You would expect that by this time, Moses would not revert back to the excuses he had already given to God.
Sadly, you would be wrong.
Having heard from God directly, having encountered Him miraculously, Moses reverted to the same excuses that he had given before. His fear of speaking before Pharaoh and even the Israelites was rooted in deep seeded insecurity based on his speech deficiencies. Scholars have argued that it was either some form of speech impediment or, rather, just an inability or nervousness in speaking in front of people. Whatever the reason, Moses feared that the people would not listen to him and, in fact, that they were already not listening to him. But God and Moses were passed this and had dealt with it during their encounter previously. Events were beginning to unfold quickly and now was the time for decisive action, not insecurity and doubt.
Before God dealt with Pharaoh, God would have to first deal with Moses. God had selected Moses to be His representation to Pharaoh and to His people. There was no changing this. But in this moment, despite reassurance after reassurance, Moses still had a doubt as to whether he was able to accomplish the task before him. Viewing his physical and temporary limitations, he forgot that the very hand of God had guided him from place to place and forgot who had called him to begin with. He lost faith in the one who called and equipped Him. God could have been harsh with Moses but instead chose to gently restore Moses. The harshness was reserved for Pharaoh, who would stand against Him. God shared the plan of what would occur from the details of what to say and do, to the larger plan and promise that the people who were once slaves would be free. This would not be their end or their demise but was instead the first step in their redemption. God would be glorified and His people would be saved by that same means.
Yet, the irony of all of this was plainly stated to Moses. “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet.” (Exodus 7:1, NIV). God was not in the process of making Moses like a God to Pharaoh, but had already done so as God is speaking in the present not in the future. Pharaoh took the meetings with Moses and Aaron because he viewed their threat to his power as legitimate. If Moses had been no one, he probably would not have made it through the front door. While Pharaoh may not have bowed to God’s authority, he did, at a minimum, understand that Moses represented a true threat to Pharaoh’s power. God even sought to prep Moses for the inevitable show down with Pharaoh, giving Aaron to Moses to speak on his behalf, as Moses spoke on God’s behalf. This was the moment that Pharaoh would resist the Lord and this was the moment that God would be glorified in His might and power.
God is Greater Than All Others
After a bit of nudging from God, the show down between Moses and Pharaoh had come to a head. This would be the moment where the conflict between the two entities would become clear. Both sides would be unwilling to relent until they had been fully gloried. For God, the issue was one of ensuring the safety of His people while putting the fullness of His glory on display. There was only one, true God. All others were imposters and imitators who were unable to stand fully. Thus, the first task was a display of the power of God. Per God’s instructions, Moses commanded Aaron to throw down his staff and in doing so, the staff turned into a snake before their very eyes.
Pharaoh, never one to be outdone, summoned his wise men and sorcerers to perform the miracle that Aaron had done. While reading this the first time, you almost get the expectation that their staff would clamber to the ground in an anticlimactic let down. This preconceived notion is that they would attempt and fail. Yet, it is important to note, they didn’t. They were able to summon snakes from their staff. Whether it was sorcery or trickery, the snakes did appear and they were actually there. In number, they were more numerous than the ones that Aaron was able to summon. Yet, for all of the number advantage they held, the sorcerers were defeated as Aaron’s snake devoured the others whole. The display of spiritual reign and sovereignty was clear. God had been victorious over the whims of sorcerers and the hand of God was stronger.
When squared off with the greatest the world can offer, our God will reign victorious. Always. While we do not discount the spiritual realm as a real factor, we must never forget that our God reigns supreme. There is no power greater than God and no threat that can stand up to the supreme power of the one true King. Just as the snakes the sorcerers were able to summon were swallowed by Aaron’s snake, any spiritual attack, when compared to the strength and might of God will be swallowed up immediately. There is no withstanding a God who is a conqueror over all. The dark spiritual forces at work in this world should never be ignored or denied but they should not be feared either. As the attacks come, we rush into the arms of our glorified King. When we put our faith and hope in the salvation that comes from God, we have the protection of a God who glorifies Himself for the sake of His people.
Our Role As Representatives of God
Moses was not qualified for the job, a thought that Moses does not allow to go unstated for long. He was not the person you would immediately think of when looking for someone to speak before royalty and those who viewed themselves as the incarnation of Egyptian Gods, as Pharaoh did. Moses was sheepish, slow to speak, brash, and tainted by his past. Yet, this is the person God called. At this point, God describes Moses as “[having been made] like a God to Pharaoh and [his] brother Aaron will be [his] prophet.” (Exodus 7:1). For all his flaws, Moses was called by God to display His glory.
It was the lack of qualifications that put the fullness of the glory of God on display. Through the weakness of Moses, God was able to move and show His strength and might to an obstinate monarch. Weakness is not deterrent for an omnipotent God. Thus, as God commands Moses to do things, Moses could stand in full confidence that they would be done. After all, God would be the one doing them, not Moses.
In the same way, we all have our weakness. We all have limitations and hindrances that we feel make us unqualified for the ministry of God to the world. We all at times, feel unqualified for the calling we have received. Furthermore, this feeling is entirely accurate. We cannot for a moment begin to think that we have earned our good status with God or that we deserve to be a part of His mission. It is a honor and a privledge to be called by God but the mission is bigger than us all. A God sized calling can only be completed by a God sized entity. If we attempt to complete the work given to us on our own, we will fail. It is only when we rely on the strength of God to do what he says to do and say what he says to say that our calling is completed. God is glorified in the world through our incessant reliance upon Him. When the world sees us operating, even out of our own weakness, the testimony of the power and might of God will bring Him all the glory. After all, God would be the one doing the works, not ourselves.
In that sense, we will become like God to the world and the hand of God reaches through ours. As people made in the image of God, we bear the honor and the responsibility of representing our Creator. In taking on the mission that God has set before us, we all represent God to the world which desperately needs to hear the Gospel. When we speak the words God has given us to speak, we speak with God’s authority. It is no longer us speaking, but Christ who speaks through us. Whatever limitations we fear we have are irrelevant as it is God who selects and empowers the ones He calls. God has called us to engage in His mission. Our calling is to put on full display the God whose glory shines through us, even in our imperfections.
Read Exodus 6:28-7:24
- Throughout chapter 7, how did God reveal his full glory? What signs did God show to display his sovereignty and Kingship over all forces, both spiritual and physical?
- What hindrances did Moses believe he had in regard to what God had called him to do? How did God respond to these hindrances?
- Explains the phrase “I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet.” What is the significance of this verse? Immediately following this, what instruction does God give to Moses?
- When have you needed the reminder that God is sovereign over every aspect of your life? What issues were challenging your faith? How did God respond to you in that moment?
- Part of representing God to the world means we give an accurate representation. Where have you found it to be the most challenging to represent God? Why is this difficult? How can we support one another in displaying the image of God?
- What limitations do you think you have with your calling? How can the glory of God be shown through these limitations?
- What encouragement do you see in the fact that there is no qualification to serve or even approach God? How does this strengthen our faith in God’s saving grace and in His Gospel being told throughout human history?
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About the Author
Pastor Daniel Burton lives in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. In May 2015, Daniel graduated from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary with his Master of Divinity. It was here that he began to explore his passion for Theology and deeper exploration of the word of God. Daniel believes that, at its core, Theology should be fun. Check out more of his work at http://thegospeloutpost.com