Let's Talk About Complicating the Gift
Complicating the Gift
Then Moses replied, “But what if they don’t believe me or pay attention to me? They might say to me, ‘The Lord didn’t appear to you!’”
2 The Lord said to him, “What’s that in your hand?”
Moses replied, “A shepherd’s rod.”
3 The Lord said, “Throw it down on the ground.” So Moses threw it on the ground, and it turned into a snake. Moses jumped back from it. 4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Reach out and grab the snake by the tail.” So Moses reached out and grabbed it, and it turned back into a rod in his hand. 5 “Do this so that they will believe that the Lord, the God of their ancestors, Abraham’s God, Isaac’s God, and Jacob’s God has in fact appeared to you.”
6 Again, the Lord said to Moses, “Put your hand inside your coat.” So Moses put his hand inside his coat. When he took his hand out, his hand had a skin disease flaky like snow. 7 Then God said, “Put your hand back inside your coat.” So Moses put his hand back inside his coat. When he took it back out again, the skin of his hand had returned to normal. 8 “If they won’t believe you or pay attention to the first sign, they may believe the second sign. 9 If they won’t believe even these two signs or pay attention to you, then take some water from the Nile River and pour it out on dry ground. The water that you take from the Nile will turn into blood on the dry ground.”
10 But Moses said to the Lord, “My Lord, I’ve never been able to speak well, not yesterday, not the day before, and certainly not now since you’ve been talking to your servant. I have a slow mouth and a thick tongue.”
11 Then the Lord said to him, “Who gives people the ability to speak? Who’s responsible for making them unable to speak or hard of hearing, sighted or blind? Isn’t it I, the Lord? 12 Now go! I’ll help you speak, and I’ll teach you what you should say.”
13 But Moses said, “Please, my Lord, just send someone else.”
14 Then the Lord got angry at Moses and said, “What about your brother Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak very well. He’s on his way out to meet you now, and he’s looking forward to seeing you. 15 Speak to him and tell him what he’s supposed to say. I’ll help both of you speak, and I’ll teach both of you what to do. 16 Aaron will speak for you to the people. He’ll be a spokesperson for you, and you will be like God for him. 17 Take this shepherd’s rod with you too so that you can do the signs.”
But Moses sad to the LORD, “My Lord I’ve never been able to speak well, not yesterday, not the day before, and certainly not now since you’ve been talking to your servant. I have a slow mouth and a thick tongue.” Then the LORD said to him, “Who gives people the ability to speak? Who’s responsible for making them unable to speak or hard of hearing, sighted or blind? Isn’t it I, the LORD?” —Exodus 4:10-11
Moses, an Israelite who had been raised as an Egyptian, was living in the land of Midian, where he had a job and a family. He had no desire to return to his homeland, where he was a fugitive. And he wasn’t terribly interested in leading his people, since he didn’t even know his people very well.
Yet God spoke to Moses through a burning bush, commanding him to lead the Israelites to freedom. Instead of embracing the opportunity, Moses squirmed, saying: “What if they don’t believe me? What if I mumble or stutter?” God was patient, first offering signs that Moses could duplicate to demonstrate God’s power. Then God relented, with anger, and allowed Moses to take his brother Aaron along as a spokesperson.
God had a straightforward plan for Moses, but Moses complicated the gift because of his fear.
Questions to Discuss:
When have you been reluctant to serve God or God’s people? What happened?
When have you given God conditions? (“God if you do this, then I’ll do this.”)
How do our conditions and complications keep us from faithfully following God?
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