aid.

The Lord reveals his anger with Moses by appointing another servant: “Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can spear well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart.” However, this will not lessen Moses’ responsibility to obey his Lord: “And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do. And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God.” The wisdom of Moses, as given by the Lord, would be a guide to Aaron as he would be the spokesman. “The tongue of Aaron, with the head and heart of Moses, would make one completely fit for this embassy. God promises, I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth. Even Aaron, that could speak well, yet could not speak to purpose unless God was with his mouth; without the constant aids of divine grace the best gifts will fail” (M. Henry).

Discussion: By what authority, and by whose strength is a servant of the Lord able to obey the Lord?

The People Believed –Exodus 4:27-31

The Lord speaks to Aaron, saying, “Go into the wilderness to meet Moses.” These simple words tell us of the wonder of the Almighty God who is with his people; and that no command is given without his glorious presence. Aaron meets with Moses “in the mount of God, and kissed him.” The elder brother shows his love for Moses who tells him “all the words of the Lord who had sent him, and all the signs which he had commanded him.” John Calvin opens the heart of these words of Scripture: For although Aaron was the messenger of God, and the organ of the Holy Spirit, we still see that he was not exempt from the usual condition to which we are subjected, of hearing God’s word at the mouth of man. If, then, there are any who object to be taught by the medium of man’s voice, they are not worthy of having God as their Teacher and Master; for it is soon after added, that Moses related all that was commanded him, as well as the great power which had been delegated to him of working miracles. But Aaron himself, although the elder, not only paid honor to his brother, whom he knew to be a Prophet of the Lord; but willingly submitted himself to him as to an angel. The kiss is mentioned as a sign of recognition, by which he testified the firmness of his faith.”

Moses and Aaron “gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel: and Aaron spake all the words which the Lord had spoken unto Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people.” Words and Signs, words and works, both are important to the life of the Christian. Without the spoken word there can be no signs of life. The Lord speaks and the world and its inhabitants came into existence. The Lord promises a Savior and Christ Jesus comes to save his people from their sins. The Lord promises to set his people free from Egypt and sends Moses and Aaron with his words and signs, his words and authority. The Lord appoints under-shepherds, Teaching Elders to speak faithfully his words, words which the Spirit teaches, of which his Scriptures speak. The importance of the pulpit, of being discipled and discipling, is not found in the teacher but in the words of Holy Scripture. Truth is not to be bantered about as if there are two sides to the issue. Truth is non-debatable. Such as the truth that marriage is between a man and a woman; this is not negotiable. Such is the truth that there is only one Savior. All truth sets us free; thus it is non-negotiable, or we would not have the assurance of our faith and practice.

The response of the people to the words of Aaron revealed the power of the Holy Spirit: “And the people believed; and when they heard that the Lord had visited the children of Israel, and that he had looked upon their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshiped.” Why did they believe, to come to trust in the Lord? Why can we have confidence in the preaching of the Gospel, of witnessing to the glorious Christ who is the only Savior? Is it not because that the Lord has visited and continues to visit his people? Christ Jesus is the Word which “was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

Discussion: Why is the Word of Truth needed in our preaching of the Gospel of Christ?

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